Saturday, 20 December 2008

TSP's Office Xmas Party Bingo checklist

If you're playing my new game this year then you might find any of the following on your game card.

* Inappropriate displays of affection
* A public pash
* A private pash that gets busted
* A private shag
* A public shag (please note - if this happens stop playing bingo and start taking pictures)
* Shouting for no apparent reason
* Singing
* Soft drug consumption
* Hard drug consumption
* Workmate vs workmate violence
* Public hurling/urination/worse
* Excess removal of clothing
* General bad behaviour (WILDCARD SPOT)
* Flirting by the married
* Knocking a drink over
* Breaking a glass
* Somebody paying to do shots when regular drinks are free
* Inappropriate anecdotes or jokes
* Strangers cracking onto strangers
* Passing out in a public place
* Passing out in a toilet/cupboard/carpark and being found
* Being escorted out by your workmates
* Being escorted out by security and going quietly
* Being escorted out by security and making noise about it
* Punching on with security
* Police attendance for any reason
* Lifetime bans from the venue for person or company

TSP's Top 50 of 2008

The rules - as always. Two tracks per artist maximum, no covers, re-releases only if 2008 was the first time I'd heard it. The final rule is crucial because if it weren't in effect Champion by Kanye West would have been in the top 5 due to having been released as a single/video this year, but is DQ'ed because I heard it right at the end of last year and whacked it in at #27 before realising how much I liked it. So it goes...

Before we begin this year - trimmed to 50 to avoid the sort of half-interesting slops that filled 51-100 in the countdown last time around - a quick look at the previous top 5's.

2005

1. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
2. Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure
3. Goldfrapp - Ooh La La
4. The Killers - Somebody Told Me
5. Bloc Party - Helicopter

2006

1. The Young Knives - Here Comes The Rumor Mill
2. Giant Drag - This Isn’t It
3. Silvia Night - Congratulations
4. Lily Allen - LDN
5. Joey Negro - Make A Move On Me

2007

1. The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
2. New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream
3. The Teenagers - Homecoming
4. Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent
5. Jack Penate - Spit At Stars

And now, the most prestigious prize in all of music.

50. Kanye West - Paranoid
He got divorced, discovered weird vocal effects and lost his mind.

49. Hercules in NY - Nightlight
No video, so just make up a song in your head along the same theme. Or sing Flashlight by Parliament and change the words.

48. The Galvatrons - When We Were Kids

47. Glasvegas - Go Square Go
Continually feted as the "next big thing" though I'm not entirely sure why. They've got a few good tunes, but singing depressing lyrics in an accent once removed from the Proclaimers doth not a U2 make. Move to Vegas, become Mormons, grow ludicrous facial hair (yes, even the girl) and then come and talk to me.

46. Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody

45. Goldfrapp - Cologne Cerrone Houdini
Non-disco Goldfrapp = James Bond theme orchestra action and slink but alas far less excitement than the Frapp we know.

44. The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
Best listened to when off chops. I swear I heard this last year, but it's not in that countdown so here it is in this one.

43. Black Francis - Seven Fingers
No matter what he does we're all still waiting for something approaching the best of the Pixies. Don't hold your breath fans.

42. Florence And The Machine - Girl With One Eye
Senseless brutality from the knife crime capital of the western world.

41. Elbow - One Day Like This
Like a power ballad without power

40. REM - Accelerate
REM in "album not so bad, but still not as good as they used to be" shocker.

39. Goldfrapp - Happiness

38. Jaguar Love - The Man With The Plastic Suns
Shouty and lacking a real video.

37. The Killers - Human
The chorus is a bit bleh, but otherwise not so bad. Certainly better than that soul/soldier fiasco from a few years back.

36. Foxboro Hot Tubs - Mother Mary
Shhh, it's really Green Day in disguise. Oh, what do you mean everyone already knew? Fuck the internet. Sadly for them it's better than anything they've released under their real name for years.

35. The Gaslight Anthem - Old White Lincoln
The "even more convincing than The Killers" heirs to Springsteen's legacy

34. Little Jackie - 28 Butts
Album tracks = shaky mobile phone footage on Youtube.

33. The Anomalies - Bamboo Beats

32. British Sea Power - Canvey Island

31. Ida Maria - Stella
Prostitute spends a night with God. It doesn't end how you think.

30. Sportsday Megaphone - I Think It's Love

29. TV On The Radio - Halfway Home
Briefly thinks it's the Ramones. Could be a bad thing, especially when sung by a black man with the most impressive facial hair since Peter Russell Clarke, but they pull it off. Anecdote corner - I used to get the radio on my TV when I was a kid and it freaked me the fuck out. So did Peter Russell Clarke. Spooky!

