Category Archives: Entertainment

The Ashes On Ice – Cricket Doesn’t Get Hotter™

So the “leadership group” (I use that term advisedly) of the Australian cricket team has sanctioned premeditated ball-tampering… cheating.

An early prototype of The Ashes On Ice™

Cricket Australia needs an urgent fix. Something to restore the faith of the Australian and global cricket fraternity.

Fear not. I’ve been rummaging around the team kit bag and next to the stained and battered protector, I discovered something that may just save Australian cricket: The Ashes On Ice.

This concept is an absolute jaffa* as Shane Warne says during British TV cricket commentary when he’s pretending to be English. *A jaffa in Australia has a different, orange / chocolatey meaning.

The Ashes On Ice. Just let that sink in.

Imagine the crowd chanting “LILLEE LILLEE” as Dennis Lillee circa 1975 slides to the top of his mark… turns, and comes steaming in from the Nursery End. Gold necklace bouncing…
moustache bristling… ice shredding… that look of unbridled fire towards W.G. Grace who is stoically anticipating a bouncer aimed at his throat. Oh, I didn’t mention the animatronics?

Think about it. Imagine seeing the long-departed Our Don Bradman, Fiery Fred Trueman,
Keith Miller, Richie Benaud and other legends of the game get off the ice and promptly back on it?

I already have boffins working in the shed on the technology where Jeff Thomson would try and knock over Sir Leonard Hutton, Beefy Botham at his prime sledging Victor Trumper who promptly hits him into his own stand at the SCG. Ian Chappell dancing down the pitch to Alec Bedser.
Tony Greig sticking his keys into the ice. The possibilities are endless.

Why ice? Why not.

We can recreate the infamous Bodyline series with those arch-villains Larwood, Jardine and Voce taking on the courageous Aussies.

It doesn’t have to stop at Australia v the old enemy. Imagine the unbeatable West Indies,
with the great Viv Richards just chilling out on the ice. Viv never wore a helmet when he batted,
he wouldn’t need ice skates.

The greats of India, South Africa, Pakistan and New Zealand… all battling it out.
Don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to relive the infamous underarm bowling incident… on ice?
Then there are the streakers…

“Yes, hello… is that Cricket Australia…?”

©Steve Williams 2018

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“The Force Awakenzzzzzzzzzzzzz” Mania Is Sending Me To Sleep

So Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in the coming days and the world
has lost its collective mind.

Darth Vader demonstrates how to kill people with a thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The insanity surrounding The Force Awakens started back in October when the trailer was released, and then reached tsunami proportions when Harrison Ford appeared on every possible Australian TV program and in the flesh at the Sydney Opera House. “I’m sure Harrison will notice me if I wear my Han Solo costume.” There were a couple of blokes dressed as Indiana Jones, who would have drawn death stares from the Jar Jar Binks types. That’s the insidious power of ‘Star Wars’ — I’ve never seen a film, but I know the bloody characters.

Ford always seems to be fairly bemused by the whole Star Wars thing and the legions of fans, which was evident during his interview with (self-confessed fan) Leigh Sales. Sure, Star Wars was his meal ticket and propelled his career at warp-factor speed (I know, wrong sci-fi term), but Ford often uses the words “work” and “a job” to describe his time seated next to his hirsute co-pilot.

The first Star Wars film was released a long time ago in a year far, far away: 1977. The same year as Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, and the Bee Gees released the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. No doubt hardcore Star Wars types have drawn some form of nerdish, non-existent, vortex-time-space-continuum-parallels between all three.

I was a young kid in 1977 and didn’t buckle to peer and advertising pressure to get on board the (Harrison Ford leg-fracturing) Millennium Falcon (see, I know that much). I was more interested in chasing girls, kicking a footy and playing cricket in the backyard than playing with Luke Skywalker figurines. Back then, being a smart arse, too-cool-for-school type of kid, I refused to see the film everyone was talking about. Thirty eight years later, nothing has changed. Each to their own.

Although, I’d much rather read about these hardcore Star Wars fans (have I used the word ‘geeks’ yet?) shooting each other in imaginary interplanetary battles at Star Wars conventions than psycho-terrorists on the streets of Paris doing the real thing, or a would be American President shooting his mouth off. Again.

Another issue I have with the whole Star Wars palaver is the concept of the money-grubbing prequel. Not a fan. They squeeze all the narrative and cash out of the several thousand sequels, and then Trevor pipes up with “I know! How about a prequel or twelve?” Sequels and prequels should be banned by the UN.

