It was the Easter long weekend and in addition to catching up with the girls and spending some time at the beach, weather dependent of course, I was most looking forward to driving up to Blue Mountains for a couple of days and spending some time with my Uncle and Aunty who live in Canada. They were in town, well, in the mountains, to do the family rounds, predominantly to see my Auntie’s father who is aging fast and taking his sweet time getting from the couch to the kitchen these days, bless him. They also happen to be two of my most favourite people on Earth and anytime spent with them is a blessing and an honour. And this is an insight into a typical Strudwick/Compton gathering, this is how we roll.
Before I had a chance to pack a suitcase, my laptop and charger, which is all you really need when you think about it, my Mum made a solid request. Can you please buy a cheesecake to take up to the Mountains with you for dessert after dinner on Easter Monday? Sure no worries. I was heading up a day earlier than Mum and my brother, so I could spend some quality time with my Aunty and uncle, just the three of us, pretty cute eh?
Now, I have learnt a few lessons in my time in the school of life, and of all the things, one thing I know for sure, is that sometimes Mum will make a very firm request, as much as I think this is open to interpretation, I now acknowledge that when a cheesecake is requested, a cheesecake shall be presented. It’s just not worth the disappointed sigh on arrival with a tea bun, or a caramel mud cake (which by the way I know that my brother would prefer). So with this in the back of my mind, I carried on with my plans for Easter Saturday, ahead of the trip up to the Mountains the following day.
Now being the Eater Long Weekend, and by this stage, the early evening, it’s not like ol’ mate bakery boy was busting out cheesecakes all over the place, in fact, the only option I really had was to pop into a supermarket, which by that hour on a Saturday looked like it had been looted due to the Zombie Apocalypse. I opted to get a back up cheesecake, I know how serious this all sounds, and you really don’t want to be the one member of the family that simply failed to produce a simple dessert, so I thought I would get a back up frozen delight from the freezer section of the supermarket to have on hand in case there were any drama’s finding a really good New York baked cheesecake, you know the ones with the high crust and the smooth rich filling, mmmm, just in case I couldn’t find the gold, I had a Plan B. Sorted. I whipped through the self-serve aisle, and upon returning home I stuffed it in the freezer between the fifty odd different bags of frozen berries (I was living in a share house with four other girls, so now that might make more sense).
The next day rolled around, I had a little bit to do, I had go and do a television appearance in the morning, then head I headed straight to church, then I whipped home, went for a run and quick gym session, packed my bag, laptop and charger and jumped in the car all ready for my trip to the Mountains.
About half an hour into the trip I got a text from my uncle:
‘Hey gorgeous, what’s your ETA’ (as I waited to be stationary at a red light) I replied..
‘Ah I just realized I left the cheesecake in the freezer, should I go back and get it?’
‘Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that, we’ll see you soon?’
‘Ok cool, I’ll be about an hour and bit.’
Then I texted the girls that I live with
‘Happy Easter my cherubs, there’s a cheesecake in the freezer, go nuts.’
I arrived in the Mountains, without a cheesecake but I was sure that I hadn’t ruined Easter just yet, I called Mum and left a message saying that I was safe and cheesecake free and that I was looking forward to seeing her the next day. The next day arrived, after a beautiful morning walk and some family time with my Uncle and Aunty, they decided to pop to the shops, so I went on an adventure which included a bush walk a little further up the mountains and secret cheesecake mission, I was determined. I went into six cake shop/bakeries in the next five suburbs and do you think that anyone of them were selling bloody cheesecakes NO. I would walk in and scan the top shelf: individual lamingtons, rock cakes, custard tarts, French slice, and cupcakes in all sorts of awful giant Anzac cookies. Next shelf: muesli slice, almonds slice, finger buns, cream buns, and donuts. Bottom shelf: Giant sized chocolate mud cake, jam sponge rolls, fruit cake, and hot cross buns fever, but was there on cheesecake in sight… NO! I saw out of the corner of my eye and supermarket, and thought, surely their bakery section would have a cheesecake… I approached the supermarket with caution, and found my way to the bakery section, there were packaged goods wrapped in plastic, and those weird round plastic cake holders that look like corrugated iron, and there were croissants and bagels, but no bloody cheesecake. I was tempted to buy another back up cheesecake but on second thoughts, I wanted to run this past my Aunty who was catering the event (dinner for six).
By this stage word on the street, via a text message, was that my brother was on route to the Mountains and Intel (my aunty relaying a text to me from my Mum) further showed he was going to save the day, as my Mum on receiving notification that the back up cheesecake was still in the freezer, had requested my brother bring one.
Mu brother arrives:
Me: Hey bro, Happy Easter
(He does his hellos to my Uncle and Aunty and we settle outside on the balcony with a cup of tea)
Me: Do dude, did you bring a cheesecake
(There was almost a gasp of silence awaiting his reply from my Aunty, and my Uncle by this stage was heavily invested in this operation)
Me: Didn’t Mum ask you to bring one?
He: No, why would she do that?
Me; I thought she said she’d ask you to bring a cheesecake?
He: Nah, and I’d prefer a caramel mud cake anyway.
My Aunty and I went into a chatter about other dessert options. We retreated to the kitchen together.
She ‘Well, there is a frozen cheesecake in the freezer here,’
Me (not even responding to how ironic and hilarious this is) but do you want another option?
She: It would be good; maybe we could get those mini pavalova shells and do individual pavalova’s
Me: Great idea, do you have cream
Me: Ok, I can pop that on the list, what about strawberries or kiwi fruit
She: No, we could just get the canned passion fruit and drizzle that over and some vanilla ice cream?
Me: Sounds good, but you what, knowing Mum, she will probably bring a homemade pavlova (when I say home made, I mean she bought the shell and added the topping, which is how everyone makes a home make pavalova these days right?)
She: You’re so right Maz. Um, what should we do?
Me: (thinking in my head, not have dessert?) Well, I can nip to the shops and buy some vanilla ice cream and some strawberries, Mum I am sure will bring something, and that should be plenty.
She: Ok darling, I think that’s a good idea.
I grabbed my keys and headed to the car, in the distance, the faint voice of my Aunty, ‘Maz, if you see a cheesecake in travels….’
I went back to the same supermarket that had let me down before but this time they conquered, vanilla ice cream, strawberries, jackpot. I was back home and back on the balcony within minutes, sipping my tea and feeling rather overwhelmed by how much drama a cheesecake can cause and slightly anticipating Mum’s arrival.
It wasn’t long after, that Mum arrived, with what she was declaring a ‘surprise’ for dessert. After unloading what seemed like half her entire house from her car and chucking it in the room that we were sharing, I finally got my hands on the surprise, it was the last thing to come from the car and make it into the house. It was in a fancy square box and the way we opened it was like a treasure chest, all crowding around to see what was the final destiny of our dessert bellies this Easter.
It turned out to be a Bavarian Chocolate Cake for us all to share and my brother’s response, you guessed it
‘Oh, it’s not a caramel mud cake?’
I know this girl, who back in the day used to love a durrey. You know a smoke. A ciggie. A dart. And she used to love smoking in her car. She was at least responsible about it. She had an almost empty Coca Cola bottle in her car that she would discard her cigarette butts in, and then when it was full, you know, chuck it in the bin. Sort of like the original butt bin, if you will, but with a bit of black sugary fizzy syrup in the bottom of it to really make sure there was no chance of a fire.
One day she was going from, I don’t know, A to B in her car and she pulls up at a set of traffic lights that had just turned red. And she pulled up right alongside a Ute, which was driven by what she could tell in her peripheral vision a very handsome man. One would assume he was a tradie, you know, because of the Ute thing and on that note that he was a total man who would have rough hands and huge arms and that really manly man-sweat thing going on (which I might add, is not gross, a man sweat on a manly man who is not afraid of manual labour, it does something to my insides.)
You know that whole red light thing, you kind of glance at the person in the car next to you just to see if they are eye candy or not, and if they are you might immediately glance away but then subtly run your fingers through your hair or adjust your rear vision mirror, of lean over to the glove box to get who knows what people keep in their bloody glove boxes these days or check your handbag, phone, etc or as my friend did, lean over to the passenger seat to grab a drink of water. She had not stopped staring at said babe in the Ute at this point.
Thinking in her head she was a about to recreate some slow motion love plot in a romantic comedy, or at least a romantic moment in I don’t know a Diet Coke add or Jennifer Hawkins new bottle bikini blah blah whatever water.
So she reaches across to the passenger chair, all the while her eyes affixed on the side of the super hot, GI Joe type character sitting at the red lights in the Ute next to her. She was staring at the side of his head because do you think he had paid any attention whatsoever to the person in the shit bomb that just almost bunny hopped to a complete stop at the red lights next to him… you are dead right, no he hadn’t.
Hoping that her Urban Tarzan would (again for some reason in slow motion) turn his head towards her as she had the drink bottle almost to her lips, his blonde (I assume he was blonde, I cannot confirm) hair sweeping over his brow and his baby blues meeting her deep hazels.
She got the bottle to her lips, took a swig and then realized she had just downed about four cigarette butts. What happened next I really hope did happen in slow motion.
In one swift movement, kind of like she had choreographed it prior to this moment, she threw her head back, realized what she had done, then thrust her head forward and spat the old flat sugary syrup along with a few cigarette butts out of her mouth and all over her dashboard. All of a sudden she was not so keen for Ute Man to peer across.
Wanting more than anything for the lights to turn green, they didn’t for what seem like, the duration of a love plot movie trailer. They eventually did, and it was the first and only time she had ever done a burn out in her car.
Ok here we go… it’s a new year. Yes sure we are well underway in 2013 but I would like to make a new rule for this year, moving forward, for all of mankind. Let’s talk for a moment, if you will indulge me, about New Years …. Drum roll…. Resolutions.
To be quite honest, the people that I am sitting next to right now in the Qantas Domestic Lounge should have made a new years resolution to not talk so loud about their personal problems, seriously, guy with the terrible beard, stop talking.
Anyway, I digress. Over the years I have been a huge fan of the good ol’ new years resolution. I’m a fanatic. I’m a dreamer. I think my life is a movie, on a daily basis, and so I love the idea of a perfect new years, a fresh start, a happily ever after, and then reality sets in and I realize I am two steps away from a minor mental breakdown.
In other the news, the girl at the table on the other side of me looks like Hilary Duff and Guy Sebastian’s love child, and I am kind of distracted by her beauty. Maybe it’s the Shiraz.
So there, I said it. I love the idea that life could for one moment be perfect, that thought spurs me on through the pain, the disasters, the mess, the brilliance and the general flipping roller coaster ride that life is, to pursue a moment of perfection in this mad thing we call life. So the idea that a new years resolution is the start of that journey, towards that moment, to me in normal and I like it. So sue me.
Over the years I have had some corkers too. Everything from Quit Smoking, to Lose 10 kgs, to not eat meat, read one book a month every month, and the generic boring shit like be a better sister to my big brother, find the love of my life, stop looking for the love of my life, drink less, party more, save (insert ridiculous amount of money here), buy a Villa in Bali, have a rock star boyfriend, wear flats, start a BLOG, set more goals, stop setting goals, write a book, watch more action films, become best friends with Sandra Bullock, never wear skinny jeans, only wear skinny jeans, subscribe to Australian Women’s Health Magazine, go away on short breaks more often, visit my best friend in Chicago, take singing lessons, learn to play Matchbox Twenty songs on my guitar, lose 5 kgs, use my frequent flyer points, call my Mum at least twice a week, start yoga, do acrobatics, run away with the circus… the list goes on and on and on.
So you get my point, of all of these New Years Resolutions I am pleased to say I have achieved, well some, not all, but a handful let’s say. Which brings me to my point. As much as I love making them, these Resolutions for the New Year, the actual implementation of a new years resolution is simply ridiculous. You are coming off the back of what is meant to be the most perfect night of your life, into New Years Day and let’s face it people, the only thing you have energy for on New Years Day is left overs and possibly a swim if the weather is good. There is no way you are going to pick up a bloody guitar and learn “3AM” or “Push” or “Bent” or “Mad Season” or “”Bright Lights” or “Real World” or “Mockingbird” or “Put Your Hands Up” or “Let’s See How Far We’ve Come” or “Disease” or “Long Day” (Yes I am a huge Matchbox Twenty fan, can you tell?).
