Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Behind the scenes at Green Left TV -- how DO these "reports" get made?

Well, my fans will be well aware that this blog has, of late, been somewhat underused. I have been so busy jet-setting all around Sydney's inner-west from one seedy pub to another in a non-stop series of open mic comedy gigs (speaking of which you *can* sign in and watch my clip at Five Minutes Live, an online comedy competition, and click like). And then there is the RANTING AND RANTING I have to do with my written and filmed Carlo's Corner for Green Left... It is all so draining...

But I thought, well, it is has been a while. What would my many fans want to know about? It it occurred to me, something of a "behind the scenes" kinda look at Green Left TV and its famous fortnightly "Green Left TV Report"!

How does the magic actually HAPPEN? How does the glory of "Carlo's Corner" come together? Do hosts Mel and Simon *really* find it amusing? Do they ever want to smile more during the show? Who the fuck designed that back drop? The questions are many.

So I thought I'd try and give you a bit of a special "insiders" look into the "making of" Green Left TV's final report for the year, filmed just this very Monday!

* * *

Well, let us start at the start!

On an evening like Monday's, which has been especially "set aside" as a night to "record" a fresh Green Left TV Report, the first task, of course, is to ACTUALLY GET TO THE STUDIOS.

Simple, you may well say, why I am sure you just GET A BUS to the famed Actively Radical Studios in the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville here in ol' Sydney Town!

Now those of you who have watched my clip on the Five Minutes Live online comedy competition, will know full well that catching a bus in Sydney is not as easy as it sounds in theory.

But as I set off in the midst of peak hour at about 5.30pm on Monday, keen as mustard to just get to the Marrickville studios and GET CRACKING WITH MY RANTING, this proved not a problem at all. I had but just goten to the bus stop on Broadway when the very bus I wanted, the 428, arrived at the stop.

And I was just about to board it when it dawned on me... I didn't actually have a FUCKING "travel ten" multi-pass FUCKING ticket and, until 7pm, you need a FUCKING GODDAMN pre-paid FUCKING GODAMN TICKET.

OK NOW FUCK... I mean REALLY. My well-laid plans of not being really late and holding up filming LIKE USUAL have already started coming unstuck. I have to miss this bus, go find a place that sells pre-paid tickets and then come back and wait for the next bus. And, as this is peak hour and many people want a 428, Sydney bus logic says there won't be one for a FUCKING LONG TIME...

So I turned my back on the bus I need, waited for what seems forever to pass *back* across Broadway and go to the newsagent to get a ticket. I told the bored bloke behind the counter I wanted a one zone ticket and he looked confused and eventually sold me the cheapest possible concession ticket, which costs $1. This means I save money, but also means he thinks I look like a student. Which, OK, I do -- but I am FUCKING 35-YEARS-OLD! I save money but lose dignity. And anyone who knows me knows just how important *dignity* is to Carlo Sands.

I made it back across the road and before too long, to my surprise and utter joy, the L28 came, which I am pretty sure is more or less the same as the 428 only a bit more express or some shit!

I now experienced a rare moment of happiness, because I will actually be more or less on time! But as we made our way down King Street in Newtown, a loud argument broke out at the back. Someone, a young, aggro lumpen bloke who just doesn’t want to take any shit, was yelling at some other guy: “What the FUCK are you looking at cunt? STOP LOOKING AT ME CUNT!”

This was met with equally loud yelling in response of “JUST TURN YOUR MUSIC DOWN! YOUR MUSIC IS TOO LOUD!” and “DON’T YOU THREATEN ME!”

This was met with the strident counter-argument of: “DO YOU FUCKING WANT TO FUCKING GO ME YOU CUNT? STOP FUCKING STARING AT ME!”

As the bus drive on, this get more and more heated and the young lumpen threatens to “FUCKING TAKE YOU, YOU CUNT!”, met with “there are a dozen witnesses SO GO ON PUNCH ME! I’LL CALL THE COPS GO ON PUNCH ME!”, itself met with “then where are you getting off you CUNT?!?” met with “STOP THREATENING ME!” met with “THEN STOP STARING AT ME YOU FUCKING CUNT!”

The louder and more aggressive this conversation gets, and the more extreme the threats of physical violence, the more intently everyone else looks stonily ahead or engages in their own quiet conversations, every other passenger committed to a united front strategy of pretending this is not happening while praying that one, or preferably both, get the FUCK OFF THE BUS ASAP.

