Category Archives: 2012

The Syntax Memoir – A gorilla in the corner

DJ Gorilla Music Hip Hop Rap

A gorilla in the corner

It’s not uncommon for me to consistently put my foot in my mouth, and as you thumb through the pages of this journal you will soon discover an underlying theme of embarrassment and humiliation that reeks through the text and into your pores.

I half expect you to stop reading, and hastily retreat to that little shelf you have in the cupboard under the sink that is filled with ancient roach traps and metal scourers, all in an effort to retrieve the fetid rubber gloves you have stuffed beside the bottle of armour-all, just so you can stop that icky feeling whenever your fingers dance across the keyboard and read these pages.

For me it’s always been natural to eat my own words, or recoil in absolute horror at the useless tidbits of information that occasionally pour out of my well fed cake hole; no more so then when I casually walked around Robina Town Centre.

To those uninitiated with the Gold Coast, Robina Town Centre is a gargantuan eyesore, smack bang in the middle of an extremely busy thoroughfare that extends from the Pacific Highway all the way up to the back roads of the Northern Gold Coast.

It is a shopping centre that has undergone numerous transformations, and in an effort to survive against other centres, RTC’s latest incarnation scrapped the traditional layout to cram in as many pretentious over-priced fashion outlets as possible.

I’m convinced in the future that’s all human beings will use as currency, fashion. Stroll through your average shopping complex and count the number of fashion stores in comparison to other retail outlets. I predict a day when social economic boundaries no longer exist, and the traditional methods of detecting ones social status will be through the type of car they drive, no longer in how they present themselves aesthetically.

The upper class is slowly disappearing.

Think about it; political correctness and social equity means that nobody can be excluded from shopping, dining or even visiting certain places. We no longer save money how we used to, and have a lot more disposable income. We splurge on expensive restaurants more frequently, and even those people who were once excluded from high society now have a place at luxurious nightspots, sat next to Gordon Gecko.

The boom in media, agriculture and property also means that people who come from less desirable backgrounds now infect cultured society.

Fashion, once the last bastion of urbane sophistication, is now blurred and shares the same air conditioned strip as Sportsgirl, the Apple Store, and Borders Books and (shithouse) Coffee.

Once Mercedes drops their price it’s all over red rover.

Alas, it was among the homogenised fashion strip of Robina Town Centre that some friends and I decided to pop into a uselessly named men’s fashion store; you know the ones, with a double syllable name that sounds like it’s meant to be foreign, but is actually just a mish mash of nonsensical phrases.

Litche.

Phonetically I think it is pronounced Lee-Chay.

Wow, pretentiousness has reached new heights.

The thing that annoys me about pretentiousness is when the people instigating the snootiness have absolutely no reason to do so, other than to appear that they belong to a different social or economic grouping.

Newsflash, Tusk on Chapel St is very average; it takes too long to get served, the coffee is no better than anywhere else, and the prices are inflated because the owners realise that dumb schmucks like you will pay extra to be sat there.

It’s an amazing social phenomenon that says more about the consumer than it does about business.

Again, I digress.

As we walked past Litche, my other two friends conversed.

“Jeff”, Antonio remarked, “There’s a really cute girl that works here that I think you would really like”.

We all stopped, looked at Litche, and with the promise of a cute salesgirl drew as closer to the shopfront.

As we approached we noticed huddled into the corner of the window display was an extremely muscled man in a shirt so tight it looked like he was being strangled by blue-green algae.

It seemed odd; his hands danced over the knobs of the mixer, and occasionally his hands would move backwards and forwards over the CDJ’s and spin the decks backwards.

He certainly looked the part, well, he looked like he had been watching other DJ’s in clubs and was copying action by action what he had observed the night before at a techno trance neon super rave.

As his hands danced over the equipment, nothing happened to the music.

Ok, well obviously he’s previewing the mix in his headphones first (which in true club DJ style was glued between his raised shoulder and his ear) I thought.

Seconds later the next song awkwardly shuttered into life, and without so much as any sort of mix at all, he simply pressed play on the CD player and switched the fader from one side to the other. As he did so, his hands danced across the knobs of the mixer once more, and he began to play with the CDJ’s like he was Qbert defending his title as one of the most awesome scratch DJ’s ever in existence.

I giggled, and as I did so the cute salesgirl who we had been warned about approached out of the gloom.

“How are we today guys?” she asked.

Jeff, being sickeningly shy and coy offered up a simple “Good thanks” and casually browsed the brightly coloured men’s shirts that were adorned with price tags so ludicrous that they bended the very laws of physics and the universe.

The salesgirl, noticing my complete disinterest in any of the clothes (not to mention the fact that their XXL was really only a traditional L) turned her attention to me, and offered me a passing comment.

“Do you like our DJ?”

I turned and looked at Popeye, he still had one ear of the headphones off, and his dancing hands resembled those of someone whose oven mitts had caught fire putting a pizza into a wood stove.

“Yeah, he’s, errrr…..” was all I could say.

The girl smiled politely and began to walk off.

“He’s not actually doing anything” I blurted out.

Did I just say that? It was in my head a second before, but somehow I just blurted out exactly what I was thinking to the back of the salesgirl’s head.

She turned around, still with the polite smile on her face, “Sorry? I missed that” she remarked.

What do I do? Do I continue telling her what’s on my mind, or for the sake of Jeff do I just keep my stupid mouth shut and pretend that I said something completely different? I mean, this guy could be her boyfriend for fuck’s sake…..but, in that case then do I really need to keep my mouth shut?

“He’s not actually doing anything” I said louder.

Yep, fuck it. Enough small talk, I’m telling her exactly how it is.

“You don’t like him?” she asked.

“Well I mean you can’t really miss the Gorilla in the corner” I blurted. Wait, did I just call him a gorilla? Why did I do that?

She awkwardly smiled.

“I mean, he’s pretending to do stuff on the mixer” I continued. The music was a little too loud at this point, and either she didn’t hear me properly or she was pretending to have misheard me so she could get a clarification that I had actually said what I just said.

“Sorry?”

“I SAID HE’S PRETENDING TO DO STUFF” my voice boomed over the top of the loud tune.

Whether in defense of the DJ or just in general interest, she casually asked me, “Do you want to have a go?” and swept her hand towards the DJ like a girl on the price is right motioning towards an overpriced set of gold clubs or a jet ski.

I didn’t know how to react, and just casually shook my head, gave her a slight smirk, and shifted uneasily on my feet.

“Are you a DJ?” she asked, and turned herself around to walk back towards the counter where she had just emerged from.

I cast a brief glance to my left, where my friend Antonio was watching me with a smile on his face. He shook his head, baffled at my small talk, and continued to browse clothes.

The girl hadn’t got more than two steps away before my brain decided my foot wasn’t lodged firmly in my mouth far enough.

“I’m kind of a DJ” I sheepishly responded.

KIND OF? What did I mean by that? I’m not a DJ, the closest foray I’ve ever had into being a DJ is getting drunk and making that ‘wicky wicky’ noise with my mouth as I stood over someone else’s Technics 1200’s.

She turned back, and again, awkwardly asked me to repeat myself.

“I’M KIND OF A DJ” I shouted back. Why was I saying these things?

“What does kind of mean?” she quizzically asked. Her question was valid, I mean, I didn’t even know what I was talking about. I had no answer, in fact, for a millisecond I asked myself the very same thing.

“No it’s ok, it’s nothing” I joked, and began sifting through electric blue button up shirts on a rack in front of me. I pretended to take a keen interest in them in the vain hope the girl would turn away and walk off, however somehow I had piqued her curiosity, and she began to probe me some more.

“Are you a DJ? Do you want to have a go?” she asked.

“No no it’s fine, I’m ok”

“So you’re kind of a DJ?”

She wouldn’t let it go.

“If you want to have a go, just go and jump on” she barked back at me. I used every ounce of my strength to not throw in “That’s what she said” at the end of her statement.

She began to walk off again, and for some bizarre reason my brain decided that it was at this precise moment to respond to her question.

“I’d rather be doing something more constructive” I said, “like save children or something”.

Speaking to the back of her head, she turned around and asked me to repeat what I had just said. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what I had just said myself, all I could remember was the line about saving children.

“I WOULD RATHER BE SAVING CHILDREN” I shouted, trying to be heard over the top of the music provided by the gorilla in the corner.

