Lady Chatterly's Louvre

A short story based on TISM coming in through the bathroom window
"True taste... seldom is the Critic's share". Pope, An Essay On Criticism

The fifteen year old schoolchild stamped her foot in exasperation. Here was dad again, rifling through her schoolbag, trying to find her English homework.

Moby Creswell, the Great White Paunch of Australian rock music critics, editor of the august The Droning Tome, bent huddled in surreptitious concentration. 1927's new album, ...Ishmael, needed reviewing. Moby was worried, not only by the fact he knew there were three references to Herman Melville's Moby Dick in the preceding two sentences and he could only find two, fuck it; but, how to compare and contrast ...Ishmael, Susan [sic] Vega's new album Ugly But Sensitive, and TISM's Hot Dogma for this month's editorial? As always when faced with an editorial problem of such magnitude, Moby turned to the same source for guidance - yet his fifteen year old daughter's voice startled him nonetheless:

"But Dad, you can't use my Year 11 English essay on Blake's Tyger, Tyger for your editorial on Susan [sic] Vega's new album."

Moby hung his head in shame. With all the unforgiving honesty of adolescence, his daughter continued:

"You used that last week, remember, for the Stone Roses album." How well Moby knew this to be true! A triumph! His editorial had begun: "The very fabric of art has a texture of hessian, but the beauty of silk. So, too, The Stone Roses. Out of the sinewy strength of their melody a fragile and awesome beauty is born." Everybody down The Droning Tome had loved it: all he had to do was change Tyger, Tyger to The Stone Roses and, bingo, there you had it - more shining, literate, wise, penetrating, sophisticated Australian rock journalism. His daughter's English teacher had given her 12 out of 20 for the essay, but with the comment "Pretentious and self-inflated". "Which goes to show" Moby thought with disgust, "what they're teaching kids in school these days."

"Here you are dad, take this. I only got 10 1/2 for it, but we've finished doing Macbeth this term so you can have my final draft this time."

So Moby gratefully scuttled away, another editorial column all but complete. "God, it's hard being so effortlessly literate," thought Moby, betraying a tendency towards the oxymoronic that people who call themselves 'rock music journalists' so easily develop.


The album is in fact a pastiche of unacknowledged Australian and New Zealand traditional indigenous peoples' tunes, including such classics as "Baby, Please Don't Goanna"; "Bennelong Time Since I Rock'n'Rolled" and "I'm Going To The Chapel And I'm Gonna Get Maoried".

The tapes are in fact not TISM's at all, but discarded demo's from Not Drowning, Waving, who decided not to use them because they were "too unimaginative, childish, and lacked innovation".

The tapes are in fact not TISM's at all, but discarded demo's from 1927, who decided not to use them because they were "too imaginative, adult, and overly innovative".

Many disputes occurred between TISM and their producer. When attacked by the producer for not ever even having heard of an 'A' chord, TISM's guitarist replied "According to what?"

Similar, recording was disrupted for 3 days when, upon the producer asking for key change, TISM had all the locks in the studio replaced.

At nearly the same time, somewhere across the Sydney night lights that lay glimmering in the harbour like a pool of ejaculate on a hooker's tits, the offices of Off The Street were in uproar. TISM's new album, Hot Dogma, had arrived and, as usual, the intense flame of critical sensibility burned bright:

"It's my fucking review copy, iguana-breath. I'm fucking editor around here; and if you don't have more maturity than that, I'll pick up my pen and paper and go home."

"But I bought the milk and biscuits last week. And I washed up on Thursday. So I get to keep the copy."

"Don't fuck me around. Not only did I buy the sugar for the whole of February, I didn't use my executive limo for a whole year so this on-the-pulse, street credible, ground breaking newspaper could continue. We're not The Droning Tome, you know."

"But you haven't got an executive limo."

"THAT'S NOT THE FUCKING POINT, phosphate-piss. I STILL DIDN'T USE IT. Don't jerk me off - not here in public, anyway. Look, I know how to solve this. What's our mag called?"

"Off The Street."

"Right. And why do we call it that?"