There is no way you are going to start the health and fitness regime you radically thought up, you won’t quit coffee, you will probably get back on the champers at midday. You will forget to start that journey, you won’t want to put an entry in your food diary considering the first thing you probably ate was a 3am and it was pizza or left over BBQ. I don’t even think the gym is open on New Years Day, so there goes that idea. You are just not in the frame of mind to start something new… and starting everything you think you will on January 2nd just doesn’t seem right to me. Right?!
So here it is. Here is the proposal. New Years Resolutions start February 1st.
It makes perfect sense. Then you won’t feel like shit for the first week of January because you let yourself down, you didn’t start the year with a broken promise to yourself or whoever you made yourself accountable to for that New Years Resolution, you have a whole month to gear up to it and get ready and then you implement in on February 1st.
I know that this has completely revolutionized your life, so please pass on this message of sanity to all that you know and then we can quit all the stuff we secretly love to indulge in next February 1st together.
Did I tell you about the radio hosts in my head?
Nope was my response to my friend who goes by the fake name Estella Drake. What is funny about this situation is that I didn’t find her original question weird at all, in fact, I was like, oh you have voices in your head too, sweet, what do yours say? And what does that sound like in your head? And well I can’t be weird if there is another human on the planet like that?! Right?!
So Estella has an interesting sleeping pattern, and I swear to you her sleeping patterns, which I am about to explain are moderated by the amount of coffee that she consumes. A coffee or two before bed is plain standard for this little gem. Once she finally gets into bed, after laying out her outfit for the next day, cleaning the kitchen bench so it is spotless, turning the coffee machine off at the switch and making sure everything in her house is in order, it’s lights out and into a deep slumber until the morning.
Now I can confirm what happened one particular morning. Her alarm clock went off at 5:40am, how do I know what time exactly it was? Because I was staying in her spare room, right next to her room. And at 5:40am I shot out of bed because I thought that there was some sort of God damn festival happening in my room. Her alarm clock was so loud, it woke me with a shock at 5:40am. Did she wake up? No. At all? No. Did she even muster a morning sigh, ruffle in the bed sheets, or simple, Shut up? No, No and No.
Now as I was unaware of the protocol of what to do, I just fell back asleep once the alarm had stopped. But then it did continue to go off constantly for an hour, every ten minutes. Leaving Estella to hit snooze over and over, still in her sleep and then murmur, ‘just 5 more minutes’, which I worked out meant at least an hour.
During this time, this is what was happening in Estella’s head. All the while I keep getting freaked out by the loudness and consistency of this damn alarm that I swear would wake up the entire apartment building. That alarm goes off, and she sincerely doesn’t wake up, but that marks the beginning of the radio hosts in her head who have a running commentary on whether or not she will actually get out of bed, at what time that may happen, or will she call in sick to work, or sleep past a reasonable time to show up to work and decide to work from home, or sleep in past a reasonable time to go to work only to be woken by her phone actually ringing and make up some bull shit lie about being at the shops? This commentary goes on for the duration of the alarms, on and snooze and on and snooze and on and snooze and eventually Estella listens to what the radio hosts predict she will do, and that is how her mornings start.
Not dissimilar to the imaginary passengers I have in my car quite often, but that is another BLOG altogether my friend.
Sometimes I want to grab the universe by the cheeks, and squeeze them and plant a wet sloppy one on the universe’s lips and say, ‘thank you for listening’. Sometimes I want to kick the universe in the balls and say, ‘that’s how I feel right now. Bitch.’
I find it interesting. Just talking and talking to people about what they want. What do you want? What have you seen for your life? Where do you want to go, be, who do you want in your world? Some people haven’t even taken the time to respond to the universe’s question of, ‘what do you want child?’ And instead of sitting, writing, praying, talking it over, and coming up with a response, people just get mad. Why? I think it’s because they want someone to blame for their average existence. But the only person you can blame if your life is average is that cute person you see in the mirror everyday (or for those who are not an everyday shower kinda person, once every day or so).
Try this out.
Instead of getting mad at the universe… Why don’t you spend some time coming up with an appropriate response? Think about what you want, and then ask the universe for it. And be warned, the universe is not always going to give you the answer that you necessarily want. But try it. I double dare you. One thing I know, is that every time I take pen to paper and write a list of what I want to achieve, where I see myself going, moving, progressing, staying, living… it’s happened. I am a living-breathing example of the plain fact that it doesn’t take much more than the shear belief in you, the determination and hard work to see it come to pass and consistency to see the cream rise to the top. I believe in you friend. And the universe does too. So go at it. And go bloody hard. And take no prisoners. You get one shot at the beautiful life. Don’t waste a moment being pissed off, take action, set your sail to true north and go and conquer all.
Come with me.
My friend has this silly natural default. He has this habit, of which I really will never understand. In fact the more I think about it, the more I realize perhaps it’s not just him, maybe it’s a guy thing. He just has to always draw a penis. Whether it be in the sand at the beach, in pen on my arm, make one out of cookie dough when I’m baking with the scraps or playing ‘draw something’… wherever he can, he will just draw a penis? Much like the character that Jonah Hill plays in Super Bad. What is up with dudes always doodling doodles? It’s something I don’t understand but I always find hilarious.
So the other day, I gave a friend a ride somewhere, and as a parting gift, he decided to carefully draw the outline of a massive C&B (cock and balls for those playing at home) on the passenger windscreen, and luckily for him, as I hadn’t had my car washed in the last few days there was enough grit on the windscreen for the giant C&B to be clearly visible in the right light.
I would look over to the passenger windscreen while driving and just giggle. Thinking I would get my car cleaned in the next day or so and be away with the giant C&B, I thought nothing of it. Well, guess who forgot to get their car cleaned. Maz Compton.
It was a few days later and I was visiting my friends and their beautiful children. Yes. Children. We spent the day at their house playing on the trampoline, the girls aged 6 and 12 and I played dance games on the Wii and occasionally I got to rest and have a cuddle with the latest edition to the family who is 5 weeks old.
We all had dinner together and it was getting late, so I tried to say goodbye to the girls, which resulted in me giving the 6 year old a mini pedicure and working out which bed I would be sleeping in, in two weeks when I come for a sleepover. Finally, out the door, escorted by Dad, and the two girls. The 6 year old asked where my car was, and it was about 200 metres down the street, she insisted on walking me there, and asked if I would drop her back to the house. Of course I said.
So we set out in the dark together, holding hands. Her barefoot, me trying to resist the urge to pick her up and steal her because she is so adorable. We arrived at my car. Pitch black except for the streetlight not too far away, close enough to shine a misty light over my car, far enough away not to blind you if you looked at it directly.
She jumped in the front seat, as she always does in my car, then she argued with me about why she felt that she didn’t need to wear a seatbelt because it was only a short trip, as she always does in my car and then pointed at my windscreen, which she has never done in my car.
Oh dear Jesus. This is not going to be pretty. Shivers. I felt like an innocent child was being corrupted, that her perfect precious mind was being tarnished for life.
She pointed at my windscreen and said, ‘oh look, you have a fish on your car.’
I was unable to laugh as loud as I wanted to, I was unable to explain what it actually was, so I just nodded and said, ‘yeah babe, my friend drew it for me.’
After a perfect lunch, a perfect moment where time stopped and we existed in a bubble, it was time to hit the surf. The first time we had gone surfing together. And he rips by the way. So we grabbed the boards, let the melted wax harden and hit the beach. The surf in actual fact was not amazing, but considering I am in no way a professional, it was sweet to play around on a board in the surf and look over and see Him, just shredding. We switched boards for a bit and then switched them back. After flogging it out in the water for a while I retired to the beach to lie and down and relax. He didn’t and I loved that.
We did eventually have a nap on the beach, and he got pretty hammered by the sun, yeah, he looked like that English tourist at the beach. Damn.
Time to get out of the sun, load the car up with the boards and head back towards the house.
The drive back was quiet, except for the occasional laugh about something ridiculously funny that had taken place during the last few days of madness. As we drove through Mona Vale, I had a brilliant idea, let’s stop into Mona Vale Hotel, where we first met twelve years ago and recreate the scene. So we did. Straight from the beach, we walked into the place that we had first ever seen each other, and it looked a lot smaller than I remember. We ordered a couple of beers and sat at the very table that we used to sit at with all of our friends all that time ago, I would always end up on his lap, random. It was funny to reflect on the board shorts competition that he had come third in all those years ago, and to also remember that he was that one guy, and there is always one, who jumped into the fountain at the pub. Yep. That’s the guy. He ordered some food and to pass the time asked me to guess what he had ordered from the extensive menu, and yep, I nailed it. Bruschetta and the Salt and Pepper Calamari. It’s just the little things like that, I find amusing.
As we walked out of the Pub
He: Well at least I am actually going home with you this time. (I never went home with him all the years ago, I never went home with any boys, and I was such a good girl)
Me: This is maybe the first time that I haven’t been carried out of this pub…. Kidding.
Oh the memories.
Back on the road, we stopped into my Mum’s place, I had a few things to collect which she had left near the front door for me, she wasn’t home and so we finished off the trifle in her fridge, I called ahead of course to let her know, and we did leave some for her. Just.
We then popped into a shopping centre to buy, yes; wait for it, a copy of the Justin Bieber Never Say Never movie, which I was guaranteeing, was going to change his life. We ended up in a department store and he said to me, for the first time in a serious tone,
He: Just give me a second ok.
He walked off into a section in the department store, leaving me waiting in the middle of the department store, not quite knowing what to do? Shall I follow him, do I wait here, what is he looking for? Where has he gone? Oh it’s Him, this could mean anything…
He repapered moments later having applied the brightest red lipstick to his own lips, I lost it laughing. He casually strolled over to me, bent me backwards and planted one on me. So now we both had bright red lipstick on our lips, and even though people thought we might need to be institutionalised, we found it hilarious. Almost as hilarious as my reaction when I finally found the DVD we went into the department store to find, which he described as a very primal sound. I actually couldn’t contain my excitement. I am certain the store attendant found our lipstick laden lips slightly funny. Mission accomplished. Side of stomach hurting from all the laughter. Smile so bright.
Me: So when do you think that you are going back to NZ?
He: I don’t’ know maybe the fourth of the fifth
Me: Ok (in my head, are you serious, how can you not even know when you are leaving, what is wrong with you, why can’t you have a plan? Oh, just go with the flow Maz). Well let me know because I want to take you to airport. (Insert insanely beautiful and sad moment of a movie when lovers leave each other at the gate).
He: I’ll work it out
Me: Cool, Keep me posted.
So we arrive home and to help ease the pain of his sunburn he decides to have a bath with some Epsom salts and bi carbonate soda, to rehydrate his skin, but this guy isn’t your typical lie in bath for thirty minutes while I paint my nails and chat to him.
He runs that bath, adds the salts. Gets a snorkel. Lies face down in the bath, and breathes through the snorkel so his whole body is immersed in the salty goodness. It’s possibly the funniest mental image ever. And yes, there is now a snorkel permanently in the bathroom, attached to the toiletries caddy.
We watched the Justin Bieber movie. He loved it. I loved it (again).
Another day. Of perfection perhaps? Sure why not.
Breakfast. Vital greens. And I guessed that he wasn’t leaving on a jet place today.
He: Ok so I have booked my flight to NZ
Me: (Heart pounding with dread) How long do I have you for?
He: I leave on the sixth
I literally ran outside into the backyard, slid the screen door shut and screamed with happiness. Sorry neighbours, but I was slightly happy with that news.
That feeling, you cannot put into words, you cannot buy it or describe it, the feeling that you get when you are told you have an extra day together.
The day just went. We played. We hung out like two soul mates do. We had champagne. We had seafood. We smoked cigars. Yep. We did. And it was awesome.
One more sleep.
A day of snorkeling, all day. Adorable. We chased gropers, we flicked water on each other, we discovered a world under the sea and we tried not to think about the fact the he was leaving in the morning.
