I’m writing this from my couch while semi-watching Andy Murray vs. Roger Federer battle it out for the Men’s Tennis gold medal. Although this is just one of the many medal events at London 2012 it is also, perhaps, one of the most significant for the host nation. As I write Murray is up one set to love and 2-0 up in the second set. Less than a month ago Federer beat Murray in the Wimbledon final but now, the day after perhaps the most glorious day for British sport since England lifted the Football World Cup in 1966, Andy Murray is all over R-Fed and if it keeps going like this Great Britain will have another gold medal to add to the tally. Federer is playing like he is scared. Scared of Murray. Scared of the crowd. Scared of Britain. If Federer, who is probably the greatest man to have ever played the sport, wins this, I will be extremely surprised. I will also be pretty disappointed.
Unlike us Aussies, the British don’t really know what glory feels like these days. It’s been nearly half a century since anything like this has happened to them.
They won three gold medals on Saturday night. I remember the jubilation of Sydney 2000 when we smashed those arrogant American closet gay frat boys in the pool then the next week had Cathy Freeman make history in the 400m.
As a kid living in Sydney, the Olympics were the first time I really felt any sense of pride about where I am from and who we are as a people. After the Olympics ended we won a whole bunch of other shit too. We also didn’t go into recession, live in Wolverhampton or have any riots that lasted longer than a day. The British deserve this. Probably a lot more than we did.
Wimbledon is a sea of Union Jack’s. The crowd seem to be more confident that their boy can get up against the same opponent who outclassed him less than a month ago. At the beginning of the third set Murray is up 6-2 6-1. Its an absolute bloodbath, The sun is shining and Great Britain no longer look like sad old rockers reliving past glories. They are vibrant, proud and looking forward to the future. It’s like Cool Britannia but with more energy and less cocaine.
Third set. 5-4. Murray has won the first point, Federer the second. Murray with an ace makes it 30-15. Holy shit! Another ace! 40-15! Can he do it? Can Andy Murray win a Gold Medal at the Olympics? He hasn’t won a grand slam title before. Just 28 days ago he lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final.
Ace. Against the odds, Andy Murray wins another gold for Team GB.
I am so happy there is a nation of people experiencing the sheer joy we had in 2000. In recent years the UK have been through some serious shit, both in the real world and in the realm of sport. London 2012 not only represents a period of great success in the sporting history of Great Britain but a turning point on how the rest of the world see this small yet prolific country.
I cant tell if Andy Murray is naturally a super relaxed guy or he is just completely overwhelmed by what he has just done that he has forgotten how to express emotion. One thing is for sure this has been one of the moments of London 2012 for me.
Now what to do for the 5 hours before Usain Bolt?
When I was 15, me and my friend, lets call him Tim, were at a BBQ at a friends house in Marrickville. His folks were away so maybe ten of us were hanging out in his house and drinking and eating sausages on white bread with tomato sauce. I had a bottle of gin, which I probably stole off my Mum (sorry about that Mum). Tim and I decided to drink the entire bottle, shot for shot, until it was gone. We went out the back, sat down with a shot glass each and finished the bottle in twenty minutes.
Next thing I remember was laying in the park down the road in a pool of my own vomit. There were kids playing sport and people walking their dogs. It was about 4pm. Not cool.
Some of my mates are down there looking after me/laughing at me. One guy who turned up late, lets call him Mark, rocks up to the park and starts laughing at me. He then says ‘Hi Jasper’ . I didn’t like his tone or the fact I was being ridiculed for being in a park in broad daylight, laying in a pool of my own vomit. I was too fucked up to tell him so I picked up a scoop of vomit in my hand hurled it towards him.
Now that was the first and last time I ever did anything like that. Not only did I feel like shit when I woke up because I had drunk so much in such a short period of time with no practice, I also was appalled that I would throw vomit at a friend. The shame was quite awful. Knowing I was passed out in a public park on a Sunday afternoon laying in a pool of my own vomit was nothing in comparison. This was a lesson I needed to learn. Throwing vomit at a friend for laughing at you because you are a fucking idiot is not only mean and inconsiderate it’s also really gross because you wake up with vomit encrusted hands. Its foul. Don’t do it.
I have been horrifically drunk many times since then. I have even thrown up on occasion. But one thing is for sure, I have never gotten that drunk since I was 15.
People need to learn lessons through experience. If someone can’t learn their lessons when it comes to drinking then they shouldn’t be allowed to drink. Instead of showing you are over 18 with a drivers license you should show an alcohol license if you want to buy booze. Of course there are ways to get around it (get someone else to buy it for you being the most obvious) but it might end up solving a lot of problems.
