Sunday, October 19, 2014

Junk

I enter the cafe, walk through to the back and hang my bag on the rack and immediately hear the front door being knocked on. It squeaks open. A customer already wanting a coffee, fuck it. I don't agree to make coffees until I am at least 95% set up because it can just put you on the back foot very quickly. You spend time making coffee when you should be setting up, you will get another customer who also wants an early coffee and it's just a bad way to start the day. Which is why I leave the lights off and keep the door shut until I'm ready to start.

But I forgot to close the door. And there's this guy in a hoodie already inside the darkened cafe.

"We're not open yet," I tell him as I walk towards him.

He's hanging onto the open door, because if he lets go, I realise, he'll fall over. He's a smackie so high he's almost falling asleep on his feet.

"Okay - get out," I tell him, waving him out. Just then The Dreaded One arrives after parking the car. She sees the guy and stops, wondering what the hell is going on.

Then the guy says something. Says the same thing again. I notice that he's clutching some money in one fist and some empty tupperware containers in the other. He says that thing again. It's a question, and suddenly I wonder if he's not a smackie but someone with physical disorders in need of help.

"Sorry - what are you saying?"

He says that thing again, and now I understand.

"Any job vacancies?"

He is totally a smackie, totally whacked, and he's asking me to give him a job. It's funny and tragic. I tell him no, there are no job vacancies as I guide him out. The Dreaded One comes inside and I lock the door. I watch our whacked out friend make his teetering way up the road and into the day. There's a part of me - the into-the-abyss part of me - that envies him for his blissed out, fucked up state of mind.

But mostly I feel grateful that I am mostly okay, and that I have a little cafe to set up and a day of work ahead of me.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

You Bet You Are... The Many Voices In Abbott's Head


"I'm going to shirtfront Mr Putin, you bet you are - I bet I am."

The most intriguing thing for me about this recent bit of idiocy from our PM is the 'you bet you are' bit. What on Earth is that all about? What is actually going on in this guy's head? Was this another voice in his head backing him up? Does he have multiple personalities in his head in constant discussion with each other and this bit of dialogue accidentally slipped out?

Maybe the full, uncensored quote could have gone a little like this: "I'm going to shirtfront Mr Putin, you bet you are. Ooh by crikey you are sooo going to shirt-front that bear-cuddling fag, and Tone, my man, when you shirtfront someone they know they've been shirtfronted. You bet they do. You know they do, don't I... erm who's speaking now? Me, I am, and I don't want a pansy shirt-fronting, I want to bend Putin over and poke him from behind like that cellar scene with the gimp in Pulp Fiction, man that was a hot scene, I really liked that scene... didn't we? You bet we all did." 

Or something like that.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Team Awersome Is Awesome

Have had a few worrying weeks in the cafe. One of our workers, knowing we have been quietly stressing, gave us a bottle of wine to say thanks or cheer us up or whatever. She went to the pub across the road where we sometimes drink and asked the guys behind the bar which kind of wine we drink.

I think we chose well with our current team.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Conversations With Our Customers: I'm Beth Patterson, Bitch


We certainly seem to get our share of performers in Grumpy & The Dreaded One's Little Cafe Of Awesome.

I was packing away the outdoor furniture for closing yesterday when this intriguingly kooky looking chick with an American accent asked if I needed help with carrying the table. I told her I was okay and went inside. She followed me inside. I asked what she wanted. She said she wanted to recharge her phone and have something to eat. I looked at the outdoor furniture stacked upside down  - a pretty good sign that we are closing up - and said  "I'm sorry, but we're closed."

She apologised and left, and something about her intrigued.

She came back in this morning and I apologised about yesterday's confusion. No problem. She ordered some breakfast. She read one of my Grumpy columns on the clipboard menu as she ate. I always watch for a reaction. Much blankness until a certain point when she opened her mouth in a silent, still, laugh. A good reaction.

She  said she enjoyed her meal, said she enjoyed my writing, mentioned writing of her own. Conversation ensued. From what I could glean, she seemed to be a writer, musician, performer, here on tour from New Orleans.

Sometimes people can be well-known even though you know nothing about them, and asking them what their name is so you can Google them can be awkward. But I asked what her name was so that I could Google her.

"I'm Beth Patterson, bitch."

Pretty fucking funny..