The evening came and it was time to suit up as I had a friend’s party to attend and he needed to spend some time with his bro’s. So we left in a cab, I dropped him to his bros and we arranged to meet up, at some point later on. I went to the party and caught up with my girlfriends who said I was glowing, which was more to do with the amount of Vitamin D my skin had soaked in over the past few days in my paradise than anything else that was happening in my world, surely? Bottles of wine were consumed. Then he called and we met up with his friends. More champagne. Fun times. Time for me to get home. I was exhausted. So he put me a cab, took a photo of license plate, just in case and I told him to be safe.
I woke up in the morning, in his arms…. But how did he get into the house? Well you know that false sense of confidence you get after a million scotches, he got to the house at 3:30am, and called me as we had previously discussed, but of course I was in a coma from all the champagne and didn’t wake up to my phone ringing by the side of my head. So he climbed onto the roof of the house, via the gutter, and Macguyvered his way in by removing a fly screen and scrambling through my flat mates bedroom window. Kind of like a Dawson’s Creek moment but with way more alcohol involved. What a ninja.
So this was it. Time to get him to the airport.
We packed the car and set off on the journey that only I would return from.
He: I really thought that you would break my legs or something so that I didn’t have to go.
Me: I am never going to stop you doing what you need to do; I am just going to love you through it.
He: What am I going to do with you babe?
Me: Just keep me, I’m a gift.
We arrived at T1 and my heart was heavy. I could feel the emotions bubbling under the surface and I knew that those tears were not going to be held back. As he checked in, at the counter there was this cute sign that said ‘Good Day”
Me: Good Day? Really, should say worst day ever, he’s leaving me today
Guy behind the counter: Looking confused
He: Puppy dog eyes
Me: Don’t go
So he was all checked in and there were a handful of minutes that we had left together, we walked towards the gate, you know, that gate at T1 where it says Passengers Only…. That gate and I are not friends.
We stood at that gate, and held each other, and yes I cried and he wiped my tears away.
He: You are making me laugh, I love that you are like this, but we have to be brave
Me: (through the tears) I am being brave, this is me being brave, we just show it in different ways
He: Laughs and held me so tight.
If only I could fit in his pocket I wouldn’t have to say goodbye.
It was time. He had to go. He grabbed my little face.
Me: Goodbye My love
He: Goodbye My Love.
And he walked through that gate. And I walked to my car.
And no, neither of us looked back, because the only way to look at these situations that life throws you in, is forward.
And so this story is still being written by the universe.
To be continued…
He: Hey babes
Me: What are you doing?
He: I just landed in Sydney…
Me: (jumping up and down like a toddler on a sugar high)
Stop it. You mean I get to see your glorious face tonight?
A thousand bottles of champagne later, I was back at my house throwing what can only be described as an impromptu New Years Eve party, ahead of the actual NYE party that was to take place at my place the very next day.
He arrived. I demanded he wait at the front door, so I could welcome him into my house literally with open arms, and when I did, I just melted into his embrace. Ah. Bliss. Home. Safe. How did this happen?
We all drank, sang, laughed, talked, laughed, drank, laughed and laughed and it felt like a family. You’ve probably gathered it was a large night and you are correct so the only thing to do in the morning was gather the troops that had found somewhere to sleep and head to Shelley Beach in Manly for sun, salt water, brunch and a nap. It was a perfect day. The weather was glorious, the beach was brilliant, the company was stellar, in fact, and it felt like we were on a holiday in the Greek Islands rather than a short drive from home. It may have been the BLT, it may have been the coffee, it may have the company but at this stage I was sure this day was panning out perfectly.
Back to the house with so much to do, I arrived home at the time I had invited people to come and spend NYE with the team, there was shopping to do, bags of ice were needed for the esky (which was a blow up kiddie pool… genius right?) we had a BBQ to cook, which meant meats to buy, salads to make, Corona’s to demolish and I wasn’t quite sure how this was all going to happen. We needed long stick matches to light the bloody million candles in the house….
He: What do you need babe
Me: I need to do a lot right now. I have to got to the shops and buy a whole heap of stuff, arrange the decorations, put petrol in my car, by bloody long stick matches, organsie the 10 000 bottles of champagne for drinks on the lawn, make sure everything’s perfect, shower, change into outfit number two of three for the day, admire you, spend time with the girls, make the salads….
He: I’ll do it. You get a beer, relax, where are your keys?
Me: You are insane
He: I’ll get it done, get a beer, sit down and give me the list. (Said with a huge smile on his face too)
So we recorded a voice memo in his phone of all of the tasks that needed to be done on this fine New Years Eve, and the shopping list too, and then I texted it to him as he walked out the door.
Who is this guy? Who is that generous? Kind? Giving? Wonderful?
So I sat with my girlfriend and chilled out and a after a while he returned with not only a car full of everything that we needed but still with a huge smile. He clearly is a giver.
Once we had moved all the shopping into the house, me and my girlfriend went to work in the kitchen preparing all the food and he sat at the breakfast bar, I cracked him a Corona and he picked up his guitar and started making up songs, one in particular had me on the floor clutching my guts it was so funny, it was a song about how my girlfriends kind of boyfriend was extremely well endowed and to quote her explanation of their intimacy said, ‘I had to work up to it, and do some yoga breathing.’ All quoted in this spontaneous serenade. It was pretty funny, to the point that I had to put the knife down and sit because I was laughing so much.
Salads done. Shower. Outfit two. Front lawn. Champagne. Friends arrive. And arrive and arrive and it’s kind of bliss. He cooked the BBQ… for all. We stood next to each other and watched the fire works and I just loved every second of the madness that didn’t end until 5 am.
The next day we spent, just him, me and my girlfriend at the pool and it felt like it was 1974. My girlfriend and I would hold hands, and run and jump into the water. He napped and then bought us pies. I didn’t’ eat mine so he fed it to the fish and got quite a crowd for the feeding. It was just bliss. And kind of perfect. We all talked and laughed and definitely judged other peoples pool attire and terrible tattoos. And did I mention that I did a perfect reverse park when we arrived? I nailed it.
That afternoon another friend, soul mate, little brother, love of my life rocked up and we ordered seafood and took it down to the waters edge with some champagne and blankets. We again talked and laughed. My girlfriend and little bro did handstand competitions while he just held me in arms. Home. Bliss. Safe. On heat.
More champagne. Bed.
The next day. Oh wow. The morning may have been a struggle, but he is all organic and made us all a vital greens drink, which tastes like ass, just ask Justin Bieber, who was forced to have once by Usher, but also amazing and revitalizing and we were ready for another day of beauty.
Stand Up Paddle boarding at Narrabeen Lakes. We eventually got there after a coffee and breakfast stop. We hired boards and off we went.
Guy at the SUP shop: Just don’t take them to the ocean ok guys?
So we headed for the ocean. At one point I was head of the team and as I looked back to check in where everyone was, I saw my little bro with his teeny tiny leopard print shorts at this ankles, naked stand up paddle boarding on Narrabeen Lake. This was not long after he said, ‘e I am going to go closer to the road to see if I can get any honks.’ He did. I nearly fell off my board laughing. Then we ended up at the lagoon and He met up with his best mate who had introduced us 12 years ago and whom I had not seen for a very long time. What a place to meet. All in swimming gear, in the middle of the lagoon.
We talked. We laughed. Then it was time to jump off the bridge. He did a back somersalt. I couldn’t believe I had not done this before. But I did it. And again. And then my girlfriend did too. (So proud babe).
Lunch at Mum’s. Yes. He met Mum. She is a fan as is her friend who was also at the lunch. Hilarious. Good times. Great company, Tick of approval. Trifle.
Girls went home. Boys hung with the boys. A night of brilliant chats about love and life and the universe with my girlfriend. Movie. Bed.
He: So when are you cats getting to Narrabeen?
Me: I just dropped my girlfriend at the airport, sad face, going home to get little bro be there in an hour.
Arrive at the beach. Coffee with little bro, He rocks up. Sun. Sand. Swims. Amazing.
Little bro had to leave so He and I jumped in my car and went to Palm Beach. Gorgeous drive. Parked at The Beach House (did I mention again, an epic parking spot) wandered in and got a couple of Coronas and seafood platter. It’s such a magical place, right on the water at Summer Bay. We chatted like the old souls that we are, like there hadn’t been any distance, like there wasn’t a ten-year gap in our relationship, like we had been this way forever. Laughing and holding hands, I overwhelmed by the view, the food and the company. I am certain this was a taste of paradise.
Then something happened. I got a love pang so instance I had to almost stand up. A sense of joy and love and peace and freedom and beauty that you only ever rarely get and I had to share it.
He: (whilst I was holding my ribs) Are you ok baby?
Me: Um, no I think.
And then I let out a little tear.
And what did he do. This.
Brought his chair closer, put his arms around me…
He: Oh no sugar, you didn’t
Me: Yeah I fully did. I just got overwhelmed by how real this is, what it is, what it can’t be, how perfect and easy it is and how you are leaving in two days to live in another country
He: Babe please be brave, go with the flow.
Me: I am, I just show my braveness by crying (said through not just misty eyes, but tears rolling down my eyes, unable to stop) I just had a moment where it was all too much goodness
He: (hugs me closer and kisses me on the forehead) It’s going to be fine baby.(Wipes the tears from my face with his perfect hands and just holds me tight)
It was so completely comfortable. Like we were designed to fit.
To be continued….
Just found this …. Gosh i was so young …
This is always a fun story to tell, and I love that it’s an on-going story that is far from over. I had been a Good Charlotte fan for years, since the days when I would get lost in a mosh pit at The Warped Tour with my skanky ol’ Dunlop Volley’s, baggy Volcom shorts and cute but prematurely emo black singlet. I used to sing along at the top of my lungs, you know the words, ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’. Well, when it came time to literally come face to face with my fantasy for the first time, an assignment I hardly needed to prepare for, as most of my teens years had been the background research for this moment of my life, it was time to interview Joel and Paul from Good Charlotte. I was a little nervous. Let me set the scene.
I had been hosting TRL (Total Request Live) in Australia for about two weeks, and that was the only live television experience that I had. Good Charlotte were in town and it was touch and go as to whether they would make it on the show. Reason being, the show at this stage, was filmed on a glass floating pontoon in the middle of Darling Harbour, Sydney… so they had to hop another ship, so to speak, to get to the pontoon to be a part of the show. They made it. I didn’t get to interview the boys, my at-the-time co-host Kyle Sandilands was the captain of that ship, so to speak. But, I did get to stand next to one of their die hard fans who showed the boys so proudly the GC band logo tattooed on his arm. Now that’s commitment! I was now known as that ‘other’ host on TRL who was standing next to the tattoo dude. To Joel and Paul - I was Maz Compton, the other host of TRL Australia. There may have been a moment, that for the sake of a good story I have in the past blown out of proportion and that is, when Joel Madden (lead singer) was answering a question about being on the road so much, he answered that it can get really – and at this point he paused and I swear look directly at me – lonely, wink. Wow! So you can imagine that was the highlight for me, but only the beginning of what was ahead on the journey to meet Good Charlotte.
Let’s skip forward five months. Their new album, The Chronicles of Life and Death, has been on high rotation in my car, in my house, which I shared with two other GC fans (who I lived with at this time) and it would make me smile to hear on the radio. When I got the call from my producer that I was going to be interviewing Good Charlotte, really, when they hit Sydney for the promo tour, you could say I was a little excited. And this one for me was simple, I knew all about the band, and even if I wanted to ‘over-research’ the subjects, this was going to be nothing but a pleasure.
And onto the internet I went to dig up some juicy facts about the boys so I could wow them with my knowledge, wit and charm.
The Sony/BMG representative who was looking after the band met myself, our producer and crew in reception at ‘secret location’, 4-star Sydney hotel not to be named, and immediately picked up on my excitement, she knew I was a fan, in fact semi-in-love-with the lead singer and was doing nothing but encouraging my fantasy of being whisked away by a rock-star.
Up to the hotel room to set-up. When I opened the hotel suite door I found my nerves waiting in the room for me, this was going to be interesting. It felt like we were waiting for hours, cracking gags and being overly loud to pass the time and hide my nerves but then came the knock at the door.
Enter Paul (bass player) dressed in black, and almost angelic like, Joel (lead-singer and potential future lover) dressed in white. A quick shake of the hand, meet the crew and grab a seat so we can get this started.