The bus pulls up at Newtown train station amid mutual, screamed recriminations about who was going to punch who and who was going to call the cops. And before the bus driver can pull out again, down storms the man upset about loud music who just would not stop staring at that angrily young lumpen man.


And, like I am sure everyone else on the bus, I am thinking “seriously, how fucking pathetic is your life that you need to deliberately provoke and then KEEP provoking some random aggro lumpen young man just so you can storm down the bus all in a fluster and claim the high moral ground?”

Like, get yourself a more useful hobby, like finding sleeping Grisly Bears to poke. Just don’t get on a bus, stare at some aggro young bloke playing loud music, and then when he calls you a “FUCKING CUNT” and threatens to beat the shit out of you, YELL BACK AT HIM. For Christ sake, they invented FLOORS for buses so you have something to stare out in such circumstances.

The driver clearly thought the same and, for a minute or two, put up an argument about why he had no desire to call the fucking cops. But eventually he cracked, in the face of the flustering insistence that this man JUST DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE THREATENED IN SUCH A TERRIBLE WAY and reached to a phone next to his chair, and called the fucking cops.

I watched with a sinking heart thinking the same thing as everyone else on that bus: “But surely this won’t hold up the bus... surely, you can’t hold up a bus in peak hour just coz two dickheads have been screaming at each other... I mean... SURELY...”

It turns out you can.

In the middle of peak hour, the driver sat there, the bus idle, not moving while the police failed to arrive.

The entire bus was getting increasingly agitated and the quiet mutterings starting growing into a generalised “OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!” when down came the young lumpen bloke, who has had enough himself. “Look, alright, look just let me off! I’ll go!” he says.

But no. The driver, having now called the cops, won’t open the doors to let the key source of the entire hostility OUT so the bus can move on.


I went up and started begging the driver to move on. “Just let him out so we can move! It is PEAK HOUR! I am running late! I gottta be somewhere! Come on!”

The driver said “So do I! I gotta be somewhere too!” and would not open the doors.

I thought of telling him: “But you *don’t understand*, I am *Carlo Sands*! *Carlo* Sands*! You know, Green Left TV? We have a show to record and the last one had literally *hundreds* of viewers...” but I got the sense he wouldn’t grasp the importance of what I was saying.

The driver, facing growing hysteria from passengers, kept going back to the phone to call the cops again and again. Still the cops were nowhere to be seen, still the young lumpen insisted with greater and greater aggressiveness that he just wanted to GET OFF and the only problem was “THAT CUNT JUST WOULDN’T STOP STARING AT ME” and still the bus wouldn’t move.

A pissed-off middle aged bloke in a suit, infuriated that the bus was being held up by this bullshit, came down to ask the driver: “Well then just let ME off!” And the driver refused. “YOU WON’T LET ME OFF?” No, he wouldn’t.

This guy tried pleading, he tried insisting, he tried emphasising that he had to go pick his kid up from school and just let him out so he could go catch ANOTHER FUCKING BUS... and still the bus driver refused to open the doors.

By this stage, as the driver tried calling the cops *again*, there was generalised “WHAT THE FUCK?” atmosphere growing among the passengers. Like a serious disbelief that we appeared to be prisoners... and all because two dickheads no one knew or gave a flying fuck about had started yelling at each other.

The young lumpen was now pacing up and down the bus, and when he complained a woman near me said “Well this is *your* fault” and he started shouting at her to “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Because “YOU DON’T KNOW ME! I COULD HURT YOU! I COULD BE AN ICE ADDICT WITH A KNIFE! I COULD KILL EVERYONE! YOU DON’T KNOW! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE HURT JUST SHUT UP!”

At which point this has become a FUCKING SAFETY issue for everyone on the bus AND STILL THE DRIVER WOULD NOT OPEN THE DOORS, meaning no one could ESCAPE this ranting lunatic who just raised the prospect of killing us all and STILL NO SIGN OF THE FUCKING COPS...

Another bloke in a suit from the back comes down the aisle and puts his arm around the young lumpen and tells him he understands but we just gotta get through this, don’t worry about all these people, relax... and it has an effect... someone talking nicely to him calms him down and he starts saying “I know, I know, you just don’t know the DAY I’ve had! It has been a terrible day and then this CUNT WAS JUST STARING AT ME!”

“I know mate, I know.”

