Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? I have cookies for everybody! Haha. A few days after the announcement of Meghan Markle's engagement to Prince Harry, "The Daily Mail" ran an article charting Markle's family history. Check it out...
Well, we knew coverage of Markle wasn't all going to be perfect, but this sort of article is particularly troubling as it is not completely overt. The article headlines are examples of systemic racism. Whereas Markle's white father's family is described by their jobs, the mother's family is just "dirt poor." The article headline defines Markle's black heritage on the basis of slavery and so very incorrectly states that the Civil War resulted in unadultered freedom for former slaves. The general reaction with people has reflected how this type of response was expected but is nonetheless painful. This sort of coverage is not new for the "Mail." Again, completely expected.
On November 2nd, Americans enjoyed a few fleeting moments of relief after President Trump's Twitter account was temporarily disabled for 11 glorious minutes. And now we know who we can thank for that. Meet Bahtiyar Duysak... the hero America needs, but not the hero America deserves. Duysak is a German citizen with Turkish roots who was doing customer support for Twitter’s Trust and Safety division while in the U.S. on a work and study visa. It was Duysak's job to sort through the thousands of reports of abusive behavior on Twitter and determine which are legitimate and which are not. On his very last day of work at Twitter, Duysak says that a report on one of Donald Trump's tweets popped up on his computer. Donald Trump's account is reportedly exempt from any content flagging due to it's apparent "newsworthiness," so Duysak decided to jokingly set the president's account to "deactivate," thinking the report would never actually go through. Well, we all know how that turned out. It didn't take long for Duysak to see the ramifications of his prank. Although some were upset with the stunt, many were calling Duysak, whose identity at that time was unknown, a hero. But all the attention... good and bad... made him uncomfortable. "I want to continue an ordinary life. I don’t want to flee from the media,' he told TechCrunch in an exclusive interview. "I didn’t do any crime or anything evil, but I feel like Pablo Escobar, and slowly it’s getting really annoying." He added, "But I love Twitter, and I love America." Yeah, dude, we know! Duysak says he is no longer interested in a career in tech, and is considering a job in finance. Well, he definitely went out on a high note!
A day after his public termination from "The Today Show" due his history of sexual assault and harassment, Matt Lauer has spoken out. Lauer released an apology, which Savannah Guthrie read on "Today." Read the full statement, "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It's been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace." Rather than shy away from the scandal or stand behind Lauer, NBC is (finally) confronting the story head-on. After the statement was read on "Today," NBC's Stephanie Gosk reported on Lauer's history of sexual harassment and past victims who are now coming forward. Gosk went so far as to read Variety's negative comments about NBC and how former complaints about Lauer "fell on deaf ears." That a number of women from Lauer's own show are presenting on Lauer's story makes this coverage powerful: it is a major change from how sexual predators' legacies have been protected in the past. The public have been quick to point out how Lauer's statement is problematic. If he follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, Lauer will hide away at a swanky sex rehab center in an attempt to rehabilitate his image.
Today in News That Will Totally Not Surprise You, it turns out that in 2000, Donald Trump told a reporter profiling him for the now-defunct "Maximum Golf" magazine that “there is nothing in the world like first-rate pussy.” Well, if that's not presidential, I don't know what is. The journalist, Michael Corcoran, was spending the weekend with Trump at his Florida club, Mar-A-Lago, when the comment was made about a "young socialite" one evening at dinner, according to The Daily Beast. Corcoran apparently ended his profile with the quote ("the kicker"), but the comment never made it to print, because a top editor at the magazine wouldn't allow it. Instead, the word "pussy" was changed to "talent." I'm no magazine editor, but I'm pretty sure those two words are not synonyms. Corcoran's editor, Joe Bargmann, told The Daily Beast, “I was asked to change the last word of the story from ‘pussy.’ When I refused, my top editor changed the quote." (At the time, "Maximum Golf"'s top editor was Michael Caruso, who hasn't returned The Daily Beast's request for a comment.)