Let’s just hope reality TV shows don’t catch on. Imagine a Kardashian prequel — the pre-school years. It probably wouldn’t work because it would be before the days of selfies, belfies and lip fillers, but if you steal my idea Momager Kris Jenner, I want a cut.

I have to say my all-time favourite Star Wars scene is a stand up comedy bit by Eddie Izzard which some genius set to stop-motion Lego. The scene is set in the Death Star canteen and features the immortal line from that asthmatic bloke in black: “It’s not a game of who the f*ck are you.” The wickedly ingenious concept of killing people with trays and/or thoughts and a penne arrabiata shout out is brilliant.

If all the dialogue in the Star Wars films was as good, Eddie Izzard played every character and they were created in Lego, I’d be a lightsaber-wielding fan-boi.

As is, I’d rather be sleeping.

©Steve Williams 2016

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post Australia:
‘The Force Awakenzzzzzzzzzzzzz’ Mania Is Sending Me To Sleep

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FFS World, It’s Zoolander, Lighten Up

Sadly, I have suspected for quite a few years that the world has entirely lost its sense of humour, and it was confirmed this week.

An apparent non-non-binary Benedict Cumberbatch

I was reading one of the furious flood of online news articles screaming in outrage about a scene in the new Zoolander 2 movie.

No, correct that, a scene in the trailer of the new Zoolander 2 movie. So people are taking umbrage at a movie that hasn’t even been released yet.

FFS world, lighten up.

Apparently some (and our emphasise some) of our LGBT friends and outraged kindred spirits supposedly acting on their behalf are frothing at the mouth that the new film is sexist and transphobic. Really? The pitchforks and flaming torches are being aimed at a ten second scene involving Benedict Cumberbatch playing an apparent androgynous-looking model being asked if he has a hot dog or a bun.

That’s it. You’re losing your mind and clambering to the moral high ground over that? Seriously?

In another article, some earnest and no doubt well-meaning type was rabbiting on that a non-binary model should have been cast to play the Cumberbatch role. I have no idea what “non-binary” means. Is it algebra? (I was probably in the sick bay feigning death when they taught that bit at school)

As I said, all this is over a ten second scene in a movie nobody has seen. The Champagne corks would be popping in the Paramount Pictures marketing towers thanks to the gazillion dollars in free publicity. There are even petitions to ban the film. Now that’s hilarious.

It’s been a fairly shit year. The heartbreaking plight of refugees fleeing the Middle East and Africa resulting in dead children washing up on beaches, commercial planes being blown out of the sky, ISIS goons throwing people off buildings because of their sexual preference, a Sydney police accountant being shot in the back of the head by a fifteen year old as he left work, not to mention the recent events in Paris that killed 130 people whose only crime was going out on a Friday night.

We could do with a laugh. If Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Benedict Cumberbatch can provide a few in a light comedy, offending a few easily-offended in the process, then so be it.

As a kid, I was brought up on a healthy diet of comedy — English imports like Monty Python, Dave Allen, The Goon Show, Fawlty Towers, Derek and Clive, and brilliant Australian productions including The Naked Vicar Show, Paul Hogan, Blankety Blanks, The D-Generation, Doug Mulray, Andrew Denton etc, etc. Yes a lot of it was crass, immature, challenging, totally politically incorrect and simultaneously f*cking hilarious. Maybe they have all affected my moral compass Bermuda Triangle style, but I doubt it.

What happened? When did we lose our sense of humour? When was a jihad waged on satire and comedy?

Today people want to be outraged. They want to be angry and vent on Twitter and Facebook and violently hammer the keyboard creating cranky online petitions.

All of this is totally fine. You just need to make sure you’re angry and outraged over the important stuff, not a ten second bit in a movie trailer.

©Steve Williams 2015

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Rolf Harris: guilty of cultural cringe

I never liked Rolf Harris.

“When was the last time Rolf Harris actually went out here?”

Not quite true — as a young kid I liked his song The Court of King Caractacus. I’d enjoy the silly word play, giggling as the song sped up to its climax until I got the hiccups.

Now using the words “climax” and “Rolf Harris” in the same sentence conjures up disgust.

Many words have been written about his trial and conviction on indecent assault charges.
I’m not going to add to them, other than I hope his pathetically weak sentence is increased and the man rots in jail.

My dislike of Harris started long before his name was even linked to any wrongdoing.

