with Matt Malanka
THE STUFF ABOUT THE STUFF (2000)
matt malanka was a guy i went to high school with. we never talked all that much but seemed to have an easy rapport and a certain shared dementia that allowed us to have some fun joking around. we wrote the lyrics for a few insane songs together in english class around the time we were reading “death of a salesman”, and then there came one of those assignments where you had a list of options. one was a “radio show/play”, and matt and i ended up partners. he came over to my place one day after school and we recorded our script, which was a mock-commercial for “henry & sister inbred baby farm/factory”, complete with celebrity testimony and lots of improvised additions. we both played about a dozen different characters and i provided the music and sound effects. bill clinton sang “i touch myself” by divinyls, as a piano ballad. we even made room for a fairly racy news and weather report, with matt improvising in character like a pro. it all ended with an intentionally off-key and warped re-written reading of “if god was one of us” by joan osbourne. the end product turned out to be not quite what our teacher was looking for, but we had fun doing it and the class seemed to be amused. i’m a little amazed today that we had the audacity to turn something like this in as an assignment, and even more so that mrs. gilham had enough of a sense of humour to give us a good mark.
but back to the recording session…i got to telling matt about a parenting class assignment i was none too thrilled about. i was supposed to interview several adults and ask them a list of questions about—gasp!—parenting. i needed to meet a certain criteria and wasn’t looking forward to reaching outside of my familial circle to satisfy the demands of the assignment. matt’s solution? “let’s record a bunch of interviews…i’ll pretend to be the adults.” i never ended up turning in what we did, because it got twisted pretty fast. matt played the part of “jordan cobb”, a crotchety old man who talked about his intestinal…issues, and ended the interview by saying, “never speak to me again.” then matt interviewed me and i imitated arnold schwarzenegger, talking about my daughters “clarice & hyondra” and my muscles. matt pretended to be an old woman who was all but incoherent. we laughed like crazy, but my parenting teacher never would have accepted it, so i just took a mark of zero. there were enough other assignments in that class that it didn’t even matter, and i still ended up with a mark in the eighties or nineties.
i still need to mix those interviews, and our infomercial could use a fresh mastering because it was recorded at the time of CHILDREN HAVE NO EYES and i squashed it a bit the first time. it’s another one of those things that i don’t think anyone else would be interested in, but it would be fun for me to listen to anyway.