The awkwardness was compiled by the fact I had to shout my responses back to her, at the time I felt like all the magic had been lost as I had to repeat myself more and more.

Magic? Was I kidding? Looking back it was the most uselessly awkward small talk in history. I would have got the same reaction had I simply said “I’m a kiddy fiddler” to all and sundry and went about sifting through the racks for bargains.

This time she didn’t respond, she just murmured “Saving Chidren?” softly under her breath, gave me a strange look, and cast her gaze in the direction of my friends.

“Right, let’s go” Antonio grabbed me, and motioned Jeff towards the exit.

As we passed by the gorilla, I received a slap across the head.

“It’s been a while since you’ve spoken to a woman huh?”

As we stumbled awkwardly into the distance, I looked back over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of the ape. His hands continued to dance across the decks as though he was channeling the creative spirits of Grandmaster Caz and Kool Herc.

As I watched him slowly fade into the background of people, I came to a sad and frighteningly real conclusion:

Even a simple simian had a better grasp of social intercourse than I do.

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The Syntax Memoir – “Welcome to Silent Hill” The ups and downs of Newcastle

The Syntax memoir – Welcome to Silent Hill

Syntax Memoir Silent Hill Rap Music Girl Newcastle

It’s amazing how much impact you can have with a single show; as I would later discover, the word ‘impact’ has implications and meanings that go beyond the very nature of the word. When it comes to spending time in Newcastle, seemingly the concept of ‘impact’ is a very real and physical thing to experience.

This particular story begins harmlessly enough with an offer to support Vents in Melbourne. Another act had to pull out of the support lineup, and after some text exchanges with DJ Flagrant, I bundled my shit together to put on an impromptu set at the Espy.

I say impromptu, however that doesn’t really cut the mustard. To be honest, tsunami and earthquake victims get more warning than I did. In all no more than three hours separated the moment from when I got off the phone until I was expected to walk the boards and perform that night.

I’m always nervous before a show, and the confidence that I’m quite often known for rapidly dissipates in that golden 10 mins before show time. I lose all ability to recall a single lyric, and on most occasions even as I step onto the stage the opening line to my entire gambit is as foreign to me as a makeshift Indian toilet is to a rich kid from Toorak.

“Wait, where’s the seat?”

Somehow despite the issue of little time I managed to pull an impressive set out of my arse, one that managed to turn a few heads and create a few more Syntax fans.

My manager urged me, “Hit up Adfu for more shows” and after several beers and an indeterminate amount of slurred speech, I had somehow scored another support slot in Newcastle.

I had only ever been to Newcastle once before – passing through the town in the front seat of my brother’s 4WD, casually watching the greenery of Northern NSW undergo slow and tranquil metamorphosis into the soot covered brick veneer of the steel city.

We had taken a wrong turn and somehow ended up on the main strip – a single train line slowly dissipated, and the forlorn shops soon melted away into a rocky cliff face overlooking a flurry of boats slowly circling a distressed Pasha Bulker.

While the locals flocked in droves to watch the ship resting calmly on the beachfront, we came to the conclusion we had come the wrong way, and quickly circled around and left the town as quickly as we had come.

Needless to say, when I booked my flights to support Vents, my knowledge on NSW’s second largest city was limited – about as limited as the options in a Tasmanian fish and chip shop.

“Errr, fish or chips?”

The plan was simple and fiendish – book an early flight in the morning to save money, spend some time wandering around experiencing the highlights that the inner city has to offer, and then party on until the early morning, where hopefully I’ll be leaving the local bars and pubs just in time to jump on the first flight at 6am.

Fiendish, simple, easy.

Of course when it comes to anything Syntax related, the concepts of ‘Simple’ and ‘easy’ are about as likely to be a reality as Jessica Alba falling into my lap out of a passing plane while demanding from me non stop rigorous anal sex while rolling around on a bed of cash……that she would give me afterwards.

The first thing I would come to discover about Newcastle, is that Newcastle Airport isn’t actually in Newcastle.

Oh, your ticket will SAY you’re going to Newcastle, but you will in fact be landing in a completely different town, one that is nestled closely on the outskirts of the city. Of course, being somewhat rural NSW, the public transport to and from said airport is barely registerable. The roadkill that littered the small and inoffensive terminal was out in greater numbers than any of the buses that were said to frequent the premises.

After leaving the gate I found myself face to face with a bus, and after a brief discussion with the driver I was told I had to wait for the next one. Seemingly it was only then that a passing mother of six whispered softly in my ear that the departing bus was indeed the bus I was meant to take.

“When is the next one?”

“About an hour”

An hour? What the fuck am I meant to do for an hour? Do you know what goes on in the space of an hour? Entire empires rise and fall in the space between the airport shuttle bus. Even Gold Coast Surfside services, complete with nonchalant drivers and crystal ball evoking timetables are more effective than the ‘not-so Newcastle’ airport buses.

Somehow a Taxi had ended up at the airport like a lost dog wandering from house to house, and after pushing over an old woman into a bin I ran into the street and threw myself across the windshield.

The polite elderly white man behind the wheel presumably wasn’t used to the fancy ‘Melbourne’ way of getting a cab, and after a round of expletives coarse enough to make a randy sailor blush, he let me into the front seat and proceeded to tell me that my destination was over 30 minutes away.

“Exquize me? Baking powder? How far away is it?”

“About 30KM”

I sat and watched the money slowly rise, and with each and every turn leading to another long winded road with no end in sight, I began to curse myself for lacking patience enough to endure a single hour of waiting.

$70 later I was deposited at my destination, a dimly lit and dilapidated strip of shops that I was assured was the central hub of Newcastle.

As I looked around, all I could think was that ‘Newcastle’ had been spelled incorrectly on the street signs, it clearly should be spelled “S-I-L-E-N-T-H-I-L-L”.

I blinked and rubbed my eyes – all I could see was a single street, carved on both sides by row after row of empty shop front. Most shops were barren dank shells, while others boasted stale bread, advertisements for scratchies, and discounts for concession card holders. The brightest store in town was a modest bridal fashion store, with dresses in the shop window that looked like they had been stitched together by blind Estonian immigrants in second rate working conditions.

I spent four hours wandering backwards and forwards, looking in vain for something that resembled 21st century design and manufacture, and after following the trail of a single row of modern looking shops, I found myself out the front of a modest KFC.

I sighed, and spent an hour inside looking at my phone, all while trying to avoid the stares of acne ridden Lowes polo shirt adorned workmen and their overweight and rum stained girlfriends.

My plan to set the day ablaze with the sights and smells of inner Newcastle had faded away faster than hypercolour t-shirts, and after five hours of wandering I had seen nothing more than a bookshop, a strangely designed shopping centre, four thousand empty shops, and the confines of an under-staffed and underwhelming KFC.

I looked at my watch and thanked god that Sound Check was imminent.

Well I say that, I actually had no idea at all, the brief on the show was practically non existent, and my plans for soundcheck had been gleaned by eagerly reading the twitter updates of all the protagonists involved.

“Oh, they’re at the venue” was all I could mutter as I trudged slowly towards to the small and inoffensive pub where the evening’s events would take place.

I would soon discover that my presence wasn’t needed – and after wandering a boring and empty city for several hours, I was deposited back on to the streets to wait for another few hours in the rainy and bleak conditions that had suddenly formed over the inner city.

Seemingly I had also underestimated the cold – I had left Melbourne on a balmy early spring day, and although it was a touch nippy I had opted to take very little with me in the way of clothing. I mean, let’s face it, my barnstorming idea for an early flight early departure negated the need to pack anything more than the clothes that adorned my back.

It soon became obvious that my thin and unflattering hoodie just wasn’t cutting the mustard – as far as mustard cutting goes I was attempting to sheer a rainforest with a pair of hello kitty safety scissors.

The rain bellowed down, and I wandered further into the cold abyss than I had done all day. The empty streets had suddenly come alive as workers were cut loose from their employment, and a swarm of umbrellas spilled on to the pavement eagerly pressing themselves into buses and waiting trains.

All the while I wandered, wet, cold and with nowhere to go.

My feet ached, but I pressed on.

Soon the inner city clutter disappeared, and before me opened up a part of the city I hadn’t yet experienced – tiny roads splintered across steep hills like thinly split veins splattering themselves over the grey landscape. They wandered between the buildings, which were modern in construction, and boasted an array of modern stores, cafes and interesting knick knack emporiums.

I was gobsmacked.