28. Heloise and the Savoire Faire - Downtown
She used to be Peaches bodyguard you know. I wouldn't fuck with her if this picture is anything to go by.

27. Duran Duran - Zoom In
Yes, they're still around and not as bad as you remembered. Frighteningly enough an ABC track almost nudged into the 50 as well. Welcome back gents, but really why bother making a video when you're Duran Duran - who's playing it?

26. Kaiser Chiefs - Never Miss A Beat
If they ever do anything remotely approaching I Predict A Riot again I'll eat somebody else's hat, but this is at least better than everything on the second album. Catchy, stupid and somehow managing to get itself played on Triple M. Pity nobody's listening.

25. Eli 'Paperboy' Reed and the True Loves - Stake Your Claim
In a fair world would be making Buble style money. In the real world doesn't even have his own video.

24. Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha Man

23. The Hold Steady - Sequestered In Memphis
Last year's winners come in again with their first of two entries from an album referred to as "not bad, but not quite as good as the last one" by noted musical reviewer.. me. P.S - The essential tracks begin here.

22. The Shortwave Set - No Social
The song which gives us the helpful but mystifying advice that "a dog dressed in clothes is still a dog". Remember that.

21. Flight Of The Conchords - Ladies Of The World
Novelty tracks that are like real songs are a good thing.

20. Ian Carey Project - Get Shaky

This year's token "heard whilst smashed and loved" club track.

19. Neon Neon - Michael Douglas

Surprisingly little to do with the man himself. More interested in his eyewear.

18. Little Jackie - The World Should Revolve Around Me

The former Imani Coppola (remember "Legend of a Cowgirl"? No, me neither) returns with two entries in her new persona as a female rap type female.

17. Ben Folds - The Bitch Went Nuts

Perfect timing for Christmas season. Always bring a date who does a truckload of coke and yells "fuck Dick Cheney". Another reason why you shouldn't bring Germaine Greer as your date this year. Other than the fact that she looks like a hrose.

16. LMFAO - Yes

Has homemade written all over it.

15. Esser - Headlock

Proof that domestic violence is ok as long as it's happening to a man.

14. The Hold Steady - Constructive Summer

This year's album lacked anything killer on a par with the best tracks off their last one, but there was still worthy contenders dotted throughout.

13. British Sea Power - No Lucifer

The song that should have had people chanting "Easy! Easy!" across the world. Don't bother reading the lyrics in the clip, it'll just make you think less of the track.

12. Black Kids - Look At Me (When I Rock Witchoo)

In a word.. stomping

11. Elbow - The Fix

The best horse racing scandal related moment since the Fine Cotton affair. No painted horses and dodgy New Zealand trainers here - it's all silky smooth and classy like a movie from the 1950's.

10. REM - Supernatural Superserious

Yeah, they're still around. I'm as suprised as you. And with this track they dominated - even more shocking.

9. Flight Of The Conchords - Inner City Pressure

Best novelty song since Silvia Night's "Congratulations" from the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. Eschews novelty song stupidity for cleverness and - brace yourself - comedy.

8. Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire

I still maintain that their first album was their best, but the days of Red Morning Light seem a million years away. Potentially the first time that a number 1 chart song has ever made my top 10.

7. The Hollows - Why

Frankly depressed singer in rap-esque whinge mode. Score.

6. Heloise and the Savoir Faire - Canadian Changs

Lost one place for rhyming gorilla and chinchilla. No real video, so enjoy gawking at some random French women dancing in their apartment instead.

5. Fryars - Olive Eyes

The most sinister thing EVER RELEASED. I feel like it should be sung by that perve who locked his family in the basement.

4. Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream

Fittingly, in a year where a Duran Duran song can crack the top 50 comes the greatest song they never wrote. Warning! Video clip contains two people pissfarting around!

3. MGMT - Electric Feel
(Embedding disabled by request of tightarsed record company - click for video)
I'm sure I heard this last year, and even had it in the countdown but the records say no so here it is again. Cue buzz band of the year hijinks and me actually stopping dead in the middle of a game of indoor soccer when I heard it on the radio for the first time.

2. Neon Neon - Luxury Pool
Unbelievably there is no clip of this song on YouTube. No video (it's an album track), no live performances. Nothing. Deserves more on the standout track of the album of the year, Stainless Style. The concept? Strap yourself in - it's about the life of John DeLorean, the creator of the DMC-12 motorcar (the one from Back To The Future) and his shambolic life up to and including trying to sell a truckload of coke to keep his company afloat. Quality.

