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Tuesday
Nov182014

Saying Goodbye To A Friend

Richard was about 9 feet tall. Kind. So kind. Generous, funny, passionate. He was just a man you really wanted to be around and he had a laugh which could rock your world. 

And boy. Outrageously handsome. I can't stress that enough. He was ri-dic-ulously beautiful. Inside and out. I'm mostly talking about the outside here. Wow. I mean, just LOOK at that face! >

We said goodbye for now, to our friend yesterday. Our hearts aching and angry denial bubbling as waves of thankful joy to know that he was ever even in our lives in the first place. I say this as someone so utterly on his periphery I can't even fathom how his family, his beloved Lee, and his close lifelong friends are even able to stand upright and go on. Such was the measure of this man that knowing him even just a little bit was enough to feel the punch to the chest when I heard the news.

Handsome, tall, impossibly perfect Richard was struck by Guillain-Barrè syndrome. This rare illness strikes between two and eight people in every 100,000, regardless of gender or age. Richard was 41.

Estimates vary, but around nine out of 10 people with Guillain-Barrè syndrome survive and approximately 75 to 90 per cent recover completely. Around 10 to 15 per cent will be troubled by some form of permanent disability. It can take anywhere from six months to two years or more to fully recover. 9 in 10 recover. 9 in 10. It's so wretchedly, shittingly unfair. 

I met Richard at Joe's Garage in Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Adam [Richard] and I went in for a coffee one day. We saw Richard at the bar and went back almost every single day for the next 3 years, straight. Actually, now that I think about it. Adam probably already knew there was something very pretty inside Joe's when he took me there. Yes. That's a much more reliable memory. :-)  Joe's was our place. It's where we met. Any excuse to meet. Much of Melbourne's late 90's comedy genesis happened in that bar, staring at that pretty man.  Wil Anderson. Justin Hamilton, Geraldine Quinn. Corinne Grant. Adam and I. It's where we wrote.  It's where we drowned our sorrows and celebrated our successes. It's where we went to flirt with Richard and eat food which wasn't always great and drink coffee which was often burnt. The constant at Joe's, our waiter was ALWAYS a handsome beacon of joy. I never saw him unhappy. 

We became friends with Richard. He encouraged our outrageous behaviour. He enabled our drinking and he supplemented our [at the time] meager incomes with "Oh this is left over" and "I accidentally poured this" and "I thought you ordered this?!"

For a while there Joe's did 'free bread'. Bread they baked on premises. It was heavenly delish. Richard would see us coming and bring extra bread and extra butter to our table. (Remind me again, how did we get fat?) We'd regularly sit there from our 11am breakfast til Richard came over, "So, I'm guessing you'll want to know the dinner specials?" Some nights we'd drunkenly leave, get on a tram and head down to the other end of Brunswick Street to the Italian joint for their "lemon meringue pie- without the meringue please." (it was very, very, very good) then we'd get back on the tram and sneak back in to Joe's for lock up. Someone would crank the music, Richard would dance around like... well... nope, there's nothing to compare it to. He'd dance around like a total Richard. Glorious! Or he'd sing, that massive baritone voice belting out of his perfect pie hole. And we'd drink! The next day? Repeat. The next day? Repeat. Next? Repeat. Repeat. Repeat! 

One particularly busy night in Joe's - it was ALWAYS busy in Joe's - Adam and I were at our table, we'd been there for hours and were not showing signs of going home any time soon. We were very possibly being loud and hilarious. Richard came over to our table with a baby's highchair "Ohmygod! is he trying to kick us out!?" He returned with a beautiful loaf of bread wrapped in a checked tea-towel and he stuck it in the highchair. "There's your bread baby." he poked two marshmallows in it for eyes and walked away. We squealed with delight, caved a hole in it's face for a mouth and we berated and yelled at our baby (as we slowly ate him) for the rest of the night. 

I still can't look at a loaf of bread in a highchair without thinking of you Ricky. I'm 9 out of 10 furious you're not here to play with any more and 10 out of 10 thankful you ever were in the first place. Rest easy. Dance stupidly and laugh always.  You are SO loved. 

Thank you. 

faheyxo 


Friday
Nov142014

My First Week Living In Los Angeles [with Doug Stanhope]

My friend Doug [Stanhope] is finally coming to my home town. I've known Doug for about 22 years. He's my generation's comic. There's no one else like Doug. Prolific. Invective. Mercifully merciless.  