When I imagine Christmas being ruined, I envision the Grinch slithering down the chimneys of Whoville and grabbing every Christmas gift and wreath in sight. While that imagine certainly conjures more festive concern, the real threats on Christmas this year is primarily a shoddy traveling algorithm. More specifically, a computer glitch for American Airlines could possibly ruin the holiday for thousands of people. Basically, the glitch automatically gave all of the American Airlines’ pilots to take their vacations during the week of Christmas. According to Reuters, this means as many as 15,000 December flights currently lack pilot assignments. In an attempt to solve the problem, American Airlines is offering pilots one-and-a-half times their normal rates to help fill in. However, a grievance filed by the union against management claims this offer violates restrictions on overtime pay. Understandably, travelers across the country are concerned about the possible tamper on their Christmas plans. While the fate of Christmas is still partially hanging in the balance, a spokesperson for American Airlines released an updated statement yesterday afternoon. According to the statement, they are planning to avoid all cancelations and thusly, save Christmas. "We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season. We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 percent of their hourly rate... as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.” This is a huge relief. It looks like once more... Christmas will be save from the clutches of hell.
Meanwhile, in Russia...
Haha. You know, sometimes there's directions in life you just might need that will help you. Luckily, there are signs for that...
Whew! I have never been arrested but if I do I hope I'm not wearing this t-shirt...
Haha. Actually, I almost purchased that t-shirt a few times in my life. I do like to do what I am told but some people take it just a little bit too far...
Haha. Well, the sign does say "men's hats" in that guys defense. If I had a TARDIS I would want to go back in time and try to save John Lennon from being shot and killed. I'd take a bullet for him, but knowing my luck I'll get there and see this...
So, one of the best parts of the Internet is you can see porn really easily... and for free. So, as you can imagine trying to be entertaining and not having people stop reading your blog and go look at porn is hard. So, I thought why not show a pic from a porn clip here so you don't have to leave. But then I thought what about if you are at work or school... I wouldn't wanna get you in trouble. So, I came up with a solution...
You are welcome. Hey, where in the world is Matt Laurer?
Oh, boy. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...
Top Phive Surprising Phacts About Prince Harry And Meghan Markle
5. They met on the Royals-only version of Tinder.
4. Queen Elizabeth already had a soft spot for Meghan, since she's a "Suits" fanatic.
3. Meghan's adorable pet name for Harry is "Harry."
2. Their gift registry includes a new moat, his-and-her scepters, and plenty of Tupperware.
And the number one surprising fact about Prince Harry and Meghan is...
1. They ain't gonna make it.
If you spot the Mindphuck and I am sure you will let me know. Hey, it's Thursday. You know what that means...
In 2004, Turkish man Mehmet Yilmaz squirted milk from his eye into a coffee cup at a distance of 2 meters and 70 centimetres, setting a bizarre new Guinness World Record. Mr Yilmaz, 28, has mastered the discipline of eye-squirting... sucking milk through the nose into the eye before squirting it out across a table. Ugh! and here's me drinking a French vanilla organic protein shake.
Okay, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff...
Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile... so, today's pheatured guest os Colin Hay. Were you a big fan of Men At Work growing up? I think you were.
Jeff: Always glad to be back here on the Phile for some Phootball Talk. Of course I was a fan of Colin Hay and Men at Work. He also cover a Men At Work song on "Scrubs" once and actually appeared to sing the song, then they did the classic Animal House scene where someone grabbed the guitar out of his hands and smashed it while he was playing.
Me: Ha! I remember that. So, did you see Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib got into a full-fledged brawl that led to both players being ejected? Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. claims Crabtree sucker-punched him prior to the brawl? This is kinda unusual. right?
Jeff: There's been a few fights in the last few weeks. Both players have been suspended because of that fight. Talib ripped a chain off Crabtree, which is the second time he's done it to the wide receiver!
Me: So, did Cameron Wake try to tear Tom Brady’s ACL with a leg kick? Did you hear this story? Unfortunately Brady didn't get hurt... hahaha.
Jeff: I've said it before, I'll say it again. Regardless of my personal feelings towards a player, I don't want to see anyone get seriously injured. Not even Tom Brady. Yes, I saw the story of Wake. I think it's pathetic. How would Dolphin fans react if someone tried to injury Wake?
Me: This was awesome... during the Broncos-Raiders game in Oakland, the Raiders took a second to honor Mickey Ganitch, a 98-year old Pearl Harbor survivor and diehard fan of the Oakland Raiders. During the tribute, Mickey looked like he could still shed a block or two and was ready to suit up for his Oakland Raiders. Would you ever like to suit up and play one game with the Steelers, Jeff? No way would I ever like to suit up... unless it was the Giants' mascot. Hahaha.
Jeff: Would I ever suit up? Nope. Not at this point in my life. It would end badly.