It was like a passing Persian had whispered “Open Sesame”, and the chain smoking gaunt faced thugs had instantly changed themselves into beautiful young tight jean wearing bubble butt women, all the while the barren shop fronts rolled up like garage doors to reveal a modern and attractive city scene.

Apparently I had spent all my time in slumsville, and only after had all the stores closed had I discovered the true pounding heart of the town.

I found myself a café, purchased a flat white’s worth of wall space and iphone recharge socket, and sat and waited until showtime.

After another hour, I was confident that I had enough power pushed into my phone, and slowly trudged my way back across the main road down into the ghetto.

I passed a dimly lit and equally grim “Public Housing Office”, and all I could think was that Newcastle’s public housing crisis could be easily avoided by giving waiting families the keys to one of the many empty shops that infested the entire cityscape.

The first act was Kerser, who had made the trip up from Sydney, and soon shouted the lyrics of all his songs to a confused and slightly reserved audience that seemingly were backing away in fear at his over the top attitude and forceful demeanor that resembled a stab wound attached to every bar.

Johnny Utah had also put in an appearance, and after exchanging pleasantries and nerd infused chit chat I clambered on to the stage to kick off the set.

One thing was definitely on point that night – I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with a mic that sounded as awesome and crisp as the one I held in my hand that night. Normally as the music bellows I find myself shouting over the top of a flat and empty stage. This night however I felt confident.

I had also dispensed with a DJ – relying instead of operating the CDJ that had been placed on to the stage by the stage manager. It was easy enough, press play, the track ends, I press play again when I wanted it to go.

Nothing could go wrong.

“Wassup everyone! HOW ARE WE NEWCASTLE?!” I shouted. The crowd responded.

We were off to a good start.

I mentioned who I was, people nodded in appreciation, and the spectacle of the Syntax stage show began.

To say I was off to a flying start was putting it lightly – I felt so on point, so precise, every word was timed perfectly and the mic and the fold backs were doing me all the favours in the world in making sure the entire process was easy, simple and crowd shattering effective.

That was until I fell off the stage.

Like a lion standing atop a rock I strutted, and then all the majesty and ponce that is attributed to the king of the jungle slowly faded into the ether; the big cat proved itself to be a kitten and tumbled down the side of the rock face in front of the rest of the pride.

Two large speakers had been attached to the stage – well, I say attached. In fact two large holes had been cut into the stage to allow the speakers to fit in nicely. Of course, the holes that were cut into the stage were not perfect, in fact, you could say that they were made a foot too big.

‘My’ foot too big.

While strutting backwards in a display of swagger and pompery, my foot had got caught in one of the holes and wedged itself between the speaker and the stage; I tumbled backwards mid song with all the grace of a lemming falling off a bridge into a lake of molten lava.

The music kept playing.

There was no DJ to stop the show.

The entire crowd stopped and looked, I heard an audible laugh, and the allure and mystique of Syntax burst like a refined English gentleman had just been dacked in the centre of Piccadilly Circus.

I dusted myself off, skipped to the next track, and the show went on.

I slinked off the stage and licked my wounds, there was no ‘backstage’ area, no rider, and I was eating into my savings by trying to drown myself in cheap bar purchased schooners.

Among the chaos of Vents’ set, I surreptitiously muzzled myself up to one the venues many wall sockets and proceeded to charge my phone – I looked at my watch, it was 11:30pm. Still another six and a half hours until my flight.

Well, I thought, everyone here is having a good time. Usually the show will go on till about 1am, there’ll be drinks after, chilling out with the punters, maybe a bar or two to visit afterwards.

Things were panning out just fine.

It was at this point that a young lady sidled up next to me and started conversation.

Alright, I’m on here.

I adjusted my metaphysical tie and made nice with the talky talky.

My thoughts of riding the stinky mattress train until 6am were soon interrupted by a drunken swaying man that proceeded to plop himself in between myself and my impromptu date.

“Errr hi, how are you mate?” I blurted.

“Fuckkkknnn good aye”, he muttered with speech so slurred I felt the entire time space continuum had collapsed and we had wandered into a passing time bubble, “awesome fuckkknn show aye buddy”.

“Cheers mate” I replied.

Hiro Nakamura, the man who could control time and space, then proceeded to put his arm around the young girl and the two kissed tightly.

Apparently, it was his girlfriend. I retreated to the opposite facing sofa and wormed my way out of the situation by making idle chit chat.

We talked calmly and nicely until midnight, when my entire world was shattered when a passing security guard ordered everybody to vacate the premises.

“C’MON EVERYONE, OUT YOU GO, WE’RE CLOSING UP”

Wait, what? It’s midnight. What do you mean closing up? It’s Friday night, we’re in a town populated with nothing but drinkers, smokers and sex addicted factory workers, what do you mean you’re closing up?

My plan to stay at the venue was blown to dust.

To complicate matters the polite couple invited me back to their house.

“It’s ok, we’re not going to rape you” he drunkenly assured me. Alarm bells ringed loudly. When someone has to re-assure you that rape isn’t an option, more than likely rape is imminent.

I declined their offer and stepped into the cold, dark, rainy night.

The streets around were empty, I wandered up to find somewhere warm to rest and have a beer, but every bar, pub and speakeasy had closed its doors at midnight, presumably so the townsfolk could gather in a paddock somewhere and burn some heathens in the Wicker Man.

I slumped into a chair, frozen, underdressed, defeated, and looked at my watch.

It was 12:30am.

I still had another 5 and a half hours to fill until my flight.

My iPhone buzzed its low battery warning once more, and I admitted ultimate defeat.

I hailed a passing cab, slid into the passenger seat, and told him to take me 30km out of town to the non-Newcastle Newcastle airport.

“Airports are open 24 hours mostly” I told myself, “Yeah, I mean there are red eye flights all the time going in and out of Melbourne. I’ll just sit myself down in the warmth of the empty departure lounge, plug my phone into a wall socket, and have a peaceful sleep until my flight is ready to leave”.

Simple.

Of course as we have already established the words ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ mean nothing in the world of Syntax.

The Taxi driver deposited me out the front of an empty and darkened terminal, only a few feet away from the bus station that had begun my long winded downward spiral into the underbelly of NSW’s second largest metropolis.

As he sped away into the night, my dreams of a warm and comforting sleep exploded into nothingness when the automatic doors of Terminal 1 failed to open.

After I had scraped what remained of my head off the closed door, I sat down on a bench, cursed myself till I was blue in the face, and waited.

Of course I didn’t have to wait long until I was blue in the face – the temperature had dropped to 4 degrees.

At that moment in time I would have murdered a family of ducks for warm clothing – I toyed with the possibility of catching and skinning a passing rabbit for its pelt, and as it ducked under a nearby Mazda I fell to the ground a broken, spent, sore, cold and tired human being.

I sighed, huddled behind a bus shelter for warmth, and reminded myself that every artist goes through this on their way to the top.

Yeah, they must.

They must.

The Syntax Memoir: I am the Unicorn

I am the Unicorn

Syntax memoir Unicorn Forest Blog

I should officially be the fittest man in town; the nature of the business has given me more opportunities for run-around’s than I care to mention.

Labels are untamed animals, and unfortunately when you stare deep into the belly of the beast you get to see it for the shivering self obsessed paranoid monster it really is.

There is no money in the music industry for labels, only enough to support wages and keep ageing corporate hating graff writers swimming in enough cocaine to keep them happy.

It is in the middle of this paradoxical soup that a young thrusting rapper is meant to find his or her legs, and make enough noise for the labels with no dosh to ‘loan’ artists enough money to release their albums.

It is a far cry from the lifestyle that most people are deluded into believing exists when they first put pen to paper in the hope of making their music dreams a reality.

Of course, this doesn’t stop individuals who run labels from filling your head with idealistic nonsense about how they are going to make you a star, how far your music could go with the right push, and most importantly, how uselessly crap everybody else is in the entire world when handling their music business.

I’ve been lulled several times into those situations, when suddenly you believe the hype, and suddenly someone who runs a music label from their living room starts to resemble Suge Knight in his prime.

In some cases after a particularly heavy meal, they actually do.

On numerous occasions I’ve stood in the offices of label owners, each of them particularly keen to sign me to their fledging businesses, hoping that a hilltop hoods-esque coup will sweep them onto the same stage as Obese or Elephant Traks.

As late as 2009, I was even prepared to sign my music away to one such label.