In Australia we are treated like children when it comes to drinking and when people get treated like children they tend to act like them too.
Let people make their own mistakes and punish them when they do. Don’t semi-punish everyone first and then properly punish them when they actually do something wrong. It’s a bad attitude and it makes everyone behave like jerks.
But anyway enough about that, I have decided to make a list of the top 5 drinks you shouldn’t drink and why. This is based entirely on my experience so please don’t be offended if you like to, for example, go to a bar on a Friday night and order a nice warm pint of Black Sambuca. I get it, different strokes for different folks.
Anyway here it is. My gift to you. Thank me later..
- Black Sambuca; One shot, regardless of how many drinks I have, will make me vomit. Absolute poison, don’t understand why anyone would drink it.
- Jamiesons: It’s the only alcoholic beverage that genuinely makes me fighty. McNulty from The Wire drinks it and look at him.
- Any kind of cheap, white tequila: Again this stuff makes me want to hurl. Patron is nice but I’m talking about that $25 a bottle shit. Well nasty. It feels like paint thinner inside your stomach.
- Red Goon: I spent like 4 months drinking nothing but red goon. Pretty shitty time. Tastes like the devils diaper. I get myself into trouble when I drink the sweet stuff.
- Jack Daniels and Coke: If I go out and drink JD and Coke all night I will wake up the next day with the worst hangover you can possibly get. The amount of sugar and whiskey involved makes you feel slightly perky at night but the next day you feel like you are going through chemo and you probably won’t survive. Nasty. Should be illegal.
I know that the Olympics have only been going for a few days but one thing is becoming pretty clear to me. Australian sport aint what it used to be.
At work tonight we had the (supremely shitty) Channel 9 Olympic coverage on. Channels 9 have decided to fuck off all the interesting contests and sports to just focus on what the Australians are doing. Tonight we got a little bit of swimming, some kayaking, a few minutes of boxing, a nice helping of water polo and a proper drenching in the diving pool. The once mighty Australia got beaten in everything except the water polo where last time I checked we were winning against the water polo powerhouse that is Kazakhstan. It was some shameful shit. Our boxing hopeful was some Ginger Meggs look alike who took an absolute hiding from some Cuban kid. We were completely outclassed in the pool and the diving was wicked embarrassing to watch. When did Mexico becoming a stronger diving nation than us? Why is this happening? *
*Note: I have no idea about the world of diving but as an Australian who grew up in the land of plenty where we ate what we wanted and won everything all the time, I feel we should be better at synchronized diving than a country who are in the grips of a civil war between the army and a bunch of drug cartels. Just saying. That being said, I have seen Fun In Acapulco with Elvis Presley a few times and it turns out Mexico has some of the finest al fresco divers in the world, so what the hell do I know?
What really shat me off about 9’s coverage of The Games of the Thirtieth Olympiad was how much time they have dedicated to fucking equestrian. Apparently Australia were doing okay in it so the good clueless folk down at Channel 9 thought they would dedicate hours upon hours of air time towards a sport only rich white cunts like. Prince William and his sweet thang were in the fucking audience! Its good to know where your priorities lie 9. I understand you are all a bunch of rich, white, racist evil pieces of shit but please just for one hour play us some fucking gymnastics because equestrian is fucking BORING.
I do want to give massive props to China who seem to have prepared well for the event. It’s great how all the years of manufacturing perfect specimen in secret labs in the Himalayas then grooming them to excel in one thing for the rest of their lives has paid off. Is that what we did with Shane Warne? I really hope we did.
Speaking of Warnie, we suck at cricket too now. And rugby. We have Mark Webber and Casey Stoner but they drive things so they don’t count. We don’t have shit for sporting heroes these days but these things come and go like an ovarian cycle or the sound of an ice cream truck on a summers day. We had it for too good for too long and now we are just like everyone else. Shithouse. Someone in this country either needs to start winning something or we need to start a war with someone. Either way it cant go on for too long, people are gonna start getting upset.
Oh just one other thing, Black Caviar is a fucking horse. For people to get excited over a horse is mega retarded. If you have instigated more than three conversations with people about Black Caviar you are either a problem gambler or a moron of such epic proportions you should probably never talk or operate any basic machinery ever again. Peace.
I think I have just witnessed perhaps the most incredible, mind-bending spectacle I have ever witnessed in all my years watching TV. I think I need to pinch myself just to make sure I am still living in reality. I think I just witnessed an Olympic Opening Ceremony which didn’t suck.