Me: So, what do you think about Eli not being the starter QB? I’m sad. I have a feeling he’s going to the Broncos next season.
Jeff: I understand why they are doing it, it's been a dismal season, but I also feel bad for Eli considering he had the longest active starting streak. It's one thing to bench him for injury. The Giants have a lot of problems this season, not just Eli.
Me: True. Okay, so, what NFL news do you have?
Jeff: Speaking of injuries, the QB of the 49ers got injured late in the game. They brought in Jimmy Garappolo who they had traded for earlier in the season. 49er fans were cheering their own player got hurt, which didn't sit well with some players on the team. And I can't say I blame them!
Me: It would of been nice if the Giants won on my birthday but there's no point of winning now... they'll be better losing and getting a better draft pick, right?
Jeff: I'd say I'm surprised the Giants lost, but come on now. And yes, at this point they are probably tanking the season to get higher draft picks.
Me: So, Disney has taken over another team...
Jeff: I hope that mascot doesn't choke late in games in Super Bowls or anything. Sorry. Couldn't resist.
Me: Ha! Okay, so, how did we do last week?
Jeff: You gained a little on me last week! You went 2-0 and I went 1-1. The Steelers won, Giants lost. I still have a lead, that's mostly based off the Steelers winning more. I only have 3 more predictions right then you do.
Me: Damn Giants. Let's do this week's picks... I say Seahawks by 4 and Falcons by 6. What do you pick?
Jeff: I'm going Rams by 6 and Chargers by 2.
Me: Okay, I'll see you back here next Thursday.
Jeff: See you next week.
Okay, so, a "friend" of the Phile says it's okay if Trump retweets fake videos. What? She wanted to come onto the Phile to talk about it so please welcome once again to the Phile...
Sarah: Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine... hi, Jason.
Me: Hi, Sarah. So, yesterday Trump's tweets went to the next level, where the first level was already outrageous.
Sarah: Yes, I know it's hard to believe that the president could top some of his previous classics in shock value.
Me: Yup. But his Wednesday morning series of retweets, sharing unverified, inflammatory, nakedly anti-Muslim videos caused a collective jaw to drop. Via the "New York Times," "The videos were titled: 'Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!,' 'Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!' and 'Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!' As the "New York Times" pointed out, "it was unclear on Wednesday morning whether the perpetrators in the videos were [actually] Muslim."
Sarah: Jason, Vice.com put it this way, "There is, however, nothing on this original site to indicate that the perpetrator was either Muslim or a migrant." For their part, the Netherlands Embassy denied the man in one of the videos was a "Muslim migrant."
Me: Sarah, where there's outrageous tweets, there's a spokesperson to defend them. You defended them, right? What did you say?
Sarah: I said, "Whether it is a real video, the threat is real," I told a group of reporters, Notably, this time, I did not use term "fake news." I said, "Whether it is a real video, the threat is real. That is what the president is talking about, that is what the president is focused on is dealing with those real threats, and those are real no matter how you look at it." You can make up whatever you want as long as you're promoting something important.
Me: Sounds like a plan.
Sarah: Yep. See how this works?
Me: Sarah, others weren't having so much fun.
Sarah: Regardless of if the president's videos are actually legitimate. The threat needs to be addressed. The threat has to be talked about and that is what the president is doing in bringing that up.
Me: Sarah, are you surprised that the "fake news doesn't matter" defense didn't sit well with anyone?
Sarah: Jason, the videos President Trump retweeted are from a "tiny fringe group of anti-Muslim activists in Britain" and were met with an especially loud denouncement from the U.K.
Me: Now here's a tweet from Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at Infowars (yes, the far-right conspiracy theory website)...
Me: Where even Infowars sees a problem, you see a president "focused on... dealing with those real threats." Good sign.
Sarah: Thank you. Are we done?
Me: For now. Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, everybody.
Thanksgiving might have been last week, but President Donald Trump captured the spirit of insulting Native Americans today. Trump honored Native American World War II veterans in front of a painting of the man who signed the Indian Removal Act and by dropping an ethnic slur on Elizabeth Warren, because he thinks being Native is an insult. The only way this could have been more offensive was if he presented them with Washington Redskins jerseys while singing "Ugh-A-Wug" from Peter Pan. Senator Elizabeth Warren responded, highlighting just how sad it is that what's supposed to be an event honoring heroes turned into the president doing dumb, racist, open mic-caliber standup jokes. Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that "Pocahontas" isn't a racial slur, but also failed to explain why Trump would try to smear a political rival at an event honoring Navajo Code Talkers. It's not an appropriate time for partisan namecalling, like the BOY SCOUT JAMBOREE. "Pocahontas" quickly started trending on Twitter, and not because it's the name of a Disney movie with pretty good songs. Another shining moment for the Trump Presidential Library.