I have a million "Doug" stories. Like everyone else who's had the joy of swimming in his orbit - we've all got stories. The Death Valley Parties. When He Talked Hot Neighbour Chick Into Leaving Him Her Car Keys And He Painted Her SUV Purple AND Made A Mixed Tape Of Songs That Contained The Word Purple While She Away. He drove it around to where were living and parked it out front, giggling maniacally as the stereo cranked, Purple Rain. The time we Woke Up To Find A Local Cafe Sign In The House After A Drunken Walk Home and he was genuinely perplexed. The Day After in Playa When Two Girls Stripped Naked To Answer The Door When The Booze Delivery Man Arrived. The poor guy was so flustered he handed over the delivery, the change, all his tips AND his car keys before walking away with a story he knew NO ONE would believe (he had to come back for his car keys). Crossing The Mexican Border With A Wheelchair Andy Had Swapped It's Disabled Owner For a Bottle Of Jägermeister. Fair and square. She need Jäger and Andy needed a wheelchair.  The New Years parties in Bisbee. I came home pregnant from one of those... you get the picture.

One story I was reminded of recently was when I first moved to LA. Ben and I were relocating from Denver to Los Angeles and I went ahead to get things organised. Doug was working on the Man Show [some say, his Magnum Opus] at the time so he handed over his house keys and said, "Me and Andy [Andrist] are staying on The Lot - just help yourself. See you on the weekend." The house that Doug had a the time was a little bungalow in Venice - a little two bedroom shack and a smaller bungalow next door that he used for an 'office'. The little house had an enclosed front yard filled with a BBQ, a giant palm tree, even gianter ashtrays and various oversized TV set props. The office next door had a covered porch and low brick fence. Doug let Patti - a homeless woman stay on the porch.  Occassionally her boyfriend, Van would stay too. That way they were under cover, technically off the streets and hopefully, a bit safer. 

Doug and Andy came home on the weekend and the three of us sat around drinking, laughing and watching movies. It was late. Patti had been wandering in and out of the house during the day. Slightly more agitated that normal. Doug thought that the violent movie we were watching was perhaps not appropriate for Patti [or minors] so he asked her to go 'home'. She stomped through the kitchen and left. A little while later we heard Van screaming. "Patti! Stop it! You're hurting me!" 

All three of us ran to the front yard. Doug was on the phone, he covered the mouth piece and yelled, "Patti!" and to us, "This is why we can't have nice things." Andy leapt up on the [6ft] fence and because he's Andy, then jumped over it - in to the fight. "Put the knife down, Patti!" Doug hung up his call and punched 911 into his phone.

Doug and I, not being Andys at all, went back in to the bungalow and out the front door to get around to the house next door to watch out for Andy. We could hear Van pleading for help, Patti screaming and Andy yelling at her to, "drop the fucken knife, Patti!" Doug handed me his phone, switched his cigarette to the other hand and picked up a chair that was on the front porch. He used that to 'trap' Patti while Andy kicked the knife away. Van was bleeding so I ran back inside and got some towels.

Chaos. Utter chaos. I could hear the boys joking, Patti yelling and Van questioning, "Why would you do that to me Patti? Why? I love you, Patti. I love you." I handed Andy the towels. He pressed them over Van's stomach wound. "Am I doing right? You used to be a nurse. Am I doing this right?" I looked at Van's ashen face, "How are yo, Buddy?" He looked up at me, "I'm so confused." I looked at Andy, "Yup, you're doing it right."

Doug's phone rang in my hand. He was still holding Patti down with the chair, so I answered it. 

"Hullo?"

"This is the LAPD." said the gruff voice. "I understand a black man has stabbed a white woman."

I was incensed! "Actually" I mustered ALL my indignation, "a white woman has stabbed a black man!"

"No ma'am, that's not how it happens. The report I have here says a black man stabbed a white woman. Has the man been subdued yet?"

"Are you shitting me?! I'm telling you... wow. Ok, what the hell is YOUR name?!" I spat. 

The gruff voice chuckled, "It's [Dave] Attell. Stanhope still alive?"

"You hilarious asshole."

"Heh, just get him to call me back later."

The wailing sirens pulled up out front, blue and red lights splashing all over the front of the house. The actual not-as-racist-as-Dave-Attell LAPD had arrived, guns a blazin'! "Where's the knife?"  Lights. Sirens. Sensory overload. Paramedics arrived. The cops put up actual police tape across the front of both little houses (it stayed, pride of place, in Doug's front yard untll he moved. It might even have been listed for sale in one of the eBay yard sales?!) The cops took Patti away, the ambos took, Van. 

I'd been living in LA for a whole 3 days and I was standing in my friend's front yard next to a very large sign that read, "Make Me Hard", giving my first deposition to a very nice boy in very dark blue. 

After the dust settled, the three of us went back inside. Doug walked into the kitchen to get everyone another beer. He looked at the knife block, "Oh shit, she used one of my good steak knives!" 

Doug's probably forgotten this incident by now. For him, it's just one of the thousands of nights he's had that ended with a good story. That sums up my friend. I love him and I'm looking forward to a nice normal night with him, Bingo and Hennigan when they land. It'll be a first. 

faheyxo

Melb tix available here

Doug's twitter

Monday
Nov102014

101 Exercise Tips For Busy Mums

I joined the gym. Don't get giddy, it was about 3 years ago. i joined because I noticed they had "FREE" CHILDCARE! Well, free after your 50 Shekels for the gym membership. Still. Worth it!

