Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I wrote a blog once about something particularly embarrassing that happened to me at a film premiere. The good news for you is that something even more embarrassing happened this week and it involved Ben Affleck and Adrien Brody. The bad news is that I didn't fall over, so you can't schadenfreude me any.

Thanks to my ridiculous collection of jobs, I get to interview a lot of film and music people and have absolutely no compunction about getting autographs for my friends. The scrawls of the terrifyingly vulpine Kirsten Dunst and perfume-ad incarnate Hugh Dancy are lovingly nestled in my flatmates's bedrooms – Hugh wasn't keen to sign, in fact he looked slightly scared – and that makes them happy, so that in turn makes me happy and slightly less mindful about the fact I have just debased myself to someone half my size.

Talking to people you admire is cool - in most cases you accept the fact that they're made of flesh rather than angel kisses - and I've only asked for an autograph for me, twice, once from Richard E Grant and once with Meatloaf, which should be a mandatory part of being a music writer or something. Oh, and the Harry Potter cast, but that was Film Joe's idea and we did it for legitimately cynical eBay purposes.

On Monday though, I had such a narrow brush with disaster that I thought "Fuck it" and threw my principles to the floor. Having turned up on journo time to the Hollywoodland screening at the LFF (PRs always want you locked in an hour before anyone turns up, with the result that most people tend to saunter in five minutes before) I was greeted by harried PRs who proceeded to whisk me past the hacks lined up by the Haagen Dazs stand and upstairs to the bar. This let off cold sweaty alarm bells in my brain as it meant face to face interviews. Now, ordinarily, face to faces would be a great coup. When you haven't seen the film, however, you have Hugh Grant's Horse and Hound moment all over again.

My plan to ring Helen in a blind panic and ask for HELP failed when I realised my shiny new fucking phone hadn't carried my numbers across. I rang Sam. Nothing. Film Joe? Hadn't seen it. Eventually I got a number from someone and gabbled down the phone to Helen who did her impressively calm ex-barrister schtick, normally saved for prosecution witnesses and particularly tiresome Empire forum members.

"…so yeah, they think he probably killed himself," she is saying. Something blonde and PR-shaped walks into the corner of my eye.

"Kat? This is Bob for you."

Holy mother of God, it's cheerily bald gangster icon Bob Hoskins, and he's being ushered into the chair next to me. I gabble something to Helen in the Language of Shit and fumblingly drop my phone on the floor. I've had to do a lot of red carpet line-ups blind, which I don't like as it makes you look like an idiot and means you can't ask exciting questions. Interviews are only fun when you actually know what you're talking about, although when they involve sharing airspace with Adrien Brody, you get over it. By the time I made my first fuck up ("How was it filming with Ben, Adrien?" "Actually I didn't at all.") I was too bombed to care, and got two of what Seth Cohen termed the 21st century autograph on my phone.

My new lover

Me and my new husband

What all this end-of-Wednesday nonsense is creakingly, slowly building up to, is that today I was so star struck I actually blushed. I was on the phone to the person at the time which is just beyond rubbish, but it was DR KARL OFF NEIGHBOURS so I should be excused. Technically he's in a band, which meant I was technically (I'm really pushing the meaning of technically here) allowed to interview him for the Aloud Gig Guide.

I hadn't been this excited since I got Richard E Grant to sign my copy of Withnails, at which time I blushed so hard that my face became camouflaged by the Rex's red plush seating. I would have had him autograph both breasts and my face I was so excited.

This is Dr Karl.

You've had sell-out shows in the UK over the last year, were they there for the band or Dr Karl?
We couldn't believe it, we had no idea how people were going to receive us, it was a full on adoring rock crowd right from the start. A lot of kids came to see the gig because they were coming to see Dr Karl, they had no idea what the music was like, but every one of them loved it. Kids were coming up to me and saying "We thought it was going to be a bit sad, but actually it was alright," and that's very flattering. It's great to attract people, but there's a difference between people coming just once and coming again.

Who'd win a Battle of the Bands – Waiting Room or Rogue Traders (Sony-signed dance outfit with Izzy in it)
I think Rogue Traders would blow us away simply because of the strength of Natalie's upfront performance. When they did an exhibition gig it was just incredible. Man, she's got it all.

You performed together in a charity Rocky Horror you both organised, will you duet in real life? And will it be as good as Kylie and Jason?
I shouldn't think so, I don't think Sony would let that happen! Nobody's going to beat that Kylie and Jason one. Actually Natalie's just done a duet with Shannon Knowles, runner up in Australian Idol who's gone on to become one of Australia's most successful recording artists. It's called 'Don't Give Up'.

You've said in the past you'd quite like to play Glastonbury. Has Michael Eavis been in touch yet?
He hasn't yet, I'll have to send up another beacon.

