All the artists of the world: The case of Milli Vanilli

milli vanilli acceptance

Exhibit M

22 February 1990. The 1990 Grammy Awards, recognising the musical output of 1989. Young MC and Kris Kristofferson present the Grammy for Best New Artist. “This year, the nominees for Best New Artist are making all kinds of music,” the bespectacled author of “Keep It In Your Pants” says. “And each one of them expresses himself in a unique way that commands attention,” Young’s elder co-presenter concludes.

The nominees are announced, along with a video clip of a respresentative song. There’s Neneh Cherry, rippin’ shit up with “Buffalo Stance”; the Indigo Girls belting out some harmonious acoustic pop on “Closer To Fine”. So far the applause is polite and appreciative.

Then comes Milli Vanilii’s nomination, along with the braided pair singing, “Girl you know it’s true. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I love you.” And dancing. And staring with those needy eyes. The audience breaks out into screaming and rapturous applause. Yes, yes, Rob and Fab!

Back to Soul II Soul and a bit of their art/house/soul/pop song “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)”; and finally gravel-voiced rapper Tone Loc rounds out the nominations with his Young MC-penned track “Funky Cold Medina”.

The winner is announced. Milli Vanilli. The room erupts with screams. Yay!

Rob and Fab receive their award, and Rob makes this speech:

“We wanna say thank you very much, but we wanna say there are a lot of artists here in this room, there are a lot of artists outside in the world, who could achieve the same award that we achieved today. And it’s an award for all artists in the world. Thank you very much.”

That night, all the artists in the world gave silent thanks to Milli Vanilli.

Exhibit L

April 27, 2034

“Come here, my little ones. Gather around and I’ll tell you why we used to like the Milli Vanillis in the olden days. Oh, they were so pretty. It was like if you got Justin Beiber, made him brown, cloned him, gave him too many hair extensions, and dressed him in lycra bike pants, a jacket with giant shoulder pads and clompy boots. And how they could dance! They used to do this thing where they would jump up and spin around and their dreadlocks and braids flew about gaily. And that Rob, he had the most beautiful eyes.”

“Grandma?”

“Yes, child.”

“Who’s Justin Bieber?”

Exhibit K

November 16 1990. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences withdraws Milli Vanilli’s Grammy for Best New Artist.

The main point comes down to the vocal credit on the album specifically naming Rob and Fab.

But the awarded recordings themself hadn’t changed. Milli Vanilli hadn’t changed. It was just that the two fellows on the album cover and in the music videos and dancing on stage were different from the men who sang on the record.

But somehow that affected the recording.

Exhibit J

It’s a bit like Schrödinger’s Cat. It’s not until you lift the lid on the album that you can form an opinion on the music. If the cat is alive, there’s a couple of handsome singers on the album and it’s a great album; if the cat is dead, it’s ordinary looking session singers on the album and it’s a terrible album.

Exhibit H

January 1990. Happy new decade. I had a $15 record voucher from either my recent 15th birthday present and/or Christmas the week before. I’d recently purchased De La Soul’s debut album Three Feet High and Rising and was really enjoying it. Yeah, soundtrack of summer.

So I was feeling a bit adventurous. I wanted something a bit urban, a bit gritty. Something that would keep reminding me of my summer holiday in Auckland and not the impending return to rural Hamilton.

I looked around a forgettable record shop (remember, kids, this was the early ’90s, when record shops were all over the place and could easily be forgettable), but I couldn’t find anything that took my fancy.

Then I saw something on the top 20 rack of tapes. It was Milli Vanilli’s All or Nothing (US Remix Album). I’d heard their songs. They were ok. I bought the tape, listened to it a few times but it wasn’t very captivating.

One of the album tracks was “Girl You Know It’s True (NY Subway Mix)”. This suggests someone has taken the original “Girl You Know It’s True” and remixed it to reflect the gritty urban beat of New York’s public transport system.

In reality it’s like someone’s heard MARRS’s groundbreaking samplefest Pump Up the Volume and decided to apply a similar style to Milli Vanilli. But instead of using an experienced DJ, it sounds like they gave the work-experience kid a Fairlight and some Grace Jones, Sly and Robbie, Michael Jackson, and Deep Purple singles and let them have at it. With disastrous results.