Anyway, I Googled, and yeah, she's good. Amaaaazing bouzouki player and gorgeous voice. She seems like a bit of a nutter too. Awesome.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Once, The Musical, A Review.





Once

Reviewed by Lee Bemrose



I have to start out by admitting that I don't like musicals. The last one I went to was six or so years ago and it was an accident. Musicals just seem a bit stupid, with their singing-instead-of-saying approach to story telling. What I want from theatre is just a good story well told. Song and dance? Bah.

Having said that, one of my most well known dirty little secrets is that I am a total sucker for a good romantic comedy, and as far as that goes, it doesn't get much better than this.

I think where Once stands apart from your garden variety musical is that it is about music. My usual seething hatred of musicals isn't justified here because this is not about people spontaneously bursting into song and dance for no logical reason, it is about music and the love of music. When the characters sing and dance here, it all feels more natural than in other musicals. The story is so clearly told and thoroughly engaging that you could forget you were watching a musical, if the music wasn't so damned good.

Once is about a guy and a girl. Well, two girls, really. Guy is a broken-hearted busker about to turn his back on his music. Girl sees that he is about to do this but feels so passionately that his music and song-writing is great that she encourages him to do whatever it takes to get back into it. The romantic tension between them is the stuff of all great romcoms, but the outcome is what stays with you and makes this so memorable. Once is a story, perhaps, about three kinds of love: selfish love; unrequited love; and selfless love. This last one is the main one here - the most noble kind of love- and it's a bitter-sweet thing.

The stage is a bar in Ireland, and the show starts with audience members up on stage ordering drinks and standing about as a couple of performers start jamming on a variety of instruments and singing seemingly impromptu songs. It's how you imagine traditional Irish pubs to be. It's a good way to entertain those of us who arrived on time while we wait for those who didn't arrive on time. Gradually, the audience exits the stage to go to their seats, the lights go down and our story begins.

It opens with a song of melancholy, and our man (Tom Parsons) can sing. (And strum and act, sometimes all at the same time. He's good looking too. Bastard). But as soon as Girl (Madeline Jones) takes to the stage, there are laughs. She is a quirky and forthright Czek, a fellow music lover. She knows what's ticking in Guy's heart and she quickly becomes an important part of his world.

The leads are both well drawn, engaging characters, and as they slowly get to know each other, we get to know them and their very different worlds. There are multitudes of other characters – all warm, engaging and funny – played by head-shakingly talented actor/musicians. The casting process for this must have been an interesting experience.

Every musical instrument bar the theremin appears to be in the show, all played with precision to create feelings of warmth, melancholy, humour and fun. Lots of fun. The actors at all times appear to be absolutely enjoying themselves and playing their instruments. It's a wonderful thing to see. It's probably unfair to single anyone out from such an impressive ensemble of mostly local performers, but Amy Lehpamer perhaps best demonstrates this joy that I'm talking about; she shined brightly when she had her floor-stomping moments with her violin.

Once is a big, slick production, again not the kind of thing I'm usually drawn to. I'm usually found at banged up little theatres who put on edgy independent productions. I like risk takers like recent Fringe dwellers Stephen House and the Mellow Yellow crew.

But without reservation, I loved Once. It's a good story well told, with some wonderful tunes.

On at Princess Theatre, Melbourne until... erm... not really sure. But it's on now and you should definitely go see it. It's good. Really good.

Read about the show and buy tickets here.

Friday, October 03, 2014

In The Shop Of Infinite Sadness

Hello.

Hello.

How you?

I sad.

Oh.

How You?

I sad too.

Oh. How sad?

Hmm. How to say... I sadder than yesterday.

Oh.

But not as sad as I will be tomorrow.

Ah. That is sad.

No, that is not sad.

It's not sad?

No. It is happy.

How so?

This is the least sad I will ever be.

Ah. You are wise. This is the least sad I will ever be too.

Oh. Okay then. Bye bye.

Bye bye. I see you again tomorrow.

Yes, see you tomorrow. Bye.

See you.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Once, The Musical

I don't generally go to musicals. They usually annoy me. But this one has something about it... just ticks a lot of boxes. I'm about to head in now and see the Melbourne preview. I am quite excited and expect I'll be writing one of my gush reviews. I can feel it in me waters.