As well as your own songs you do a lot of covers in the band. Are there any new bands you've heard recently that deserve the treatment?
I really like The Kooks and The Feeling and I heard a terrific song by The La's last night, I wrote it down actually I liked it so much. (Sound of rummaging down phone line. Fails to find paper.) It's very 60s, the sound at the moment, you can hear that in bands like McFly. In the next set we're doing the Foo Fighters's 'Best Of You'. It's kind of still doing Kaiser Chiefs, we have been doing 'I Predict A Riot' which I think is one of the best songs in the last ten years, and now we'll be doing 'Na Na Na Na Naa'. We also do five originals just to keep the interest in Waiting Room.

Back to Izzy, how did Karl fail to realise what a horrific cow she was?
More to the point how did he not work out the maths on the baby? Although there's something coming up with Sky and the maths is a bit off again. Shocker, poor dear. When you've got a bloke who's almost 50 whose the lover of Izzy, you're not going to ask a lot of questions you're just going to count your lucky stars, blinded by the whole thing. What was interesting was that although he desired her and she's very beautiful, there was a big part of him that was desperate to get away. He needed to get away after the Susan thing, but was so quickly trapped by the pregnancy that he wasn't entirely comfortable. But she was very good at hiding things.

She's a conniving Jezebel.
Well, the audience has to cut Karl some slack, they could see things that he couldn't.

Are Karl and Susan meant to be together?
Absolutely. They're right on the brink but there was a shocking incident on Tuesday where Karl accidentally slept with Izzy again, not quite sure how that happened. He needs to get an eye test, he needs a good night sleep! That's a good little story and it shows what an excellent woman Susan is. They want to be together, but you can only bring them back together when the audience believe that she can have him back. You can't jeopardise the Susan character.

How proud would Karl be that Billy is now a doctor working alongside Hugh Laurie?
I think he'd be over the moon, constantly ringing up him with autograph requests for Hugh Laurie! 'House' is my favourite TV show, it's wonderful to see him having such fabulous success, partly as I know he remains completely unchanged by this success, he's just a good honest Aussie bloke.

Were you upset when Cassie the sheep died? We were.
That was a very important moment for Karl and Susan, and helped bond them back together again. Both of them were there for the funeral, and of course they had a moment where they saved a little lamb from a snake and brought them back together for one night. The writers wrote it very poetrically… (Ed - we think he is being serious. It is quite hard to tell.) Casserole was the same sheep all the way through the show: just one thing about sheep is that lambs get big very quickly and Cassie was massive. Sheep in the backyard isn't really going to work.

Who, out of all the cast, is a liability on a night out?
They're all pretty good. Some of them are very seasoned night clubbers: Blair McDonald (ex-Neighbours, played Stuart), we've been partying in London together. He's a professional, knows where he's going, never gets messy. The cast so a lot of partying: we had the TV awards last night, Jackie, Natalie, Blair - we stayed til the death. We're no slouches, us from the colonies.

What would be your fantasy storyline for Karl?
The one I'm pushing for is that everyone in Ramsay Street finds out that he was never qualified and he gets covered in shame and ignominy. I have actually suggested this, s that we find out he never passed his final exam and he has to take it again. Seeing as the man can cure leukaemia, do brain surgery, works in a hospital and as a GP to every single member of mankind, I think that'd be quite cute!

How long do you plan to stay in the show?
You can't call the future, my contract runs til the end of next year so I'll still be on UK screens well into 2008. I love playing Karl, I love playing music but I would happily see the two walk hand in hand.

British people love Neighbours. How strange are they?
The weirdest one was when a fan came all the way from UK to Melbourne airport and announced that they were there to live with the Kennedy family so we looked after them for a bit then sent them home. Most people are very happy, friendly and supportive. I haven't had any really strange ones.

Why are people so obsessed with the show?
The writers are good at crafting good characters and the casting people get great talent. Make no mistake, a lot of people who've gone through Neighbours have gone on to success at higher levels. Also, there's a light touch to it, a lot of comedy. Not slapstick but ironic humour. Australians always look for the opportunity to bring something down a notch, so none of the characters will get too big for their boots. Paul Robinson is the epitome of evil and manipulates everyone's lives in Ramsay Street, but he still gets pulled down a few pegs every now and again!

And finally, is it true that all the Ramsay Street postboxes are actually full of funnel web spiders?
Well, you wouldn't stick your hand in any of the letterboxes, but that's the law in Australia. The good old backyard spider is very common, but you don't run your hand through the woodpile without giving it a kick first!



(In other news, my flatmate is taking me to see Phantom tonight. We haven't been since we were 7. I am so excited I feel like I'm having a stroke.)


Joe U said...

Hey, I didn't say anything about eBay. I gave mine away as a competition prize. Cynical? Me?

Dr. Karl = God.

dead sea princess said...

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(by the way u have very nice blog :)