Kiss With a Fist

Last Saturday at 8.30pm, we had Earth Hour and all the lights were turned off. I know this because at the time I was onstage, fifteen minutes into my stand-up show and the stage lights started to fade like we were in a slow-motion black out.

I’d knew that Earth Hour was happening, but I didn’t think that Melbourne was participating given that it was hosting the Grand Prix the same weekend. Apparently Melbourne doesn’t have any problem with the hypocrisy of “We love you Mother Earth, just not as much as Lewis Hamilton. He’s so dreamy.”
It’s hard to pretend that you’re committed to saving the planet when you’re also running an event celebrating the machines that are responsible for most of damage done to the environment in the first place.
“Hey Tommy, you wanna come to this refuge support benefit?”
“I sure do, just give me five minutes to finish torpedoing this boat load of immigrants…”

I like the idea of Earth Hour, environmental awareness is important, but if Mother Nature actually existed I don’t know if she’d appreciate the sentiment, because after Earth Hour is finished we go right back to what we were doing in the first place.

Can you imagine being tied to a table and punched continuously for an entire year? 8759 hours of vindictive fists to the face. PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH! But then, for one hour each year, your torturers stop and say “Oh my god, look at the state of you. What’s happened to your face? Who’s done this? You’re quite fragile and beautiful under all this blood and gore aren’t you? We should really stop all this… hang on, time’s up.” PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH!

If you’re not going to change your behaviour, then that one hour is just an empty and insulting gesture.

The worst bit of it is, most of the concessions that we make for Earth Hour could easily be made every other night of the year with little to no impact on our lives; especially the public ones. The day after Earth Hour, the news showed us pictures of Earth Hour around the world, which basically equated to shots of famous monuments with the lights turned out. Why do these monuments even need to be lit at night? People will still travel to look at them, they’ll just do it during the day. I doubt that anyone’s booking their tickets, flying to Egypt, driving out to Giza at night and saying “WHAT?!? I wanted to look at the architectural handiwork of thousands of Jewish slaves the way the Pharaohs intended: under floodlights!”

Unless there’s some massive emo/vampire tourist trade that I don’t know about, then we don’t need to light up the Eiffel Tower just so people know where they are. Just because it’s not lit up doesn’t meant we’re going to forget that it’s there.

If you want to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, that’s fine, but then don’t participate in Earth Hour, the least that Mother Nature deserves is your consistency. If you’re going to punch her in the face, then don’t pretend that you’re concerned, just put your iron fist to work and know that you’ll be the one cleaning up afterwards.

Make the mo' of it

I’m currently in Melbourne for the comedy festival & it seems to have become infested with moustaches; either that or thousands of hairy caterpillars have gone out in search of food, but instead found themselves resting on the cocaine-dusted upper lips of trendy gents.

I’m not sure how it happened or why it happened, but I do know that it’s got to stop immediately or women are going to stop voluntarily having sex with men.

The moustache has never been our finest invention; that’s an accolade which belongs to the splade (or “spork” if you’re form South Australia). In fact the womb-broom (aka moustache) represents an aspect of humanity, which, like the desire to pay money to see Michael Bolton in concert, should be eradicated before it spreads.

The problem with moustaches is that one their own, they’re incredibly potent (Exhibit A: Tom Selleck), but when diluted by thousands of men in $200 jeans, the power of the mo’ is to weakened to the point where it’s not even useful as a marker for identifying society’s misfits.

There is also the fact that the moustache (sans beard anyway) is very difficult to wear successfully. Moustaches are like racist jokes; unless they’re deployed with a supreme amount of irony, they’re just offensive.

I think that the required action should be led by the women of Melbourne who should refuse any kind of sexual contact with men sporting unnecessary facial hair. Sure, we might lose some beards alone the way, but if that’s the price of eradicating the moustache (or at least culling it down to pre-boom numbers) then so be it.

In fact, let’s just say that there should be a bounty on all moustaches. I’m not sure what you call the act of skinning a moustache off some twat in a flannel shirt, but until we can get this hirsute epidemic under control, then no act is too barbarous.

– Hypocrisy Valentine

The Flying Anger-Magnet

If you’re not used to being almost universally loathed, then the animosity of strangers in an enclosed environment is a incredibly confronting experience.

Last week I flew from London to Sydney with a six-month-old baby who had just gotten her first tooth. Suffice to say that neither she, nor I, nor any of our fellow passengers particularly enjoyed the trip. It was a 24 hour ordeal and by the end of the trip I was known to the people around me as “that areshole with the baby”.

Flying with kids is a tricky thing. On one hand it’s just a fact of life; having children doesn’t preclude you from needing to travel and it’s just not practical to take the train from the UK to Oz. On the other hand, a 24 hour flight in cattle class is a tough enough experience without having to be seated near a tiny, portable, air-raid siren with a penchant for shitting itself.

I know what it’s like on the other side of the fence as I’ve been a childless man, travelling long-haul in close proximity to other people’s spawn. The Qantas, standard-issue headphones do nothing to drown out the crying and the gin trolley is too infrequent to make an alcohol induced coma a realistic option. The most optimistic strategy when you’re near a baby on a plane (apart from wishing for an upgrade) is hope that your brain identifies the pitch of the screaming children and blocks all aural input received on those frequencies. Unfortunately, the human brain is rarely that obliging, and so all you can really do is try to watch a succession of heavily edited movies while pretending that the crying you can hear is just the world’s least enjoyable director’s commentary.

But what the other passengers should know is it’s not easy for the parents either. There’s nothing enjoyable about knowing that you’re contributing to the discomfort of your fellow travellers, and only an dyed in the wool sadist or Tony Abbott would think otherwise.

The problem is, some babies just need to cry. It’s their one way of communicating with the world and like political dissidents, crushed beneath the boots of oppressive regimes, they resent being told to shut up.

Our daughter Florence, for example, loves to whinge for between 20 seconds and 5 minutes after being put to bed. She’s not in pain, danger or any stage of advanced distress, she just does it to let us know that she would rather be semi-upright doing something that involves a woman’s breast. She does it every night, but is quickly overcome with fatigue and falls almost immediately into a deep sleep.

Unfortunately, when we put Florence to bed on the plane and she started crying, there was very little we could do to communicate the facts of the previous paragraph to the other passengers around us, so we didn’t bother. We put her to bed, she started crying and we had a drink, knowing she would be comatose within moments. Over the course of the next few minutes, the annoyance and frustration of our fellow passengers grew until they were seething in their seats, searching for a socially-acceptable way of telling us how bad we were as parents and how inconsiderate we were as travellers.

At this point, I just stretched out and tried to enjoy the gin and tonic that had gone warm and flat while I was changing Florence’s nappy on a fold out table that constantly threatened to dump her into the toilet below. I knew that the other people were angry, but there was nothing that I could do, so I refused to give a shit.

Being someone that is normally a little too concerned with the opinions of others, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how liberating not-caring could be. A great weight had lifted off my shoulders and I felt a freedom that had previously been all too elusive. Blissfully free of my bonds, I downed the last of my tepid gin and settled down for a bit of shut eye, when the baby in the bassinet next to Florence woke with a start and began to cry. And despite everything that I’ve just written above, my first thought was “what arsehole brought a baby on the plane?”