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Old 24th March 2017, 10:19 PM
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Default Playing With Knobs and Carrots

PLAYING WITH KNOBS AND CARROTS

(This is part of the notes for that goddamned book. For narrative purposes, I've had my conversion experience, buggered up my public service career, and moved back to Queensland.)


Since I was under the parental roof, it was good manners to attend their church. My folks attended a small offshoot of the big AOG church in town. It was so small, I'm probably easily identified by now.

It seems that, when the "planting" of the satellite congregation was announced, there were basically two groupings of volunteers to go and support the new enterprise:
* Younger families, for whatever reasons they had (may include the better chance of becoming a big fish in a smaller pond); and
* Older people, tired of the Hellsong music plague and ever-louder services which had become the norm at Big AOG.

The second grouping were in the majority.

It was basically God's waiting-room with a kindergarten annexe. The pastor, Mr Jollyfeller, was a sincere enough bloke, and one of the few fundie ministers I've seen with genuine concern for the people life chews up and spits out. He did many good things for the poor and desperate, but these acts were in private and usually done from his home: it is very likely the older members of the church would have disapproved if they'd caught him at it.

This story deals with an old grouch, older and grouchier than even your humble narrator. Brother Humphrey (not his actual name) was reputed to be rather cashed-up: this may have had some bearing on his influence within the tiny congregation.

It is not known just how the Humph arrived in a happy-clapper denomination: he was no clapper for a start, and his face ran the gamut from Not Amused to Smite 'Em Now, Lord.

I first locked horns with the old guy after I'd been at the church for a few weeks. Pastor Jollyfeller found out about my band-related activities down south, and I suddenly wound up with the gig of Doer Of The PA System.

*****[Brief Digression]*****
I've flown a mixing desk for live acts in a place that seated 500, and done the honours for acts ranging from acapella folkies to Pistols-style yob-and-gob. Thanks in part to good luck and also to good management, I still audiogram above average for my age. I also don't believe in excessive amplification. Let's get that out of the way, and I'll change the CD.
***********


Anyway, the place had brick surfaces every-bloody-where, and a low ceiling. Seeing the church only rented the hall, every week was a super-fast bump-in, set-up and ring the room, from when the pastor unlocked to Go time. There was no feedback on my watch, unless one of the singers stood directly in front of a speaker column or similar. It happened from time to time: you simply cannot educate some people.

Third week on the job, I was lapel-grabbed by the Humph as I took my seat behind the Rinky-Dink 8-Channel.

Said the Humph: "I went to Brisbane the other week, and Someotherplaceville Uniting Church has lots of little speakers. You can hear everything but it's not loud."

Hmm, it's not loud here either, matey, I thinks. "That's a larger building, isn't it, and don't they have all their gear permanently wired-in?"

"Hrumph! The music here is too loud."

(Later, I discovered he didn't like the TEMPO and MODERN MUSIC IN GENERAL. Made faces in every song like he was having his haemorrhoids wrapped round a rotating drum under the seat, too. Fingers-in-ears like a two-year-old. Ah, the dignity it takes to be a Church Elder...)

And if you think the above was childish, you should have seen his antics when I said that I deferred to his experience and judgement, and that I looked forward to enjoying the service while he looked after the sound. Some people are never satisfied.

Okay, the detour wasn't that brief. Still, you had to get to know the old geezer to appreciate the rest of the story. Not long before I crashlanded in town, the old Humphster had been diagnosed with a few spots of what appeared to be cancer on part of his grouchy liddle insides.

A couple of months along, and he's back for more X-rays, and wa-hey, no more spots! Okay, any hypothesis from Miracle to It Wasn't Cancer All Along is acceptable here: the facts don't make a whit of difference. Humph got up in front of the congregation and there was much rejoicing. Credit was given to God: the term here refers to the deity who is franchise owner for Christian churches in general. Note that....

... and fast forward about six months. Humph is still old, twitter and bisted. He still makes faces at the music, and saves his particularly grotesque Old Man Steptoe looks for Black on the sound desk.

And here's a picture!

A sort of informal rota existed for speaking in the church. Most often it was Pastor Jollyfeller himself doing all of it, but we got visiting preachers now and then, and the Jolly One would fall back to giving a little blurb around Communion, leading up to the usual ritual. Occasionally, the pastor would pick a trusty man (and very, VERY infrequently, a woman) from among the faithful, to do the Communion Talk.

Humph got the nod. Oh dear. Ye Ancient Git was over 70 in the shade,and we were all getting to feel rather old ourselves... on and on and bloody on about his X-rays and his nasty little innards and Not A Spot...

...just about the ten-minute mark, I was only kept awake by the irregular wet clacking sounds of eyelids slamming shut and the dull thud of heads lolling into other heads which had slumped in the opposite direction. Seeing I was about the only soul left awake, I listened intently as Humph started on about the New Wonderful Thing which he was now claiming had Saved His Bacon Offal.

The claim had been revised. No longer did the Almighty reach down from Cloud Nine and flick the specks off the X-ray plate: now it was some guff about Carrot Juice and a diet of green crud.