I clearly (and unfortunately) remember what I wore, cute ripped jeans, red heels, red top, black wrist-band, black nails, and yes when I look back, I cringe… a little. While the camera man sets up his shot and discusses angles with the producer, the record label rep found the right moment to mention to the guys that I am a huge fan, yep, ‘a huge fan’. It worked in my favour. Even though I was mortified, the whole reason I had this gig is because I am totally professional, right?
While the camera man and producer were still arguing quietly, Joel crossed his right leg onto his left, which in turn meant his brand new shoe landed in my lap, being such a gentlman, he asks, ‘Do you mind if I put my leg on you?’ I could have cracked a gag about him trying to get a leg-over, but I thought I’d save the one for this book. It’s at this point that I am glad that I am wearing a red top because it would have off-set the colour of my face turning a gorgeous embarrassing shade… ‘Sure’ I say and mumble under my breath, ‘This is crazy’. Ok let’s knock this one out people.
And in, three, two.. finger point…
MAZ: Hey everyone, you’re locked on to TRL and one of my fantasies is about to unfold before your very eyes - I’m in a hotel room with Joel and Paul from Good Charlotte. (Looks from camera to the band) Welcome to our sun-burnt country.
JOEL: Thank you. (Paul waves)
MAZ: Guys, it’s still in the early stages of the year, so I feel that we can still bring up New Year’s Resolutions. Did either of you pledge a New Year’s resolution? Have you broken it - are you still on it?
PAUL: I don’t really mess with those, to be honest with you.
PAUL: Yeah, I didn’t really set any.
JOEL: Yeah, I’ve got some that I’ve actually stuck to. I, ah, got involved in Asia, with, like, doing stuff over there with - not even just with the tsunami but Asia already needed a lot of help over there, so I’ve kind of got involved over there. That was one of my resolutions. Umm… I joke around - I joked around and said that I wanted to get married and have a baby, and I was kidding, and then America, like of course, like…
MAZ: And then everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, Joel wants a wife!’
JOEL: Yeah, so, ah but I don’t, that really wasn’t a resolution, that was just kind of like a, you know.
MAZ: But you can’t really make a resolution like that though, ‘cause that’s sort of, you can’t make that happen, you know, it’s just gonna happen.
JOEL: Kinda just gonna happen, yeah.
MAZ: Cool. So you did play in Thailand last week, at MTV Asia Aid.
JOEL: Yep. (Paul nods)
MAZ: I saw your performance, thought you were brilliant.
MAZ: How did you guys feel on the night – was there a really cool vibe in the crowd?
JOEL: It was, like, one of the coolest things…
PAUL: Yeah it was really surreal because they kept showing these videos of, like you know, the footage of what happened over there and it was a very emotional thing.
MAZ: It would’ve been.
PAUL: It wasn’t just like a show.
JOEL: If you can imagine, like, the footage that they have, it’s crazier than the… well, the footage I’ve even seen on TV.
PAUL: Like CNN and anything like that, and like it’s - it was a really eye-opening experience.
JOEL: And you got to meet some people who were actually affected by it, like there were people that came from, like, Sri Lanka and from Malaysia…
JOEL: And from Thailand and Indonesia, that were there that we met and it was just, I mean it moved us. Like, we’re actually gearing up our next… we’re working on a project right now with our next single that’s gonna be completely for Asia.
MAZ: Oh wow.
JOEL: So we’re pretty excited about it, but it’s strictly from that night we were there and we met these people and they touched us so much.
MAZ: That’s incredible.
PAUL: Yeah we went there with the intentions of like, ‘Wow our first time in Thailand playing a show’ la la la, and then we went there and we were like ‘Oh’. (face drops)
JOEL: Oh, I was like crying and stuff.
MAZ: Was it your first time there?
JOEL/PAUL: Yeah, yeah.
MAZ: Oh wow, that’s cool.
PAUL: Yeah, it was just, like, a shocker, it was like, oh my gosh, this is terrible.
MAZ: That’s crazy, but that’s good, if it’s kind of, moved you.
PAUL: Yeah yeah, it’s inspired us.
MAZ: So you’re doing this national tour in Australia, which is extremely exciting for people in this country. How do you, night after night, psych yourself up for a gig?
JOEL: It’s easy in Australia, I have to tell you, ah, the kids in Australia - everyone in Australia - I mean, they just receive us really well. Like, they, ah, it’s just amazing, like we come over here and we’re blown away at how much the kids… are so good to us and from someone so far away from home. They treat us like, you know, we’re ah…
MAZ: You are gods. (laughs)
JOEL: Like we’re from Australia, you know? And it’s just like - we’re blown away by it, so the shows here are easy, like we don’t have to psych ourselves up, we just go out onstage and the energy that they put out is enough for us to, like, go from.
MAZ: So you just feed off your audience a lot when you’re performing?
PAUL: Oh, entirely, yeah.
MAZ: Are there any countries that you’ve played at and been weirded out ‘cause you’ve never even heard of the place and there’s all these fans there all of sudden, that you’re, like, ‘wow’?
JOEL: Thailand was pretty insane.
PAUL: Thailand was like that, yeah, the airport when we first got there, there was like fifty kids - ‘Aaaahhhhh!’ (mock screams)
JOEL: Yeah, and like the night we played, it was like, eight thousand kids, and it was, like, um, we played at another show besides the MTV Asia Aid, and it was just like - insane! The kids went crazy.
PAUL: They knew all the words and everything.
MAZ: That’s really cool. What is it like when you’re playing and you’re seeing a whole bunch of kids mouthing the words that you’ve written for this song?
JOEL: It’s insane, I mean, we hear it, like, when they sing, all together, when like, eight thousand kids are singing, like, you can’t - it’s louder than you. There’s nights where they sing so loud I can’t hear myself. The other night we were playing, and we were playing ‘Bloody Valentine’ - the song from The Young And The Hopeless… for all you kids that don’t know that song.
MAZ: (to camera) But you should.
JOEL: And I couldn’t hear ‘cause they were singing so loud that I had to just hold the mic out and let them just sing the whole song, because I couldn’t hear myself.
MAZ: Wow, that’s insane.
PAUL: It’s really crazy when they’re, when it’s a non-English speaking country too.
MAZ: Yeah well I was gonna say, that would just be totally weird.
MAZ: So after a really fun gig, how do you feel after that show - are you completely exhausted? Are you on a high?
PAUL: Oh, definitely on a high.
JOEL: Wound up.
MAZ: And how do you wind down - like, do you go out and have a few drinks, do you just chill out with each other… or?
JOEL: It’s different every night. I like to go out.
PAUL: It depends on what city we’re in. Like here, we go out as much as we can.
MAZ: Okay, because I’m definitely having a party tonight, so there’s a couple of invites.
JOEL: Thank you, where’s it at?
MAZ: It’s at my apartment…
PAUL: (Pointing at invitation) Eww - will she be there?
MAZ: Paris is not gonna to make it, we just needed to use her nipple on the invitation.
PAUL: Oh jeez.
MAZ: But yeah, after the gig, if you want to come out partying, it’s gonna be insane. All I’ll let you know is that -
JOEL: It’s at your apartment?
MAZ: Um, yeah. My… two of my flatmates and I -
PAUL: For anybody who doesn’t know where her apartment is…
(turns invitation to camera)
MAZ: Don’t you dare! Um, we have been theming the house since Wednesday night - that’s all I’m gonna say.
PAUL: So you’ve been working hard on this?
JOEL: So you’re really having a party tonight.
MAZ: No I really am, seriously I’m not joking.
JOEL: Well then, we will really come.
MAZ: Okay, well I’m excited about that.
PAUL: Is it like a costume party? Any kind of guidelines we need to know?
MAZ: Well the theme is - and it is a punk rock party - the theme is “punk’d”, and that’s all I will say. You know the show Punk’d?
JOEL: Are we gonna get punk’d?
MAZ: Hmm.. maybe.. I don’t know..
PAUL: Well that makes us really want to come.
JOEL: We’re going there and there’s like, no one there.
MAZ: (laughs) I’m just kidding, there’s no party! No, there’s definitely a party going on and hopefully a few people will turn up. I wanna talk about your music because that’s what you guys do. The Chronicles of Life and Death - kickass album, totally love it.
MAZ: Definitely on repeat, it’s definitely scratched now.
PAUL: Just get another one.
MAZ: But when I read the title of the album, I was like, ‘That’s really broad, that’s like the alpha and the omega of life’.
MAZ: How - what message are you… how’s that representing your lives at the moment?
JOEL: I think our band in general, we are all about the contradictory and the opposite… we have so much bright and so much dark in our band, like our music’s so poppy but at the same time it’s so dark.
JOEL: And, like, down from the way we dress, or like the way we… you know, there’s so much…
JOEL: There’s so much opposite… that contradicts everything that we do. Like there’s a really great side to us that’s like this good band. Then there’s a side to us that is really bad - you know, we have sides to us that aren’t great. It just seems like our whole career has been kind of like a contradiction and this record kind of is like a perfect example of how we
always are contradicting ourselves with, like, dark and light and life and death… and the album one minute is really happy and the next minute it’s like everything… there is no hope, you know what I mean?
PAUL: It’s kind of like life, it’s like a rollercoaster - ups, downs, hope, despair, you know. All that.
JOEL: (to Paul) Pretty good, brilliant.
MAZ: At the beginning of this year I made a pretty huge prediction, that black was going to be the new black - you know how, like, purple’s the new black and everyone’s wearing it?
MAZ: But I’m slowly beginning to realise that collaborations are the new black - everyone’s collaborating with everyone in the industry. Is there an artist that you would trust The Chronicles of Life and Death with, to do a mash-up with - like how Jay-Z and Linkin Park got together and did Collision Course.
JOEL: OutKast I think.
MAZ: Really? Very cool, that would be amazing to hear.
PAUL: That would be amazing, if it would happen. (laughs)
MAZ: We should hook that up!
PAUL: Have you got connections?
MAZ: ‘Cause Andre and I… well we’re not really mates, but maybe someone knows him out there… give Andre a call…
JOEL: Make it happen for us.
MAZ: That would be hilarious.
PAUL: But yeah, we’re totally into collaborating, just like, something hasn’t come across us yet. And we keep ourselves so busy.
MAZ: I’m predicting it’s going to be OutKast. I’m feeling the vibe.
JOEL: You feel it?
MAZ: Yep, I’m feeling the love there.
PAUL: That’s awesome.
JOEL: Well we’ll see, it’d be cool, that’d be great.
PAUL: I’m gonna jump on that vibe.
MAZ: What happens to songs that don’t make it on the album?
JOEL: They go into the vault.
MAZ: Is there a vault?
JOEL: There’s a vault of all these songs that just have never found a place on any record. Maybe one day we’ll make an album of all the songs… like the misfit songs.
PAUL: Haha, ‘The Island of Misfit Songs’.
MAZ: And call it that… How do you pick what you want on the album - is it
because you want a story to be told that flows?
JOEL: Yeah, you know, it’s just like, it’s like a story that flows, it’s like a movie, you know, it moves and it feels right and each song has it’s place on the record. We spend countless hours and hours and days on finding the place and which songs make it and we have tons of conversations. Like this album, there was a least twice as many songs that didn’t make it and we had arguments over which one we wanted and which one deserved…
PAUL: We almost broke up.
MAZ: You did not.
PAUL: No we didn’t, I’m just kidding.
MAZ: You liar.
PAUL: Just trying to juice up the conversation.
JOEL: There was a couple of times where it was hard though, that’s why you have like Eric Valentine to produce the record, who kind of oversees that and kind of goes, ‘Well this is what I think’ and then at the end of the day when you get it all done, you kind of go, ‘Yeah, that’s right, that feels right’. And this album feels right and it feels full and complete. We usually don’t do more than fifteen songs on a record… but if there was a song that felt right, there’d be sixteen. But it just, it felt right from start to finish when we listened to it. It was like, complete.
PAUL: But at the same time, with this album, we did have so many songs that we loved, we put bonus tracks on. Two different bonus tracks.
JOEL: And a hidden track.
MAZ: A hidden track. The good old hidden track!