"To show we're alternative, modern, innovative and anarchic?"

"Fuck that. It's 'cause the first person who walks in off the street gets to do those little squiggly things... you know... what are they called... you know..."

"The words?"

"Yeah, that's them: the words in the fucking mag. Right. So the first turkey that walks in off the street gets to do the TISM album review. Settled. Let's go rendezvous in a spa bath..."

And so the street-wise consciousness of Sydney remained as pure as the smack it lived off ("Hey man, wanna buy some Omo? It's clean." "Whaddya mean it's clean - look at that! It's fucking full of heroin, man."). But let us travel down the Hume, past the greasy pools of human offal and the wild-eyed truck drivers washing bloodstains off their "Warning: Long, Wide, Amphetamine" signs, to the luxury office suites of a troubled Melbourne FM commercial radio station. TISM's Hot Dogma lies forgotten on the gleaming walnut board table:

"Gentlemen (sniff), it's a crisis. Recent financial upheavals (sniff) means that we are now - "

"Broke? (sniff)" ventured one aghast executive, the straw that was headed for his left nostril arrested dramatically in front of his face.

"Losing ratings (sniff) to Fox FM?" gasped another, the vicious white granules exploding from his ravaged nasal cavities.

"Worse (sniff), gentlemen. Far worse (sniff). The mighty Quadruple M radio station is now" - dramatically pausing, he reaches for Hot Dogma - "is now" - and snorts a long line of white powder from its conveniently gleaming cover - "is now (sniff) ownerless."

A huge, sniffling inhalation goes around the table. Many hands reach for Hot Dogma and the evil white strips that are now powdered on it.

"Yes. The whole basis of our (sniff) organisation is in jeopardy. Who are we to sell out to (sniff) without an owner? How can we pander to the dictates of a (sniff) ruthless capitalist, without an owner? How can we ignore real (sniff) artistic merit because of market (sniff) forces, without an owner? Gentlemen, (sniff) today is a black day for us (sniff): we are no longer (sniff) bought men."

Silently, the horror of their situation sunk in. Hot Dogma is passed furiously from executive to executive. If someone else didn't own their souls, who did then? Not themselves, surely?

"We need a hit (sniff), gentlemen."

Many hands offer the hypodermic.

"No, not that sort of hit, shitheads. A musical hit. A monster (sniff). Something to return real pride to this organisation. Something (sniff) to show us that worthless, trashy (sniff), mind-numbing commercial radio is still (sniff) ours to own."

Suddenly, through the hazy, drug-induced blur, one executive's huge pupil narrowed fractionally to focus on the album cover in front of him.

"Hey, what about this (sniff) shit by that TISM mob? 'Ho Dogma' or something."

"Yeah. TISM. Could be (sniff) just the tripe we're after. But 'Ho Dogma'? What's (sniff) that mean?"

"Dunno. Says here 'Ho Dogma', see." The crazed executive pointed to the now snot stained cover. Soon, however, the problem was solved: "Hold on. I know what it is." One long snort later, the perplexing 15 grams of powder had been removed, revealing -

"Hot Dogma. Yeah. Love it (sniff). Boys, I think we've found a winner."


TISM have been playing and recording for well over 6 years now; Hot Dogma is merely the latest release in a career marked by much awaited and sporadic vinyl output. Unlike such rock talents as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lynrd Skynrd and John Lennon, TISM have refused to be split apart. Their key motto is UNITY: indeed, the album is written with the three classical Aristotelian unities in mind - it must "look good; feel good; is good". We interveiwed each member of TISM individually, and put to them that their closeness as a band was their greatest strength. Here are their replies:

Jon St. Peenis (Sax): Oh, shit yeah. Unity is real important. Tell you what though, if you had a gun with two bullets and were in a room with Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin and Ron Hitler-Barassi, who would you shoot? Hitler-Barassi. Twice. Great sax playing on Hot Dogma. The rest is crap though. Great to see the two Germanies re-united. We're very concerned with international politics. TISM doesn't stand for Timor-Indonesan Scandal Monstrosity for nothing, you know.