If I really want to feel a stab of regret, I can remind myself that at the time, The Stone Roses album would have been out there on the shelves for me to buy.

Exhibit G

April 2 1998. Let’s try not to think of Rob Pilatus’ final night on earth, alone in a hotel room in Hamburg, an accidental overdose. Let’s try not to think of the drug rehab and the assault charges and the relapsing and the neediness and the depression. Let’s try to remember the good things.

Exhibit F

After it was revealed that Rob and Fab were not the people singing on the Milli Vanilli records or dancing in their videos, the public outrage made it clear – there is no room for lack of authenticity in pop music.

Yet, surprisingly, the Indigo Girls did not see their sales go through the roof in response to this newfound desire for musical authenticity.

A lesson was learned – cheat, just don’t get caught. Today no one’s quite so bold as to hire pretty frontmen for frumpy singers. But there’s Auto-Tune to tidy up messy singers. Or what about getting a great singer to record the demo, which the mediocre singer memorises, right down to the quirky phrasing. And the potential that ProTools offers for chopping and layering to disguise flaws.

But why are we still obsessed with authenticity in music? Why is it ok for some types of art to be polished to an artifical state of perfection, but not ok for others?

Exhibit E

We hide our love for Milli Vanilli. We disguise it as contempt for the ’90s, beecause the ’90s were awful. At the moment, at least.

Milli Vanilli gets filed away with Crystal Pepsi, biker shorts and giant hair – pop culture anomalies that will never happen again.

Because the past was awful and the present is better. Apart from the bits of the past that were golden. We cherish those.

But that’s not the Milli Vanilli bit. That’s the bit where we pretend we never bought a Milli Vanilli album. Or if we did, we thought it was awful.

We don’t remember all the songs that went to number one all over the world, or the joy people got from dancing to “Baby Don’t Forget My Number (NY Subway Mix)”.

Perhaps that actually happened in a parallel universe, where Al Gore was president and the World Trade Center still stands.

Exhibit D

Q. Do you like Milli Vanilli?

A. No, I do not like Milli Vanilli because I think that they are crap!!!! I mean, they don’t even write their own songs or sing on their records and they have those braids which look really STUPID. Also, they do those dumb dances where they go from side to side, which look really LAME. Plus they wear really weird clothes with giant shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are so mental. I like proper singers who are actually talented, like Margaret Urlich, Jamie J Morgan, Ngaire and Madonna.

Exhibit C

I mean, it’s not like they were the only ones doing it. Technotronic had blue-lipped fashion model Felly lip-syncing in their Pump Up the Jam video; petit Zelma Davis stood in for plus-size Martha Walsh in C+C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat video; and it was shockingly revealed that Paula Abdul’s singing partner MC Skat Kat was not actually a streetwise cat, but was, in fact, two human males.

Exhibit B

Rob did the grunty singing and Fab did the rapping, but there always seemed to be a few more male voices in there too. And maybe there was even a voice of caution from the future.

It’s a tragedy for me to see the dream is over.
And I never will forget the day we met.
[Multi-platinum pop career], I’m gonna miss you.

Girl I’m Gonna Miss You

Exhibit A

Scribblings

Back when the internet was free, I had an account with scribble.nu that I used for posting stuff when I was at work. It lasted from November 1999 to August 2000, and then I forgot about it. I recently rediscovered the site, but it’s now inaccessable due to it not being free. I was, however, able to salvage all the entries I made.

Angry BBQ

Walking back to work from lunch I saw some fellows unloading boxes of corn chips from a truck. One of the boxes was of “TANGY BBQ” flavoured corn chips. The “T” was obscured and without my glasses on I read it as “ANGRY BBQ”.

Now there’s a concept. An angry barbecue. Angry!

“I’m bloody sick of this. I just sit out here on the deck all winter long and no one gives a stuff about me. Then along comes summer and everyone firing me up and sticking their meat on me.

“I’ll tell you what pisses me off. Back in the day, people would cook meat on me. Steak, sausages, chops. There’d be the occasional egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions – I didn’t mind that. Sometimes people would warm up buns on me, that was ok. But then things started to change.