PAUL: Well it’s not hidden anymore! Jeez, it’s all out in the open.
JOEL: (to camera) Hidden track on the album - it’s called ‘Wounded’.
MAZ: Now you guys have been touring and playing and everything for so long now, are there any days where you just wake up and go, ‘I can’t do this anymore, I need a day off’. Because you seriously don’t really get a break, especially when you’re touring.
JOEL: It’s not the shows, it’s the press that we don’t like to do.
MAZ: That would be this moment right now!
PAUL: It’s you people.
JOEL: That would be this stuff right here. No, it’s like, that’s the stuff that you’re like, ‘I didn’t sign up for like, photo shoots and interviews.’
PAUL: Talking about myself all day.
JOEL: Talking about myself, it’s like - today’s an exception maybe - but most of the time you’re talking to someone who does not care about your band, they’re just doing their job.
PAUL: It’s just an assignment.
JOEL: It’s an assignment, you know, so you’re like, ‘Why are you asking this question? You don’t even care, you don’t know the name of the songs.’ So like, those are the days where you’re like, man. But then when you play the shows, it’s all worth it.
MAZ: That’s where it’s at. Do you have a favourite song you like playing live?
PAUL: Hmmm… a lot of them… there’s a lot of them that are just…
JOEL: Currently I’d say… ‘Ghost Of You’ for me, currently. That’s my favourite.
MAZ: Uh huh, it’s a very good song.
MAZ: Before we wrap up this interview, I thought I’d be a little creative and I thought we could play a game. It was gonna be nude Twister but I left the mat in the car.
MAZ: So I want to play a game called ‘Good Charlotte, Bad Charlotte’, where I give you each a scenario. Because I have done a lot of research on you guys and you’re pretty much angels - I don’t think there’s any bad points about you, so maybe we’ll discover something a little bit naughty about you.
JOEL: Hmmm. (Paul laughs)
MAZ: I’ll give you scenario and you tell me what you’d do and then I’ll figure out whether you’re good or bad - can we do that?
MAZ: Okay, so who wants to go first?
PAUL: Sure, I’ll go.
MAZ: Alright Paul: you’re in a crowded elevator and you accidentally fart but no one hears - but everyone knows. Do you ignore it, blame the person next to you, or laugh?
PAUL: Laugh probably.
JOEL: He would laugh.
MAZ: I’d have to say that’d be pretty good.
JOEL: I’d ignore it.
PAUL: It’d either be that or ignore it and kind of smile to myself because I know I’m going to get out of the elevator in less than a minute and never see these people again in my life.
MAZ: Unless it breaks and then you’re stuffed.
PAUL: Well yeah, that’s never happened. I’ve been in a few elevators.
MAZ: Okay cool. Joel -
PAUL: What is that - is that bad or good?
MAZ: Well I think that’s good.
MAZ: I don’t know… I think laughing’s good.
JOEL: Blaming someone else is bad.
MAZ: Yeah, blaming someone else is pretty nasty.
PAUL: Oh okay.
MAZ: So I think you took the good option there.
PAUL: I want to be bad!
MAZ: Joel: you’re best mate is about to go on a first date with a really hot chick that he really likes. He comes out of the bedroom into the loungeroom and he’s about to walk out the door, his fly is clearly undone - do you tell him or do you just let him go?
JOEL: I’d absolutely tell him! That’s my dog, I’ve gotta tell him.
MAZ: Really? I have a problem with telling people that their fly’s undone because it means you’ve been looking there!
JOEL: I don’t care, it’s my homeboy.
MAZ: I don’t want you to know I’ve been checking out your junk ‘cause that’s weird.
JOEL: I don’t care, it’s like, he’s going out with a girl he really likes, you gotta help him out.
MAZ: Yeah well that’s very good. One more each. Paul: you’re at Maz’s party tonight (which is clearly going to happen) and you accidentally spill a glass of red wine on my freshly shampooed carpet. Do you tell me about it, blame it on someone else, or try and cover it up with kleenex.
JOEL: (whispers to Paul) Cover it up, Dog.
PAUL: (laughs) I’d probably just tell you about it.
MAZ: Would you really?
JOEL: I would try cleaning that shit up and not tell you.
PAUL: Nah, I’d tell you about it and ask if you had any club soda to try and get it out right then and there.
MAZ: Okay, well then, that’s very good. (to camera) See I told you, they’re like perfect people.
JOEL: (to Paul) That’s good. (pats his knee)
PAUL: I drink a lot of wine though, I don’t spill.
JOEL: Paul drinks a lot of wine.
PAUL: I spill it in my belly.
MAZ: Oh really - does it ever come out of the belly?
PAUL: (shakes head) Uh-uh. Not wine.
JOEL: Other stuff.
PAUL: (laughs) Other stuff comes out.
MAZ: So wrong.
PAUL: That whiskey doesn’t sit too good.
MAZ: Last one for Joel. Your best friend’s girlfriend has cheated on him and you know about it. Do you tell him that she’s cheated or do you just play dumb?
JOEL: Fuckin’ tell him, right on, right when I find out.
MAZ: Really? I love that you said the F-word there because you’re really passionate about it.
JOEL: I hate that shit.
MAZ: You’ve gotta tell him?
JOEL: Gotta tell him.
MAZ: That’s very good.
JOEL: It’s your homeboy, you gotta have his back.
MAZ: Yeah, you’ve got to look after your friends.
JOEL: The truth hurts, but you know.
MAZ: And she’d just be a bitch anyway, so who cares.
MAZ: Look thank you for your time.
JOEL: Thank you.
MAZ: Have an awesome tour and hopefully - well, I’ll see you tonight at the party.
A few months later, I get the call that I am going to be going to Playa Car in Mexico to cover the Video Music Awards, Latin America and make a show about my travels called Maz’s Mexican Vacation. It all gets confirmed about three weeks before we jet out, and guess who is playing on the bill at the awards other than The Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance and Simple Plan? Good Charlotte. What are the chances? In the mean-time, to fuel the already roaring fire I have in my heart for Joel Madden, my flat-mate brings home an article that appeared in FHM Magazine… an interview with Billy and Joel from Good Charlotte, but one part of the interview was totally interesting, this is an excert from the interview.
Ed: ‘Your groupies seem to get made up just like, does that freak you out?
Billy: ‘I still dress up like my favourite bands’
Joel: ‘We are kinda over the whole groupie thing, when you are 19 with a record contract, it’s like, girls, WOW, but we’re 25 now and we’ve been there and done that. I’d much rather hook up with someone at an interview.
Ed: ‘Oh please, no!’
Joel: No no like and girl interviewer, like an MTV VJ or something.
So, the journey continues, off to Mexico we go we shoot a few shows. And Mexico was completely beautiful, we literally were staying in Paradise.
Thankfully we arrived a few days before the lead up to the big awards show, so we could film content for the vacation show and get all the sight-seeing out of the way. It’s two nights before the awards and the rehearsals are in full swing. The venue is just amazing, in the middle of the Mexican jungle in an old temple. We are about to head off to the venue to film the Good Charlotte sound check, and we just heard word that one of the other bands had cancelled their appearance at the show that day. So the lads from Good Charlotte had decided to take one for the team and do an extra song, isn’t that sweet? Just before we jump in the car, I decided to quickly jump in the bath and wash my feet, as my thongs were filthy from walking along 5th Street all day in the humidity and gorgeous Mexican weather. It was one the those bath and shower in one models with the dual operating tap, I flicked the tap on and it was on the shower setting, so I got totally drenched… not good timing wise at all. I had to get in the car with a soaking wet singlet and ask the driver to turn the air-conditioning on full blast, sitting in the back of the car in a bra and holding my drenched singlet up the outlet to try and dry it before we got to the venue…. It was still damp when we arrived.
We were ferried into a holding area with the rest of the crews that were there to film the sound check and soon after allowed into the arena. The guys were well into their sound check, I really had nothing to do there except watch, and that was fun enough for me. At one point, the director of the production got on the overbearingly loud venure microphone, which did sound like the voice of God, and ask anyone who was not in the band to leave the stage. The reason being, all the crew, (stage hands, production, lighting, sound, catering) and the band were wearing black and the camera operators couldn’t work out who was in the band and who was MTV staff! Hilarious. So, from a distance I watched the sound check and made mental notes of things to bring up in the interview that I’d be doing with the band backstage at the awards. Then, it seriously did turn into a movie ….
The production team for the awards decided that night to bring the entire show one day forward as there had been a hurricane warning for show day. Now, how you logistically bring such a huge show forward a day is beyond me, but that was the call. All the interviews had been pushed forward to during the day, final rehearsals would be in the afternoon, and the red carpet show would kick off as planned, just 24 hours earlier. Talk about drama. So we went back to our beachfront bungalow to get some rest, as the next day would be a long one. We woke up to a message from one of our sales team members who was also in town with his staff who had made budget for the quarter, and some clients, who told us to turn on the TV, which we did and found out that that ‘minor hurricane’ warning had turned into a Category 5 Hurricane heading directly for the Mexican Caribbean. Yes, Hurricane Wilma was on her way to make an appearance at the awards. What happened in those next few hours, now feels like was either a dream or in slow motion. We had to change to our flights and get the heck out of Mexico before the hurricane arrived. Awards cancelled, mission aborted.
Thankfully we finally got in touch with our Sydney office, and our boss managed to change our flights and get us to LA, Miami was another option but that was in the path of the Hurricane, so we opted for LA. We literally threw our stuff into our suitcases got in the car and drove to the airport. We didn’t even check out of our hotel. The airport really was like a scene from a movie, pandemonium… people crying, queuing, trying to change flights. Check on loved ones before themselves. It was just crazy.
Shakira had arrived at 4am that morning, and was on the next flight out of there. We just had to wait now until they called our flight. We ran into so many people that we had met in the previous days some of who were going home to board up their houses and wait for the Hurricane to pass.
The last I saw of Good Charlotte in Mexico, was when they ran through the airport being chased by photographers, to board their flight out of there. Our aim was to just get to LA and be safe, which after hours of waiting, did happen. Oh there is so much more to the Hurricane Wilma story, but I’ll save that for another book.
After the trauma of, as I could have exaggerated, ‘being stuck in a Hurricane with Joel Madden,’ which clearly was not the whole truth, we were in the same city and at the same airport at the same time, I couldn’t believe it when it was time for a new album, another promo tour and yet another chance to see the guys. By this stage though, I was over the idea of hooking up with Joel and just honestly was excited about interviewing a band that is always down to earth, funny and honest.
So here we go again, the Club Lounge this time is the bands preferred hotel interview space, with a lovely view and comfortable chair. The boys arrive, both pre-occupied by their at-the-time girlfriends (I assume) on their phones, Joel and Benjii Madden, grab their places and I ring the bell for the next round of interview questions with Good Charlotte. Ding ding.
The best part about this interview, was getting the word that the guys were 99 per cent confirmed to come back down under in a few months to help host The MTV Australia Video Music Awards.
After the interview, Benjii came over to me and commented on my engagement ring, to which I was flattered and in the know that he had just proposed to his girlfriend Sophie Monk. ‘You know I just got engaged,’ he humbly said, ‘I know.’
‘It’s really weird but I feel like I have a comrade with anyone I run into now that is engaged, you feel like you are in a bubble with those people because they understand how awesome you feel.’ Agreed Mr. Madden.
The weeks flew by and the boys from Good Charlotte arrived back in Sydney to help host the MTV Australia Video Music Awards.
I didn’t anticipate spending as much time with the fella’s from Good Charlotte and I did, but every time our paths crossed, whether it was on stage at the Press Conference, backstage at the AVMAs, a hotel suite for an interview or saddling up to another bar at the after party, the boys were a delight.
When asked about undertaking such a huge role at the AVMAs as hosts, Benjii and Joel Madden were quick to explain that they had watched tapes of the Grammy’s, the ARIAs, The Oscars and the Logies in order to prepare for the job!
Benjii joked that the boys would only refer to them selves in the third person on the night, to which I did call them ‘a**holes’, and lucky for me they get Aussie humour. Good Charlotte, Benjii and Joel tell me, have a special connection with Australia, they have a lotta love for Australia, especially seeing as after he becomes Mr Sophie Monk, Benjii will have dual citizenship.