Last night I was all ‘nah fuck it I’m not getting up at 5am to watch the opening ceremony’. My girlfriend’s mum recorded it anyway and we got up and started watching it at the very civilized hour of 10am. Perhaps the coffee and decent nights sleep contributed to my enjoyment of this event. I really don’t know what it was but they fucking nailed it.
Lets start with the performance at the beginning. I believe they were going for a timeline of British history. There were people dancing around in fields and playing cricket on the village green. Village girls in frocks prancing around picking flowers or whatever it is they did pre-industrial revolution. That was all very nice and quaint. All of a sudden these enormous drums started. The village greens started disappearing and huge towers were being built to the soundtrack of machine gun drums and gigantic choirs. Milton’s Paradise Lost got a few minutes. Molten steel was being oozed around the middle of the stadium with workers (dancers) bashing it into the shape of the Olympic rings. I know my quick capsule review of this doesn’t do it justice but it was all very spectacular. When I say spectacular I mean it in the nicest possible way, not in a Rock Eisteddfod schools spectacular kind of way.
It wasn’t just a big celebration of Industry. Chicks got some bigups too with a section of the performance dedicated to the Suffragettes. This was partly to signify that the UK invented freethinking ladies and also that the Saudi’s have found it in themselves to let a woman be an Olympian. This massive backflip by the Saudis means now all countries have at least one female competitor which is crazy considering its 2012 and Australia have had women competing in the Olympics for over a century.
There was a bit about World War 1 which was super epic. A bit where a whole bunch of people dressed up as The Beatles came out and marched around as if to say ‘hey look, The Beatles were from England’. Then a whole bunch of black guys with suitcases danced out onto the arena symbolizing West Indian immigration to the UK. This part of the performance was a super expensive choreographed timeline of selected parts of English history. It was a visual banquet and executed with incredible precision and taste.
Act two involves a video of Daniel Craig playing James Bond going to Buckingham Palace to pick up the Queen and bring her to the stadium. After watching the entire opening ceremony I have now decided I really don’t like the Queen and I think she is a total bitch. She wasn’t very nice to James Bond and when the entire Great Britain team marched out she was seen frowning and looking at her fingernails. Seriously, if you don’t want to be there give the job to Charles. He wants it, you don’t. Simple.
Anyway the James Bond bit was cool because it showed the world the beauty and energy of London in the summertime while 007 & QE2 fly above the city in a chopper. It was silly but a bit of fun at the same time.
Now here is where things start to get a bit juicy. I started to get the impression that perhaps this wasn’t just a performance showing the world that Great Britain was still a strong nation but it was also a proper ‘fuck you’ to America. There was literally a song and dance about the NHS with the voiceover (read off a script by our own Eddie Maguire) explaining that no country can leave a sick person untreated and call themselves civilized. This was only one example throughout the entire opening ceremony where I got a sense that American attitudes and values were being targeted in the name of fair play, good times, Englishness and the Olympics. As someone who finds a lot of American attitudes repulsive and a poor representation on humanity I found this underlying message refreshing.
Later on in the ceremony after all the Mary Poppins, JK Rowing, Mike Oldfield, Mr. Bean, Chariots Of Fire kiddie bullshit came the celebration of youth culture in the UK. There was a narrative about a girl who loses her phone and then some dude finds it and gives it back to her and they start making out (which is just Britain telling the world that their girls are proper easy). The narrative and dance routine incorporates British pop music from the 60’s to today. The Beatles, The Who, Bowie, Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, New Order, Happy Mondays, The Prodigy, Underworld, Blur and a live performance by Dizzee Rascal all featured. Also I might be wrong but I swear all the performers were taking photos and texting off iPhone 5’s. I assume what they were trying to say is that nobody comes close to Britain in the realm of pop music. Oh and they later said they invented the Internet. How d’ya like them apples America?
After the hyperactive orgy of ‘yoof culture’ there was a hymn dedicated to the absent spectators who should have been there and then a dance number about dead children which was a total downer and really didn’t need to happen. For all its depressing qualities it was still brilliantly done and didn’t really look out of place.
Now that they had bummed out about 3 billion people I think they assumed this would be a good time to bring the athletes out. I got my fashionista on to pass judgment on the uniforms so here are some selections. I fast-forwarded from D-U though so sorry about that (perhaps if I was being paid for this I would have watched it all but Sophie had to go to Brazilian BBQ and I had to write this before it became old news).