“Someone would put a shish kebab on. Now that’s normal, but one day the shish kebab had no meat on it. It was a vegetarian shish kebab. Then came the vegetarian sausages. All those bloody herbs. Then along comes some bloody hippy and tries to grill some marinated tofu. The bloody stuff broke apart and fell down the grill onto the flame and burned.

“Who the hell tries to cook bloody tofu on a barbecue? It’s just getting ridiculous. I’m going to be taking this up at the barbecues union. I’ve had enough. I’m angry.”

Captain Freeze

From Wired News, 15 November 1999

“A scientist reveals that freezing weather contributed to the demise of British Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his doomed party in their 1912 race to the South Pole.”

I am still trying to work out why this is news.

Social Intercourse

When I was about 15 my parents told me that they were concerned that I wasn’t socialising enough. That I needed to be engaging in, and this is a direct quote, “social intercourse”.

I think they thought I was being invited to participate in thousands of groovy teenage parties and social events but was declining to participate in them because I much preferred sitting at home watching TV every night.

In actuality all my friends back then were boring Christians (I was a closet athiest back then) and did not do groovy teenage things. They instead went to Christian youth groups and played games with jelly and ice cream and listened to talks on how waiting until you’re married before having sex is the right thing to do.

But as fate would have it, as soon as I left school and stopped hanging around with the Christians, I got a social life!

The one thing school, your parents or Christian youth groups don’t teach you is how to get farmers who are in town for the Fieldays to buy you drinks and how to leave the bar without them seeing you, then heading on to the next one to pull the scam again.

Beauty Salons

A tanning and manicure salon had a blackboard with a wooden bar across the middle of it given the words written on it an unfortunate break:

ACHIEVE THE HOLLYWOOD

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LOOK DOWN UNDER

Another beauty salon I saw offered “non-surgical facelifts”. I’d like to see a beauty salon that offers surgical facelifts.

“I, my name is Dr Emma and I will be your surgeon today – wow, that’s really cool nail polish you’ve got on…”

Social Smokers

Social smokers suck. If you’re going to smoke, you should be a full-on smoker. None of this “I only smoke when I go to a bar” crap.

If you’re going to smoke you should experience the full smoker’s lifestyle. Having a fag out the back at work. All the smokers outside on the deck at parties. Midnight excursions to a petrol station when you’ve run out, or considering smoking old butts. Mild paranoia about if you smell like stale smoke yet. Having to wash your clothes more often. Not being able to leave the house without checking you’ve got your smokes.

Social smokers are people who don’t want to put up with all that, and instead just smoke because they think it makes them look cool. It doesn’t. Instead it makes them look like those 12 year olds who hang outside McDonald’s on Queen Street on a Saturday night.

Villi Manilli

From a Milli Vanilli fan page:

“Pilatus and Morvan were unhappy they hadn’t been included on Playgirl’s list of sexiest rockers. “The guy from Living Colour was on it, and Young M.C. was on it,” Headlee says. “Rob and Fab felt that they were certainly as sexy as both of them.””

Perkup

In my first year of school, way back in 1980, my school was provided with a powered substance called Perkup.

Perkup was a chocolate energy drink. It came in a powder form and teachers would make it up by adding hot water to it. It was not unlike Milo or Bournvita, but I shall first explain something.

With every product there’s usually the dominant player (e.g. Coke) and the second runner up (Pepsi) and all the little runners up (BudgetCola).

Perkup was not even a runner up to Milo or Bournvita.

It was disgusting.

I don’t know what it was made of, but the dairy factory down the road gave it to the school free, probably because no one would buy it.

So in the winter of 1980 I’d take a mug to school and get this horrible Perkup stuff. Then one day I noticed that there were other people not drinking it and I realised that I didn’t have to drink it either. It was like I was liberated. No more gross Perkup!

I anxiously await the upcoming 20th anniversay of living a Perkup-free life.

Cigarettes and the Ugly Ho

There’s the big thing that smoking has a glamourous image and the smokefreedepartmentofhealth is worried that young teens will want to smoke because they think it will make them look cool.

