Thought I would respond to your article (see here) and maybe share my perspective on the day in question, the song in question and perhaps a bit about my feelings with ‘the left’ as a ‘young person’.
In the entertainment world, doing a gig at your local trade union rally isn’t really the highlight of your career. That might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s true. You do it because a.) You believe in the cause, the trade union movement at large, and the rights of workers b.) you don’t do it for no money because you hold the opinions outlined in ‘a’… and c.) You think your performance might ‘entertain’ people, lighten the mood, cheer people up… as you can see, the list may go on.
You don’t do it because it may be a gig full of happy people looking for a laugh, ready to be entertained, warmed up and optimistic, or because you’ll earn huge bucks and raise your professional profile… let’s put it that way. So at the very least, George, it would be fair to acknowledge that my intentions were honorable.
OK… the song. I can and will explain the song… why it was written and what I think it is about. I don’t really appreciate having my lyrics paraphrased or even made up by you… not only because it is wrong and unethical to print incorrect information, but also because your lyrics leave a lot to be desired. Professionally speaking, George, it’s embarrassing that someone out there might think I wrote that.
My ‘brief’ was to do ten minutes of material… during which time I planned to do two to three songs. Some I’d call ‘satirical funny’ and others I might call ‘satirical serious’. I was told when I got there that things were running overtime (I was supposed to be there at the start but in my stupidity I drove to Robert Blackwood Hall in CLAYTON, for fuck’s sake, thinking it was Dallas Brookes Hall… hey, I’d been up all night doing a show… before driving back to the venue which is about one minute from my house… so, you know, wasn’t too good a day already), that I should just do one song, something to ‘lighten the mood’ and then go. In the minute or so before I got onstage, i decided to do a song about Juice Bars.
Juice Bars, I’m sure you’re aware, are prolific in Australia. They are the fastest growing franchise in the fast food industry and one of the major employers of young workers. Also, Boost Juice (easily the most dominant brand on the juice market whose CEO, Janine Allis, is ranked number 15 on the BRW rich list… just above Cate Blanchet in fact) are one of many employers of young workers to introduce individual workplace agreements. Agreements which deliberately exclude employees being represented by any union. Juice Bars represent the face of a new culture amongst ‘young people’ where the emphasis is on more than just JUICE… it’s about lifestyle, it’s about the staff having to ‘smile at least once every ten minutes’ (a quote from the boost juice website), it’s about youth, exuberance, branding, fitting in, falseness… it’s a trend… a serious one, and one which I wished to address satirically… which is why I wrote the song. As a ‘young person’ these issues are serious. This is about the ever growing power and influence of corporate trends which, I must say, go almost completely unchecked by our rather ‘distracted’ generation of youth. Basically, I think young people have their HEADS UP THEIR ASSES and this song was wrote to possibly put the mental brakes on a culture of buying and consuming ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF JUICE in the hope that it may make you look a little more like the models in RALPH magazines and so that ‘people will like you’.
The song deals with a protagonist… ie, ‘me’ or a version thereof, facing a dilemma. He sees juice bars filled with attractive staff (no one ugly works at Boost, trust me, I’ve checked… it’s kinda like Virgin Airlines) who are so outgoing, bubbly, positively overflowing with the very stuff of youth, pulping enormous amounts of vegies, fruits and soy based milk products that people consume unthinkingly… and all he can think about is actually juicing the juice bar girl herself.
I think that is a fucking HILARIOUS idea. No actual real people die in the song. It’s all about fantasy. The guy knows it’s wrong… but he thinks it. It’s the truth. Because if you think about it, this guy is different… he has dark, inner urges which are at odds with what the modern world is telling him EVERY YOUNG MAN OR WOMAN SHOULD THINK.
That’s the premise of the song. It’s about saying NO TO JUICE, to the idea that we all think THE SAME and it’s also really, really, really funny.
But not this day. NO, it wasn’t funny at the trade union rally. Still, I saw some people laughing… in fact, I saw a lot of people laughing. And then I was interrupted by a very forceful woman who wanted to know ‘Why should we listen to this sexist shit?’
I stopped. (it was a pause in the song anyway, which is why i heard it). And i thought to myself, ‘well, this hasn’t happened before.’ I looked around the room and quite a few people agreed with her and I thought she deserved an answer. I was completely flustered because, as you recall, I was working and I don’t often get hassled in my place of work. I thought about just apologising and getting off because, contrary to what you may think, I am not in the business of offending people just to get a laugh… or really for any reason. But I decided to defend myself and my song… and I said, rather ineloquently, ‘I’m sorry Lady, but I think you’ve missed the point of the song completely. If I was gay, I’d juice the fucking juice bar boy’. At this point there was some considerable laughter which gave me hope that not everyone wanted to kill me. Then I added, fairly clumsily ‘it’s actually about corporations… the shit they’re trying to sell us’… I know, I know…not Shakespeare, but I was under some big ass pressure. So I then went on to do what I would describe as the ‘equal gender thing’ by putting he/she, him/her throughout the song as much to say, ‘Here you go, something for your sensitivities’ and ‘Fuck you’ at the same time. Then i got the fuck out of there feeling, you know, not exactly %100 about my fellow man/ woman.
I can explain my songs and my outlook til the cows come home but it’s not going to change the way people on the day perceive what they see and hear. I was trying to help out a cause I believe in. I believe in the song and I will continue to perform it no matter how people perceive it because i think it is a good song that most people with a sense of humour and some smarts enjoy. I really take exception to you accusing me of ‘taking the piss out of twenty year old casuals’. I think you really have no idea about young people at all. I’m not the one making twenty year old casual working girls wear a super-small t-shirt with ‘Love Life’ written across their tits. I’m sticking up for them. I KNOW what it is to be a twenty year old casual. Twenty year old casual workers are my TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC. I was asked to perform THAT SONG at the BOOST JUICE CHRISTMAS PARTY! How crazy and post-modern is that?
Doesn’t that make you think you have NO IDEA what’s happening in the world anymore, George?
As for the completely offensive dig at my hair-style, I feel cheap and dirty even responding to it. And that’s saying something. I will say this. My hair is incredibly cool. It is a form of my self expression. A lot of people of both sexes like it. It makes me feel good, it is a part of who I am and I get lots and lots of sex… some of which, I should point out, is a direct result of my hair. I don’t have the benefit of knowing what you look like, and if I did, I still wouldn’t stoop so low as to attack you about it. Grow up.
As for the skateboard crack, you’re sounding like Andrew Bolt. It’s just embarrassing. You think you’re a Doctor of popular culture because you can make one ‘Simpsons’ reference? Man, that is so September 10. ‘The Left’ of which i am proud to associate myself, don’t have a reputation for having a very good sense of humour. I’m sorry to break it to you, but they don’t. I guess I’d think twice about lending my services to such an event in the future, which is a shame. You would do well to try and understand young people, their perspective and how they feel about the very issues that were being expressed at this particular rally.
We are the future, George, so you’d do well not to piss us off. I’m one angry duck right now, I can tell you, George. I’m glad you liked the show with Max Gillies who, incidentally, likes the ‘Juice Bar Girl’ song also. Peace.
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