The 71st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Lol will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks. I'm excited.
A little boy goes up to his father and asks, "Dad, what's the difference between hypothetical and reality?" The father replies, "Well son, I could give you the book definitions, but I feel it could be best to show you by example. Go upstairs and ask your mother if she'd have sex with the mailman for $500,000." The boy goes and asks his mother, "Mom, would you have sex with the mailman for $500,000?" The mother replies, "Hell yes I would!" The little boy returns to his father. "Dad, she said 'Hell yes I would!'" The father then says, "Okay, now go and ask your older sister if she'd have sex with her principal for $500,000." The boy asks his sister, "Would you have sex with your principal for $500,000?" The sister replies, "Hell yes I would!" He returns to his father. "Dad, she said 'Hell yes I would!'" The father answers, "Okay son, here's the deal... Hypothetically, we're millionaires, but in reality, we're just living with a couple of whores."
Me: Hey there, Colin, welcome to the Phile, sir. It's so great to have you here. How are you?
Colin: My pleasure. I'm good.
Me: Okay, so, I first became a big fan of Men at Work when "Business As Usual" came out, and then I got "Cargo" on cassette for a New Years Day present in 1983. Anyway, all this time I thought you were Australian but you are not from there, right? Where are you from originally, Colin?
Colin: Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, on the southwest of Scotland originally. I moved to Australia when I was fourteen.
Me: Cool. I never knew that. Anyway, I love your new album "Fierce Mercy," sir. I love the title, it's a great oxymoron. Where did it come from, Colin?
Colin: Thanks. It's not really my title. My songwriting partner, Michael Georgiades, came around with a music idea and he played me a song and said "fierce mercy," that's all I've got. When we finished all the songs Gary West from Compost Records said to me, "So, do you still want to call the record 'Fierce Mercy'?" I had no recollection of ever saying that's what I wanted to call the record. But I said to him yes, and he said fair enough. That's how that happened, but Michael had a bit of a health scare which didn't take him out, just tapped him on the shoulder saying, "excuse me, you better address this." So, there was some velocity to it, but it was also so merciful.
Me: I love the single "A Thousand Million Reasons." That's a lot of bloody reasons. And why sing about Paris? Was that your idea?
Colin: It was Michael's impetus. He called me up on a Sunday and he said, "I have this idea... come over." So, I went over to his house and he had this old optogorn, a keyboard from the 80s, made by Mattel which uses tapes, so it's kind of like a toy for adults. It's got this fanciful, fairground quality to it. You put in rhythms and it does these random things which sounds like nothing else. So, he played the music on that and it was like a jaunty little piece. He said, "Come up with something, come up with something." I was sitting at his house and I just picked up a magazine and there was an article about Paris. I told him to keep playing that thing so he kept playing it faster and faster and I just wrote down the words quickly in about a half an hour or 45 minutes. I have them to him and he said, "Wow! These lyrics are really good. Did you write these?" He was joking, but it was like a nice backhanded compliment. It was a bickering process really. I've known him for many years and he kept on coming over with song ideas which I really liked, so we just worked on it. He's retired, you see, so he has a lot of time on his hands. Some of them he would play on the telephone and I would say that's a good one, skip that one, let's do that one. "Come Tumbling Down" was my idea, and "Secret Love" was mine. "A Thousand Million Reasons" was his and "Fierce Mercy," so it as a mixture who brought what to the table.
Me: Do you prefer to write on your own or with somebody else? Did you plan to co-write on this album?