I rocked up with my littlest tacker under my arm that first day, handed him over to the nice lady singing French lullabies and turned to bolt!

"Excuse me." Said the other nice lady. "Where will you be?" I recognise now that what she was asking me was, "Exactly where in the very large, multi floor premises will you be incase we need to come find you." My answer to her was a very confident [and still accurate]. "I'll be in my car making phone calls and eating cake!"  No one stopped me.

Best work out ever! I needed a massage and a steam afterwards to rest my telephone holding elbow. Beginner's mistake. It's ok, I've since become quite proficient. Now i use the speaker phone. 

The gym I go to is filled with oddest collection of [mostly] women. Quite a lot of fatties. Not hiding in the corner, but definitely plugged in to the Cooking Channels. The regular assortment of mothers who had the same Free Childcare Idea I had. They wear the same expression. I Dont Want To Be Here But I Don't Want To Be At Home Wiping Jam Off Surfaces While Ellen Dances And Gives Away Free Shit To Her Studio Audience More. I offer to high five them. 

My favourite group are the older ladies. There's a lot of them. 60's. 70's. 80's. It's their social club. They're 99% hilarious. Calling out to each other from the hip abductor. "Graham'd have a heart attack if he could see me on this!" "Someone spot me? I need to make sure I don't leave my uterus on the floor when I'm done."  "Is it drink o'clock yet?" 

There's not too many Lululemon wearing freaks. You know Lululemon? They sell $100 yoga pants (they'd want to bend me themselves for that price!) and $299 tracky tops. If you wanna spend $500 on workout gear, knock yourself out. I mean, get a grip but if you want it and can see no better use for the money, go crazy. The reason you should avoid Lululemon is because their founder, Chip Shitnacks Wilson is a freak! Amongst the more cogent beliefs he espouses include; favouring child labour, "[Canada] is a place for 12- and 13-year-old street youths to find work in local factories as an alternative to collecting handouts."  Then there's his scorn for the Japanese and his perceived view that they can't speak English properly. It's called 'Lululemon' because he thinks Japanese people can't say the letter 'L.'  He told Canada's National Post Business Magazine, "It's funny to watch them try and say it." Yeah. His [unsurprising at this point] love of Ayn Rand and her tome, Atlas Shrugged "naked pursuit of self-interest should be society's highest ambition." Oh, then there's his opinion on how The Pill created a generation of "divorce-shattered women now seeking empowerment through yoga".

Blah blah blech! Repugnant shithead. Still want those 300 buck see-through leggings everyone can see your episiotomy scar in when you're downward-dogging? 

What's my point? Oh yeah - the gym isn't the most awful place I've ever been. I drop the kids off at school and head over. I don't use the crèche or "Kid Gym" as Mo called it, any more. I scan my memebership tag, head into the cardio room where I'm universally known as the Swearing Lady. Then do some weights, head into the machine room, have a laugh at/with the Old Ducks and then I get the wet frig outta there!

I'd rather be in my car, chatting to friends, eating cake - but I'd also like to be able to breath while I walk up a slight incline. Pffff! Apparently I'm not 22 any more?! Outrageous!

Well, I'm gonna take off my maternity tracky pants and t.shirt, kick my Puma's off [don't even get me started on the Nike sweat shop/child labour rant - just see Lululemon chat and consider it done] and have a shower. 

Any one want some leftover car cake?

Til Friday! x

(these blogs are going to be more frequent. writing is good. it makes things funner. plus. words. yes. unsubscribing is easy - just click and you're gone. i hope you wont though. instead, stay. read. chuckle. share. comment. thanks!) 

Thursday
Nov062014

I Got Lost In A Changing Room

I got lost in a Changing Room.

Yup. Lost. 

And yes, a Changing Room IS what you're thinking of. One of those "one way in, one way out" dealios. And to be perfectly clear - the one way out is the the same one way that you just walked in. S'pretty straight forward.

I've got a sense of direction as keen as a GPS hooked up to a second rate Latvian satellite. If we're lost - ask me which way *I* want to go. Which ever way I point - you can pretty much bet your cherubic child's life that turning the opposite way will get you to your destination.

Some people are good at singing. Some can play the flute. I've got a friend who can play drums while she sings. Me? I can get lost inside 4 square metres. 