Ron Hitler-Barassi (vocal): Oh shit year. Tell you what though, that Eugene Dela Hot Croix Bun is so fucking dumb he asked me what day the Sunday Age was published. Great vocals on Hot Dogma. The rest is crap though. Great to see "Wheel of Fortune" and "Family Feud" united. We're very interested in TV. TISM doesn't stand for Television Is Sorta Marvellous for nothing, you know.

Eugene de la Hot Croix Bun (keyboard): Before I talk about unity, let me say Leek Van Vlalen is such a rapacious capitalist turd he thought Beethoven's Fur Elise was a real estate phrase for up market leasing deals. Great keyboards on Hot Dogma. Rest is crap though. Total Irrelevance of Success and Money isn't our name for nothing, you know. I want to keep art pure.

Leek Van Vlalen (guitar): Unity is what is lacking between the right and left hemisphere of Jock Cheese's brain. The only man in the history of medicine to have an arsehole transplant. The arsehole rejected him. Cunt rips off Python jokes too. Great guitar on Hot Dogma. Rest is crap though. Ten Incomes Seem Miserly isn't our name for nothing, you know. I want to puree art.

Jock Cheese (bass): Humphrey B. Flaubert is the Brian Jones of TISM, which is why I hope we make enough money so the prick can buy a swimming pool. Great bass on Hot Dogma. Rest is crap though. Tits! Incest! Sex! Mambo! isn't our name for nothing. I got VD, you know. My dentist told me.

Humphrey B. Flaubert (drums; vocals): You know the old joke about the baby being so ugly that the doctor slaps the mother? Well, at Les Miserable's birth he was so ugly that the mother slapped the doctor. Great drums and vocals on Hot Dogma; rest is crap though. Tender Intimate Sensual Marriage isn't our name for nothing. I'm in love. Take my wife for instance. I can't go through with this joke, sorry.

Les Miserables (vocals): Let me tell you the fucking truth about TISM. We're not united at all. That's just PR crap. We're the biggest whingeing talentless bunch of shitheads out. Perfect rock stars, in short. These other six guys are so fucking stupid God should've combined their total IQ's and only created one dribbling moron. Great vocals on Hot Dogma; rest is crap though. Taste Is Soon Mutilated isn't our middle name for nothing you know. Take our new album, for instance. No one else will.

Little did they know it, but at the same time as the men who would raze their consciousness were deciding what most people were about to like, a group of emphatically ugly schoolboys were gathered in the school urinal. Clutched in a pair of scabby hands was a copy of Hot Dogma. Yes, reader, a true TISM fan at last. The soul of rock and roll! The true spirit of youth! A genuine child of rock's joyful rebellion! The only possible authentic judge of rock music's merit spoke:

"It's fucking rad, man."

And farted with gleeful abandon.

What greater critical acclaim could we at TISM want? What else do we deserve? Any bunch of gutless anonymous cocksuckers with a press release like this one deserves no more. Who is Pope, anyway - the guy who invented the sprinkler system? Is an oxymoron a cerebral palsy victim with a blowtorch? What is the 3rd reference to Moby Dick? Christ, critical respect isn't worth the thirty silver pieces and block of hash it costs. Who wants to be Susan [sic] Vega, with her deeply adult sensitive explorations of adult relationships that intertwine the adult psychological realities of the adult inner self with the adult fragile deceptions of the mutual linguistic ignorance of adults? Here's a fucking Vega lyric:

The sea runs on round the Cape
and now, my soul takes only a second
to regain self-possession -
I'll never come back to New York,
Oh Fredrico!

Fucking tripe. Pure fucking tripe. I'll call it: "Sometimes a Love Song Under My Pillow, No. 3". Took me about 3 seconds to write that, and I wanna bill someone for the waste of my time. Cocksucking teacher's music for people to sip coffee to and pretend they're tasteful. It's not ART, man. Art isn't pleasant or polite or subtle or soothing or comfortable. After all, I've known Art for years, and he's a right cunt.