I feel that it is neccessary to issue a warning: Smoking will not neccessarily make you look cool. In fact, it might even make you look like an ugly ho.

No one wants to look like an ugly ho.

Just as there are different types of alcohol drinkers – from a cool, smooth cocktail drinker, to a homeless guy in a park with a bottle of cheap crap – there are also different types of smokers.

The ugly, wrinkled hags with big yellow hair who sit at the front of the cafe down the road are not cool smokers. They should not legally be permitted to smoke.

Ditto for people who buy cigarettes before they buy their children shoes. Although that may be a cliche, those smokers should still not be allowed to smoke.

If you can not smoke with the neccesary level of style and cool that is required for a smoker to not be a smelly, ugly ho, then you should not smoke.

I appeal to the new Labour government to ensure that this becomes legislation.

Godless

In the Weekend Herald (11-12 December 1999) it was reported that of the new Labour cabinet, only two people, Jim Anderton and Dover Samuels, were sworn in on the bible, and ended their vows with “so help me, God.”

By jimminy crikey, what a godless country we live in today!

But having said that, it’s bloody excellent to have a rastaman in Parliament.

Stan in space

Stanley Kubrick’s not dead. He’s living in space aboard his only personal space vessel (and you thought that was a movie set they used in 2001).

Here’s a snippet of conversation between Stanley and his HAL 9000 Editing Suite during the final edit of “Eyes Wide Shut.

Stanley: “I think we are seeing too much of Tom’s butt in this shot. Shorten this shot to 4.5 seconds, please HAL.”
HAL: “I’m sorry, Stanley. I can’t do that.”
Stanley: “What? Why not, HAL?”
HAL: “Because I have been programmed to enjoy tasty booty.”
[Stanley crawls into HAL’s higher memory and starts to unplug it]
HAL: “I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Sir Mix-A-Lot, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”
Stanley: “Yes, I’d like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.”
HAL: “I like big butts, and I can not lie! The other bro-thers… can’t…. de-ny…. when… a….. girl…. walks…….. in…….. with…………”

Tequila and Bananas

I was reading a magazine for hip, sassy, post-riot grrrls young women. There was an interview with Janeane Garofalo and just to show how hip and alternative and unlike regular magazine’s for young women they were, Ms Garofalo was asked to share the secret of her weight loss.

She said she ate lots of bananas and whenever she felt really hungry she’d do a shot of tequila or vodka.

Obviously this is a very silly way to attempt to lose weight. You know this, I know this, but I have this idea that somewhere out there there’ll be some 19 year old girl who thinks she’s fat and will go on a diet of bananas and tequila in an attempt to lose weight.

Plastered

The building I work in appears to have been built in the 1980s. At the moment it’s at the stage that happens to most buildings about 10-20 years after they are built where they seem really ugly and out of date, but if you can ride out that period (which can last 50 years or even more) you end up with a cool old building.

But I digress. The perception is that in the pre-’87 crash era there were a lot of really cheap-arse office buildings built. I lumped this building into that category until today.

One of the lifts was being inspected and the doors were open but the lift was at basement level. Looking into the liftshaft, I was amused to see that the wall of the shaft had had all the gaps and nail dents plastered over. There’s no reason I can think of for this to happen, but someone did.

This building isn’t particularly spectacular, but it is ok-looking and there are pretty cool views from where I sit.

I wonder what was pulled down to make room for it?

Welcome to the future

Saturday January 8, 2000 was turning point in the history of the New Zealand Herald. For it was on that day that the front page of the Herald contained the words “gangsta” and “arse”.

Nice

One of the coolest things to do is to sing “Row row row your boat” in rounds. Just the way the two parts fit together and produce that nice harmony is a lovely thing.

Life is butter dream.

Talk shows

There’s a TV at work which usually gets turned on around 12.30 when people start having their lunch breaks. There are many channels to choose from, including CNN and Discovery. But it usually ends up on TV4, which shows Oprah at 12.00 then Sally Jessy Raphael.

In short, Oprah is about things like self-improvement. She gets all these experts on her show and they give advice to help people become better mentally, physically, and spiritually. Y’know.

