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Shakespeare didn’t do this

Simon Smithson Archive

Simon Smithson

On Change

November 8th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

A friend of mine doesn’t meet new people easily. It’s possible he may be suffering from a touch of Asperger’s (if there is such a thing as a ‘touch’ of Asperger’s). In familiar situations, he likes to dominate - by putdowns, by attack, by withholding attention. But as soon as a random, unknown element - a new person, for example - is introduced, the strength and the bluster vanish from him. He goes strangely quiet; backs down like a loudly-barking Chihuahua suddenly confronted with a pit bull. The more distinct and different a stranger, and their appearance and lifestyle, is from my friend and his, the more difficulty he has meeting their eyes. In the absence of common ground, my friend becomes unsure, and intimidated. He has no way of bridging the gap, and suddenly his confidence in his own position collapses like a house of cards. Those of us who know him well can see the uncertainty and the fear creeping up in him until, finally, when we are alone, he will confide in us ‘I didn’t like that guy.’ (more…)


Simon Smithson

It’s The Strangest Thing

November 1st, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I’m of two minds about posting this. Mainly because I’m worried that when my hat-wearing, bullet-riddled corpse is found on the wrong side of the border with a simultaneous death-grip on both an empty bottle of Jose Cuervo and a silver .45, the eventual court proceedings will employ this post and previous ones from TNB as Exhibit A: When It All Started To Go Wrong For Simon And We Were Left With No Option But To Bring Him Down.

But hey, it’s Halloween. So enjoy!

(more…)


Simon Smithson

Decompressing from TNB - LA

October 3rd, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I’d been warned about Los Angeles. They (the same ‘they’ in ‘That’s what they say’) warned me that it’s a city where people smile at your face and stab you in the back; that the whole town only exists to exploit people of youth, beauty, and talent; that everyone there is obsessed with making money, making their cut, and then getting out of Dodge as fast as their new Lexus can carry them.

People characterised the city as soulless, shallow, and desperate for a quick buck.

Why people thought they should warn me, I’m not really sure. Because it sounded like I’d fit right in.

But seriously - LA, man. Now that’s a fun town. (more…)


Simon Smithson

Leaving (for) Los Angeles

September 28th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I stopped into Los Angeles recently; I wanted to get a new guitar strap and there was also this minor literary thing that I figured I could go to while I was there. It was a good trip, and one that I will cheerfully blog about at some length. There are some stories that must be told, and moments that I fear will haunt me forever unless I sobbingly confess them to the internet at large. Like the point over dinner when I suddenly realised that the twinkle in Brad Listi’s eye wasn’t pleasantly welcoming bonhomie at all, but rather a deep and unforgiving madness (the two look remarkably similar).  Or the time I first heard Greg Olear’s voice, and I knew in my bones that terror had a new favourite uncle. Even now, I can’t close my eyes without seeing Rachel Pollon laugh and laugh and tie Ben Loory to a railroad track (the story of how he survived is one of incredible heroism, skull-shattering evil, and one man’s surprisingly aerodynamic straw hat).

But these are things that will have to wait until my next post, as I have other things to say first. (more…)


Simon Smithson

The Dumbest Thing I have Ever Said

August 29th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

Not the dumbest thing I have ever thought, mind you. That honour goes to a moment when I was walking down Castro Street in San Francisco, glanced across the street, and saw a burger joint called Sliders. And into my head came the thought Huh. I wonder if that’s a whole place themed after that Jerry O’Connell show from the mid-90s?

This was followed, instantly, by There it is, Simon. Right there. That’s the single stupidest thing you will ever think in your entire life.

(more…)


Simon Smithson

Sex Talk

August 15th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

Or

A DIMENSION NOT ONLY OF SIGHT AND SOUND, BUT OF MIND-

So. Of late, certain Scullys of my acquaintance have been pointing out that perhaps ‘Simon Smithson Territory’, or ‘Simon Smithson Syndrome’, as it has become known here on The Nervous Breakdown, is not quite the synchronicity-laden Bermuda Triangle I’ve been selling it as. They point to probabilities, they objurgate me with odds, they calculate chance and causal effect. They say ‘Hey, it’s just coincidence that you dreamed of your dead grandmother and she was mentioned the next day in conversation. It’s just coincidence that you dreamed of your friend Richard getting it on with a model, and he then called you the next day to say he was at an audition directly next to a model casting shoot.’

Be that as it may, should my younger self join the Brazilian soccer team, make a game-winning goal in the final seconds of the match, and go on to celebrate with the rest of the team by stealing a train, we’ll know for sure that my recent dreams can accurately predict the future. (more…)


Simon Smithson

Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

August 2nd, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

It started with a lottery ticket.

I was in a newsagency, buying a pack of gum. I had five bucks in my wallet that I had assigned no particular purpose to, the Division One prize had been jackpotting for weeks, eventually reaching a total of AU$90,000,000 (or a penny in American dollars), and one person in three in the whole country had bought a ticket. So I figured, Hey, why not? I’ll get in on this action. After all, I deserve that money way more than any of these other chumps. God knows I’ve worked hard all my life to avoid rising above adversity, helping others, or being a decent human being in any way, shape, or form. It’s about time I got rewarded for my efforts. Also, Papa needs a new pair of shoes.

(more…)


Simon Smithson

Sweet Liberty!

July 25th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I will forever be indebted to my friend Luke for many things. Among them, his habit of using the exclamation ‘Sweet Liberty!’ where other people would happily drop the F-bomb. What started out as irony on his part has become, to me, one of the most endearing traits of his conversational character. I also owe him a debt for introducing me to the concept of the third option. Luke, a man of cunning and repose, taught me about this years ago. When stuck in a bind, he said, when both going forward or moving back look equally unattractive, look for the third option. It’s always there, just not immediately recognisable. (more…)


Simon Smithson

A Thousand Words: Going Out West

July 7th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I landed in San Francisco at the end of November, 2008. Home - Australia, a country I’d left for the first time - was thousands of miles away, along with my family, my friends, and every place I’d ever known. The closest friend I knew was in New York; although, luckily for me, through the magic of MySpace I wasn’t totally bereft of human contact on the West Coast. Even luckier, my MySpace contacts turned out to actually be who they claimed, and my fears of a white slavery ring vanished like a cobweb before a flamethrower. (more…)


Simon Smithson

The Best Policy

July 4th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

Let me be perfectly honest - I have, in the past, told lies. It’s a habit I try to avoid, but usually when I lie, it’s a lie so ridiculous that I assume no one else could possibly believe it, and will see it for what it is. I have, at one point or another, claimed to be too good-looking to get sick, or feel the cold. I invented the fake academic discipline ‘Bio-Nuclear Physics’, in answer to the question of what I studied at university. When asked at a party how I met my friend Luke, I said that, at different times on the same day, we both saved each other from sharks.

Not true. (more…)


Simon Smithson

I Hate You for Being Funnier Than I Am

June 24th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

Some day, I like to think to myself, I will write Important Books. They won’t start revolutions, highlight the problems of the free market, or end global warming, but they will highlight the frailties and follies of the human condition. Yes, people will say after reading them, yes, this is exactly what this means. My God! How could one Australian of above average height have grasped - and so easily - the deeper meaning of the subtle movements of life?

Also, the books will sell well, and I will be very rich. (more…)


Simon Smithson

Playing it Straight

June 16th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

Yes, OK. I admit it. I, in my foolhardy youth, was one of the cast of the Australian version of Playing It Straight. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, the basic concept is this: it’s The Bachelorette, with the added twist that half the dozen male suitors are gay, and half are straight. The gay guys do their best to pretend to be hetero (hence the title), and every week, the Bachelorette equivalent evicts two of them. It was basically a test of just how good her gaydar was: if, at the end, she ended up leaving one straight guy on the show, then the two of them split two hundred thousand dollars and, presumably, lived happily ever after. If, however, a gay guy was the last man standing, then he got all $200K. (more…)


Simon Smithson

My Suspicions are Aroused by a Lack of Difficulty

June 7th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I like TV. I really do. Sure, a lot of the time it’s nothing more than popcorn for the eyes, but it’s such delicious popcorn. Lately, the staple ingredient of my viewing diet has been Entourage, and catching back up with Vince, E, Turtle, Drama, and Vince has been a lot of fun. Also, I’ve realised that I want to marry Samaire Armstrong (my ardour cooled when I realised that she’d appeared in The O.C., but reignited, stronger than ever, when I saw that she’s also been in The X-Files). Some day, Samaire. Some day. (more…)


Simon Smithson

The Letters I Wrote that did not Convince Janeane Garofalo to Have Sex with Me.

May 14th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

Very recently, I published a blog here on TNB about an attempt that I made to sleep with Janeane Garofalo. This attempt was made in the form of certain letters, written by yours truly, in the pages of a Melbourne street press magazine while Ms. Garofalo was in town. Now overwhelming public demand (and by overwhelming public demand, I mean two people, but that’s more than enough for me) has induced me to republish those letters here. I feel I must warn you - even if you are not Janeane Garofalo, you may very well be seduced. (more…)


Simon Smithson

Let Me Tell You About the Time I Didn’t have Sex with Janeane Garofalo.

May 11th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I’m not exactly sure when I first learned who Janeane Garofalo was. It may well have been when I went to see The Truth About Cats and Dogs on an ill-advised high school date. I’ve heard reports that Janeane Garofalo hates that movie. For the record, so do I. How my date at the time felt about it, I’m not sure. But it was five years until I saw that girl again, and it was by accident, so I’m guessing it’s not in her desert island DVD collection either. (more…)


Simon Smithson

A Little Fear

April 26th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I was told it was Spanish.  I was told it was terrifying. All I needed to hear was that there were zombies involved and I was going to sign up come hell or high water. One brain-eating confirmation later and I was on my friend’s couch with two amigos, watching [REC], cheering every time one of the undead got taken out and trying to utilise my recent Spanish lessons to understand what was going on without the aid of subtitles (luckily for me, screaming is the same in any language). (more…)


Simon Smithson

The Grass Always Makes You Stronger on the Other Side

March 29th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I had just finished telling a friend about a project I had recently launched, only to nervously watch it struggle to gain altitude and airspeed, wobble, and come shakily back down to earth. He commiserated, made all the right sympathetic noises, finished the last of his coffee, and said ‘Well, you know, it’s better to have tried and failed than never tried at all.’

‘No,’ I said. ‘Incorrect. It’s better to have tried and succeeded than never tried at all.’

People don’t always like it when you say things like that. (more…)