Australia – Naff but not as naff as the uniforms have been in the past. Lauren Jackson is a bit of a fox for a total genetic freak of nature.
Albania – All looked like weightlifters and pickpockets.
American Samoa – Dressed like they were at some APEC summit.
Aruba – 1980’s Cabin Crew.
Angola – Lovely.
Argentina – Looked very blue and didn’t get booed which was nice.
Bahrain – Aladdin swag.
Barbados – Egg yellow shirts and orange ties. Like a boss.
Bhutan – Well snazzy.
Brazil – Nice pants/skirts. Cabin crew potential.
Bulgaria – Insane!
Cameroon – Their uniforms look like they were made from pop tarts and candy.
Canada – Boring.
Central African Republic – Nice bowties.
China – I want one of those jackets.
USA – Look very nice in a psychotic kind of way.
Great Britain – Looked like 80’s Elton John but on more cocaine and less shame.
Anyway there were flying bikes, Arctic Monkeys, lovely speeches and Mohammad Ali reminding us all about the dangers of being punched in the head for a living. The multiple person torch lighting was nice too.
The whole ceremony was done fantastically well by some clearly very talented and organized people. I love how proud the English can still be after everything (going broke, losing the empire, David Cameron, getting rained on all day) and how they still know how to make Americans look retarded.
Now let the games begin!
Its half time in the Euro 2012 clash between England and Ukraine. I woke up late so I only caught the last five minutes of the first half. From what I gather I haven’t missed much. Rooney has been rusty. Milner has been rubbish. Ukraine are certainly not weak.
I make the effort to watch England play. I mean they hardly play the most attractive football, but fuck, I’m a fan.
My relationship with England starts with my Dads side of the family. Dad is an Essex boy born and raised. We used to go over there as a kid. Back then I used to think it was a very pretty country (we always went over in summer). I thought their junk food was awesome (Sugar Puffs, Prawn Cocktail Walkers). It was a different world yet it somehow just felt normal. Like home.
In the 90s I thought their kids TV was a bit more intelligent than what we had over here. They had the MC Hammer cartoon and they had the Big Breakfast. We had Agro’s Cartoon Connection which seemed way too white bred for my cosmopolitan eight year old tastes.
As I got older I learned to love the fact that music actually means something to the English national psyche. While Australians backpack through the world arrogantly talking about our superior skills in Rugby and Cricket (two games people really don’t give a fuck in most parts of the world) the English modestly just know that The Beatles. The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Massive Attack…actually pop music in general was created there as we know it. They had Shakespeare. James Bond. Hitchcock. The lot.
The English, for the most part, value the arts. At least more than we do. As an Australian adolescent I really respected this about my English brethren. We played sport, they play guitar..That’s just the way it is.
One thing I found to be equally unpleasant and charming about the English is their class system. The English have Chav Supermarkets (Iceland) and Posh Supermarkets (Waitrose). Footballers the lower classes respect and admire (Wayne Rooney) where as those slightly more well to do think he is just a thug. They have Chav TV networks and newspapers (The Sun, Daily Sport, ITV) and the same products tailor made for the opposite end of the spectrum (The Guardian, Independent, Channel 4). Coming from Australia, the fact that this class divide exists is initially rather confronting but when you think about it the thing seems to work and nobody really complains about it.
People also cue up in England a lot. They really love it. They have these weird little Soviet department stores called Argos which are like K Mart except that instead of walking into a big shop with a trolley and picking up what you need you have to walk into this room and look for what you need in a catalogue, write down the product code then go to a cashier and pay for the items. You then have to wait until what you have asked for is collected from the storeroom out back. Your number will come up and then you can take your eight AA batteries and spatula home. It reminds me of some kind of post war rationing inspired spin on capitalism. Argos also made me think that for better or for worse Australia was more like America than we would care to admit.
I love English people too. I generally find them to have a great sense of humor and a passion for the finer things in life.
The English love a drink. In England you can buy booze from the supermarket for not very much money at all. In London especially I found everyone to be pissed come seven o’clock at night. Alcoholism is a real issue in the UK but instead of treating the population like a bunch of four year olds (like in Australia) the powers that be feel education and taxation is the way to combat the problem. I put this down to the history of the place. The English have been through a shitload more than we have as a country and one thing they seem to do is give the citizens a bit more respect. Riots and race related conflicts aside (these things happen in most big cities at some stage and are unfortunate symptoms of high density living in areas where some people don’t have the advantages others have) the English seem to learn from their mistakes pretty well. They give a shit about the society they live in. Sometimes they don’t like it but they move forward, try to make things better and if that fails they will start all over again.
