Let me tell you a story about my past as a tv presenter

Well, the ALMOST story of being a tv presenter.

I had heard of a call out by the ABC for a pitch for a late night cabaret style show slotted for Friday nights to sit before RAGE. Back then, an opportunity like that seemed worth pitching for. I knew how much they were looking at doing each episode for, and after looking at the potential costs, I thought I could convert a crazy idea I had into a show…

 

The Liberated Sisters of Democracy are born.

Yes, it sounds like a dumb name, but I really just wanted the acronym of LSD. I had a sketchbook where I had drawn up an idea for a t-shirt which had ‘the LSD is revolting’ and paired with the TV show concept, I felt I could get something weird enough to make it stand out. The ideas were bandied around, and I found a short story I had written with a theme of an art movement that uses criminal acts to force people to experience art. Like bursting into a bank, armed and with ski-masks on, and all they do is replace the corporate bland generic art with horrible examples of bad art. Clashing non-complimentary colours, unbalanced designs, and never placed square on the wall so it looks out just that little bit. Stupid, yes. But no more stupid in concept than calling your art movement Dada, which from memory means hobby horse. A movement formed in retaliation to the horrors of war.

So back to the story of the TV show. I knew I needed a hook, and the biggest wrong hook I could think of was a new musician hitting the airwaves of the name Marilyn Manson. So, gothic mixed with Marilyn Manson wrong. I had been thinking of the Sisters of perpetual indulgence, but ramping it up with leather habits or weird rosary belts, but Chris did come up with the idea of ‘secret pockets’ in the habits. These aren’t the hide a pack of card secret pockets, these are the hide an inflated novelty squeak hammer secret pockets. Not forgetting Oompa-loompas, inflatable roast turkey, oversized novelty sex toys, motorised sexy toys, the necronomicon and anything else that could either get a laugh or befuddle the audience as how the hell did that just be pulled out of nowhere.

Sounds a bit wrong? Sure does! I had to break this down into a single A4 page and fax it in. Yes, FAX. Not a typo! So, after covering off the show look and feel, I had to cover the style of show. I had pitched a live late night talk show theme, with the latest videos mixed in with the best videos we could find and a few interviews. I did know my liability was that I did not have a KNOWN celebrity to front the show. Which meant that the eventual winner of the pitch process was someone who was a known commodity and had fronted an ABC show for quite some time. The 10.30 Slot was the eventual winner and it only lasted a year. Which was at least a season more than I expected LSD to last. I had thought no one in their right mind would agree to something that terrible to go on air to be pulled off after the first episode (if not during the first episode). So, like most idiots with no fear of failure, (as I had no belief in any chance of success) I took the step most people don’t. I faxed it in. Totally expecting people on the other end to have a chuckle and chuck it in the bin. Yeaaaaahhh, about that… not long after that I got the letter from the ABC. Expecting it to be a ‘thanks for the submission, but you are a freak, don’t send any more faxes, EVER’… It wasn’t. It was a letter telling me that I had been considered and wouldn’t be taken into the third phase (which was only open to about a dozen pitches to each do a short test pilot) the last phase was doing a full pilot for airing. Chris pointed out that to get from phase one (the open pitching) to phase two, they had to actually consider putting that shit on air. Seriously!

Now I had several show ideas, interviews with bands would be prewritten questions and approved by them, of course for the live interview on the show, THEY would be handed the questions to ask the presenters of the show… There were a few favourites that I still remember we brainstormed, I can’t remember if it was Chris, myself or one of the other guys we drank with putting up the ‘a couch somewhere’ idea. Quite literally the couch would be the same couch for interviews and it would be taken out and about for interviews, shows, concerts, anything really. The plan was to have bands leave something down the back of the couch for the final episode of the season to have a viewers prize where they win whatever is down the back of the couch. Dust bunnies, clothes, old buttons, money, band merch and anything else we could find.

I did want to do a drinking game where we read out the complaints letters we received and you could take a drink every time they used the word ‘sick’ or ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’…

I have always been tempted to take some of the storyboards that I had mocked up and turn them into some weird animation, but the main impact of the show was the fact people were doing that weird shit for real. Walking around Australian cities with a tourist guide for Europe or America and finding buildings/monuments/landmarks that happen to bear SOME resemblance to the ones in the books and doing the historical documentary of the European/American landmark with something so obviously in Australia. It wouldn’t translate into animation as appearing as strange as it would for live footage. Sure we suggested things like having a resident reviewer of whatever was sent in, regardless of it being a sex toy, dirty home movie, recipes or a crayon drawing their nephew had done on the wall. But the ‘volunteer’ show cheerleading squad was more one of those things that we knew could go so very badly. Which in fact was the main reason why you would WANT to do it. Our nature as humans seems to WANT to watch the car crash, and be fixated on it because there is NO WAY they would possibly do that on television…

Many years pass…

Yes, MANY years, and I happen to be telling this story of a truly fucked up tv show idea to a co-worker. He simply sends me an email and writes, look at the nun on the left. He had been one of the Sisters of perpetual indulgence. Funny how I mentioned MY inspiration had been from their appropriation of something considered totally formal and strict, to someone who had been part of it. Life has a way of reminding you of little things, and sometimes sticks a big sign in front of you saying ‘don’t forget’ because there may have been something to it after all.

I do remember the idea of the Sisters of perpetual indulgence having weird names was something I wanted to copy for the show. And I did intend them to be weird. Sister MadlyFlashingHerBitsAtPlanesFromTheDepartureLounge was one, but the idea was to just make them up on the spot and never use the same ones again. I think that would have helped confuse not only the audience, but the bands on the show, and help to obfuscate any complaints for particular talent on the show. Was it Sister DrunkenlyKissedAPoodleOnTheDancefloor who said that the Wombles were an evil scheme to normalise people to the idea of a race of mutant talking hedgehogs, or was it Sister BornOnTheFourthOfRocktober who said it? Ahhh, to think what might have been. It would have mostly involved being sued, but the notoriety of such a show would have been hilarious to see.

 

And I am sure you want to know what the fuck is with the Kramer background. I actually saw this on an animated gif website, and it brought back the memories of the LSD show so I thought I would share them. I did used to have a website dedicated to the show and the various background for it, but that is LONG gone into the depths of the trash bin of the internet. I think it was on a free geocities account, just before they closed them all. 😉 If I find any of the old paperwork or pitch document I will add it here for anyone to enjoy, or be offended by, your response is up to you…

 

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