I requested the contract, and three months later I was still in the same position I was in three months prior; no contract emerged.

It seems to be characteristic of my, ahem, career, run around after run around searching in vain to find somebody to release an album that was starting to lose its impact more and more as I sank further into obscurity.

As far back as 2002 I was being poached by young new labels.

Chairman Records was a Gold Coast based dance label whose artist roster consisted primarily of a lounge DJ called DJ Szab. Even back then in my impressionable youth it was easy to tell that Szab was just taking whatever samples came free with his version of Cubase, putting them over deep bass drums, and distributing the whole package in artwork that looked like it was a promotional item for a pride march.

The owner’s name was Mal, an idealistic nightclub owner who looked like the gruff bald man who famously had his arm stuffed inside Agro and entertained children for many years.

Mal had a whispy little beard that made him look like a wizard who just had a makeover, and his obvious attempts to clutch to his fleeting youth were reinforced by his adoption of hip hop culture and with his fraternisation with anyone under the age of 20.

He was madly in love with one of my songs, and after a quick discussion both he and I planned to release it as my first single.

Of course, at the time I had little understanding of the music industry, and as a wide eyed 20 year old the fact that this man knew very little about rap music was overlooked because on the surface of it all he talked good game.

I’m sure he could coerce the underpants off a Brazilian supermodel if required.

He owned a succession of popular Brisbane RnB clubs that were always filled to the brim with undesirables; this was long before popped collars and sunglasses indoors, in those days it was spikey hair and neon Fubu 05 tops. It was the kind of material that needed a wash an hour after you wore it, and you could always pick someone who recycled their outfit from the day before because they smelled ominously like a mixture of B.O and novelty fart gas.

On several occasions I was asked to come into one of his clubs and perform; there was no stage, a tiny DJ booth, and apart from a mural on one wall, it was a nightclub that resembled the inside of a concrete shoebox more than a place of entertainment and frivolity.

I wandered around the dance floor with a cheap cordless mic, trying to rap to a crowd that didn’t contain a single white face, and were more inclined to lynch me for being a cornball white dude than throw me any sort of praise or admiration.

Mal’s hangers on all congregated in the tiny store room he had in the back; white rappers wearing flannel and adorned with blue bandanas crowded around trying to scam as many free drinks and associated praise they could from a man who saw himself as the next Suge Knight.

I simply grimaced, got my fill of bourbon, took the cash and went home feeling more sorry for myself than I ever did before.

As I scanned the room I shook my head and fell even further into despair; I was slowly associating myself with people who were doing me more harm than good, and the unfortunate taint of ‘urban’ music that lives, breathes and dies in ‘the club’ was slowly weaving itself into the fabric of my being.

In the end we simply parted ways and never returned each other’s calls, and I often wonder what might have become of myself had I been more proactive with Chairman Records. More than likely I would have ended up as a hype man for a series of ridiculously named RnB theme nights that make white single males look like backup dances for the World Class Wreckin’ Crew, adorned in outfits so outlandish that the juxtaposition could easily be mistaken for a melting Ken Done painting.

In subsequent years more label opportunities would present themselves, but in the end they always seemed to fall short of the hype and expectations that were dictated to me by those people who were ready to promise me the world.

As such, the last few years have been a perpetual running man; a slow dance that required every ounce of my strength and focus, yet always seemed to leave me rooted in the same spot.

I still have all of my label correspondence, including those from Simon Cahill, director of A&R at Sony/BMG, who told me he “loved the music, but it doesn’t fit in with what we are doing at the moment”.

This of course is the nice way of saying “after thinking about it, no”. The musical version of “It’s not you, it’s me”.

So again we parted ways, and with every ounce of strength left in my exhausted soul I filled out a fortnightly form and once again joined the back of a Centrelink queue.

Thus, the perpetual running man continued; the slow exhaustive dance that forever left me glued to a fixed point, never moving forward.

It distinctly seemed that my run of bad luck spilled over from the world of live music performance and into the business aspect that preceded it.

While sending out promotional copy and CD’s to media contacts after the release of my first solo effort IOUs, between the date I gleaned my addresses and the date the promotional material arrived, it appears that a large percentage of the recipients moved address, adorning dozens of packages with ‘Return to sender’.

It was just my luck.

By the time 2008 had come around a new label was beginning to show interest; UndaK9 was a self affirmed independent Sydney label famous for two things:

The first was its primary artist Figgkid, who himself was special for not only securing a deal with Sony/BMG for distribution and release, but also for being the most hated rapper in Australian history.

UndaK9’s second point of interest was its domineering and assured owner/director Lui, someone with a reputation that exceeds any other owner or promoter in Australia. There is scarcely anyone in the industry I know that doesn’t have a story that can’t be attributed to the over-bearing nature of this short statured Napoleon-esque warrior.

To be honest, I love Lui, and anything I say here can easily be taken out of context as poking fun or being ungrateful for everything she’s done for me, but to be honest, as I sit back and reflect on the events that almost lead me to pack up everything I own and move to Sydney, I thank whatever god was watching that day that it never was enacted.

Lui and I would chat on the phone, sometimes for almost two hours about how she felt about my songs, the role I could play in the Australian music scene, all while recanting the luminous volumes of stories of her time working as an intern for studios in the US.

“When I was hanging out with Eminem he told me…..”

Whatever it was that Eminem had told her worked, because I was slowly being sucked into the world mutual pats on the back and self assuredness of my own ability. I was being haunted by visions of Mal and his smoke filled concrete shoebox, cramming idealistic nonsense into my head in an effort to get me to sign on a dotted line and put my future in the hands of someone who talked mad game.

With no other offers on the table, and the creeping inevitability of age, I thought, fuck it, and leapt headfirst into my first true music contract with as much plans for the future that suicidal lemmings put into deciding what they want for dinner the next day.

And so come late 2008, I called Lui and told her:

“Let’s do it”

Through her resounding cheers and exclamations of joy, something reluctantly stirred in the back of my mind. A nagging feeling that I had just sold myself short and put into motion a swinging axe that would soon decapitate any chance I had in making a real impact in the community. An axe that had brought swift and resounding justice to Figgkid, and the new UndaK9 posterchild Bukkcity.

The contract never arrived.

A chorus of promises soon followed, and nearly 2 months passed and no contract had reared itself from its cavernous hiding spot.

Punxsutawney Phil slowly meandered from his hole, saw no shadows, and bunkered down for a cold and indefinably long winter.

By April 2009 I began to make other arrangements, and as the first tracks for ‘The Musical’ were being cobbled together, a semi conscious depressive state had crow barred its way into my head; I found myself calling people up for no reason, purely to take my mind off the balancing act I was involved with as I teeter tottered between unemployment and the slowly melting shards of my music hopes.

Of course the reasons for my calls were quite obvious, and on a few occasions I was met with responses such as “Seriously, are you ok?”.

I wasn’t.

As early 2009 began to tick over and fade into the ether, I looked around the dusty confines of the makeshift office/writing space I had set up for myself in my parents garage. Friends who came to see me found a sense of comfort in my garage space, however all it represented to me was an overwhelming sense of non-accomplishment; a labyrinth of walls that served only to contain my self esteem, and drag me compliantly into death with a slight whimper and nod of appreciation.

At the time, after 9 years of making music, all sense of idealistic bravado had been sucked away by the overpowering brutality of people’s apathy, and the ethereal spine tingling succubus we like to call hip hop music.

I broadened my job search, and after only a week of scouring the employment opportunities other cities presented me, I made a hasty and rash decision.

I was moving to Melbourne.

Within three days I had a place to stay and over 6 job interviews lined up before my one way ticket was even purchased.

I’m not too sure what came over me at that time, it was by far the most irrational and least pondered decision I had ever made; It was like a passing muse crept into my bedroom one night and whispered sweet nothings in my ear, promised me the world, and filled inside me a sense of accomplishment and determination that I had never felt in over 25 years.

The only promise I made to myself was that I could never return to the Gold Coast unless I come back adorned ornately with more than I left with.

Considering all I had with me was a mobile phone, a spare pair of dress shoes and a suitcase, some would consider my mission more than a considerable success, and even now as I sit in my own two bedroom apartment surrounded with an array of electronic equipment I never thought I would ever be able to buy, I still feel my mission is unresolved.

I’ve conquered the mountain of financial distress, and now I can turn my attention to bludgeoning my way into music, a single solitary fan at a time.