Colin: Well, I wrote a couple of songs myself and finished them, but I had about fifty or sixty things on my phone which were just rough ideas. I like to play them for someone quickly and just run through them. I run through them myself and think that's quite good, but I'm never sure if they are good enough. But when I run through them with Michael he'll say what's that, that's good. Most of the time it coincided with that I thought was good, so I got confirmation in a sort of way. But that's an unusual thing, I've only co-written a little bit. I hadn't done it very much. I had three people in my life where I've felt a kind of strong connection in that way where it opens my mind up. There's a guy called Gate in Melbourne who I used to play with in the mid-70s. He was a 12 string player who used to play things and I was like, wow, what was that? Then there was Ron, the other guitar player in Men at Work who was like that, and Michael. He just turned 71, so he's been around since the 60s. He opened up for the Doors in 1968, so he's got all this history, he grew up in the 50s. He's an addict as well, of alcohol, so we connected on that. We don't drink anymore, so we obsess about guitars. Two weeks after we met he called me after midnight one night and asked me what I was doing. I said nothing, and he said, "Wanna go down to Fullerton and look at a couple of amps? Sam Hutton has a couple of amps." Sam Hutton used to work for Fender and he a couple of reverb amps in his garage. He just got them and throughout they were clean, that they were good. So, we get into this old F-150, and headed down the 101, and we became friends and started writing songs. But it is a bickering process trying to make them good. Neither one of us had particularly worked with other people for years, so it was sort of a little bit experimental but it worked really well. One of the things he would do is come around with a musical idea which was pretty often, and was good for me as I could just go through lyric ideas and come up with a whole set of lyrics and he was amazed by that. It was a cool process.
Me: I like the song "I'm Going to Get You Stoned." Who are you talking to in that song, Colin, and why? Haha.
Colin: It wasn't a particular person, there's quite a few people in the last few years especially since the "Scrubs" thing I would get these young hippies come up to the shows and they would ask me about things like "what was it like back then?" I hadn't really had that experience in reality where I want to get anybody stoned, but it was just the idea of MY fantasy of how fantastic that was when I first was stoned and somebody did that for me. It just went poof, opening up all these doors doing that with Greg Ham, saxophone player for Men at Work. Just all those creative doors that it opened, but then looking at it now, looking at the reality... Hunter S. Thompson would say you could see where the tide line is, where hope proceeded at the end of the 60s, it's just oh, fuck, the world is not going to change. It's all the same shit, Nixon got into power, and they took away Muhammeed Ali's crown, and you realized everything's the same. But for a minute you thought oh, maybe the world can change for the better.
Me: There's a few story type songs on this album, like "Frozen Fields of Snow" and "Blue Bay Moon." Where did those come from? Do you like writing those kind of songs?
Colin: With "Frozen Fields of Snow" I had this little musical idea and didn't have anything to go with it, then an elderly gentleman appeared in my brain, and I was standing in his kitchen looking out at the frozen fields of snow. Having gone through his whole life, he keeps on coming back to his house, because that's where his family was. Now he's family is all gone he's the only one left. I don't really know but in my head he;s trying to figure out what what to do with the house... either to sell it or keep it. He'll probably sell it. The only thing that was the constant was the fields of snow. So, it's just going through things in his head, what happened during his life. I liked that song, I played it for Michael as well, and he got annoyed by it. Haha. "Blue Bay Moon" was him... he came over and had this idea and I tried to compliment it and he said, "No, it's much more simpler than that." What I think he meant to say was "Blue Moon Bay" or he told me that later, but he said "Blue Bay Moon," and I said I liked that title. He said, "That's it... I've got nothing else." I said what about it's about a guy that's wondering about his wee town and he sees this lights over the bay and no one else saw them. He then runs around and trying to convince the people in his town he had this transcendence experience of seeing a spacecraft fro somewhere else. Apart from that his life is pretty dreary. He's just walking about the town, he tries to leave it, but he comes back, and maybe a bit depressed, but this is one thing he has, that no one can take away from him. He saw that.
Me: So, do you have any rituals day to day to keep you working, Colin? You have released a lot of music and are always working.
Colin: I involve myself with a bit of self trickery where I tell myself it's all over. I've got nothing. And I wonder around thinking what else am I going to do. I could do this, or I could do that... all the things I can possibly do with my life. Then after awhile a part of my conscious starts to rebel until I think I have an idea, and I have this sort of inner dialogue. I'm sort of half joking and half serious as well where I just should of leave it for alone for awhile, especially after I finish a record. I just sort of leave to alone and don't think of writing songs at all. But what I do is I try to practice playing the guitar. I think I'm just going to try and be a guitar player now, and be a side man which I will not be very good at. I imagine myself getting a job, being hired by somebody, so I try and learn the intro "Johnny B. Good" or something. I don't think I could manage playing that every night the same way. After awhile I maybe will learn a different chord that takes me somewhere else then all of a sudden I'm going down this road that I think that's an interesting idea. Then I think it'll turn into something or not. To me it's like trickery, I just try to avoid it, and then out kind of comes to me.
