He Do the Judges in Different Voices

Well, it’s all over. No, you fool, I’m not talking about my extended doss around Asia and assorted other countries – I mean of course American Idol. The excitement of watching the two Davids* go head-to-head, literally singing their butts off for at least a minute at a time; the glamour, ascerbic comments and fake tans of the judges; the karaoke delusions of the wannabes; all of it is receding to memory.
Life will not be the same without my Wednesday evening viewing. I feel bereft, alone, much as Jean-Paul Sartre must have felt in the dark days of the 1940’s Vichyssoise government, as he choked on a sour Crème Brulée and was inspired to pen his classic La Nausée.
And I know you all feel the same way. I can feel the cosmic vibrations of despair echoing in the void, chiming an ethereal chord in space, calling out your collective loss like the primal scream of Mother Earth deprived of her Zoloft… or something. Whatever, it sounds bad.
Fortunately, all is not lost! For I, in my infinite enlightenment, bring to you a new contest, one which shall eclipse the so-called fame of Pop Idol, American Idol and all the other Idols put together**. For thou shalt not worship any idol except the new….

Existential Idle!!!!!

er…. I mean

Existential Idol!!!!!

Yes, its a brand new concept in “reality blogging” which is poised to take the world by storm. Top destinations from around the world view to voted ‘Best place to find yourself and achieve inner peace’. Each will be represented by, um, a representative, who will sing a special song they have penned especially to illustrate just how bloody existential they are. Oh yes. I can hear you salivating at the very thought. It sounds kind of like when you get a frog stuck in a vacuum cleaner nozzle, and … but I digress.
The rules are simple: each week, two Existential Destinations will go head-to-head. Their representatives will be interviewed about why they are the most deeply spiritual, and then each will sing their song. The judges, who are Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell***, will give us the benefit of their no-doubt well-informed but ultimately impotent opinions, then you, the blog readers, will vote by posting comments. After the initial group stage, the winners of each group play the second place in other groups, with two special slots allocated to the best losers judged on goal difference. And so to the knock-out round, which will go on until the sun expands to a red dwarf, engulfing the inner planets and charring the earth to a cinder. (Please refer to fig A**** for a diagram explaining this in more detail.)

So, without further ado, I shall introduce you to this weeks contenders in our inaugural one-on-one celebrity existento-musical death match. And the contestants are…. [drum roll]

Byron Bay, New South Wales


The Demilitarized Zone between
North and South Korea

Byron Bay is be represented by Kedgeree Bill, long time resident and Byron’s own self-styled “King of the Didge” who describes his adopted home town in the following way:

Kedgeree Bill: G’Day Mate! In the Dream Time, Byron was known to the indigenous tribes as Wigga Wigga, which in the local language meant ‘place of the blonde dreadlocks’. Then it was discovered by Lord Byron’s grandaddy who wrote anti-war experimental free-form vegan poetry and started the first Poetry Slam. These days it’s just a bonza place to chill, have your crystal aura read, eat veggie burgers and pretend you’re from a hipper ethnic group than your skin tone and passport imply. I mean, I used to be a loss adjuster from Slough. The surf’s great, and we have whales migrating past the lighthouse. What could be more eco than that? And the tomato sauce we stick in our pies is only made from organic tomatoes, imported from ethically-treated slaves in Guatemala. I’ve wrote this song on me didge, which is called ‘The Keening of the Wombats by the lighting of Bill’s Bong’. Here goes…

[Bill proceeds to play his song, a one-note tune on his home-made didgeridoo, carved from ethically-culled rhino horn.]

The judges comments:

Randy Jackson: Whoah, dude, you the dog on a string! You got it goin on, man! You were a little bit pitchy around that one note, but man, you totally brought it on, my man! Etc.