The Press Conference was a breeze with the whole band on stage, even though it was really only Benjii and Joel who did the talking, I managed to say hi at least to Billy, Paul and Dean. And the guys are great sports, when a fan in the audience ask them if there was one slice of pizza left on a plate, would they share it, or just keep it to themselves, to which Jeol launched into the politics of variable answers depending on the topping on the pizza. After the Press Conference you could see the awesome foursome, Joel Madden and his then squeeze Nicole Ritchie, and Benjii Madden with his full time squeeze Sophie Monk, all at the bar, sipping mineral water and some chain smoking. It seemed to be a bit of a click as they other guys in the band headed back up to their rooms.
Then there was the night of awards.
My biggest question was going to be how nervous were the guys performing with their girlfriends in the audience, but I’d have to save that question for the interview I had scheduled with them days later. From the Tower on the red carpet, I watched the band arrive and make their way up the red carpet and into the arena to take on their hosting duties, but during the show, backstage in the dressing room area, you wouldn’t believe it.. Between their on-stage duties, Joel and Benjii would duck back to either their dressing room, in which they are still trying to convince everyone started the whole after party. Swigging beers and popping into other artist dressing rooms such as Billy Talent to high-five their friends and then race off for their next stint. The guys seemed too relaxed during the actual awards, even up to the point of when the official awards were over and we did a live show backstage, called Aftermath. Standing outside their dressing signing autographs, Benjii was totally cool to chat on the live show, and even took over at one point, and when the laughs were loud enough, Joel emerged from the dressing room to support his twin in some antics that are always expected at an awards show of this nature.
It was only two sleeps later when we would all re-group to shoot another coupla shows. To my complete disappointment, Joel had taken sick that morning, after being chased by a photographer’s on his way to get a coffee earlier that morning, so Benjii and me would hold the fort on camera. I don’t know if it was because I felt like we were friends now, because we’d seen each other so much lately, he was in a great mood or he is just super sweet, but we giggled as much as we conversed in the interview. And it was one of my best, in fact it got me a pay rise… so thanks! ☺
GOOD CHARLOTTE (Benji, post AVMA)
MAZ: So how, Benji, did you hold up after the AVMAs? For me, it’s been like this whirlwind that’s kept going.
BENJI: (mock serious) For me, it was really emotional - you know, with the win and everything.
MAZ: It’s going to be like this, isn’t it.
BENJI: I had to go and soak in a hot bath for about three hours… alone.
MAZ: Did you have rose petals?
BENJI: Yes and aromatherapy. Alone though - I couldn’t be around anyone. I actually had the hallways cleared and no eye contact. Anyone who made eye contact with me was fired.
MAZ: Oh really?
BENJI: Okay, not really. How did I hold up? Well I think the party started in our dressing room… during the entire show, from even the rehearsal. All the artists and everybody that was there was in our dressing room, partying, from the time of the rehearsal on through the show, until the end of the show. I think you guys caught me in rare form - we had a nice moment.
MAZ: (laughing) It was a beautiful moment, which I will cherish forever.
BENJI: Yeah I got that personality from somewhere, I don’t know. But anyway, we proceeded to go back to our hotel and party for the rest of the night.
MAZ: More partying…
BENJI: I went to bed earlier than the rest of everyone else…
MAZ: Earlier than the rest of the band?
BENJI: I think I went to bed at like three maybe… and then at about four-thirty I was woken up in a terror - I thought the hotel was on fire - from my brother and some members of the other bands that were there, banging on my door telling me I need to come out and party more. So I think other than that I held up pretty well.
MAZ: Jog it in, Benji. I’m proud of you.
BENJI: No I have to say, it was the absolute - I said this in another interview - it was the funnest awards I’ve ever been to.
BENJI: Because in America, you go to an awards show and everybody, you know, you got Beyonce, who’s very sweet, love her, and you got, you know, Jay-Z, and you have, um, you know, Christina Aguilera, all these people - who are all very nice, know them all and I have a lot of respect for them. But they have their entourages and it’s not so much of a hangout atmosphere.
MAZ: Are they sort of less accessible?
BENJI: Like you walk up them - ‘I’m gonna go over and say hi to Beyonce’ and then two eight-foot tall guys go, ‘Who are you? I don’t care, no.’
MAZ: ‘You with the tattoos, stand down.’
BENJI: Yeah, stand down, abort mission. And you immediately say, ‘Oh I thought this was the bathroom, I’m gonna go.’ At this awards show, everyone was just hanging out. It’s all the entourages in America. Everyone’s got their entourage. Here, everybody was like, you know, hanging out and it was just like the most laidback - even like hosting, everybody from MTV was just really really laidback.
MAZ: Well not from where I was sitting but I’m glad that we put on that front.
BENJI: To the strange Americans, they didn’t stress us as much. They probably stressed out when we left or whatever, but they were really cool. I even think we were late getting on stage a couple of times and they didn’t care, I mean, we were very - we just kept ordering more beer and whatever and they just kept bringing it and we just had a really good time. It was very Australian.
MAZ: I heard that there were two versions of the actual script that you guys rehearsed with - one was ‘child friendly’, can we say, and one was less child friendly…
BENJI: PG, PG-13 and R got cut out immediately. And NC-17 didn’t even…
MAZ: So which one - ‘cause there were a few little gags going on, onstage between yourself, Joel and Fergie, during the awards. Were we running with the dirtier version, is that what happened?
BENJI: Oh no, that was the cleaned up version.
MAZ: Are you serious?
BENJI: Oh yeah, my brother is a lot dirtier than any of you know.
MAZ: You’re just saying that ‘cause he’s not here.
BENJI: No, I had to keep it, you know, more moderate. Joel wanted to go all out you know. And of course I knew that there would be some little jabs thrown in there, you know, because Sophie’s Australian - I knew he was going to make some little jokes about us, you know, down under, you know… somehow make it sexual and disgusting.
MAZ: Which you would never do.
BENJI: And cheapen this great awards show, with some sort of seedy, you ` know…
MAZ: I think it added to it.
MAZ: I really do.
BENJI: Well that’s the beauty of watching twin brothers try to embarrass each other on TV.
MAZ: Yeah absolutely, that’s pretty much what happened.
BENJI: But yeah, we got an original script and then we just said, ‘I don’t really want to say that’ or ‘That’s gonna make me look kind of stupid if I go, “And the next artist has sold blah blah blah”’, so you just kind of mix it up.
MAZ: It looked like it was really natural for you guys to be presenting.
BENJI: The only thing I was upset with the whole night was I feel like my David Hasselhoff joke - which I wrote myself - it was crickets.
MAZ: It died in the arse.
BENJI: It was kind of like, everyone was like, ‘What does that mean?’
MAZ: Yeah, I have to, unfortunately, agree.
BENJI: I said, ‘It’s a little known fact that David Hasselhoff’s tears can cure any disease known to man. It’s too bad he’s never cried.’ I thought that was funny.
MAZ: I thought the ‘Don’t hassle the Hoff’ thing worked a little better.
BENJI: Yeah, don’t hassle the Hoff… It’s gonna go Hoff? This party’s gonna go Hoff, you know?
MAZ: Hoff like a frog in a sock?
BENJI: I think I’m a comedian sometimes and then my brother always reminds me - ‘You’re not even the lead singer. You play guitar.’
MAZ: I was just going to say, it’s just as well that you’re really good at you’re job.
BENJI: I don’t even know about that.
MAZ: Well I think you’re okay.
BENJI: Well thanks.
MAZ: Was it cool having Sophie around? She was working on the night as well, she was hosting the red carpet with myself.
BENJI: It was awesome, we had fun.
MAZ: It was cool?
BENJI: We had fun the whole night and we’ve never really worked together, so it was cool. It was really cool, we had a great time.
MAZ: Do you get a bit more nervous because you know…
BENJI: ‘Cause she’s there?
BENJI: Absolutely. I’m never nervous and I was so nervous that night.
BENJI: I was like, ‘Joel, do I look stupid?’
MAZ: Oh you’re so cute! And Joel’s going, ‘Yeah you do.’
BENJI: It’s not like, you know, she never sees me in my gym clothes or something, you know what I mean? But for some reason… you’re at work, it’s kind of like when you’re mom shows up or people you care about, you get a little nervous and then you’re like, ‘Oh what I just said sounds really stupid’, you know? ‘Now she’s not gonna be attracted to me.’ (laughs)
MAZ: I think it’s a little deeper than that with you guys.
BENJI: She’s very supportive though, yes. It was really fun.
MAZ: Did you get a chance to see her on the red carpet? Because she had a little posi with Perez Hilton…
BENJI: I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. When I walked by her, she looked so beautiful. I mean, she always looks beautiful, but to see her, doing her thing, it was really something, I was very proud of her.
MAZ: That’s so cute! And were you proud of your band for winning an incredible award on the night?
BENJI: I was proud of our fans because I know that award is all about the fans.
MAZ: Yeah, they made a good choice.
BENJI: And you know, Good Charlotte… we kind of feel like no one really would care about us if it wasn’t for our fans, our fans make people pay attention to us and that just shows you right there. We aren’t probably… the fan awards are the ones we win. We’re lucky.
MAZ: But that’s a testament, I guess, to you guys and to your fans.
BENJI: That always definitely makes us want to stay later and sign more autographs because you just feel like you want to meet as many of them as possible. We do have a very unique relationship with our fans.
MAZ: Will any bits and pieces from you and Joel hosting the AVMAs make it to Good Charlotte TV, the little webisodes that you guys were doing on your website?
BENJI: I would love that, just to show everyone how cool we are… no just kidding. I think that would be a great idea - that’s a good idea. You know what, I’m not gonna give you credit for it but that’s a great idea.
MAZ: You can rip my ideas off any time you like.
BENJI: I take credit for all the good ideas.
MAZ: That would be really fun though, right? Edit it all up…
BENJI: Velcro. That was me too.
MAZ: You invented velcro?
BENJI: I did. And…
MAZ: Post-it notes. That was me.
BENJI: Pogs. Remember pogs?
BENJI: You didn’t play with pogs?
MAZ: What are pogs?
BENJI: Dungeons & Dragons, any of that stuff?
MAZ: I play with Dungeons & Dragons.
BENJI: Oh yeah?
MAZ: What’s pogs though?
BENJI: Oh nothing, we won’t get into it.
MAZ: Okay, it’s probably a boy thing, eeek. Well I’m glad that the AVMAs were kickass for you.
BENJI: Well thanks for having us.
MAZ: You made them kickass for us.
BENJI: We had a great time and you know what, let us know if you want us to do it next year.
MAZ: I think we’ll be okay.
BENJI: Yeah, you’ll call me right?
MAZ: (laughs) I’ll call your manager.
BENJI: Yeah okay.
BENJI: Hi, I’m Kristin Cavallari and you’re watching the Laguna Beach motherfucking marathon. Keep it right here on MTV.
MAZ: (laughing) I didn’t think you were going to do that at all, I thought you were joking.
BENJI: I like Kristin, we’re friends.
MAZ: Are you really?
BENJI: Ah, acquaintances. I wouldn’t say really friends, but we’re acquaintances.
MAZ: As you can see, we’re Kickin’ It with Benji of Good Charlotte…
MAZ: Hey everyone, we’re Kickin’ It with Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, thanks for uh, you know, making time and lending me your cool sunglasses.
MAZ: Thank you, that’s what I love about you.
BENJI: Just wipe them off when you’re done. (laughs) I’m just kidding!
MAZ: (laughing) That was so fricken mean!
BENJI: I’ve got this thing if I ever use anyone’s sunglasses, I just have to wipe off the little nose part.
MAZ: Oh no, I will do that.
BENJI: It’s just weird, I don’t know why.
MAZ: But do you want me to, like, disinfect them or anything?
BENJI: Well you know the little bottle of alcohol you carry around with you… I don’t know, it’s weird. Sorry.
MAZ: Let’s talk about your videos, ‘cause that’s what we’re here to do, we’re here to showcase some of your videos and have you chat about them. So ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Girl’ - you did two versions?
BENJI: We did.