Me: You've been playing the guitar since you were a kid, am I right? What was the first song you learnt how to play, Colin?
Colin: Yeah, since I was 12, so I should be good. I learnt how to play "House of the Rising Sun" which has most of the chords you'd need. That song will fuck you up, that one.
Me: How old were you when you started to write your own songs?
Colin: I started writing songs when I was 14. I don't remember them, but they were probably rubbish.
Me: Your parents had a music shop, right? Did they sell musical instruments or records?
Colin: All that. Pianos, guitars and drums. My father was one of those people who was a great singer and a great dancer. I pretty much know he was a writer, who can write anything. He wrote a couple of things. He had that talent, but didn't follow it, he didn't pay attention to it. I remember going around to see him one day a few years before he died and he said, "Hey, I saw this guy on the television the other day, Snoop Dogg! He's got pigtails. He's very good. I just wore this wee poem when I was listening to him." He just wrote this song that was really good called "Use By Date" about how he's passed his use by date, but maybe not. It was a cool song, and I thought that's good. You get it from somewhere, but he didn't really believe he had that talent. He actually knew he had the talent but just didn't do it. He said he don't want to be on the stage anymore. I think something sort of freaked him out about it, that's what I expected. An interesting thing, that's interesting to me anyway, but since he died which was in 2009, there was a sort of subtle thing that happened where I would be performing and selfishly wanting to feel close to them all the time... close to my father and mother because they were both gone and I was very close to them, I wanted to somehow physicalize them. So, I would talk about them in the show and I would just try to realize them in some way. I felt very much inhabited by them since he died. I felt like in a weird way I was performing the shows that he never performed. I'm not religious at all, I know they're gone, but it's almost like they are inhabiting me, they are apart of my DNA.
Me: I know what you mean, I feel the same thing about both of my parents who I lost. Who is the song "She Was the Love Of Mine" about? I kinda wish I wrote that song about somebody I know.
Colin: My mother. At the last year of my mother's life I got to spend a lot of time with her back in Melbourne, at this wee flat that overlooks the bay. We were watching the ships go out every night and she was ill, taking a lot of drugs and stuff for the pain. On my computer I had this photograph of this wedding from 1944, and it had all these people in the wedding. In the morning, we would get up, have a cup of coffee, open the computer and I would go "okay, whose that person there?" She would go, "That's Ethel. She was a naughty girl. She had an affair." She would tell me about all these people and that's how we spent months, talking about all these people in the photograph. I valued that so much, it was a great way to just spent the time, talking about these people that I never knew.
Me: Okay, so, let's talk about Men at Work as my readers and your fans would get mad if we didn't. How did the song "Down Under" come to be? I don't think I knew when that song came out it was actually about Australia... I don't think I knew Australia was called Down Under then. Actually, I'm sure I did...
Colin: Ron used to have wee cassette tapes that were brilliant, and he would have about fifteen to twenty ideas on a tape. We would have bottles with different levels of liquid in each one and that's how the sound on the beginning of the record came to be. It was like a trance groove, or chill-out music, before it was called chill-out music. I had the phrase "living in the land down under" separate from that, but I had that running around in my head. I was driving down the street line day and I started singing that over his tape. I thought that was something, that's where that came from. It was that door that opened up and the door was in that room, so to speak.
Me: What is the song about, Colin, not just about Australia?
Colin: It's about the typical Australian traveling overseas. If you go to Australia, especially as an immigrant, it's awesome in the true sense of the word. I was hippie and worried about the selling of the county to the Japanese, or the Chinese, or the Brtish, or the Americans, as it was so pristine comparatively, it was a huge place selling stuff that could me made into uranium and made into bombs. There was desegregation of the coastal lands and they were knocking down the forests. There was also the incredible oppression of the indigenous people that's been going on since we got there and seemed to be not getting any better. That's not really directly dealt with in the song but in essence it was the spirit of the place, how the uniqueness was being lost, but it's ultimately still a song about celebration. It's like the fact that we have to try and look after it. I don't know if it says that lyrically, as you can only say so much, but the ides was a lot of men who didn't really even understand the beauty of what they were. They were walking around completely unconscious of the land they were in. There's a lot opt people who are "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!" and flag waving. There's something a lot more precious about the place and we are in danger of losing that. I think that's still the case, but Aboriginal people have a different take on that song. They sort of get it in a different way. If you go on-line there's some different Abroginal versions of "Down Under." These kids have taken it like it's almost a different song but it's "Down Under." It's illegal and fantastic at the same time. They took this song, as it's really their song.