And then... screaming across King Street, scattering peak hour traffic to make room, came a police wagon and cop car with sirens blazing... causing groans from the passengers at the extreme overkill at cops who turned up to a case of two people yelling at each other with multiple vehicles and a good handful-plus of TASER-and-gun-toting cops ... and you could see in all our eyes the question: what fresh hell will these fucking cops unleash on us?

The young lumpen bloke, however, just looked relieved that FINALLY he can get off the FUCKING BUS and waited at the still-closed front door with his hands in the air in front of him, ready to be cuffed for the crime of shouting at a CUNT WHO WOULDN’T STOP STARING AT HIM.

Cops came on, dragged him off and the passengers all shout in unison at the cops that they must ALSO TAKE THAT OTHER BASTARD TOO, the one who made the driver call the cops and was fundamentally responsible for this horror because he couldn't just IGNORE the young lumpen like any one else would.

And so the cops take him off too, while he tried to tell his story. The young lumpen, meanwhile, has been pushed, spreadeagled, against a wall, cops searching him.

And still we dodn't move. By this time, myself and the other passengers were on the verge of a riot.

STILL nothing happened. A cop stood on the steps next to the front door asking the driver questions. I was hoping the cops started asking the passengers about what happened so I could a) tell them I hoped that fucker who provoked the lumpen by staring at him rots in jail and they throw away the key, and while I am steadfastly against police brutality, if they wanted to whack him a couple of times I for one would swear to any jury I never saw a thing and b) I DON’T GIVE A FUCK I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY JUST TELL THAT FUCKING DRIVER TO FUCKING DRIVE.

But no, the cop just stood there, asking the driver questions, everyone of us unable to get off. Then he went off to ask his superior questions, and then back to the driver for more questions, then back to his superior. Then he asked the driver for his phone number. This took at least five minutes. I have never seen someone give a phone number so slowly, nor the number be accepted at such a snail’s pace.

My hopes of making it on time to record my "Carlo's Corner" were history.

The cops were by now searching the young lumpen's shoes, and still had found nothing. And a random person waiting for an entirely different bus had taken umbrage at this police harassment and started yelling at the cops to leave the spreadeagled, shoeless young man alone.

THEN FINALLY... the cops told the driver he could go. And the middle-aged bloke with a suit and a son waiting to be picked up jumped off as fast as he could. The rest of us passengers put down our pitchforks and machetes and took our seats. And the bus... peak hour traffic racing around it... finally started to move...

And as the passengers muttered curses to each other... the bus turned right too early off Enmore Road, and it dawned on me. I don’t *actually* want the L28 at all. The L28 is THE WRONG FUCKING BUS!


I eventually managed to get off at the Livingstone Hotel in Petersham, a pub that says open pretty much 24-hours and which I happen to be reasonably well acquainted with -- but that is a WHOLE OTHER story.

I trudged the long walk up to Addison Road and the venue, fielding the invevitible call as to my whereabouts. I finally made it. The rest of the Green Left TV crew were hanging around, chatting and waiting for me, so they could get the last thing done and fucking go home.

I opened the beer that is a permanent prop in my Green Left TV rants -- because as I always say, if you are going to have a prop, make it one that feeds your alcoholism. And I fucking drank deeply.

Then they pointed a camera at me and I started yelling. I took my anger out on Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who deserves it. But, really, I was still just pissed off at that sad desperate pathetic git who tried to make himself feel important by getting into a yelling match with a young lumpen who had a bad day and "WILL NOT TURN MY FUCKING MUSIC DOWN YOU CUNT! WHAT ARE YOU STARING AT YOU CUNT! FUCK YOU CUNT!"

And then, that done, we went to the pub. And so that is pretty much the story of how the Green Left TV Report is made! Obviously there is a bit more to it than that. Some other people have to actually do a shit load of "editing" and what have you. Obviously *they* didn't go to the pub! They had work to do!

But in essence that is it! I hoped you enjoyed this little "insight" into the whole process. Here is a song by Hayes Carll! It doesn't really relate to the story, I just really like Hayes Carll.

'The cops all got your number, the bars all know your name...' Hayes Carll is singing my song. Interesting Hayes Carll-related fact -- I am actually *wearing* a Hayes Carll T-shirt in that clip of my doing stand up on Five Minutes Live! You know, that competition you can sign in, watch me and click "like" in! TRUE STORY!

UPDATE: You can now watch the episode of Green Left TV Report mentioned in this post below... Watch the whole thing, but shuold you really just wanna bit of Carlo Yelling Action, I start the angriness at 17.07.

1 comment:

  1. this is the great thing about public transport, it's always entertaining.