Friday, August 28, 2009

Nick Earls, Michael Jackson, Masterchef and the Rights of Spring

Again I must hold off the roast post but this is because I had a moment last night that I think will have to be put down in the top ten moments of this year and is a serious contender for the number one spot, though possibly trailing only slightly behind Miss B's birthday bash 3am Chambord taste testing, Mr M's return from the other Aust or the day I first tried a mortgage lifter tomato straight from the balcony garden. Either way I feel the need to relate it to the world of the internet.

Last night, due to the lastish minute dropping out of her rugby enthused husband, my cousin took me along to one of the more musical events for Melbourne Writer's Week. I had already witnessed Bernhard Shlink's amazing and thesis-galvanising keynote speech on Friday night and hadn't planned any other adventures into its program (I blame the financial limitations of being a postgraduate student who spends a disproportionate amount of her spare cash on a balcony garden.) I replied to her request in my hungover state on Monday morning, not really knowning what I was getting into. It was only about 2 hours before the show when I decided to look at exactly what it was. It was then that I realised it was a Michael Jackson tribute thingo, with a no holds barred reinterpretation of the songs from Thriller. Interesting concept, made all the more exciting when I read that Nick Earls was to be one of the interpreters.

Nick Earls is a name synonymous with happy downtime for me. He is a novelist, best known for his humerous fiction and is now an author of 13 books. My favourites are not the most well known. Number one would be Perfect Skin, followed closely by his short story collection Headgames. He isn't exactly the Shakespeare of our times but his plots, his plays on words and his well drawn characters give me all I need from the paper pages.

I got even more giggly when he walked in at the same time as Cuz K and I! She nudged me, I blushed, there were embaressed giggles, but Nick Earls, I am sure, remained oblivious. The show was packed, seriously packed, we were lucky to get a seat, up the front no less. Champagne in hand we waited for what was to be a very unique and absolutely humerous show. Nick Earls was obviously not the onloy performer, there are 9 tracks on Thriller. A host of Australias poetic talent and everpresent performers took to the stage, all humerous and intriguing in their own intepretations. But I was there for Earls (no technically I was there because Cuz A equated running round a rugby field as more impressive than watching performers wriggle around Thriller and Cuz K had kindly furnished me with his ticket.) He was the 5th to perform, and had the track Beat It to intepret. That was where the laughter began and didn't stop for about 6 and a half minutes, give or take the few seconds I had to gulp for air in order to remain conscious throughout.

To cut it short, and not to steal his thunder should this 'epic' intepretive tome ever reach the light of day he took Beat It to a culinary level, using the final few episodes of Masterchef as his thematic approach. He sang A Capella, with quite a level of competance (I suspect shower practicing sessions or the occasional youthful Karaoke night had a helping hand.) The whole audience was in hysterics. Never before and possibly never again will I ever get to see Nick Earls singing Masterchef to the tune of Michael Jackson's Beat It. Once in a lifetime, never to be repeated!

Anyway that's my glowing rant. I hope I didn't hype it too much because unless video evidence abounds I suspect this wonderous moment will be lost to the history of Melbourne Writer's Week. Still I was glad I got to see it. Thanks Cuz A for liking rugby more, thanks Cuz K for furnishing me with the ticket (hope you liked your thai thankyou dinner) and thankyou mostly to Nick Earls for making me laugh so hard I nearly, well, I won't add in any cliche there, it would not suffice.

And just to tie this into the garden ... we have some newbies to welcome. Brand new tumbler tomatoes! Mortgage Lifters to follow shortly, plus more colourful creations. Planting tomatoes is definitely a signal that spring has pretty much sprung!


Jodi Cleghorn said...

As a massive Nick Earls fan also - I'm green with envy to read about this. Nothing quite so crazy happened at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. And I found it via Nick's Twitterfeed.

One can hope the festival organisers had it filmed - well I can hope!

Perfect Skin and Headgames are also my favs ... though Tru Story of Butterfish is a bloody good read too - not quite as many laughs, but as deeply poingnant and vulnerable as all the others.

prue said...

Jodi - At least you got to enjoy writers in the relative warmth of Byron Bay, I'd see that as a definite plus! I do hope for your sake they did. The other performers were amazing too, but in my Nick Earls biased haze he had pretty much stolen the show before it had started.

So funny this post made it onto twitter (something I am still pretty clueless about.) I think the beetroot state of blushing will take a while to recede!

Imogen Lamport said...

I had lunch with Nick today he told me about last night and said it would be a once off, never to be repeated performance, he also said he was happy that you enjoyed the performance so much, but don't expect him to ever sing in public again.