Paula Abdul: [clapping with arched palms] I just love you so much, Bill, [crowd goes mental] and you bring a special light to the world with your aura, we can all share in peace and love and I truly feel that if all the world played the didgeridoo like you then we could really all live in peace, and I truly feel that I love you, I mean that, you’re so special… [goes on in this vein for half an hour before being muzzled by Simon Cowell]

Simon Cowell: I’m going to be honest with you here Bill, because let’s face it this is a singing competition not some dodgy – or should I say “didgy” – New Age busking contest. Last week I thought you were just okay, but frankly I could imagine you in a cocktail bar in Vegas being ejected by the bouncers because let’s face it, and I’m going to be honest with you here, you smell. [Crowd boos. Simon holds up his hands and flashes unnaturally white teeth.] Just an opinion…

The DMZ is represented by The Dear Leader, Kim Il Sung, who, despite being dead, makes the following statement:

Kim Il Sung: The so-called tunnels between North Korea and Byron Bay are a figment of capitalist imagination, and furthermore were dug by the Australians in a pathetic attempt to discredit the last glorious bastion of socialism which is the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. The fact that they have been opened up to tourists in a craven money-grabbing display of greed without paying the North it’s due share of the profits only further establishes the politically and morally bankrupt nature of the Byron regime. Besides, we all know that Byron is full of feral hippies. My song is a tribute to the lasting eternal glory of socialism. It is entitled “Die Hippies Die.”

[Kim Il Sung proceeds to sing from his mausoleum, accompanied by a million backing vocalists in seventeen part harmony, and a gazillion traditionally-garbed six-year-old dancers in tight formation who have been raised in darkened crates until this moment. At the climax, a thousand intercontinental ballistic missiles are released and their warheads ignite on the moon, causing a green glow to pervade the entire earth. ]

The judges comments are as follows:

Randy Jackson: Whoah, dude, you the delicious dog stew! You got it goin on, man! etc.

Paula Abdul: [clapping with arched palms] I just love you so much, Dear Leader, and you bring a special light to the world with your missiles, we can all share in peace and love and I truly feel that if all the world …. etc. [crowd goes mental]

Simon Cowell: [Flexes pectorals and flashes teeth.] I’m going to be honest with you here Il Sung [crowd boos], because let’s face it this is a singing competition not some sort of nuclear standoff, and frankly last week I thought you were just okay, but, and I’m frankly gong to be honest with you here, because let’s face it… etc.


*I don’t know about you, but I was really happy that David Cook won. His rock vocals and the way he orchestrated the SDP’s split from the Labour Party in 1980 really whip the ass of the wimpy boy-band whining and appeasement-style CND politics of David Steel, who should never have been elected leader of the Liberal Party in the first place, if you want my opinion, and I know you do.
**Obviously except for Singapore Idol, which is so good nobody in their right mind would try to compete with it. Yes, lah.
***all impersonated, badly, by me
****fig A and all other supplementary material are available from the printed version of this blog*****

Dr Kris – the Existential Agony Uncle!

Sometimes life, even on an existential quest, isn’t easy. Perhaps your qi just won’t centre properly, your chakras are all out of whack, or you are tormented by the question of whether taking pictures of the tribal community next to your eco-village is a form of mavaise foi. Fortunately for all you be-backpacked seekers out there, help is at hand in the form of our new in-house agony uncle, Dr Kris. Wise, sympathetic and enlightened, Dr Kris will answer all your problems in a sensitive, solemn, calm and avuncular manner, without any trace of irony or subtle mockery, even if you are the kind of whining, pampered pseudo-hippie narcissist who really deserves a good slap. Please send your letters in to the usual email address. Here is the first batch of Q&A from our packed inbox. Enjoy!

Dear Dr Kris,
I am a Prince whose every wish is granted. I have extensive palaces, land and titles, and I live in the lap of luxury. I have a beautiful young wife and a small child. However, recently I am tormented by the idea that all of this, the riches, the servants, my marriage, all of it, are meaningless, and that life is really all about corruption and suffering. I have secretly formed a plan to go wandering off as a kind of ascetic, and look for a tree to sit under while I contemplate these matters. Should I follow this urge, abandon my life of luxury and seek enlightenment, or am I just being silly?

