Above: The Man, The Fat Man and the Grandfather of Shock Rock
When I work late I will occasionally head home along Canning Highway and grab a burger from the drive-thru at Hungry Jack’s. For our international readers, Hungry Jack’s is the Australian version of Burger King. In fact we have both Burger King and Hungry Jack’s here in the Wide, Brown Land.
It’s an odd situation; a little like Berlin before The Wall went up, when the city was divided into different zones of control (The American zone, the Russian zone etc.) Okay, it’s nothing like that at all. Believe it or not, there’s quite a good Wikipedia entry on Burger King which deals with the Hungry Jack’s controversy quite nicely.
But I’m just warming up, folks. That’s merely a daub of mushroom sauce on the bacon wrapped patty that is this blog entry.
It was two nights ago, the telecast of the Green/Mundine fight had just finished over at the Leopold Hotel on Canning Highway in Bicton. The multitudes of fight fans in the Leopold either walked over to the MacDonalds next door or drove a couple of hundred metres up the highway to Hungry Jack’s.
So the drive thru-was packed. The line of cars looped around the store. And so I was forced to listen to the radio. I sort of listen to radio when I’m driving to work. I find the inane chatter quite pleasant. Recently I heard a fresh idea for a morning radio game-show. A “battle” of the “sexes” I believe it was called. Amazing.
However, because I drive to work functionally asleep, I don’t really “listen” to the radio. It’s okay, I’m like the sleep-walking, sleep-cooking, sleep-writing people you keep hearing about in court cases and scientific journals. They do everything while apparently awake, but have no memory of their actions later when they are actually awake. Channel 9’s Steve Leibman was one. Mike Goldman is probably one, too. And I believe Princess Caroline of Monaco.
I was in that drive-thru line for maybe fifteen minutes. The environment suffered, but at least I didn’t have to leave the secure personal bubble of my car. And so I had some uninterrupted, waking time with my wireless. And isn’t commercial FM radio in Australia a glittering cesspool of mediocre crap?
Okay Youth Group. You and your "Forever Young" cover have officially had your fifteen minutes. It’s time to go...Youth Group! And The Veronicas, you have ten seconds to vacate the premises.
One of the oldie stations, whose demographic I apparently fall into, sad to say, was playing it’s usual witless selection 70s and 80s rock. Sure, The Eagles’ Hotel California is the rock and roll equivalent of the Bhagavad Gita and it is the acknowledged apex of popular rock songs dealing with the vexed subject of entrapment in ghostly hotels. But we’ve heard it. There are one-year-olds in Karachi who already know all of the words.
A brief moment of interest was provided by a syndicated American show. I arrived in the middle and left before the end, but it seemed to involve Alice Cooper back-announcing old songs and doing long, rambling bits about Alice’s Take On Life. Sample: Alice explains to some 15 year olds from an all-girl band that they shouldn’t get tattoos with their band-name, on their shoulders, because when it came time for the Senior Prom they wouldn’t be able to wear anything that showed off the aforementioned shoulders. It was unexpected.
The thing that really got my attention was one of the ads. Of course we all agree that radio ads are worse than weapons-grade plutonium and more morally reprehensible than stealing from work to pay for your gambling habit. This is a given.
But this one ad was just plain weird. It was stranger than the respectable Alice. It was more perplexing than the continued success of The Veronicas.
It was a contest for something called the Coffee Club. Which is a restaurant chain that appears to be going great guns in Queensland and New South Wales. It might be new to WA. The contest involves winning a date with a celebrity. Or the Austereo Network’s Jackie O. Among the celebrities are Better Homes and Garden’s Johanna Griggs and Ian “Molly” Meldrum who is described as “often considered to be responsible for revolutionising music in Australia”. I merely repeat the Press Release.
On the ad itself it said you could win a date with the Footy Show’s Paul “Fatty” Vautin. Only it described him as the “enigmatic” Paul Vautin.
I have to admit to quite liking Fatty. I would describe him as many things. On telly at least, he appears to be a talkative, gregarious, blokey, smart aleck who likes a laugh. Not too sure about “enigmatic” Where’s the mystery about Vautin?
The enigmatic Viggo Mortensen, maybe. The enigmatic Audry Hepburn, possibly. But Fatty has all the enigmatic qualities of a rissole. I guess the ad people could have been taking the piss, which is why I checked out the Press Release, but it seemed quite straightforward.
Or maybe some copywriter doesn’t know the difference between charismatic and enigmatic. Vautin is a little more charismatic than he is enigmatic, but only is the way that a scotch egg is a more charismatic version of that previously mentioned rissole.
To be revealed on higher plane, later.
Elevate the insignificant!