Soulmate Records took some interest in the first draft of The Musical sometime in 2009, and after some tweaks I had managed to obtain something that most artists in this country crave more than the oxygen they are so lucky to be given a chance to breathe.

I had a recording contract.

It’s only after the signatures have long since dried do I now realise exactly what the concept of a record deal entails; it means living up to the expectations asserted by others. At the time I had enormous boots to fill, following releases from 360, Pez and eventually Prime.

The record deal is the death nell that pangs after the label cuts the cheque and sits and waits patiently to recoup on their faith in your ability.

And faith in my ability Soulmate has, and I won’t ever forget that.

All I need to do now is break through the barrier of apathy, and I’ll start being able to pay back the emotional cost of my association.

I feel like the Unicorn, an icon of strength and inspiration, coming to the eventual realisation that as Noah sails away into the horizon on his ark the rising water will erase away my existence.

I am the Unicorn; a mythical creature that was once flesh and blood.

I spent years treading water, struggling as the water rose around me.

Now I have found land.

Alone and forgotten I’m still alive, waiting to be discovered again.

Death Starrs – Novocaine (Hilltop Hoods Remix)

So Mules and I have thrown down the gauntlet in the Hilltop Hoods Remix competition…

Mules took this shit to a new level, and I’m dropping some double time bars.

Enjoy – http://www.triplejunearthed.com/DeathStarrs1

The Syntax Memoir: Oh, my poor pussy

Oh, my poor pussy

old lady pussy poor rap music

It takes a lot to make me blush, probably because years of violent video games, movies, strange science fiction and hardcore pornography has left me completely desensitised to most emotional situations.

The last time I remember crying was while watching the Korean film Brotherhood of War (which had the mouth watering tagline ‘This makes Saving Private Ryan look like a children’s movie’ ); the final scene involved an elderly man uncovering the remains of his brother on the hill where he left him 50 years earlier after a climactic Korean war battle which was amazingly over dramatised in traditional asian cinematic style.

There was not a dry eye in the house.

But I think that was because of a sudden outbreak of pink eye.

When I was a child, my parents reveled in the glory of their VCR; we weren’t the first in our street to have one, but we always managed to stay on top of most technological breakthroughs.  While others were still maneuvering a red chicken across a road on their Atari 2600, we had already upgraded to the Commodore 64 (with 5.25” Floppy Disk drive, none of this tape nonsense). To this day I still remember the commands to play games.

Load “*”,8,1

It’s no surprise that when DOS came around I was already a dab hand at it.

I think a lot of my younger readers have switched off by now. The prospect of typing in commands to get their copy of California Games working seems as ludicrous and antiquated as having to spin a little wheel when trying to make a phone call.

Oh yeah, we had to do that too. There was none of this ‘pushing buttons’ business. It took no less than a few minutes to dial a number. If the number you were dialing had a lot of 9’s in it, then you had better pray to god you were adequately hydrated because you would probably be there all day.

Saturday night was video night, and like clockwork I would often trundle down to the local video store and get myself a variety of violent tapes; the age of DVD’s have unfortunately spelled the end of one of my favourite aspects of the video shop experience: the amusing shaped covers.

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s ‘Overboard’ came in a box that was filled with blue liquid, giving it the impression that the image of the boat on the cover was surrounded by water.

Brilliant.

The ‘Fright Night’ box was shaped like a coffin, in fact, most of the horror section was arranged in a way to accommodate the bizarre shapes and sizes of the boxes contained on the shelves. Most of them had puffy jackets, and any movie that had eyes printed on the cover were more than likely adorned with those funny googly dolls eyes glued to make the printing seem more lifelike.

Tsshh, yeah, because ‘real’ eyes do 360 degree spins when your car hits a speed bump.

For a 10 year old however, it was like being in movie heaven.

Unfortunately as time went on and the videos were passed from one renter to the next, you could watch their condition slowly deteriorate like wilting flowers on time lapse cameras.

By the time I had any sort of desire to watch Overboard, the jacket had been well and truly punctured and the amusing blue liquid had drained away, presumably over someone’s distinctive early 90’s white plush shag carpet.

I also learned quite quickly that if you position yourself on the other side of the ‘Adult’ section, you could look at the back of the R Rated videos without arousing suspicion from older folk.

Genius.

Of course, when we upgraded to the VCR from the humble Betamax machine (which in some ways was actually superior to the VCR), the old clunking supposedly inferior format simply lay collecting dust in our garage; a sleeping giant waiting to be loved once more.

Seeing as it was no longer being used, I converted a section of our garage into a multimedia centre. Of course the term ‘Multimedia centre’ isn’t particularly the best way to describe an overturned milk crate, a gargantuan Betamax machine, a small mattress and an ageing wood paneled Rank-Arena television. Although at one point I did manage to encircle the enclave in curtains, more so as a desperate attempt to mark my territory and let my older brothers know that this cordoned off patch was ‘mine’.

Of course it didn’t deter them from pranking me; one of my brothers had soon discovered that he could fart in a glass, hold his hand over the top, and open it in front of my face releasing the terrible gasses trapped within.

Using this method he could effectively fart on me from any room in the house.

Quite ingenious really.

Of course it meant that anyone using the glass afterwards would soon discover that their tap water would be filled with bubbles.

It was like a poor man’s Sodastream.

I would waste my Friday and Saturday evenings in my space age multimedia suite, re-watching the only good Betamax titles I had in my vast collection. It didn’t take me long to learn all the words to Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II.

“I get $20 for a car, $50 for a limo, what the fuck is this?”

“This is my truck, here is $100”.

Ahhh Chris Rock, you were a genius in that movie.

And so, after years of guns blazing, soul draining video games and constantly watching my Betamax because I felt “the need, the need, for speed”, I can confidently say that it takes a lot to make me blush.

Although I am squimish at the site of medical procedures.

But that’s beside the point.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise one day when my grandmother was able to break through my normally observant stone walled exterior; ironically it took the likes of ‘Are you being served’, the lamest comedy series ever screened on television to do so.

For those not in the know, Are you being served is a British 70’s sitcom that follows the exploits of a number of over acting and limelight seeking employees of Grace Brothers department store. The show itself was so camp that if the name had been changed to ‘Scout Jamboree 1976’ then I doubt the viewing public would scarcely have noticed.

Most of us will be familiar with the character of Mr Humphries, the outwardly gay store assistant played by John Inman who was well known for his catch phrase, “I’m Free”.

Others however may not be familiar with the exploits of another well known character, Mrs Slocombe, who was dearly in love with her prized cat, creating all manner of hilarity when she would walk into the store and loudly exclaim, “Have you seen the rain outside? Awww my poor pussy is all wet”.

Essentially it was the role of Mrs Slocombe to walk into frame, drop a few double-entendres regarding the state of her feline, and then walk off shaking her head while repeating the phrase, “Oh, my poor pussy”.

As you can see, Are you being served will go down in history for its true comedic genius.

Now I like to think that in some way, shape or form my memoirs have the ability to act as a sign-poster or a warning of what not to do in some socially awkward situations. I want to let it be known to all and sundry that watching Are you being served is not particularly a negative experience that one must avoid, however it should be noted that watching it alone in the company of your 89 year old grandmother is probably not the wisest decision one could make.

After laughing gingerly at the awkward situations presented in this week’s episode, both her and I sat with smiles on our faces sipping warm cups of tea, happy and content in the knowledge that our evening’s television viewing was relatively pure and unspoiled.

Enter Mrs Slocombe.

“My pussy has an infection, its puffed right up it has”.

Suddenly alarm bells began to ring in my head, the introduction of Mrs Slocombe into any scene of Are you being served is basically a visual warning that the level of double-entendres in the next few minutes would probably reach highly unacceptable levels.

I began to sweat and cast an eye sideways towards my elderly grandmother as Mrs Slocombe delivered round two of her deadly vagina monologues.

“Oooooo yes, I think it’s an infection, my pussy has swollen up to the size of a watermelon”.

All I could do was cringe and wait for the constant barrage of poorly scripted comedy to finish. By the time Mrs Slocombe had walked out of shot, the definitive air of silence had become almost deafening in the cool and dimly lit front room of my grandmother’s house.

To add insult to injury, Channel 10 had cut to a commercial, and an all too familiar blank screen appeared; the sign that something had gone wrong while switching to a commercial and whatever had been lined up to fill in the 30 second spot was not ready or cued up properly at the control desk.