1. Lethal Bizzle - The Come Up

I don't know why I like it so much, but I do. The first time that twee indie pop has been dislodged from the top of the chart, and it's by a stomping East London grime track. Shits all over anything that Kanye West or any of the popular 'urban' artists are delivering. Unlikely to ever be heard on the radio here - unless somebody gives me the keys to their station and a free reign to cause chaos.

Anything I missed? Bad luck I'm not adding it, but I'd be happy to hear about it.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Reasons why I’m bitter and twisted #432

At the risk of raising the ire of the keeper of the spatulas there are three companies who I have vowed never to have anything to do with ever again. Even the mere mention of their name makes my blood pressure go through the roof, which is a bit of a shame given that they’re all fairly massive and hard to avoid. From the bottom of the grief register up..

3) TRU Energy
When I lived in Camberwell we’d receive normal sized bills every few months, pay them and never think about it again. Then one month they decided that we owed them $1200. Rarely has the opening of a seemingly normal envelope ever led to so many expletives being delivered in such a short stretch of time.

I read further and it was revealed that they’d ‘estimated’ our power usage because it was impossible to get to the meter box. The first question was whether they’d estimated it by comparing Toorak Road, Camberwell to Mexico City. Secondly, how come they had no trouble finding the meter box for so long before suddenly going completely blind and stupid and not being able to see where it was. Especially considering that it’s ON THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE. It’s not like I was living in the penthouse of Eureka Towers, it was right there and I could see it.

Easy enough to fix you’d think. Called them, informed them that it was actually quite easy to find the meter box and that they didn’t actually need to put a ridiculous estimate in place when they could just come around and have a look for themselves. Assurances that they will do just that. Then a month later the first ‘reminder’ comes through. So I called again, and they promised to come around and have a look at it again. Cue more overdue notices. I tried once more, having already moved out of the property, and after some farcical explanation about how it was an ‘old meter’ so they couldn’t read it absolutely nothing proceeded to happen again.

Eventually after months of grief and wasted time they waived the fee and an extra $100. Since then they have blatantly refused to believe that somebody else has taken responsibility for the final account total (which they have) and keep trying to get me to pay them $400.

TRU Energy – YOU’RE ON THE LIST

2) The Commonwealth Bank
Has anyone ever managed to get out of this place without them trying to up-sell you something? It’s worse than a service station. Usually I’m very polite in saying “no, just because I look depressed doesn’t mean I need life insurance so my family can cash in when I neck myself”, but one day on Elizabeth Street I made the horrific mistake of attempting to change my address. Obviously that day they’d put their number one seller, a stern mid 30’s woman dressed as if she was actually in the mid 30’s and who wouldn’t take no for an answer on anything. Eventually I crumbled and after 10 minutes of “ are you sure I can’t get somebody to call you” agreed that she could do whatever she liked as long as I could just change my fucking address and get out of there already.

So a few days later the phone rings and it’s some sleazy insurance broker. He gives me the usual chat, but when I tell him I’m not actually interested and just agreed to get the lunatic in the bank off my back he plays the old favourite “But what about your family! What if something goes wrong! Don’t you care?” card. To which I replied “No I don’t”, hung up and closed my account the next day.

Commonwealth Bank – YOU’RE ON THE LIST

1) Telstra

Ahh Telstra. Never before has there been so much panic about keeping such an incompetent business in public hands. I'd take the money and run if I were the government.

Soon after I moved last year I started receiving bills for a phone line that I never asked to be connected. Tried to ring them a couple of times, got put in queues and generally ignored so I gave up and waited to see what would happen. Eventually last month they decided that they did quite want their $120 and could I please fork it over.

Given that I don’t, didn’t and never will have a home phone line I thought it was quite a fair query to ask what they wanted the money for. I finally got through to somebody a few months ago who spun me some b/s lines that I fell for like an idiot, and which I promptly forgot about again until I received the overdue notice.

So I call again, and after 45 minutes of being put in queues I finally end up speaking to somebody who decides that yes, it’s been a cock up and because I’ve clearly never actually used the account that he can close it and refund me the money. Too easy, I’ll just sit back and wait for the letter confirming this. Instead I got more “give us money” notices. So I call again, and this is where it gets ludicrous. In one hour I was shuttled between the following departments, having to explain the entire story and give my details every time.

1. Billing
2. Credit Management
3. Credit Management - Special Recovery
4. Disputes (and when they’re transferring you then you know nobody’s taking your complaint seriously)
5. Landline department (sounds like a made-up department to me)

Landline then connected me to;

6. Credit Management (again)

Eventually the woman in Credit Management says “yes, we can take those charges off, I just need to put you on hold to read the case notes”. So I go back on hold for, I think the 8th time, hear their shithouse version of I Am Australian for the 300th time and await the good news that I’ll never have to deal with this peanut of a company ever again. Then the call disconnected. I’m not suggesting she read the file and hit the magical dump button (though I wouldn’t be surprised) but that was it for me.

