The Right Side of the Bed
ZENOBIA FROST whips the blankets off The BEDROOM PHILOSOPHER Diaries.
ZENOBIA FROST: You’re bringing your songs and spoken word up north, Awkwardstra in tow. How can Queensland prepare for this incoming hipslosion?
BEDDY PHIL: Just eat a good square meal beforehand — perhaps do some exercise during the day so that you are nice and settled and ready to listen attentively. Drink plenty of fluids during the performance and perhaps take some gum to stimulate saliva.
ZF: You’ve recently released a new memoir, The Bedroom Philospher Diaries. Whet our appetites; spin us a salacious tale from the collection.
BP: I was talking to a cute girl for ages and eventually asked her up to my room where we sat for a while and I asked if I could kiss her and she said she had a boyfriend so I said okay and then we went back downstairs.
ZF: Neil Gaiman says that your new book is all about veggie burgers, but surely The Diaries expose the sordid lifestyle behind comedy art-folk. Neil is just lying so that we writers, hipsters and nerds can go about our debaucheries in secret, right?
BP: My new book is probably more about me being secretly depressed and/or angry most of the time. I think this surprises people. It surprises them and it troubles them. They worry about me. I get this a lot lately. “Justin, are you okay?” Or I do an interview on radio and people ring up and say, “Is he okay or is that just an act.” My book is all about being honest. Reality TV pretends to “lift the curtain” on what goes on behind the scenes in the industry — I’m trying to lift the curtain on what goes on emotionally. (With jokes). That’s far more interesting to me. Social media is all about hype, politeness and a manic state of unrealistic positivity. Fuck that. Life’s a fucking epic struggle so why not talk about that like responsible adults? Australians have an awful time talking about mental weirdness — I happen to identify with it. It’s the corduroy fabric of my being. Most artists are socially awkward weirdos — let’s embrace it.
ZF: What about the forthcoming album you’ll be sampling from — what’s in store?
BP: An erotic bogan rap that is Wake In Fright meets Missy Elliot. (Not Missy Higgins — I’m always getting the two mixed up . . . just like John Butler and Jon Spencer . . . it’s embarrassing at hipster parties to blurt out the wrong names . . .) A hip-hop song about Cars 2 and an ode to technology, because — let’s face it — we are all addicted to computers. Oh well, there goes the element of surprise. The interview format is fatally flawed.
ZF: Ben Law is a master of memoir, while Candy B recently had us shakin’ what our mammas gave us Australian Booty. How did you select this unexpected — and splendid — collection of supports?
BP: I’m pretty sick of the three-band bill. I think most bands are punching above their weight on the entertainment scale. I’m interested in stories and words and people listening. I respect these two artists and think we should see more eclectic programming in music venues. Poetry and spoken word shouldn’t have to lurk in bookstores or dodgy pubs. Let’s make it the “new rock’n’roll”. (Which is the old ‘acid-jazz.’)
ZF: Will Ben be live-tweeting the Black Bear Lodge gig?
BP: Yes, he’ll also be defending his Media Watch slamming from last night. They took issue with him suggesting some bulls have genitals that weight 1000kg.
ZF: How did you feel the first time you went on stage to support The Dresden Dolls? Did you ever imagine that you might share the stage with a punk-cabaret duo?
BP: It was good playing to 1000 people. I feed off the energy like a vampire in a hot air balloon. It was amazing how Amanda came out and introduced me. I heard the Arctic Monkeys hadn’t even said hello to their support acts. The Dresden Dolls are passionate and generous and fortunately this is reflected in their audiences.
ZF: How’s the 86 tramline doing these days? Any improvements since the release of Songs from the 86 Tram? (I recommend against using Brisbane buses, while you’re here, by the way.)
BP: Brisbane needs a public transport themed album. “Songs from the confusing road system planned in a hurry during expo 88.” Not as catchy. The 86 has sold out — it’s done a lot of work on itself and is actually a lot less dodgy. You need to go further out to find bombier, more eclectic tramlines.
THE BEDROOM PHILOSOPHER DIARIES are out now through Avid Reader.
ZENOBIA FROST (@zenfrost) is an Australian writer, critic, poet. She is the arts editor (and founding member) of OffStreet Press. Zen is fond of strange myths, incisive verse, theatre, graveyards, tea, and editing.