And so there we sat, the two of us had just witnessed an awkward display of ear cringing pussy themed comedy, a barrage of bad jokes that were resonating more due to the 30 seconds of blank screen silence that followed.

After a minute of sitting awkwardly in my chair, my grandmother leaned across and whispered softly in my ear.

“All that stuff….”, she began

“Yes?”

“All that stuff”, she paused, “that had a double meaning you know”.

I sat dumbfounded. She nonchalantly flicked the channel over to the ABC and began to look longingly at Kerry O’brien as he feverously dissected the GST.

I was still in shock, and after another minute I turned my head to the 7:30 Report, pretending that then last two minutes of my life were merely a dream, and that they had never happened.

Anything relating to sex seems like it is taboo for most people to discuss with families, and I often think that anyone who has an excellent report with their family on the matter of copulation doesn’t really have as healthy of a relationship with their loved ones as they would think.

I cringe whenever I overhear in shopping centre’s a mother/daughter team talk about sex openly without any sense of decency. I think because in most cases parents never officially sat down to talk about sex with their children, instead leaving it to the school system to educate their young ones on the intricacies of sex and its repercussions.

My parents never gave me ‘the talk’, in fact the first mention of sex my father ever nervously made in my presence wasn’t until I was 18, and he waited until the opportune moment for one of my female friends to arrive at the house for a visit before he hit me with anything sex related. As I was walking her to the front door he shouted to me down the hall, “Use Condoms!”

She looked at me bizarrely and a sense of panic seemed to run rampant across her face, she must have thought that I was about to do something terrible to her.

Thanks dad.

I still distinctly remember our first sex-ed video in primary school. I don’t exactly remember the year, but as young as grade 6 we were garishly given the ins and outs (excuse the pun) of ‘making love’ by Ms Owen, our elderly religious education teacher.

If the whole affair wasn’t bad enough, Ms Owen revealed to the class that she used to be a nun, which explained her penchant for playing the guitar (at that point the only nuns I really knew of were in terrible 1960’s children’s movies), so her sexual knowledge wasn’t exactly the most reliable port from which to launch young impressionable minds into the stormy seas of fornication. I liken the experience to leaving a man with no arms in charge of a classroom of push-up enthusiasts.

Curiously Ms Owen was also only born with two fingers on her right hand, a thumb and a pinky, which of course lead to the unfortunate nickname ‘Ridgy Didge’.

Nobody ever saw her lose her temper, but we often heard stories about poor unfortunate students who were caught doing ridgy didge impressions in her company; expulsion often resulted.

And so our entire grade squeezed themselves into the tiny music room of Marymount Primary to watch a nervous two-fingered ex nun introduce our feature presentation, “The Miracle of life”. As she apprehensively pushed the VCR cassette into the player and pushed play, the boys around me became quite excited; would we get to see some tits? How in depth is this really going to go? Do babies really come out of a woman’s arse just like Norbet Benton had told us in the playground only a few days before?

After a few seconds it became apparent that tits were definitely not on the menu.

Instead, a naked cartoon boy and a naked cartoon girl invaded the television screen. 18 Years later I still haven’t forgotten the first line of the video:

“I am a boy, I have a penis”, cut to the girl, “I am a girl, I have a penis on the inside, I have a vagina”.

A penis on the inside? A small murmur began to descend over all assembled, and one girl began to freak out as she realised that her vagina was really an inverted penis.

Or so we were told.

In the end we filed out of the room looking a lot more confused than when we went in, and even the accompanying teachers shook their heads in amazement at the level of simplicity sex had been reduced to by the presentation.

If what the video was saying was true, once our penis goes inside a vagina, an army of sperm suddenly descends from nowhere and wiggle inside the naked cartoon girl; 9 months later a child magically appears in the arms of the naked woman, both smile, cue credits.

It didn’t explain the bizarre stiffening of my penis on occasion, and it certainly didn’t explain why I found it so pleasing to look at Virginia Lee from across the classroom. It took me until grade 7 for me to realise that all those years ago, she was my first crush.

As a frantic bi-fingered nun shooed us towards the door I couldn’t help but feel that the school’s sex education class had let me down. Where was I going to be in a position to be naked with a girl? I was in grade 6 for heaven’s sake, the closest I came to naked women was finding my father’s stash of Penthouse magazine’s he had hidden under his bed. Lastly, where was I going to find these ‘sperm’ things? Were they a type of tadpole? I didn’t realise that to have sex I had to wade knee deep in water and begin examining the life cycle of frogs. Was this before or after I find myself the naked woman?

It was all too confusing.

The chicken and the egg scenario had suddenly been blown out of proportion; what came first, the chicken or the egg? Neither, apparently before anything came, a trip to the local estuary was required.

Come grade 7 and I still hadn’t really got my head around the intricacies of sex.

The coolest kid in our grade was Anton Mayer, well, I think he was cool; every free dress day he came to school wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey with matching shorts, brand new Jordan sneakers, and an array of stiff Starter caps that sat precariously on the edge of his bob haircut.

He looked like a ball player, nay, a member of East 17, his only negative feature was the fact he was a clear foot shorter than anyone else in the grade. That didn’t seem to stop the girls from liking him, especially Danielle Camilerri, the tallest girl in our class who towered over the top of him like a Brazilian catwalk model bending over to pick up a dropped can of corn at the supermarket.

The two would often escape into the ‘unknown’ of the trees that surrounded the tuckshop area, emerging only after the bell rang smiling gingerly from ear to ear.

It amazed me; Anton didn’t have to lie about his sexual exploits, unlike Luke Cowan, who foolishly told me he had sex with Katie Winkleman in the nearby lake when they were both in grade 3.

“Wait, in the lake?”

“Yep, in the lake”

I pondered what he said, the sheer physics of it didn’t seem right; not that I knew enough about sex to pull him up on his outlandish claim. I simply nodded, and continued reading the Penthouse magazine the two of us had just stolen from the newsagency.

Our cunning plan was to spend 50cents on a newspaper, slip the offending title in between the broadsheets, and then make a quick getaway before the shop owner cottoned on to the fact that we have just scarpered with an expensive 18+ magazine.

We took our ill-gotten gains to our hang out spot, the empty block of land over from the Luke’s house, a location that conveniently overlooked the lake where he and Katie had supposedly ‘done the deed’. The water lapped gently at the shore and after a few moments of looking at the photos, becoming excited, and then not knowing what to do about it, the two of us buried the magazine so we could return the next day and pick up where we left off.

Of course the local council seemed to have other plans, and as the two of us coasted up the street walking back from the local shopping centre, we stood a gasp at the site that presented itself before us; an army of trench-diggers feverishly cutting fresh holes in the dirt, directly over the spot where our pilfered issue of Penthouse magazine lay.

We were heartbroken.

The next day work had ceased, and approaching the site we ran across the newly ploughed earth, our noses alive with the smell of freshly maneuvered topsoil, and began to dig desperately for our beloved stick magazine.

It was gone.

My first ever porn mag had disappeared into the ether, either stolen by a disheveled council worker or dumped among a huge pile of unclean fill in the backlot of a council dump station.

And so began my downward spiral into the addictive world of pornography, every waking moment of my life from that point seemed to be aimed towards trying to recapture the high I experienced that fateful day while in early primary school.

Back at Marymount Primary, as the sexual education video climaxed and Ms Owen gently nudged our class towards the door, my mind began racing, flickering over the exuberant claim made by Luke Cowan in that vacant block of land years before.

I imagined him and Katie Winkleman swishing around in the water, kissing madly as they both removed their clothes and began to have sex. It was at that point I truly admired Luke and his marathon effort in nailing Katie; he was a smart kid, his plan to have sex in the lake was genius.

I mean, he didn’t have to go far to find the tadpoles.

The Syntax Memoir: There’s something wrong with my hotcakes

There’s something wrong with my hotcakes

Syntax Memoir Phrase Bliss n Eso tour poo

I knew something was amiss as soon as he asked me for my hotcakes tray.

Phrase and Flagrant had kept me highly strung for several days; not because they’re un-reputable people, actually far from it, but more so because they are obsessed with bodily functions and foolish child like pranks. Tactic One and I had spent the evening before precariously moving mugs of poo off our doorstep, which is a story that is too mind bendingly complex and intricate to even begin explaining.

Needless to say, I was on edge.