Adam had a juicer, apparently. Now I dunno if he got his fig-leafy bum kicked out of the Primeval Park for scrumping apples to make something tastier than carrot, celery and Miracle Stain-Yer-Teeth-Green-Muck ($49.95 a teeny capsule or nearest offer), but Humph was going on like he'd been into Bob Marley's greens too.

Onandonandonandonandonandonandonandon.... Aargh.

Jolly tipped me the wink and gave me the Cut His Mike Feed signal - a "slash the throat" motion. I did.

It didn't matter: The result was just Onandonandonandonandonandon Unplugged. I don't remember what happened in the end any more than you'd remember how a big dog disengaged itself after humping your leg for ten minutes. The shock of the process at peak just kind of obliterates any memory of how we got out of it. Eventually Humph sat down. The rest of the service was short for some reason.

And dammit, I still don't know who retconned the biblical translation, though it's fashionable to blame Erasmus, if only so we can say "Complutensian Polyglot" with a knowing sort of shrug. That picnic on the Mount was obviously celery juice and wheatgrass extract lozenges, not sardine sammies at all...

Jesus himself would tell you in the Queen's English.

At this point, I was keen to attend the next week in a t-shirt reading:
"Blood of the Lamb? YAY!
Juice Of The Carrot? NAY!"

You can see from this I really didn't belong, but there's a helluva way to go before I actually make the break.

PostScript: In case you were wondering, the Humph-meister wasn't corrected, censured, de-eldered or prevented from touting the Way Of The True Veg. Amazing what you can do if you have a lot of bucks and mention your will now and then, innit?

From a page about the Funny Diet:

Quote:
Although low-fat, high-fiber diets can be healthful, the Hallelujah Diet is unbalanced and can lead to serious deficiencies. The overall program is expensive because the recommended supplements cost over $2,000 a year. Reverend Malkmus' sales pitch includes beliefs that are historically and nutritionally senseless, as well as health claims for which he lacks appropriate substantiation. Using his diet instead of appropriate medical care is very foolish.
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Old 25th March 2017, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

It gets me in every time, recalling the first episode.

I have been waiting for the appropriate opportunity to ask you what the new crypto-algorithm is messaging, under your signature?

edit: I logged off and realised I had been tricked into asking that. It was a carrot.
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Last edited by Strato; 25th March 2017 at 12:19 AM. Reason: pride
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Old 25th March 2017, 05:12 AM
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

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It gets me in every time, recalling the first episode.

I have been waiting for the appropriate opportunity to ask you what the new crypto-algorithm is messaging, under your signature?

edit: I logged off and realised I had been tricked into asking that. It was a carrot.
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Old 25th March 2017, 01:10 PM
stevebrooks stevebrooks is offline
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

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Strato said View Post
I have been waiting for the appropriate opportunity to ask you what the new crypto-algorithm is messaging, under your signature?
Qbmvat - jngpuvat zbgbe enprf.
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Old 25th March 2017, 01:28 PM
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The Irreverent Mr Black The Irreverent Mr Black is offline
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

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Quote:
Strato said View Post
I have been waiting for the appropriate opportunity to ask you what the new crypto-algorithm is messaging, under your signature?
Qbmvat - jngpuvat zbgbe enprf.
Tvir gung zna n pvtne.
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Old 25th March 2017, 05:45 PM
stevebrooks stevebrooks is offline
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

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Tvir gung zna n pvtne.
He he he
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Old 25th March 2017, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

Dreamin' bout a reefer 5 foot long
Little bit hot but not too strong
You'll git high but not for long
If you'se a viper

Fats Waller



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Last edited by Strato; 25th March 2017 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 25th March 2017, 11:30 PM
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The Irreverent Mr Black The Irreverent Mr Black is offline
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

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Strato said View Post
Dreamin' bout a reefer 5 foot long
Little bit hot but not too strong
You'll grt high but not for long
If you'se a viper

Fats Waller

Funnily enough, not on the Hillsong playlist.

I love the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band version.
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Old 25th March 2017, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

Yes, funnily enough I can hardly remember any of the old Hillsong canticles.

Abiding in the Vine? Sorry about that. Now I can't get it out of my head.

Mick Conway had a fine big collection of 78s and a working Victrola in 101 Greville Street, Prahran in '71, next to the Station Hotel by the railway line.

The house is no more. They had an early blue and yellow B class diesel electric loco protruding out of the front room as though it had derailed and gone through the back yard and through the house, stopping at the footpath.
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Old 26th March 2017, 10:07 AM
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The Irreverent Mr Black The Irreverent Mr Black is offline
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Default Re: Playing With Knobs and Carrots

Ah, those wonderful Conway lads, eh, Strato?

Jim's been retired now a few years. MS is a total bastard condition.

Mic is still beating the boards in various guises (he voices Wags the Dog in The Wiggles) and has a new outfit, The National Junk Band. Looks like they have a Marrickville, NSW, gig in June 2017.
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