BENJI: Before the record was done we had finished the song and we were like, ‘Is this song going to fit with the record? You know what, let’s just put it online’. Just to see how it reacts and to give kids something a little early from the record. The internet was there and we figured the label, they’re not gonna care, really, we’ll just put it on the internet. So then when we did, it reacted really well and the label’s like, ‘It’s a great idea!’ and
we were just like, ‘Cool’. It was my idea.
MAZ: All the best ideas are Benji’s ideas.
BENJI: Okay… maybe it was Paul’s or Joel’s…
MAZ: You can take the credit because they’re not here.
BENJI: So then we just took five thousand dollars, U.S. - that’d be about seven Australian…
MAZ: (laughs) I was gonna say, that’d be about fourteen thousand dollars.
BENJI: No no, it’s not anymore. Used to be, but now…
MAZ: Actually no, the dollar’s doing well these days.
BENJI: The Australian/U.S. dollars are coming head to head. Anyway, so we just took a little bit of money and we made a video with our friend, Marvin, who did our DVD in Japan. And we just did a black and white, just real simple, in a studio space, video. It went really well, so then the label, when they decided - the rest of the record labels around the rest of the world, like Europe, Australia, everyone was like, ‘We like this, we want to put it out as a single.’ So we were like, ‘Okay’, so then we went and made another video. Probably not as good as the five thousand dollar video but we spent about a hundred and fifty thousand. I don’t know how that works.
MAZ: How does that work?
BENJI: I don’t know. See, that’s the magic of TV.
MAZ: You can spend a lot of money, it can look not as great?
BENJI: It looks the same, yeah. It’s weird.
MAZ: A la, this show.
BENJI: So we just did and that’s the story.
MAZ: The one question about the song that I have - the brass knuckles.
BENJI: In the video?
MAZ: Well I have a two pronged question, if I may.
MAZ: The first is, do they represent anything - is it a metaphor? And the second is where did you find the brass knuckles that are featured in the video?
BENJI: It IS a metaphor - for love actually.
MAZ: Is it really?
BENJI: Nah, actually it’s not. It’s actually a senseless lyric. See, you can’t read too deep into Good Charlotte. None of us went to college, we’re not that - I mean, let’s face it, we’re not, you know, John Lennon. Okay? We’re Good Charlotte, you gotta just bring your expectations down, about five levels - maybe six - and just kind of roll with it, you know? See, what we like to do, is keep people’s expectations low ‘cause then we can’t disappoint them.
MAZ: Well that’s why you’ll do well.
BENJI: Just remember, it’s Good Charlotte. That’s how we lead into everything - ‘Remember, before you listen to this…’ (laughs) No, that’s actually… in my younger days, I used to carry around a pair of brass knuckles, from time to time.
BENJI: I was a little guy - still am - and you tend to find in life, as a smaller person, you can get pushed around a little bit… a pair of brass knuckles comes out. I’m not suggesting this at all…
MAZ: No - don’t try this at home.
BENJI: Now listen: I would never use brass knuckles. I would just show them.
MAZ: It was just a scare, just a threatening thing, okay right, I get it.
BENJI: I don’t want to encourage any violence. No, the truth is, it’s just for looks - jewellery. I actually had that chain made. I tend to think I’m a little bit of a rapper sometimes, so I needed a chain with diamonds…
MAZ: Brass knuckles, all the bling and stuff.
BENJI: I had to find some way to use the last ten thousand dollars that I had in my bank account.
MAZ: That’s where it went.
BENJI: And that was it and that was a really smart way to spend my money and I encourage any kids out there in a rock band to go out there, sell some records, and then spend all your money, because you can always live with your twin brother, Joel. That’s my fallback.
MAZ: Brilliant advice.
BENJI: Can’t take it with you.
MAZ: Well let’s check out the track right now - ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Girl’ by Good Charlotte.
MAZ: we are Kickin’ It with Benji Madden from Good Charlotte still…
BENJI: Kickin’ It. Yo MTV raps.
MAZ: That was very homeboyish of you.
BENJI: Yes. I’m very white.
MAZ: So the latest single off the album, ‘Dance Floor Anthem’.
BENJI: Yep, ‘Dance Floor Anthem’. My favourite.
MAZ: Is it really?
BENJI: One of. It’s hard to choose a favourite, there’s so many.
MAZ: How many favourites do you have off this album?
BENJI: Maybe three.
MAZ: Okay, wow. So this is one of them because?
BENJI: Top three.
MAZ: It’s in the top three?
BENJI: (nods) Top three.
MAZ: You’re in my top three.
MAZ: Just of cool people.
BENJI: Alright. I get that a lot.
MAZ: Tell me about the video and the making of.
BENJI: Okay, well ‘Dance Floor Anthem’ is a song about breaking up. It’s kind of taking the positive out of the negative. Everybody breaks up - you ever break up with anyone or get broken up with?
BENJI: There you go, as have I.
MAZ: It sucks.
BENJI: But it makes you better for the future.
MAZ: I agree.
BENJI: I now have a better, stronger relationship for whatever I went through in the past. And see, that’s how you’ve gotta look at it. So it’s like, get back out there, feel good - that’s what this song’s about, it’s a feelgood song. So it’s talking about it from the girl’s perspective, from the guy’s perspective - verse one’s girl’s, verse two is guy’s - and basically the video is shot in a hospital setting and it’s kind of the life and death of a relationship. But it’s not using like people who are dying in bed or anything, it’s kind of just basically a montage, a collage of visuals. And I think Joel did a great job in the video, he’s a real performer, that one. (Maz laughs) He gets a little up on himself sometimes, so we have to kind of cut him down, kind of just, you know, give him a little shot to kidney.
MAZ: How did you get the girl’s perspective? Is that your perspective of the girl’s perspective or because you would actually talk to chicks about it?
BENJI: I used to be a woman. I had a very extensive operation and now I’m a man.
MAZ: Well that answers my question.
BENJI: No, I think actually, as a song writer, I am really in touch with my feminine side. I’m really emotional, I mean, I’m a crier.
MAZ: Are you really?
BENJI: I’m a crier. I’ll start reminiscing, I’ll start - I don’t sob, but, you know, tears. Easy, easy tears.
MAZ: You cry - that’s okay. Better out than in they say. In many situations.
BENJI: Yeah, that’s what I say. That can apply to some really weird things that I don’t want you to elaborate on.
MAZ: We should check out Joel’s completely stunning performance in the video then, shall we not? It’s ‘Dance Floor Anthem’ by Good Charlotte.
MAZ: Hey everyone, we’re still Kickin’ It with Benji from Good Charlotte.
BENJI: Chazzer. You know how you guys like to cut everything down here, like if someone’s Darren, they’re ‘Dazzer’… Chazzer.
MAZ: Oh, how we shorten everything?
BENJI: You know, making it easier for you. Anyways, the next video that we’re gonna watch is ‘I Just Wanna Live’. This is one of my favourites, I think it’s kind of silly, which we enjoy doing. We’re not a very serious band.
MAZ: You guys do take the piss a fair bit and I appreciate that. I think Australians in general can appreciate somebody who can have a laugh at themselves.
BENJI: I’ve gotten to know some Australians very well and I think - we’ve always had a special relationship with Australia - and I think the reason we get on over here with people so well and we have so many friends here and all that stuff is I think a lot of American bands try to come over here to fool Australia, try to act like they’re something really special. But we just kind of, came over here saying, ‘We’d love to play here if you guys’ll have us but, you know… we’re just Good Charlotte.’ I think you just have to be real with people and say, ‘Don’t expect, you know, Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd’.
MAZ: ‘We’re just Good Charlotte.’
BENJI: ‘We’re just Good Charlotte.’ That’s our motto. We don’t want to shoot for anything higher.
MAZ: Stick with what you know.
BENJI: Just have a beer. Relax, have fun. No, I think we’ve gotten along with Australia very well and I think ‘I Just Wanna Live’ is a video that I hope people can appreciate the humour in. We like to make fun of ourselves a little bit and we had fun making it.
MAZ: I was about to say, how much fun did you have making it? Because it looked like a riot.
BENJI: A lot of fun. We were laughing all day.
MAZ: Out of ten?
BENJI: I don’t think the video’s as funny as we thought it was.
MAZ: (laughing) Oh really?
BENJI: Yeah. That’s how much fun we were having. We crack ourselves up.
MAZ: I guess so long as during the making of the video you guys were happy and had a lot of fun, that’s all that matters. The end result is the end result and people are always going to judge.
BENJI: That’s it.
MAZ: So who cares?
BENJI: Judge me.
MAZ: Let’s check it out now, it’s Good Charlotte with ‘I Just Wanna Live’.
MAZ: Hey everyone, we’re still Kickin’ It with Benji Madden from GC town… thanks for sticking around.
BENJI: I’m really happy to be here.
MAZ: I’m really glad that you’re here. Do you want your sunnies back?
BENJI: Umm… sure.
MAZ: (Wipes them down and hands them to him, he laughs) They were actually kind of spinning me out a bit - they’re not prescription, are they?
BENJI: Uh yes.
MAZ: Are they really?
BENJI: No they’re not.
MAZ: ‘Cause I was kind of spacing out…
BENJI: I can’t see that well…
MAZ: The next vid that we’re going to check out of yours is ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’
BENJI: ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous’.
MAZ: This is a cracker in my opinion. A cracker of a song and a cracker of a video.
BENJI: What’s a ‘cracker’?
MAZ: Like a really good one.
BENJI: Oh okay, cool.
MAZ: It’s probably one of my favourites, it would be in my top three Good Charlotte videos.
BENJI: Alright, alright. I would probably - for me, it’s one of my favourites too. It was made at a very special time. We were very young but still very excited and it was kind of a breakthrough for us.
MAZ: That’s what I was going to say, do you feel like that kind of launched
you a bit?
BENJI: Yeah, we were on tour in a van the first record, a couple of years in a van, just working, working, working, playing any show we could… And then when this record came out, it really took off and it was the beginning of a crazy, crazy ride. It was a lot of fun and I think we all have really good memories. I felt like it was a little victory for us - just the content of the song, kind of just taking shots at the attitudes of people and I still - people always ask me now, ‘Well now you’re rich and famous, so why would you write ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous’ if you were going to be rich and famous?’ And it’s like, ‘Well, we wanted to be rich and famous and if you listen to the words of the song, it’s saying that if you guys have a problem with it, we’ll take it. I’m tired of being broke. And I’d love to have that.’
MAZ: And you’re not going to complain about it, you’re not going to whinge about it, you might appreciate it for what it is.
BENJI: And still to this day I’m really proud of my band because I’ve seen their attitudes stay the same. I mean, you change your lifestyle a little bit, like, you know… I mean, Joel happens to date very famous women…
MAZ: (laughs) I was about to say, is this a Joel story but it’s really about you?
BENJI: But I think we’d still write that song again. I have very good memories of that song and I’m really glad that we’re the band that wrote it and we’re the band that made that statement. Because I think it did make a lot of people - I’ve had so many people, people like actors and actresses come and go, (adopts mock serious voice) ‘You know that song is so true. I’ve been thinking about - I feel very lucky and that song really made me feel, so it made me take a look at what I was doing. Do you know what I’m saying?’
MAZ: What do you say to that?
BENJI: I say… (clenches fist) Thank you.
MAZ: Rock on.
BENJI: (Pounds fist on heart) Thank you. No, you know, that song was a little bit of a… I think that’ll be a song that, years from now, people will remember from us. I hope. Maybe we can write another one. Not the same kind of song. But we’ve got a lot of great memories associated with that song and we had a lot of fun making this video and it was just rock and roll and it was a lot of fun.
MAZ: Cool, well let’s check it out now; it’s Good Charlotte - ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous’.
BENJI: Hey, I’m Benji Madden, Kickin’ It here on MTV and playing some Good Charlotte videos - what do you think we should play next?
MAZ: Well we had a lot of fun making the clip for ‘Girls And Boys’, it was a great time in our lives, we really connected as a band and I just believe that… okay you can keep going now.
BENJI: Alright. I agree and I remember that - remember you stayed out all night the night before we were meant to make the video?
MAZ: I know, and they had to do a lot of concealer because I was a little bit… (does thumbs down)
BENJI: Remember, it was so… it was crazy, I don’t even want to - you know, you threw up on the set?