All one has to do is picture the dullness associated with long car trips and constant touring, and you soon click to the realisation that some people like to fill those gaps and amuse themselves in rather devious ways.

So when Phrase leaned across and slyly asked me, “Arch, have you finished with that hotcakes tray?”, images of the night before flickered across my mind. Poo stained mugs and drunken ‘home movie’ prank footage peeled back my mind and suddenly I became very wary that my discarded hotcakes tray would soon be part of some devious plan that somehow involved a video camera and a range of bodily functions.

My assumptions were soon proven correct when Phrase looked me directly in the eye and sharply blurted out, “Seriously, I feel like I’m going to puke all over this table”.

We’ll come back to this story.

To gain a better understanding of it all, one has to start at the very beginning; a small duplex apartment smack bang in the middle of Burleigh Waters on the Gold Coast.

In an effort to meet upcoming release deadlines, M-Phazes and Bliss had locked themselves in a room with the soul intention of nutting out the entire Bliss N Eso Day of the Dog remix album in under 48 hours.

Sometime around the 49 hour mark I popped around my head the door to find the two of them swimming in a sea of used coffee mugs and full ashtrays, at each other’s throats with language so blue it could be rolled out, painted with stars, and flown as the Australian flag.

They had managed to beat their own self imposed deadline, but it had come at the cost of sleep, adequate nutrition, and large tufts of hair that had been pulled from their already scarce crowns in fits of frustration.

As he was bundled towards a plane, Bliss turned around and offered us a chance for more shows on the second Bliss N Eso tour of 2006; The Get Loose tour.

Needless to say, with the release of a hastily assembled mixtape only a few weeks before, we were more than happy to get any shows we could.

Phrase and Flagrant were part of the tour as well, and from day one it soon became apparent that I had bitten off more than I could chew, and the concept of keeping one eye open while sleeping would have to become a reality.

I walked in the door of Tactic One’s house (where the two had been staying) to find them both slumped over a couch, laughing their heartily gorged guts up while watching a Steve O DVD. The premise was simple, two hours of watching Steve O eat things, poo on things and generally vomit on everything that was in the direct vicinity.

Something stirred deep within Phrase that night…and it wasn’t just his dodgy dinner.

He was the original prankster.

I’ve been told a million stories, most that I can’t divulge, but one tidbit instantly springs to mind.

While touring in Tasmania with Bliss N Eso, the group found themselves stranded at their hotel with a spot of car trouble. Unable to start their tour van, the tour manager left everyone and went to telephone the RACV (well, the suitable Tasmanian equivalent) and get some assistance. It was during this time Phrase took the opportunity to open the hood, and scatter several transsexual playing cards across the engine.

Smiling while closing the hood and walking back towards the van, he calmly sat himself down, and waited for management to return.

Needless to say when help arrived, a red faced tour manager was left to explain to a hefty looking mechanic why he was suddenly coming face to face with several large shemale cocks.

Brilliant.

Easy, subtle, yet fiendishly stunning.

Needless to say it came as little surprise at the way I reacted when Phrase asked me for my hot cake tray on that warm Bundaberg morning.

Although the tray was empty, save only for a slight smearing of maple syrup, I was reluctant to give away the flimsy Styrofoam container; seemingly because it still held some monetary value in my eyes. I wanted to make sure I had fully gleaned every last ounce of food off it before I sent it to its imminent death.

Reluctantly I handed it over, and with a smile that only the devil would fully ever be able to appreciate  Phrase told us all “You guys go and get the car running. Flagrant, get the camera”.

Cue foreboding music.

Myself and the others made a shifty beeline towards our rented people mover, which in the past few days had slowly been turned into the scene of a localised air service disaster zone. The stench of cigarette’s wafted slowly through the cabin, adding insult to injury to the smell of beer that had made its home on the chip packet infested floor.

In the boot of the vehicle were 6 hastily stacked travel bags, squished against the side of the van to make room for an array of audio equipment, and a devious looking black garbage bag that was filled to the brim with what everyone had jokingly called ‘The Haul’.

The Haul consisted of left over alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks that each member of the rag tag crew had managed to lift from backstage riders on every leg of the tour. Every chance we could, The Haul was flung out the back of the van and into a waiting tub of ice.

It wasn’t long before Phrase emerged from the McDonald’s restaurant brandishing a suspiciously closed hot cakes container. He sat in the front of the van, and slowly peeled back the lid.

“Look at this fellas”.

There, in all of its crowning glory, was a freshly laid poo.

I can still remember it like it was yesterday. One’s diet on tour generally consisted of fast food and whatever other crap could be farmed from passing towns as quickly and cheaply as possible.

It was this culmination of dietary faux pas’ that had created Phrase’s soon to be legendary turd.

A light brown mush that sat atop a perfectly white Styrofoam hot cakes tray in a Mr Whippy-esque swirl. I was instantly barraged with images of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk assortment, which always had that swirly one that everyone always seemed to leave until last.

“Keep the car running”, we were hastily told.

With those immortal words, he and Flagrant boldly strutted towards the front doors of the popular fast food chain, giggling inanely like small school children.

Two minutes later the doors burst open, and the two of them sprinted towards the van as fast as possible.

‘GO, GO, GO, GO!” they shouted, hoping to jump into the passenger door of the swiftly moving van like Mad Murdoch leaping towards the A-Team van as a bevy of crazed gunmen left loose volley upon volley of badly aimed automatic gunfire.

Landing in the car door safely like parachutists hitting a mark, we pulled up several streets away to observe the hastily filmed footage from Flago’s video camera, a device that had become the bane of my existence during our brief rendezvous.

Like a scene from Event Horizon, all of us stood huddled around the tiny LCD screen in awe, trying to make sense of the shaky footage that a still puffing Phrase and Flagrant had just captured.

Enter Phrase, clad in his peronalised Socceroos jersey, approaching the counter holding the offending ‘hotcakes’ in complete nonchalant-ness. A young man stood at the counter, his acne and squeaky voice were fiercely outshone by the frizziness of his hair.

Cue Phrase.

“There’s something wrong my hotcakes”.

“Well, many apologies for that sir, we’ll just get you another one”

This raised P’s hackles.

“I said there is something wrong with my hotcakes, you have to LOOK at them”, he boomed with complete authority.

From behind the camera, a giddy Flagrant couldn’t help but contain his excitement as the pre pubescent fast food worker slowly peeled back the lid of the hotcake tray. At this point time itself seemed to stop, and everyone in the van held their breath in utmost amazement as the last piece of creaky Styrofoam slid back off the top of the tray, and the camera jiggled uncontrollably in excitement.

The young man’s facial features quickly drooped from a perk smile, into a frown that can only be described as a semi-circle drawn on the front of a balloon.

It was at this point the doors of the restaurant blew open, and the two men ran towards a hastily moving van, filled with 4 clueless white guys, six hastily stacked travel bags, and an ominous looking garbage bag filled with pilfered booze.

Just an ordinary day on tour.

Horoscopes – And why you’re idiots

Patrick Harpur, an incredibly well known paranormal and esoteric writer, noted in his outstanding reference book ‘Daemonic Reality’, that:

“It is a trueism that a Buddhist has never had a vision of Jesus, and a Christian has never had a vision of Buddha”

Seemingly it’s only through pop culture has the confusion and amalgamation of different belief structures allowed religious elements such as worship of early gods to shiftily blend into the notion of horoscopes. It’s interesting to note that the current zodiac is actually a vast ethereal concoction of many different B.C. faiths. Something that doesn’t score many points for believers when trying to argue it’s legitimacy; my high school ancient history book was a perfect example. Chapter 1 on greek culture was a masterful outline on the rise and fall of the dominant early greek civilisation, the Mycenae.

Turn over the page to Chapter 2 and suddenly you’re transported to a world of Alexander the Great, Persian Wars, and one of the most brash and quickly gained empire’s in all of human history. To the untrained observer, very little spans between Bronze Age Greece, the romanticism of Homer, and the rise of Macedonia, a simple turn of the page, however, note that between that turn of the page over 1,000 years have passed in Greek history.

It’s great that Horoscopes tell us all the future and get all people to relinquish their free will, but keep in mind thousands of years of outside and dominant 3rd party history has moulded a belief system that is so incredibly far from the original zodiac, that under a microscope the whole things falls apart like soggy weetbix.

