Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Self Help Hell

After losing my left arse cheek's worth of weight in nervous flop sweat when preparing for an
hour long presentation on my book earlier this year, I've gone and done something much more stupid - agreed to run a THREE HOUR workshop this Saturday morning.

Be that as it may - ego beating reality yet again - I've decided to share with you some self-help books that have either amused or puzzled me but most importantly given me a quick-and-dirty way to mock and cover up my own feelings of anxiety and ill-preparedness with contempt and piss-takingicity:

I remember my very best friend, Samantha Philips, in year five had 'ABBA in the Moog' in her Dad's record collection. It had me fooled - I thought it was Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Frida's lost album from 1978 until I heard it and realised that there was no singing on it; just slightly odder and funkier elevator musak versions of their existing songs.

How Moog translates to cookery might be like a quirky 'take' on an existing classic, early 1970s's techno style. I'm thinking tuna mornay in ramekins, cubes of cheese and tiny pickled onions on toothpicks 'sputnik' style, fruit salad that comes out of tins and kids (or drunk adults) running around with cheezels on every finger. With an added 'tish boomba ba tish boomba ba' beat to every instruction.

Sorry Winnie Cooper, but it does.

Kevin Arnold may have loved you, yearned for you and spoken to us, his faithful viewers, of you for years but even you can't convince me, that math doesn't in fact suck.

It does. It sucks harder than Mick Jagger's lips on a just-ripened lemon still hanging from a tree in the next neighbourhood. It sucks harder than an airline toilet hosting an obese traveller suffering Bali belly and still wedged on the seat during touchdown and even harder than a seven year old trying a McDonald's thickshake for the first time and wondering why they can now feel their earlobes in the back of their throat.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this; but many's the time I've managed to wrestle me a wild elk in Trinity Gardens and then thought, "Bugger, how am I going to cook this thing?"

I'm hoping the authors are married and NOT siblings and heaven help the party guest who idly looks up from their culled koala canape and calls into the kitchen, "Can I do anything to help...?"

"Why that'd be just dandy, thanks. We'd love you to lend us a good hip-n-shoulder with this moose here. Dang thing can't fit in the oven with those confarned antlers on."

Ah yes. The Colon Health Handbook. This was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. I laughed, I cried, I passed a motion, actually. Top prizes for 'grabbing the reader by their wallet' cover art, too.

Bless. This was written many many years ago - several hundred years, if Hollywood years are anything like dog years - and in it Britney and her mom Lynne share all their secrets to being normal, well-adjusted, intelligent and educumuhcated role models for other teenage girls to aspire to.

You know, stuff like how Cheetos belong in the fourth food group and frappu, er frappey, um, frappuhcheenos are great for helping you dance and sing real good.

And who can pass up a book about offal cookery? 'Beyond Nose to Tail' is a book that provides you with ways to cook every single little bit of the pig.

Mmmm hmmm! Even the cover picture looks so appetising - who doesn't want to see roasted pig's arse being presented in the middle of the table after eating a minced snout dip served in deep fried crispy porky ears?

Maybe, just maybe though, books can be translated or interpreted in ways that are more meaningful and more fun that the original intention. Let's hope so or Love Chunks and Sapphire will be eating Stewed Squirrel Scrotum for dinner again tomorrow accompanied by the sweet sounds of 'Madness in the Moog'.


Miles McClagan said...

What's the Natalie Bassingthwaite one? The one which aschews sampled electro pop for sisterly hugs?

As you might know, I'm still a massive rap for Alisa Camplins "High Flier" for all my self help needs. The only book to feature a quote from Mark Twain and a plug for Vegemite...

Terence McDanger said...

Winnie Cooper! I used to love her!

Now she's a maths freak though so she can, well, feck off.

I still would though.

(And I'd be out the door in the morning ebfore she could start talking at me.)

MarkT said...

wasn't ted nugent a rock god, OMG i wikied him and it is indeed the same guitar legend! so many talents.

squib said...

Oh! I want to get that maths one for my 14 year old. Just to see that I'm-soooooo-not-impressed expression on her face

Baino said...

Hilarious as usual. Not a self-help book on my shelf unless you include gardening books that are never opened. Ted Nugent . .used to love his band! And don't knock Tuna Mornay, it's psychologically necessary comfort food in its own right. You did prompt me to go to Amazon and have a look . . there are some killers out there!

River said...

None of those books looks very self helpish to me. In my opinion a self help book would be one that tells you how to enjoy your chocolate without putting inches on your waist and hips. One of the chapters MUST be titled 'No Vomiting or Exercise Allowed".

And what's with the 3 hour workshop on Saturday? It's (school) holiday time. HOL-I-DAY!! Why are you working??

P.S. What's the workshop about?

Anonymous said...

I would love the "nose to tail" book for X'mas. ;-P

Are you going to include the rock and sand in the jar excercise in your workshop?

Kath Lockett said...

Miles - Alisa Camplin - did you get a free pellet of chewing gum under the dustjacket?

Terence McD - yes indeedy. Winnie's some mathematics whizz in real life. Scary really.

Mark - yep, it's the same hard rockin' Ted - using a gun instead of a fretboard these days.

River - the workshop is - and please don't laugh - How to write a self-help book.' Please, don't laugh......

River said...

I kinda guessed it might be and yes, I did laugh.
I'd love to be a math whizz.

Helen said...

I don't know... self-help books tend to have a relatively short period of intense popularity, or else they go slowly as people actually need the help...

On the other hand, I would totally buy a copy of Kill it and Grill it for all of my vegetarian friends for Christmans...

ashleigh said...

I notice that the "beyond head to tail" book is PART 2.

One wonders how many parts the book came in... and what might be in them!