Luckily all the time I had spent on the phone had given me time to write my complaint to the Telecommunications Ombudsman and when the phone disconnected I was only a click away from officially complaining about their shenanigans. There’s no apology required – just the assurance that all my accounts (oh yes, somebody along the way told me that I had two phone lines with them. I HAVE NONE!) are obliterated from history and I never have to deal with these hacks ever again.

Telstra – Oh you’d better believe that YOU’RE ON THE LIST

Monday, 15 December 2008

The Real Taste of Ckicken

Yours to view on Collins Street, Melbourne as we speak.

Photobucket

I'm always conscious of taking pictures of this sort of thing because I'm always terrified that the owner will suddenly appear. Because I am a pansy. Of course they never do.. other than this time.

Her: "Do you want to come in?"
Me: "No, I'm looking at your sign"
H: "Why?"
M: "It's got a mistake on it"
H: "Oh yes it has... I never noticed"
M: (struggling to find a way out) "Well, other than that it's a nice sign"
H: "Yes it is thanks!"

And off I went, having failed to crush capitalism single handedly.

CSI: Richmond

Only the other night I was claiming that Richmond was overrated as a crime destination. Sure some guy offered to see me some quality gear as I walked through the housing commission estate one day, sure I heard a guy on Victoria Street openly stating "yeah I score in the morning before work" and yes, there were junkies who used to shoot up next to my car but in the end I met them and they were lovely. Other than that? Nothing. I even considered not renewing my contents insurance and saving myself a much needed $350 (what credit crunch? I've been wasting my money for years) before chickening out.

So, this morning I wake up and open my door to find a mobile phone on my doorstep, the security door wedged open with a pair of women's shoes and blood all over the front door. Now, I know I had an operation to make me sleep better but I'm not sure I would have managed to sleep through somebody making a serious attempt at getting my attention if they were being beaten up or variously molested so I was deeply suspicious right from the start. I call the police and tell them what's going on and they tell me they're going to send somebody over.

About twenty minutes later the mobile rings and Ms. X (names deleted to protect the dubious) tells me that she's lost her phone. I explain that I've got it and she's all "how did it get there!" when I tell her it's in Richmond. Then I explain that I'd called the cops and she goes a bit coco bananas telling me not to give them any of her stuff. Err, bad luck - given that they were clearly going to seize it all anyway. In the worst explanation ever Ms. X claims that her alleged brother is an alleged Hawthorn player and always does this sort of stuff. I suggested she might want to give him a call and make sure that he's alright given that it looks as if he wasn't having the best of nights if he was wandering the streets of the inner east bleeding on things.

Eventually I got off the phone - but not before being offered a "Christmas present" if I delivered the stuff back (and that's when the dubiousness meter went straight to 11). The cops eventually arrived, did their forensic work and predictably confiscated the phone and shoes as evidence in an attempted burglary.

Farcical scenes. However, if I may make a recommendation - Spray and Wipe is wicked for taking blood off a wooden door. Looks almost new!

The whole thing made me feel like I was getting into a bit of this action;

Photobucket

Great Moments in Trading Card History

But why?

Photobucket

Thursday, 11 December 2008

North to Ibiza in the Mediterranean Sun

It took me a week just to post this..



RIP

Monday, 1 December 2008

International Relations

On the weekend I went to a wedding. Thrilling eh? After all we've all done it - some thankfully less than others. In fact in 27 and a half years I don't think I've ever actually been to a wedding of somebody the same age as me that I knew.

ANYWAY, what was interesting about this one was the performance of the MC. For some ill-advised reason he prefaced his actual performance by coming out dressed as a stereotypical comical rabbi - complete with Star of David tshirt and ridiculous fake facial hair - and doing some routine about having come to the wrong place after being booked for a Bar Mitvah. Half the crowd ate it up (why?) and the rest of us sat there cursing that we weren't videotaping this grim fiasco.

Now - having not actually been there yourself and hearing one side of the story - please tell me that this was actually offensive and it wasn't just me. If he'd shoepolished up and walked out claiming to be Obama I'm sure somebody would have openly accused him of working racist gear and tipped a table over. Remember Sam Newman getting pounded for pretending to be Nicky Winmar? Sure that was on TV, but it still went down like a lead balloon. I was hoping he'd come out after the second break with a tea-towel around his head pretending to be Osama Bin Laden just to redress the balance but alas we were spared any further comic stylings.

And while we're at it how shit was Con the Fruiterer?