The obvious stuff – And why you’re mindless sheep

No correlation between humans and the stars
The sky is where the gods lived, it wasn’t a place for humans, and ancient man (most notably the Greeks and Chinese) looked up and saw the representations of their gods in the stars. However, what are the stars? Stars are the 2 dimensional representation of light sources from distant nuclear reactions. Well, that’s what stars are, the fusion reaction of superheated Hydrogen that has the side effect of heat, photons (light) and deadly radiation. Effectively, early man was staring at a number of different light sources, and suffered large bouts of Pareidolia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia)

The stars are actually trillions of miles apart
Look at any star pattern in the sky, it takes on its shape because we only see its two dimensional representation, as the following images or randomly placed cylinders show, turn it on its side, and you suddenly realise the distance between the light sources is huge and spread far apart.

In other words, viewed from a different angle, the constellations don’t actually take the shape of what they are meant to represent.

At its most basic belief, people gain the attributes of the zodiac sign they belong two. This was taken from a wiki summary of ‘Gemini’, the twins:

“The Air signs possess the virtue of knowledge. This does not mean they are more intelligent than anyone else but are generally well-rounded and informed. They are good communicators.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemini_%28astrology%29) The general belief being that, as twins, Gemini is in two minds and far more inquistive than other signs of the zodiac. However a great deal of Mythos is largely abandoned by modern astrologers. In actual fact, as I’ll show in other sections, the movement of the Earth and the non existence of the Greek Gemini in our night sky, has meant that the current constellation associated with Gemini actually belongs to the Hindu Zodiac, which follows a completely different Mythos.

Basically it’s a case of, we can’t see it in the sky anymore, that’s ok, we’ll just pinch the Hindu constellation, no one will notice.

But, we will, because it means that the ‘power’ gained from the sun rising through this constellation is actually going to people NOT born as Gemini’s, but people born as Gemini’s in a DIFFERENT religion on a different date. Well, that makes PERFECT sense.

Oh, no it doesn’t, because you’re all nutbags.

The Zodiac will one day disappear
Sifting through nearly 5,000 years of sky history was difficult for modern man, more so because he began to realise that “Gosh darn it, the sky just isn’t living up to its end of the bargain”. As we suddenly realised that Earth is not the centre of the universe, and in fact we were revolving around a star, which in turn was revolving around a galaxy, we began to understand why the constellations were disappearing from the night sky and not returning.

As the Earth turns, naturally, because the stars are fixed and we’re not, we are spinning around and can see different constellations at different times of the year. For early man, this was easily explained as the fact that certain gods (as represented in the stars) were associated with distinctive seasons. What early man didn’t plan on was the fact that thousands of years later, as the earth revolves on a tilt and changes position, the constellations that we would see in the night sky would slowly disappear. So it begs a question: When Leo is no longer visable in the night sky, will people born ‘under’ Leo still…errrr..be Leo’s? More importantly, how then can we assign ANY significance to the constellations and their affect on humanity when soon they will be replaced by brand new stars in the night sky?

It also raises another question, are the Zodiac’s something that only effects life on Earth, or is it universal? And if it’s universal, then how do you explain the next section?

What if I’m living on Alpha Centauri, does the Zodiac still apply to me?
Of course not you heathen; it’s interesting to note that, just like point 2, living on a different planet in a different star system would present you with some problems if you’re a believer in the Zodiac.

Firstly, when looking into the night sky you wouldn’t be able to casually glance upwards and observe the constellation Saggitarius, because if you were living on Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our own, you would actually be living IN Saggitarius. It paints an interesting scenario; is someone born on a different planet bound by the same zodiac laws? Well, presumably not, how then can the Zodiac be universally significant if its scope is limited to one species on one planet in a universe that is potentially infinite in its expanse?

It’s also interesting to note that Alpha Centauri http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Centauri (a binary system [something actually quite common in the universe] made up of Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B and a more distant star Proximus Centauri) is located in the foot of the Saggitarius constellation. The star beside it in the constellation, Hadar, is actually 348 Light Years away, that is, 347 times further away then Alpha Centauri A, B and C.

You’re all nutbags.

Inaccuracies of the Zodiac – how humans f*#ked it all up
Initially the Zodiac boasted 13 signs; Ophiuchus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophiuchus was actually common place in the Zodiac until the early part of the 14th Century. In 1309, Phillip of France declared that the Knights Templar be arrested and burned for Heresy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar, and on Friday the 13th the former bastions of godliness in the middle east were put to the stake and killed. The omen of Friday the 13th was perpetuated in Middle Age society, right up to the point that the number 13 became unlucky altogether (Asian and eastern cultures have no affinity to the number 13).

The rise of the alternative and esoteric arts in the 18th century in Britain brought new life to the Zodiac. However, the concept of ’13’ signs was seen as rather ominous, and the extra sign was dropped altogether. This meant that the signs that remained had extra ‘days’ upon which they could be assigned. Of course, this presented a problem: because even though, say, Scorpio is assigned 32 days in the Zodiac, the actual time that the sun actually rises through the constellation is only 14 days. This means that people born at the beginning and the end of the Scorpio ‘rising’, are in fact born under completely different signs.

So, hang on, how can someone possess the characteristics of a scorpio, and yet TECHNICALLY be born under a different sign? There’s only one way to account for this: it’s all bollocks and you’re all nutbags.

Modern astrologers have now realised this universal f*&k up, and as of January this year (2011), the Minnesota Planetarium Society decided that it was necessary to re-introduce the 13th Zodiac sign. Meaning, of course, that everyone is basically shifted along one star sign. So people, who for years, were telling their friends “Oh, I am SUCH a Leo” were proven to be talking out their arse, because in fact they were something completely different. Idiots.

Pareidolia on a human emotion scale.

The evolotion of modern day Zodiac signs – completely f*#king different from how they started

And that brings us to an interesting conclusion, the inclusion of prophetic and non descript predictions into the equation. When you consider the origins of the Zodiac, and more importantly their roots in Greek, Hindi and Zoroastrian religions, it makes us ask the all too important question:

At what point did mankind metamophasise their gods into animalistic icons, put a sheet over their head, and start charging $4.95 per minute (more from mobile and pay phones) to receive messages from the future?

Take away the fact that time flows in one direction (and therefore seeing the future is bollocks), it appears our non-descript misconception of prophesy has blinded us about star signs and predictions. Far be it from me to actually defend the astrology community for a brief few minutes, but it appears I do; you, that’s right, you, the person sitting on their work PC reading this when you clearly should be getting that order processed, is the one to blame for all the misconception.

Our signs don’t predict the future, they imprint within us a pre-determined set of traits that due to the position of the sun and the planets at the time of our ‘readings’ can be used to determine our reactions to different situations. Somehow, over the years of commercialisation, this got transformed into the 1900-tarot-card belief structure that plagues modern astrology.

Modern day astrologers, having far removed the Zodiac from religion (although it is still represented in paganistic traditions – i.e. those associated with rustic religions, not necessarily the devil), needed to justify the effects of Equinox Procession (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession_of_equinoxes) and began reinforcing the belief that the signs have their own equinox, and no longer have any relevance to the stars that spawned them. This, of course, is bollocks, and doesn’t take away from the fact that you are, indeed, all nutbags. You can’t simply erase the history of Zodiacs because it doesn’t fit into your belief system.

An analogy would be a Beagle with floppy ears, who’s mother and father were also Beagles with floppy ears, suddenly denying his heritage and claiming he is in fact a bright green praying mantis.

However, as I was saying, this is your fault readers, because it’s easier for us to relegate everything to fate than it is to own up to the fact that we create our own destiny and we are responsible for our own future. It’s an odd human social experiment; we’re so incredibly fascinated by the concept of prophesy and prediction that we shed our rational thought, and open our minds up to something that has absolutely no basis for existence, not even as a religion.

We call ourselves masters of free will, yet, we believe in the notion of fate, a seemingly intelligent force that is able to monitor the goings on of billions of humans across the planet and deal out justice to those who are evil, and kindness to those who are virtuous.

Add to this the notion that we can’t actually see the force or sense it in any other way, and its existence is based on ‘faith’, something that is akin to the hundreds of millions who pack churches, temples and mosques the world over to pray to god like deities.

We’ve given up our free will, and sold it for the promise that our future can be predicted by thin cardboard playing cards and tea leaves. I can’t help but feel we’ve been shortchanged.

Of course, this promise of the secrets of the universe comes at a price….

normally $4.95 a minute, higher from Mobile and Pay Phones.