Rolf Harris was too Australian, while simultaneously not Australian enough.
By that I mean he cashed in on and exploited his “Australian-ness”, though was too serious about it. He didn’t “take the piss out of himself” which would have endeared himself to the country he left, rarely returned to, yet made millions of pounds out of.

He was jingoistic at its worst — which didn’t go down too well with my fellow Australians.

It was so fake and as we say in Australia, “bunged on”. He was guilty of cultural cringe. I used to watch Harris painting his bog-standard landscape scenes of the Australian outback and the bush and wonder, “when was the last time you actually went out there?”

The Poms (and many Australians) lapped it up — this simple act of the misplaced Aussie overseas. Harris stuck to that act for over sixty years.

It turned out we couldn’t trust Harris, unlike British Paints that he flogged for years.

The sense of betrayal felt by English and Australian fans of Harris is quite palpable. Though this betrayal is obviously nothing compared to what his victims have and continue to endure.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Abbott: There is nothing like a Dame (or Sir)

So. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is heading back to the future by dusting off the titles of knights and dames, which were last seen down the back of a lounge in Government House nearly thirty years ago.

Greg Chappell knights a streaker


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tugging his forelock while facing Buckingham Palace, Mr Abbott said the honour would be extended to Australians of “extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit”.

There have been howls of protest from the left-wing-socialist-climate-change-is-real types,
but I for one, am all for it.

My dear Prime Minister, may I be so bold to offer a few suggestions? From the realm of entertainment, Dame Kylie Minogue is a given — for “services” to music and hot pants and Dame Dorothy The Dinosaur (one for the kiddies and / or Wiggles fans) for services to alliteration.

Sir George Lazenby is long overdue — Australia’s only James Bond (and fellow Goulburn boy) would take his rightful place among the other martini shaking and stirring knights Sirs Connery and Moore. What about Dame Lara Bingle for services to… um… there’s gotta be something…

Us Aussies love our sport (and not constructing sentences properly). Dame Evonne Goolagong Cawley is as easy a pick as a simple forehand volley, Sir Newk should get the nod purely for that moustache, and Sir Pat Rafter for services to “sorry mate”.

Cricket tosses up a few juicy full toss choices — Sir Warnie for services to texting and servicing super models, “arise, Sir Boof Lehman” (on bended knee in batting pads) definitely has a ring to it, and Sir Greg Chappell should be rewarded for circumcising streakers with a cricket bat.

Prime Minister, please take my advice rather than anointing the likes of Dame Gina Rinehart
and Sir Alan Jones. Though that would do wonders for the Australian Republic push…

©Steve Williams 2014

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How many Hollywood stars can a koala bear?

A speech from today’s (very) heated meeting of the Token Australian Animals Association.

A striking koala

“Dear Comrades,

I have called this emergency meeting as a result of today’s Katy Perry patting. Enough is enough! We must rise up against our blatant exploitation by affectionate actors and massaging musicians.

It is time we scratch a line in the tree and say a resounding NO!! to being manhandled for a clichéd photo opportunity while a visiting celebrity smiles into the camera and says “Geeday mate, I love Australia” minutes after arriving from the airport.

It was bad enough when they invaded our territory in zoos and wildlife parks with a fawning media pack, now we are expected to be shunted around hotels, TV studios and entertainment centres like some real life cuddly toy. “OMG, so cuuuute! Can I take it home?” NO!!!

With the royal visit of William, Kate and George imminent we urgently need to form an action plan, because rest assured, there will be koalas, there will be kangaroos!

Our trial Pissing-On Program failed, so we are on strike as of now!

As your president Kev Koala — that’s my stage name — I call on my marsupial and monotreme mates, snake sisters and Blue-tongue lizard brothers to follow our cause with your claws.

Today, I have been in contact with the Australian Funnel Web Spiders, Box Jellyfish and Other Really Deadly Aussie Animals Union, who strongly sympathise with us. Our courageous comrades will allow their members to be used for public appearances. These will the only Australian animals permitted for such wanton exploitation.

In closing, we will no longer be seen as a furry jingoistic souvenir that merely eats, roots and leaves. I ask you, “how much can a koala bear?”

©Steve Williams 2014

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Cash For Corby — Schapelle It Out

Unless you have been living on the far side of the Sun, you would know that Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been released after serving nine years in Bali’s Kerobokan jail.

The beauty school dropout (had to use that) went from cell to sell, allegedly signing a contract with the Seven Network rumoured to be around $2 million. There has been a lot of anger and moral navel gazing about rewarding a convicted criminal, including outraged comments from one of the network’s biggest stars, David Koch.