Stephen Cummings is another one the critics seem to lap up. Good lord, nice bloke and all, but Jesus, here we go:

Karen's quizzical face uncovers
The doleful secrets of my doona covers
She set fire to the mouse:
A neon sign flashes intermittently.

Look, the guy gets the chicks, that's why he does it. Christ, he puts on this pained expression like his nuts have been stapled together, and girls want to remove the fucking staple with their tonsils! What'll I call that one? I know: "Cafe Laitta in B Minor" from his A New Kind of Short Black album. Betcha he doesn't tell the girls about the HBA ad, does he? Yet everyone thinks he's some mordant street poet, the Oscar Wilde of Inner Melbourne, roaming around with a skull muttering "I blew him, Horatio". His songs are just verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, double chorus like everyone else's, aren't they? Most people wouldn't know, 'cause no one stops talking when he comes on anyway.

Anyone says one more word about Ollie Olsen being a disturbing genius and I'll release full details of the cough mixture sponsorship deal he's got going. Great lyricist:

Bad mad dad told lad
"Get gun son, then run."
Shoot. Murder. Horror. Blood -
Which way is the real world?

Who's that blonde haired drongo he's hanging around with now? Fucking confronting head, that one. Last time I saw one like it, mum was using it to mop the kitchen. At least the mop didn't pretend not to suck up shit.

Which, finally, brings us back to TISM's latest release, Hot Dogma; and let us hear TISM themselves, as they stand mysterious and alone in the plush offices of their new record company. In full, but slightly awed, swing around them is the official Phonogram album launch party. Underneath the evil balaclavas only muttered snatches can be heard by the awkward and smiling company reps:

"Hey boys", one of the cowled figures loudly declares, "what's red and black and looks good around a Phonogram executive's neck?" Six masked figures wait. The resps try not to look like they're listening.

"A doberman." Grunting their approval, TISM huddle closer. Conspiratorially, a whisper emerges:

"Sure seems like these dildos go for us. We belt out a droning load of bullshit dance tunes with enough swear words in 'em to satisfy the punters, and these brain-dead corporate fuckwits think we're fucking anarchists." A general giggle runs around the group.

"Fuck out. Three chord pop songs with gimmicks, and they make out like we're the most innovative thing to hit their markets since crack - Hey, girlie, bring those anchovies here, will ya - Christ, if only they knew how easy it is."

Timidly, Phonogram's marketing manager, Klaus "I Was Only Obeying Orders" Afrikaans approaches.

"Really love the album, guys", he courageously begins, only to be greeted by an anonymous silence.

"No, really. Let's Form A Company, ha ha ... ha." The poor man, so used to kicking arse he only wears brown leather shoes, trails off in confusion.

Silence from TISM.

"Well, nice talking to you guys. Really great team. Big things ahead."


"Yep. Oh yeah. Well, OK. Big future. Great."


"Well, hope you're having a wild time. I know how crazy you guys are. Don't defecate on anyone's face now, HA, HA, ha ... ha?"


"Righto. So long, boys." And Klaus retreats in confusion, thinking that back in the good old days those seven cocksuckers would have had their armpits tattooed, hair removed, gold fillings melted down and cattle truck reservations booked quicker than you could say "Lampshades for the Fatherland."

And TISM? What did they think of Klaus's brave but foolish faux pas?

"If there's one thing I can't stand," says a balaclavaed figure, "is another fucking critic."


During the recording process 1.7 kilometres of tape was used, most of it during deviant sexual acts involving small furry animals.

At the post-recording party, a particularly bawdy scene involving a stripper and a live mackerel was stopped by the outraged band, declaring it to be "demeaning to mackerels".

When asked about the proximity of the album's release date (Monday 1 October) and the death of Australia's greatest writer (Sunday 30 September), TISM replied they were "shocked" and that they "didn't even know Ted Mulry had been ill".

After working with the band for 3 weeks, TISM's new record company, Phonogram, suggested that the best PR gimmick for the record they could think up was to make it a posthumous album and that they were "very prepared to make all the necessary arrangements". TISM's reply was along the lines of it "being a great idea, but may cause some trouble with the follow-up album".


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