ENGLAND 1 – UKRAINE 0 (England to face Italy in the quarter finals)
The last time I was in the UK was seven years ago and to be honest I miss it. London is the only other city on earth where as soon as I arrive I know exactly where I’m going. I have family in the UK, friends in the UK and I know that if I went back I would instantly feel at home again. Australia is great for many reasons but in my opinion we lack an attitude here which the English possess. They are hungrier than us. They sing more. They want it. We just think we already have it.
I’m glad England are through to the next stage of the Euros and I hope they win the fucking thing. I just want them to be happy again.
Tonight I went over to my Uncles house. His fiancée made a really amazing Indonesian meal. We drank nice wine and did shots of Patron. Really lovely night. I also did something tonight I had never done before. I watched The Voice.
It was the season finale and (uncle) Pete informed me that 70% of the TV watching nation would be watching this ‘landmark television event’. I had only ever seen this show on mute while at work and didn’t really have an opinion. From what I knew someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to dust off Delta Goodrem, fly out the revolting Seal and Joel Madden and for once give Keith Urban the opportunity to be the biggest sick cunt in the room.
Before I watched The Voice I really didn’t like any of these artists other than Seal who I have a bit more time for because of Crazy and Kiss From A Rose. I actually thought Delta Goodrem had died of cancer but then when I said this to someone they angrily told me she had survived. I never liked Good Charlotte as I’m not a mentally ill twelve-year-old girl from Albury-Wadonga. Keith Urban once ruined my day as I was rushing to get to work and Pitt St mall was closed off because he felt the need to perform a free show ‘for the kidz’ outside Westfield Centrepoint. I had to walk around the block which took an extra three minutes. Fuckhead.
So as we sit down to watch the show I learn there are four contestants who have been coached by these four douchebags. There is the token old guy with a kid who has always dreamt of Damien Leith-esque Superstardom. The suburban bimbo chick with the ‘cool’ hair who was teaching music to Primary School children but seems to have always dreamt of performing live to a room full of..um..Primary School children. The blind girl who they dress up as Shirley Temple for some sick reason while Delta steals the spotlight and finally the plain looking girl who has been to hell and back with a voice that can melt the average Aussies heart..Or something to that effect.
These four starry eyed singers had spent the last few months competing for the hearts and minds of the Australian public but there could only be one winner.
Of course before they announced the winner they all sang. They opened with a version of a song I actually really like. Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. All four hopefuls on a stage fucking the original track like cocaine fucked Stevie Nicks original nasal septum. So much emotion but all of it seeming as real as a strippers fingernails. They then did duets with their coaches which would have been lovely had I had no taste and given a shit. There were video montages (of course) showing each contestants ‘journey’ from white trash to white trash with record deals. A whole bunch of other stuff which I forget because I was busy bonding with my family, then they announced the winners.
Fourth place went to the chick with the hair. Third place went to the poor little blind girl with the heart of gold. Second place went to the Dad who seemed to have a massive hard on for Keith Urban. The winner was the one with the generic soul voice who kept talking about the time she lived in the shelter.
What I don’t get though is how did this show become so popular? From watching the finale what I gather from it is that is a slightly tweaked version of every other TV talent show that has been made over the last decade. If this show could capture the hearts and minds of a nation we are in big fucking trouble. Greek style trouble. If 80% of the nation watched season 2 the Germans will be bailing us out in like three weeks from the premier. Scary stuff.
Now before you start calling me a prick for not falling in love with the evil blind girl or rooting for the old guy because he didn’t use a rubber please understand I am not used to watching this program or any programs like this. I live in a world where some of the most dedicated and talented musicians I know are lucky to get a gig at the metro supporting The Vines. I know people have been making this point since Pop Idol shows first started happening but how can something have so much emotion and absolutely no soul? It’s an amazing thing, yet the nation embraces it to the point that these chumps all make the charts with their crappy records.
So if you watched this season and you were entertained then that’s great. It’s your time to kick back and do what you want. But next year when it starts all over again maybe instead of watching this show (which I can officially certify as poison) maybe listen to one of your albums. Actually listen to Fleetwood Mac instead of these suburban gobshites butchering them. Life is better that way.
Oh and also whoever is dressing Seal is a funny bastard. He looks like an absolute clown yet carries on like its still 1993 and he can get his dick sucked in any room he walks into. Bravo! If you see me around introduce yourself and I’ll buy you a beer. Great job!