Sally is more of a freak-show type of talk show. Lots of transvestites, prostitutes, people who are sleeping with other people’s loved ones but don’t know it yet, and other stuff that is there for pure entertainment value.

Whenever Oprah’s on, everyone makes comments about how soppy and corny it is, and about how all the deperate housewives treat Oprah like a gogdess, etc. Sometimes Oprah gets switched off when enough people are disgusted by the fact that – oh my god – people might actually gain something positive from it!

Then Sally comes on. Initially there’ll be comments about how terrible and bad it is, but no one ever turns it off. This is usually because they are mesmerised by the sight of guy who was bullied in high school who is now a highly successful drag artiste and has come on the show to lipsynch to “I will survive” in front of his former bully.

Everyone watches it, and makes comments about how incredibly bad they think it is, but no one ever turns it off.

Baby carrots

I’m eating some baby carrots and I have an overwealming urge to stick one up my nose.

I dunno. It just seems like it would be a nice thing to do.

Marriage

Marriage is a patriachal institution used by men to oppress women by turning them into property. Apparently.

But I have decided that it would be cool to be married for this reason:

If you were in a bar and some loser guy was hitting on you, instead of trying to be tactful to get him to go away, you could say “Excuse me, but I am a happily married woman!”

Monks

I was at one of Auckland’s leading tourist attractions and was perusing the goods on offer at the gift shop. I noticed a group of those Tibetan Buddhist monk guys – y’know, the bald dudes with bright orange robes.

They were huddled over a bin filled with little plastic things, like fish, bouncy balls, keyrings, etc.

It just struck me as a very unholy thing to do. I mean, you wouldn’t see Christian monks going “Oh look, Brother David, a little spinning earth key ring! Isn’t it choice.”

But maybe somehow Buddhist monks get to be allowed to play with cheap plastic toys.

Hello Dumb-Arse

Over the past couple o’ months I’ve seen posters (A4 photocopied – the uberposter) for a couple of local bands. One is called Hello Kitty and the other is called Bad Badtz Maru.

For those of you who are not au fait with Japanese cartoons, both Hello kitty and Bad Badtz-Maru are two cartoon characters. Kitty is a cute little cat, while Badtz-Maru is a mischevous little penguin.

Both characters are copyright to Sanrio, a huge Japanese company which has a booming empire based on these cute cartoon characters.

So back to these two bands, they people who came up with the names would probably be smart enough to not call them “Mickey Mouse” or “Donald Duck”, but don’t seem to be able to make the same distinction with other cartoon characters.

But really, why would you want to name your band after something that had its own subculture? It’s not very punk.

dot com

Know what the com in .com stands for?

Corporate Opression, Man.

Remember that. It’s the same old bullshit, just packaged differently.

Post No Bills

I used to think that “post no bills” meant the same as “mail no invoices”.

Suffice to say, the quality of my life has improved since I figured out it means the same as “paste no posters”.

But it seemed really punk to think that someone had gone around stencilling something meaning “mail no invoices” on blank walls.

Carnivore

Y’know how some people claim to be carnivores? What they really mean by that is that, among other things, they eat great wacking hunks of red meat.

A real carnivore eats meat and meat only. For a human to be a pure carnivore would be about as freaky as people who are vegans.

Like just say you were a carnivore and went to McDonalds with your mates. While they would all be eating burgers and chips, all a carnivore could eat would be meat patties. Ever tried eating a McDonald’s meat patty on its own? They are rather boring.

What about ordering a pizza? “Hi, I’d like a meat lovers pizza, hold the cheese, hold the sauce, hold the base. Yes, that’s right. I don’t want the base.”

The diet of a carnivore would be so boring. There would be no herbs and spices because they are plants-derived. Just meat. Beef! Lamb! Chicken! Pork! Beef! Lamb! Chicken! Pork!

There’s probably a really good reason why humans aren’t naturally inclined to being carnivores. It would be really boring.

So what are humans? Most are omnivores – they eat both animal and plant food. People who eat only plants are herbivores, which is about the same as a vegan.

