I wrote a piece for the Saturday Age. Check it out.
Waleed and I have a new show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival called ‘Thw World’s Problem’s Solved.
Over the coming weeks our comedy think tank of experts and ‘out of the box thinkers’ will be solving Climate Change, Homelessness, Stopping The Boats and achieving World Peace once and for all. For details and tickets go to tinyuyl.com/worldsprobs
I just wrote a column for Mamamia. You can check it out here:
The story goes that Ernest Hemingway was on something of a literary tour. This was in a time when a literary tour often meant sitting in the corner of a pub, sharing a story with small but appreciative crowd of bookworms and incidental alcoholics. On this occasion, one of the incidental alcoholics, tiring of Hemingway’s world-weary gravitas, attempted a heckle. ‘If you’re so damn smart, let me see you write a story in six words.’ Hemmingway, after a pause for thought, wrote six words on a piece of paper and handed to the man. Infuriated, the man stormed out of the pub.
Those six words were ‘For sale: baby shoes, never used.’
Over the years this story has taken on something of a mythic quality. There are those who think the sentence alone tells a sad story of a life unlived. Others believe it was Hemingway’s concise autobiography, and therefore it’s meaning the complete opposite. I’m sure there are Hemingway critics who wish his other books had been given the six-word treatment. Perhaps: Old man. Big fish. Mixed blessing.
What is true is that Hemingway’s six words have inspired something of a phenomenon. A few years ago, Smithmag.com held a competition for people to enter their best six word memoirs. They were surprised when the entries numbered in the tens of thousands. It has spawned books, countless websites and a cult following. It has become something of an autobiographical art form; like a haiku with less time commitment.
Spike Milligan chose a six-word epitaph. Those visiting his grave and with a passing knowledge of Gaelic will translate the inscription as ‘I told you I was ill.’ If you had never known the man or his work, this would still give you a fairly accurate portrait. Hamlet, too, gave it a fair shake with ‘To be or not to be’. Perhaps if Shakespeare hadn’t been paid by the word, this may have been all we know of the confused Danish prince.
But it’s not just for the famous and notable. This is essentially everyone’s chance to have an autobiography. And often you can say more with a sextet of words than you can with three hundred pages. Mine would perhaps be ‘Tries too hard to be liked’ or ‘Always liked dogs and people equally’. Either way, that’s just about all you need to know.
Some of my friends have now taken the six-word rule beyond memoirs. All communications are now strictly limited to six words. And with the addition of mobile phones and SMS technology, it is a game that can be played anywhere any time. And the efficiency often brings with it profundity.
I recently bailed on a social soccer match. Rather than suffering a prolonged earful about letting the team down, I instead was cut to the quick by six simple words: Promised so much; continues to disappoint.
Another friend, who was utterly addicted to watching Foxtel in the dark, was asked if he was coming out to a party. He RSVP’s in the negative with a simple ‘I’m Tina Arena. You’re watching Ovation’.