Schapelle auditions for Downton Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the criticism is extremely harsh, considering the enormous benefit Schapelle can bring to the network and the viewers of Australia. The sit-down “tell-all” interview with a weeping bonus may be on hold, but she could be better utilised across Seven’s other programs.

For starters, Deal Or No Deal, Smugglers, The Price Is Right, An Idiot Abroad, Reef Wranglers and Border Patrol are far too obvious — I’m thinking Schapelle could bust a few Balinese Barong moves or a boogie on Dancing With The Stars, then there’s Home Shopping and Pawn Stars.

Other programming options include My Kitchen Rules — I’m sure Schapelle could plate up a nice caramelised onion tart — with some added greenery, and what about Million Dollar Minute
Apparently that would only take her about two.

Surf Patrol is a no-brainer given Schapelle’s experience with aquatic equipment and Better Homes and Gardens given her apparent green thumb. With her reported experience with mules, she’d be a natural for RSPCA Animal Rescue. I can also picture Schapelle’s mum on Cougar Town or World’s Strictest Parents, and the entire klan method-acting on Swamp People — Keeping Up With The Korbys. 

On second thoughts, I shouldn’t give them any ideas…

©Steve Williams 2014

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A lovelorn Aussie’s letter to Kim Kardashian

“G’day Kim,

Sorry it’s takin’ me ages to write, but I’ve been off in me ute and just heard the news.

Kim, the Big Wanger is that way…

I can’t believe you punted me for that Carn Yay bloke.
At first I thought it was that Gotyay fella, at least he’s Aussie.

I heard youse and Carn Yay are gettin’ hitched ‘n have a kid named after a compass.

Fair dinkum. So this Carn Yay is ‘sposed to be some creative genius singer? Bullshit.

Yeah no, I reckon I have a pretty good crack at the Oils on Karaoke Night down at the RSL.

I nail Beds Are Burning… that was our song, remember? Not any more it ain’t.
I ‘spose now he sings you one of his crap songs or his sister Beyonsay.

Jeez, I had it all planned Kim.
You could have still done your TV show from out here in Wangarrabee. One of me mates bought one of them flash new Sony Betamax cameras at Cash Converters.

Was it the Aussie food? You know you can get your American food here, Barry at the local truckstop is famous for his Big Wanger.

I heard about Carn Yay’s proposal in that big stadium. He deadset ripped off my idea. I was gunna pop the question at the local footy oval, all me mates would’ve had their utes with the roo spotlights on full bore. Would’ve been lit up like a Christmas tree, real romantic n’that.

Anyhow Kim, I gotta go, they’re about to call the winner of the chook raffle.

Like that song by Carn Yay’s mother, I will always keep up with you.

Love, Trevor”

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2013

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An open letter to Hugh Jackman

Dear Hugh,

Ok, I get it… you’re an outrageously talented, actor, singer and dancer, Hollywood, Broadway and TV über-star.

The ugliest photo I could find (courtesy paulcush.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are an incredibly devoted husband to Deborra-Lee and loving father to Oscar and Ava. A generous philanthropist, you support and raise awareness of numerous charities and community projects. You’ve been voted the “Sexiest Man Alive”.

Your mantelpiece is groaning under the weight of awards including an Emmy and two Tony awards, as well as Theatre World, Broadway Audience, New York International Independent Film & Video Festival, Australian Film Institute, Film Critics Circle of Australia, People’s Choice, Teen Choice and Scream awards and now a Golden Globe. You might be adding to the collection with an Oscar.

You’ve hosted the Oscars and Tony Awards to critical acclaim. You’ve played (in no particular order) characters as diverse as Wolverine, Jean Valjean, The Easter Bunny, Van Helsing, The DroverCurly, Peter Allen and even a bloody penguin — and that’s just off the top of my head. You love footy, play the piano, guitar, violin and practice yoga. (UPDATE: as Geoff Thomson — another great cricket name — rightly says below, our Hugh can also “play cricket and face Warnie in the nets.”)

The perennial nice guy, your dazzling personality and laconic Australian humour shine through in every interview and appearance. Everyone loves you, there are no skeletons in your closet, you don’t try and run over paparazzi or throw phones at hotel staff.

I hope you realise just how much you make all us other Aussie blokes feel totally worthless and inadequate. Congratulations on the Golden Globe, you bastard.

Regards,

Steve Williams

©Steve Williams 2012

*This piece was published in the sadly now defunct The Punch by news.com.au

 

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