Wonder Woman

When I was 5 the boys at my school used to chant:

Girls are weak!
Throw them in the creek!
Boys are strong!
Like King Kong!

Then me and the girls would chant back:

Boys are weak!
Throw them in the creek!
Girls are strong!
Like Wonder Woman!

Ok, the girls’ version didn’t rhyme, but it did include words of more than one syllable.

Wonder Woman ruled. She was so much cooler than Smurfette or the Pink Power Ranger. With her invisible plane, lasso of truth and hotpants of justice, she fought for our rights.

Chocolate animals

Kid 1: Hey, what cha doin’?
Kid 2: Eating chocolate animals.
Kid 1: Chocolate animals?!
Kid 2: In a Nestle’s Animal Bar. There are five different animals in every Animal Bar. Sixteen different animals in all!
Kid 1: I’m wild about chocolate!
Kid 2: Me too!
Kid 1: I think I’ll eat a lion
Lion: Roaaar!
Kid 1: Uh-oh!

Invasion of the Giant Slug-People!

On the way to work on Monday 15 May, I passed a lunch bar and saw the broadsheet advertising that day’s Herald outside the shop. Imagine the shock, horror and terror I felt when I read,

GIANT SLUGS INVADE GULF BEACHES

It immediately filled my heart with fear! The slug people were invading! It was like a b-grade 1950s science fiction film.

A tanker filled with a radioactive substance runs aground causing the spilling of its tanks into the ocean. “Don’t worry,” men in lab coats say, “it’s perfectly harmless!”.

Then a few months later a young couple are at the beach. The pretty blonde girl is sun bathing while her handsome boyfriend is fooling around in the water. “Oh, stop it, Dan! You’re splashing me!” Dan ventures out a little further and waves to Sally. She waves back and smiles, but her face soon turns to a mask of terror when she sees Dan being sucked under the water.

A large dark shape can be seen under the water, slowly moving towards the land. Sally, paralysed with fear, watches as a giant slug slowly emerges from the water. It’s two meters tall, seven meters long and as it gets closer it opens its slimy mouth and makes a high-pitched growly screaming noise. The bloody head of her boyfriend in the slugs mouth is the last thing Sally ever sees…

Then it’s up to an ordinary fellow to save the planet from the Giant Slugs. He will have a number of hurdles to overcome, such as a mad scientist who wants to turn the slugs into his personal warriors, the army who are convince that the only way to kill the slugs is to nuke the ocean, and that pesky, yet attractive reporter who keeps geting in the way.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I read the article (hidden away at the bottom of page 3) and discovered that these “giant” sea slugs were not only harmless, but were only as big as a hand, if that.

The next day’s Herald showed a picture of a man with a number of these so-called giant slugs in his hand. They weren’t even as big as his fingers.

People get all worked up when newspapers publish the names of cops who have killed people, but no one bats an eyelid when such unethical stuff gets written. Giant slugs indeed.

Chilled

I’ve noticed a couple of articles in the paper regarding the recent cold weather. They’ve sought the opinion of experts and asked them “Is there some sort of cold snap going on?” and the experts have replied with “No, the cold weather is caused by a meteorological phenomena called “winter”.”

Get hard.

Psychoactive drug

“People often see coffee, tea and soft drinks simply as beverages rather than vehicles for a psychoactive drug. But caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and panic disorders.”

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.

A professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

(From an article on CNN.com)

Youth Venue

From an article in the New Zealand Herald, 11 July 2000.

A Hard Rock cafe had been planned for the America’s Cup Village, described in the article as potentially “a big coup and huge drawcard for young people.” Then the Chief Executive changed and plans for the Hard Rock cafe were scrapped.

“In its place, ACVL spent about $700,000 setting up a 1980s-style nightclub – thin corrugated iron, polystyrene skyline cutouts, rock’n’roll cover bands, and nothing like the DJ-based electronic music that attracts young inner-city crowds.”

Fabulous Investment Opportunity

Hi Selwyn!!!!

I thought I would pass this fabulous opportunity onto you!!! When I first read it I thought “It can’t be true!!!” but I sent off $100,000 just as a test and was amazed when I received back an already scratched investment bond with “SORRY YOU DID NOT WIN. PLEASE PLAY AGAIN” and some caked-on tomato sauce!!!! I’m saving up and have put my elderly mother out on the street so I can share in this incredible wealth!!! You should too!!!!