Holding my bathers in one hand and a fitting room garment tag in the other I swished behind the curtain. Yes, not even a mysterious door to blame for my disorientation, just a curtain that doesn't even reach all the way to the floor. Inside that room cubicle, I tried on the bathers, sobbed, made mental notes to One, never try to buy bathers again and Two, eat a future spite-dim sim

When I left, I swished the curtain open again and headed for the exit and the judgmental thin woman with the over-plucked eyebrows who zealously guards the Size Hangers. You know when you're not really looking where your going cause you just wanna get the fuck out of Myer and you sense someone else in the vicinity? Alright, shut yer face, Target. It was Target. Never the less, I could see the other lady coming in to the change room and... ok, fuck off. Fine! It was KMart. I was in KMart, trying on bathers that I knew were gonna split me like a pale white brie on a fine cheese board. Cheese shouldn't wear bathers anyway. I just needed to grow a white Penicillium Candidum rind. Where was I? Oh yeah, walking out of the change room. Two fleeting thought crossed my mind as the other KMart lady came towards me; One "She'll get outta the way." and Two "Sheesh love, let yourself go much?" 

BANG! I walked straight into that fat lady with the hideous bathers over her arm... The lady with the lovely red hair and the Vivienne Westwood handbag. I had walked into a mirror. Mirror Me was pretty pissed off she'd walked into ourselves too. 

My name is fahey and my super power is Direction. I am Direction Girl!

Donations can be sent through to my PayPal.

What's your super power?

faheyxo

Saturday
Aug232014

DAAS - Reconstituted. Made from local and imported ingredients.

DAAS, the Doug Anthony All Stars (Tim Ferguson, Paul McDermott & Richard Fidler) the aggressive, provocative, les enfants terrible of Australian comedy were the genesis of what became my comedy life. It all started way back in the days of answering machines, VCR's and waiting for your pictures to come back at the chemist before you could check out your 'selfie' and it was a time that had nothing to do with me.

Now - no one can remember the exact start of it all. Or how it happened. But my baby brother, tiny wee Noel was seen by the DAAS boys, somewhere. To be clear, it's hard not to see Noel. He's 6ft 900" tall and 6ft 1 and 1/4" across the shoulders. A mere slip of a gal.  So, one thing led to another and I found myself driving him to ABC studios in Ripponlea to be in a sketch with the Dougs on The Big Gig. I dropped him off then went back that night to watch the taping. That night an entire world opened up. What a live comedy baptism! I don't remember the sketch, neither does Noel or Tim. But it's fair to say, it went well and some things were thrown. 

Noel went on to appear in many m-a-n-y DAAS sketches. He also appeared in things with other Big Giggers (my faaaave) the ultra absurd, gently maniacal surrealist, Flacco (above, with Noel) Shirley Purvis and her boy Darren. Jean Kitson. Glynn Nicholas. Various things with legendary Phil Scott, etc etc. But, mostly with the Dougs and Flacco. Noel also appeared in their TV show, DAAS Kapital in various guises. "When we wanted a giant man, we called, Noely." says Tim. It was a glorious, wonderous time. Everyone at the Big Gig was open and friendly. They actively encouraged, put up with and welcomed me with open, patient arms. The DAAS boys, in particular. I'll never forget it and I can never thank them enough. 

DAAS wound up their little dog and pony show in 1994 the same year that Miss Itchy, debuted. There's probably a connection there. From fawning fan girl to willing participant. 

  

Fast Forward 20 years, DAAS announce they're touring again. I arranged for tickets SO fast, my head was spinning, for Noel and I. Just like old times, except now he's old enough to drive himself. And he hasn't got enough to hair to put up in a mohawk which makes him too tall to be in his own car. (that happened. I had to drop him off once because he had a giant do and couldn't fit into his car and drive himself. He travelled, reclined from the hills to the city in my car. I wish I could find that photo!)

Now, most reunion tours are abjectly awful. Self indulgent and sad. This is not one of those tours. Sure, Paul's hair is not quite as I remember it. Tim is now in a wheelchair because he's too lazy to stand (up to the MS that's trying to slow him down), and Richard is absent. However, he is seamlessly replaced as 'the guitarist' by Flacco's keeper, the unfairly talented Paul Livingstone.


How was the show? Mind blowing. Extraordinary. It was 2 and a half hours (non-stop) of breath takingly uproarious, noir dark, streams of consciousness peppered with savagely brutal social commentary.  Just like it used be. Now with extra poignancy and depth. "He's in a fucking wheelchair, ladies and gentlemen." mocks Paul. My heart broke and swelled with joy about million times in that 180 minutes. Livo played, overplayed and destroyed the guitar, a newspaper with snare drumsticks and sang back up/yelled back up. Plus, to hear Paul singing again, so beautifully angels killed themselves out of jealous despair, "I'll never sound as beautiful as that." And they wont. To experience all that again. I'm lost for words. 

I'm so sorry for every single person who doesn't get to see them.  Because, everyone should have the opportunity. When comedy becomes a complete art, it fills you up. After that show Babe, I'm totally chockers.

Thank you.  For everything.

fahey