Yours sincerely,
Northern India

Dr Kris writes:

Dear Sid,
Wow, you really have a difficult choice here! Hmmm… penniless wandering and contemplation of your navel versus concubines, riches and good food? Tough one. Before you do anything rash, remember that enlightenment can be found just as much in a glass of fine wine or a game of golf with your flunkies, I mean, er, good friends, as it can sitting under a tree. More so, in fact, because let’s face it, those guys who grow their hair out and let their fingernails go all manky are too disgusting to really know anything. So, I would suggest going out, getting really drunk, visiting a casino or two, maybe singing some karaoke (Engelbert Humperdink is good) and really blowing those cobwebs away. Stop torturing yourself and have a good time. In fifty years you’ll probably be dead, so live for today, and have fun. Be careful to avoid associating with people under trees, hanging round in deer parks or other suspect activities. Next thing you know you’ll be joining a cult, and then where will you be? Mark my words young man, no good ever came from this kind of talk. Now just pull your socks up and get on with your life without all this whingeing, you have a family to think of after all. Tch!
Hope this helps.
Yours in the Dhamma,
Dr Kris

Dear Dr Kris,
Last year I left my corporate job for a “sabbatical” year to pursue my interests of hiking, writing and drinking. I rented a beach house in a tropical country and set out to write a novel, imagining that I would become overnight the next James Joyce, and that the bejewelled words dripping like the essence of life itself from my figurative pen (actually I use a laptop) would inspire millions of readers around the world, making them reassess their lives, recognize their true inner selves and realise that war, poverty and hunger can be made things of the past if we all just, like, love each other enough (although not necessarily in a sexual way, not that there’s anything wrong with that, physical love is after all an expression of our oneness with Gaia), possibly ushering in a new age of enlightenment where freedom and self-knowledge conquer delusion and the chains of desire and hatred and the world lives in harmony in a kind of global eco-community. Although I estimate that I am halfway towards completing my work of genius, I have now run out of money, and my company has offered a pay rise and a slightly bigger cubicle if I return to the accounts department. It seems they are short-staffed and the project team is not fully leveraging the key process indicators to enable augmented delivery of low-hanging fruit in a customer-oriented manner, leading to incomplete client satisfaction with the matrixed triage system.
My question is: what does it all mean?
Your confusedly,
Sebastian Wise,

Dr Kris writes:

Dear Sebastian,
Human beings have been asking “what does it all mean?” ever since the first caveman first started to question why he had to club dinosaurs over the head, and whether it might not be a better idea to herd organic carrots instead. Nobody has been able to find an answer. Until now. I am in the happy position of being able to explain it all, especially the two ultimate questions which have plagued mankind and driven it to distraction and drink more than any other, namely “What the hell does ‘leverage’ mean?” and “Who has the better booty, Beyoncé or Shakira?”
For the answers to these any many more fundamental dilemmas, simply send $99.99 and I will rush you your very own copy of The Way of the Purist: How to realise your inner power by not washing your socks for a month, complete with souvenir clothespeg. This book, by the way, renders your so-called novel superfluous. I suggest that the accounts department would be an excellent career move. Be sure to check out the health plan before accepting.
Your friend,
Dr Kris

Dear Dr Kris,
Does dog have Buddha Nature?

Dr Kris writes:

Dear Miles,
What is asking the question? Seriously, have you ever wondered why ‘dog’ spelt backwards is ‘god’? No? I’d suggest you contemplate that fact during your next meditation exercise.
Woof! woof!
Dr Kris

Dear Uncle,
Extra cockle in my char kway teow, can or not?
Yours hungrily,
Melvin, Toah Payoh

Dr Kris writes:

Aiyoh, why you so like that? Where got extra cockle, ah? Last time never got any cockle lah, why you so kiasu ah? Alamak! etc.
Yours disgustedly,
Uncle Kris

[that’s enough agony – Ed]