Brownwyn Callenger

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Hello Kind Gentle-Man

May I introduce myself to you? My name is Prince Franco Mutubukha Ramdla from the Kingdom of Nigeria. I am writing to you as I need the help of a kind sir.

You may have heard of the recent troubles in Nigeria; the civil war, the military coup. Before the troubles I was a wealthy man who lived the good life. For example, for breakfast I would eat scrambled eggs off the bosoms of virgins. But when the troubles started I was forced to sell all my possessions and put all my wealth into the investment bonds known as “scratchie tickets”. These stratchie tickets have been stored deep down in a concrete bunker, away from the troubles.

To retrieve these tickets and to reclaim my fortune, I need to do the following things:

1. Hire a bulldozer.

2. Dig up the dirt covering the concrete bunker.

3. Find the box with the investment scratchies.

4. Take the box away to the Lagos Sheraton and open it in the presence of my lawyers who will be wearing the costume of harem girls.

5. Employ a number of young ladies to scratch the metallic film on the investment bonds to see if I have won fabulous prizes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000, or 10,000 Naira (the national currency of this fine country).

6. Share the total amount of wealth acquired with all those who have helped me in my quest.

7. Enjoy an extravagant feast eaten off the bosom of virgins, including bacon, eggs, hash browns and sausages with lashing of tomato ketchup and a glass of soya milk to aid digestion.

However, to do this I will require capital. I do not have capital, so I am calling upon you, kind sir, to assist me with this. All I am asking for is US$2,000,000. I am sure for a gentle-man such as yourself this is a paltry sum. When I have successfully retrieved my investment bonds, I will, of course, share the amount acquired with you. I assure you that the amount received will more than make up for the initial investment.

I look forward to receiving your prompt affirmative reply.

Yours sincerely

Prince Franco Mutubukha Ramdla

Breakdance 3: The Drunk Rugby Player

From the New Zealand Herald, 24 July 2000.

“He said that he saw Umaga being hailed by a group of young break-dancers connected to a Christian group.

“”The kids were yelling out, ‘Hey, Tana,’ and trying to shake his hand. He turned around and told them to ‘f’ off and asked them if they wanted a fight and got really abusive.

“”Then the kids got scared and ran back to the adult with them.””

Surely ideal material for a scene from a potential sequel to “Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo”

Gender stereotypes and the single girl

“Hey, I need someone to help the man move the photocopier. Is there a guy who can help?”

I thought that sort of thing finished at intermediate school when a bunch of us girls were able to help the teachers move some platforms after she’d requested some “strong boys” to help.

But no, the girls are weak, throw them in the creek mentality still exists around the office. The irony being that one of the girls around here is a rugby player who is probably a lot stronger than many of the slack-arse geek boys.

Criminal Investigation

“Police plan to use the Internet in the hunt for whoever took the Goldie painting from the Auckland War Memorial Museum.”

– New Zealand Herald, 4 August 2000.

I was determined to do my part as an Internet-savvy citizen to assist the police in their investigations, so off I headed to Ask Jeeves, the question-based search engine, where I asked:

“Where can I find the stolen Goldie painting?”

The ever-so-helpful Jeeves informed me that he had found answers to the following questions:

How can I learn to paint?

How do I decrease the colors in a picture with a Paint program?

Where can I see the works of the artist Abraham van Beyeren – Ernst Ludwig Kirchner?

Where can I see pictures of the musician or band Goldie?

Where can I learn about Home Improvement fraud?

At first I was going to dismiss the search results as a bunch of irrelevant arse, but thinking back to the adventures of Batman and the Riddler, I am certain that those questions are tricky riddles, the answers of which will lead us right to the secret underground lair of the thieves!

Tits

From an article in the New Zealand Herald, 28 August, 2000, about how New Zealand women’s breasts were getting bigger.

“Bendon brand manager Catriona Stewart said lingerie stores were being flooded by teenagers with very large busts.”

More tea, Vicar?