MAZ: Yeah you weren’t really meant to talk about that. It was under your pillow as well, but anyway.
BENJI: Anyways. Well we had a lot of fun making this video, ‘Girls And Boys’, and really enjoyed working with the old people, they were really cool. We were in New Zealand when we made this video and they were very, very, very nice elderly people in the video. I had to give a woman a massage for one of the shots…
MAZ: From my memory, an extremely elderly woman that gravity had…
BENJI: Absolutely. And I enjoyed every second.
MAZ: Did you really?
BENJI: Every stroke.
MAZ: That’s kind of creepy.
BENJI: It was creepy. I’ve moved on from that part of my life and I don’t want to go too much into detail, but I’ve straightened everything out and I’m back on the right track.
BENJI: But I hope you all enjoy this video, ‘Girls And Boys’. It’s one of my favourites.
MAZ: Watch out for my cameo - it’s really brief but I’m in it.
MAZ: Yes, I am still - and you are still - Kickin’ It with Benji Madden from Good Charlotte.
(Benji makes back to front peace sign)
MAZ: Is that a bit of a ‘peace out A-town’?
BENJI: It’s a bit of like a ‘What’s up?’ It’s meant to make me look cool… but I probably just look like a knob.
MAZ: I think people might have just thought that you were being like, P-ed off…
BENJI: (still making gesture with two fingers) There’s two people sitting here.
MAZ: (laughing) And the two people are going to talk about the video Predictable’.
BENJI: That wasn’t predictable… Zing!
MAZ: That was a good one.
BENJI: This video was actually co-directed by Billy and myself because we wanted the video to look very Tim Burton-ish.
MAZ: It was, I was going to say, that street – that was a set right?
BENJI: That was a street.
MAZ: It was a real street?
BENJI: Yeah, we found a neighbourhood that looked like that.
MAZ: And the phonebox?
MAZ: Just checking.
BENJI: Yeah, that was made. Created. I like the feel of the video - it’s not my favourite video but I think we came close.
MAZ: There’s a lot of dark… And I know from conversations we’ve had about that album is that it’s very much light and then dark and then light and then dark…
MAZ: Do you know what I mean - like the alpha and the omega kind of scenario.
BENJI: Exactly, life and death.
MAZ: That was a really dark sort of clip - why did you make it that dark?
BENJI: Because it we wanted it to be really light.
MAZ: You’re just messing with me, aren’t you?
BENJI: I’m just kidding. I think that was just the vibe of the band at the time, we just wanted to do something like that. The vibe of that record is kind of dark, I think we were kind of going through some…
BENJI: (looks away and pretends he can’t speak) …emotional things. Being that we read so deeply into ourselves and our music is so important to so many people and… um… what else am I supposed to say in this situation?
MAZ: Do you need a hug? Are you okay?
BENJI: I think that the vibe of that record is kind of dark and it was just kind of fitting. I even think there’s some dark undertones to the other videos on that record, you know? Undertones. Subliminal.
MAZ: It’s all getting a bit too serious. I think we should check out the video. ‘Predictable’ - Good Charlotte.
MAZ: Well there you go - we’ve been Kickin’ It with Benji from Good Charlotte, thank you for your time, for your insight, for your emotion.
MAZ: For your wisdom… and for your sunglasses.
MAZ: It’s much appreciated.
BENJI: And thank you.
MAZ: Anytime. I really mean that.
BENJI: With the diet coke.
MAZ: But stop stalking me, it’s kinda weird.
BENJI: Awkward ending.
MAZ: It was never not going to be awkward! Tim’s like, ‘Can you do another one?’
TIM: (off camera) Can you just do a quick ‘See ya’?
MAZ: Well there you go, we’ve been Kickin’ It with-
BENJI: See ya.
Both start laughing.
MAZ: Shot down on my own show! How the fuck does that happen?
BENJI: Well there you go, we’ve been Kickin’ It on MTV with Benji Madden from Good Charlotte and it was a great time and hopefully see you next time.
BENJI: See ya.
MAZ: So Benj, what is next for Good Charlotte, after you return home from Australia?
BENJI: We have a tour in Japan, a tour in Europe…
MAZ: Oh fun. Are you doing the Fuji Rock Festival or are you just doing a tour?
BENJI: No, that’s more in the summer; this is just our own shows. I believe we’re going to do one of the festivals there this summer. So we’re doing Japan, Europe and then I think we get to go home for a couple of weeks.
MAZ: Is that a break? Or is that in preparation for whatever’s next?
BENJI: It’ll be in preparation for - I think we have a cross-Canadian tour and then a U.S. tour. Which hasn’t been announced yet, so… ‘Breaking News’. We don’t really know the exact schedule yet.
MAZ: Can you tell me what the next single that you’re releasing in Australia is going to be and a bit about the video – if you’ve started making it? I’m making assumptions.
BENJI: If I told you that, I’d have to kill you.
BENJI: Oh wait, that’s something else. The next single is going to be the song off our album, ‘Dance Floor Anthem’. And we made a video for it, which we will be releasing soon. It’s my favourite video that we’ve ever made and the song is one of my favourites off the record, so I’m pretty excited about it. I’m excited to see what people think of it.
MAZ: I’ll let you know.
MAZ: I’ll get back to you. And finally - I heard a little rumour that you’re coming back to Australia in October, to do a tour?
BENJI: I thought it was August… but maybe it’s October, you might know better than I do.
(from off camera) It’s August.
MAZ: It is August?
BENJI: It’s August.
MAZ: There you go - I heard wrong.
BENJI: Yes, we are planning on coming back to Australia in August to do a real tour. The last tour we did - on the last record - in Australia was my favourite tour of the record, so I’m pretty excited.
MAZ: Do you know if you’ll be bringing somebody with you to support you guys?
BENJI: Umm… We want to.
MAZ: Can you tell me who you would like to bring, or is that a secret?
BENJI: Who would I like to bring? There’s a lot of bands I’d like to bring. I think Australia’s got great music, you know, I don’t think we even need to bring an American band, we can just have an Australian band. I’d love to - I’d rather come and here and open for someone.
MAZ: Like who?
BENJI: I’d rather open for The Living End, or…
MAZ: Really? Wow!
BENJI: Yeah, or open for Silverchair. It’s fun do to your own tour but Australia’s got such good music, I’d rather come over here and open for some great Australian band - maybe one day in the future. But on this tour, it’ll be out tour, and we’ll probably bring like an up and coming U.S. band or something. There’s a band called Escape The Fate that we love right now, that’s doing pretty well, so… We’ll put it on the web though when we find out.
MAZ: Well we’ll see you in August.
BENJI: Thank you.
The band confirmed to come and tour our sunburnt country later that year.
Oh and I nearly forgot the live acoustic set I checked out as well. I was lucky enough to catch an acoustic performance of songs from their latest offering, Good Morning Revival. Now that Dean, the new drummer, has officially become a member, Joel assures me that he is the last and final member there ever will be of Good Charlotte and I am sure glad about that, Dean is total eye candy, and a brilliant addition to the band. If any of Good Charlotte’s Aussie shenanigans make a episode of GCTV, their online video diary for fans, I will be taking the credit for the suggestion as much as Benjii will tell everyone it was his idea, oh and in case you ever get the chance to try on a pair of Benjii’s sunnies, please make sure you wipe them before you hand them back, he has a ‘thing’ about that… strange but true. Let the journey continue.
Did I tell ever you about the afternoon I spent in a parked car?
Oh so I was meant to be catching up with a friend, we were meant to get a coffee this one afternoon and in typical fashion she calls me with this, ‘oh, hey, so I am about to go a buy a car, I think, what are you doing?’
‘Um, talk about impulse purchase, I am totally coming with you.’
As much as I would like to think that I went along to be the voice of reason and make sure that my friends kidneys were in tact when we left the car dealership and that she under no circumstances was going to actually buy a car that day, we picked up another friend on the way, who really was there as the voice of reason and who’s brother worked in the car industry, so if anything, at least he would totally prevent our friend from actually buying a car… right?
So the three stooges rocked up the car dealership and as my car buying friend wandered around waiting for the manager, or someone just as important according to the name tag, to get off the phone, we amused ourselves by commentating on the car she was looking at, joking that you actually could fit a body in the boot and asking ourselves why there was a fully set up tent and kayak in the window display of the dealership? Random. My theory is, even if you’re not into camping, you kind of have to be if you are buying a 4WD, so much in fact that they will kit you out with a tent and a kayak. And to be fair, having just moved into a share house of five girls, if there is any weirdness at home ever, I now know where I can sneak a cozy nap away from the madness.
Back to the story.
So my car-buying friend busied herself with the important guy, who by the way was wearing pants that were way too tight, is that just a car dealership thing? Perhaps. Anyway, we decided to have a sit down and a natter, and so we slid into the driver and passenger seats of the brand new Pajero, and just before you ask, no, this is not a bloody product endorsement or a cash for comment column. The pure fact that there were two tiny brunettes, sitting in a parked Pajero in the middle of a car dealership conjures up hilarious images.
So this particular friend and I haven’t actually seen each other for seven years, because she pissed off to Edmonton, Canada for that long, so since the days when we worked at a commercial radio station together, in it’s hay day, you would think we had a lot to catch up on. Oh and did we just. Like the fact that I had been married and divorced, she was now into guys and not girls. the time that Claire from Channel Nine rang her intercom and asked her to comment on ‘the incident’ in her street of which she had no knowledge, our continued fail to quit smoking, our incessant banter about where to get a beer after our car buying friend doesn’t buy a car, the good ol’ days at work, the future prospects of new jobs and our common heartbreak. You know. Normal kind of stuff that you talk about.
Next thing we know, our car-buying friend was off the lot and test-driving a car and we being the supportive friends that we are, opted to sit in the comfort of the Pajero and continue to catch up on all the years we had missed. And gosh did we laugh. The thing is, during that time we went on a rollercoaster of emotions, from hysterics of laughing, surprise and delight when another car guy in just a hideously tight pants and with a crooked name badge offered us a cup of water, polystyrene guys, not good for the environment. I did insist on a beer and he said not till 6pm, but the way this afternoon was panning out we may soon be necking a beer in the parked Pajero in the middle of the car dealership.
How long were we to endure this afternoon of madness, well the next natural step was to ask our car buying friend, who was now back from the test drive, how she was going in the intimidating white room with two car dealership staff watching and probably judging her every move. So we called her. We could see her, in that tiny room, from our haven of the Pajero and she answered the phone. I guess most people would just get out of the parked Pajero in the middle of the car dealership and walk into the tiny interrogation room, but no, we called. No ETA as yet. Hmmm. All the excitement of story telling and giggles really did take it out of us.
And we were now really talking a lot about that beer. And tempted to beep the horn, after my lack of persuasion my friend did beep the horn and like naughty little schoolgirls we found it hilarious. I denied her request to do the double beep.
Once we were hydrated, and the funny stories had temporarily dried up we then found other things to amuse ourselves, like a running commentary about the laptop from the 1800s that was stuck to the roof of the car to entertain the kids I suppose, or the logistics of having a nap. I could have easily curled up in the boot, but being the geniuses that we are, we figured to just pull that little lever on the side of the chair and took a note out of Terror Squad’s book, and ‘lean back’.
So now we are both lying down in the parked Pajero, in the middle of the car dealership, hiding from our friend in the tiny interrogation room. In what can only be described as a phase of delirium. It started to get a bit hot, which called for more laughter and then the potential scenarios of what would happen if our friend left he car dealership without us. Well, thank God for the tent in the window display. Phew. Crisis averted.
After an attempted nap, it really did feel like almost home time, and with that we could hear the, ‘Thank you, you’ve been great’ echoing around the dealership. Shit. Did we just sit here and let our friend buy a car? As she shimmied across the white tiles to the Pajero, us lying down and snickering to ourselves, hearts beating with adrenalin, we were found out, as too tight pants man spotted us and informed our friend of our whereabouts. The same place we had been all afternoon. And no, she didn’t buy a bloody car.
Climbing out of that parked Pajero, felt like moving out of a home you once loved. But what an afternoon it was. I highly recommend it.