Me: Okay, I have to ask "Who Can It Be Now?" That song is heavy on sax, so I was wondering if it was written that way.
Colin: It was written in guitar. It sounded spooky and interesting and haunting so Greg played that. Interestingly when we played that live it didn't come in til half way through the song. When we did to live the sax was in the middle of the song only. When we recorded it the producer said to bring that saxophone to the front of that song, it was no good languishing half way through. When we were playing it live no one cared as everyone was getting fucked up so it doesn't really matter.
Me: What about "Be Good Johnny"? Where did that song come from?
Colin: Greg and I were sitting in the studio and no one else showed up. He was playing that run down keyboard and I just started singing "be good, be good." We were taking about writing it from the sand point of a 19-year-old boy. So, we just sat there and he was playing that and I just had the chance of repeating that line over and over again. We had that, then we worked back from that and just put the versions in accordingly. I think it's just the idea of being misunderstood, I think everybody could relate to, you know.
Me: So, after Men at Work broke up, what did you do? How was it for you starting a solo career?
Colin: I was two years sober so I started to think about addiction being a gambler and just play one more hand here, or just looking back it's cliche really but it's just who I was. I was going a bit mad too, I was thinking to myself, hey, I used to be somebody. Now it was the world turns away and I observed that and didn't get caught up in it. I thought that's interesting, people don't give a fuck anymore. What do I do about that? So I thought I might as well take the first step which was leaving the house and doing gigs for nobody. And I dealt with it that way. That in a sense creates an action and very people would come for many, many years, so I played for twenty to twenty-five people. People would order a CD so I'd put it in a wee bag and take it down the post office and send it off. Five or six years I was doing that, and I didn't particularly like doing it but that's something I had to do. I would look around and see no one else was in the room so I thought I'd better do it. I had tunes coming all the time which was good, then I would play places and people would realize there's hardly anybody in the room and they'd go please don't stop doing this, and so the wee things were meaningful and people were getting stuff out of it. I felt useful, and I know it sounds not like much, but really that got me by when I thought I was useful in someway, when I just came along doing a service here.
Me: What is your favorite song you recorded with Men at Work, Colin?
Colin: "Overkill." I brought it to the band but they just didn't see it, we were rehearsing and I played it and was so excited about it, I thought it was such a good song but I got no reaction. They then went to lunch and so I just recorded it myself in a wee demo studio. I played the drums, and I played the bass and guitar and sang it. When you have a band it's great because everyone has their thing but sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's not so good. I thought to myself, oh, if I don't have a band I'll be okay because I am complete and I don't need anybody else. I thought maybe I could be a songwriter if I don't continue with a band.
Me: Okay, I have to ask you about the song "I Come Tumbling Down" from the new album. Where did that song come from? It's my favorite song from the new album I think.
Colin: I had the idea on my iPhone of "I Come Tumbling Down." It's just climate change, large populations of people looking for somewhere to live, and I just had this image of people dancing in all different cultures. They have a way of dancing, a way of release which connects everybody which seems to be lost. There is some hope, it's not like okay, let's do nothing. I suppose in the narrative of it it's saying while everything is collapsing just dance... dance your way out of it. It's advocating escapism in someway. I don't really want to do that, but it just kind of suits the song. Things just get a bit bleak... we worked together, Michael and I, it's just the image of a Greyhound bus, which is to me just an American thing and there's the second verse of drinking and going that up. When I used to wake up with horrendous hangovers it was deathly, but to me being in the south often you could hear the screams of slavery. I'm just dropping in all these cultures, and the idea if just the child being in some war torn zone who had seen everything but yet has some kind of hope. That's really where the song came from.
Me: Thank you, Colin, for being on the Phile. My good friend Rich is a huge fan so I am sure he wants me to tell you hi. Please come back to the Phile again soon, and I hope to see you in concert down here in Florida soon.
Colin: Hi, Jason's friend Rich. It was my pleasure, Jason. Thank you very much, it was nice to chat to you.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile, Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and of course Colin Hay. The Phile will be back on Sunday with Keith Moffat from The Retroaction. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker