TISM Best.off launch, fortyfivedownstairs gallery

The unfortunately-timed TISM greatest hits compilation, tism.bestoff (which is being released less than a year after their last studio album DeRigueurmortis, which was delayed by two years anyway), was launched at Melbourne art gallery fortyfivedownstairs on Tuesday night. If you’ve ever harboured a desire to have Ron Hitler Barassi serving you sushi, you shoulda been there.


The launch of the album tism.bestoff was not a gig, but a debate on the subject TISM IS ART, featuring members of TISM for the negative. Members of TISM also served pancakes, sushi and free piss and walked around shoving brooms under patron’s feet.

This was a bit interesting from a number of perspectives. Like, the fact that there was a “normal” art gallery opening upstairs at Span Galleries, and therefore free piss BEFORE you got to the TISM free piss. And the fact that the TISM launch had pancakes. With lemon and sugar. And the fact that your pancakes would be served by Humphrey B. Flaubert OR, even better, John Safran. (As in, “Hi, my namesh Barbara, you dunno me but I call you every week at RRR and annoy you”.)

Mercifully, the comic I sent in WASN’T featured – thank fuck, I don’t really feel like explaining it (beyond pointing out that the inspiration for my comic was “Been Caught Wanking”). However I did go up to a guy who was the fucking dead spit of Aidan Fennessey from Water Rats and say “Do I know you from somewhere???” and he said “No, but I did that painting as part of a TISM performance” (pointing to a big painting of TISM in the context of a western gunfight). Um, ok, cool. (My favourite TISM painting was the one behind the performers, that is, when Jon St Peenis and Tokin Blackman were doing their solo or semi solo sets – JSP was accompanied by a (muted) trumpet guy – I don’t know who the artist was though.)

There were, as mentioned, solo sets by Jon St Peenis on sax and Tokin Blackman on slide guitar, and I really liked both. I also went up to Max Crawdaddy and clarified the “Max Crawdaddy was in TISM” rumour, which is basically that he wasn’t in TISM as such, he was a human prop – he dressed in a bouncer’s uniform with a mask on stage, he wasn’t in the band. I did not get to talk to anyone else – in fact, I didn’t even score any sushi off RHB on account of I’m pathologically shy, and I love sushi more than just about anything except beer (there was plenty of that).

Um, the debate itself. By the time this came on, I was fucking shitfaced and thinking to myself “Fuck it… Eggy and Peter Aylward are taping it, I’ll get it when it comes online”. So I didn’t pay as close attention as I should have. However, the case for the affirmative actually did pretty well considering they were up against TISM – pretty fucking tough competition – they weren’t utterly brilliant but they were reasonably funny. The case that TISM IS ART was presented by the Debater’s Association of Victoria, and basically consisted of them trying to emulate TISM, quite possibly by being deliberately crap (it’s a fine, fine line between deliberately crap and just plain crap). TISM’s response consisted largely of the absolutely correct accusation that every single audience member was only there for the free piss.

A Casio keyboard was provided with instructions on “How to Write a TISM Song“. Strangely, no-one took up this offer, possibly realising that this level of crap has to be heartfelt or you risk just sounding like Col Elliott but less funny.

tism.bestoff is released through FMR in the middle of August – the official press release may be viewed here

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