Amy Tries Again


The Two Incarnations of F.o.F. – or – My Grandmother’s Dog
November 7, 2010, 5:40 PM
Filed under: Shameless Self Promotion

So I’m in another ImproMafia longform impro show.  (If you haven’t realised by now, impro comedy is kind of my schtick.)  Am very much looking forward to this one – the wonderful Greg Rowbotham, who dreamt up and directed the wildly successful Prognosis:Death! (and three seasons and a Christmas-in-July special later, there’s life in the old girl yet) has a new concept.  Fists of Fury is a 1940s crime adventure serial running over several Sundays at the Brisbane Arts Theatre.  Behold:

Come for the noir. Stay for the hat.

This is all excellent news, and I must say that I am particularly psyched about the awesome special effects Greg has brainstormed (Clue: ever seen a video called [CLUE REDACTED FOR REASONS OF SECRET SECRECY]?  I hope I’m allowed to say that).  Thing is, whenever I get an email or a text about meetings etc for the show, it’s referred to as FoF.  This is very, very entertaining to me, because it’s not the first time I’ve been part of a mildly secretive organisation of that name.

My grandmother was what you would call A Dog Person.  She was keen on breeding and showing Dalmatians, and her pet (sorry) hate was when, following the release or revival of a version of ‘101 Dalmatians’, lots of dodgy backyard breeders would start producing inbred, sickly dogs as quickly as possible for maximum profit.  She felt terribly sorry for these dogs, and when sickness in one of her own dogs meant that all but one of a litter was lost, she was left with a runt that despite its pedigree was just as bad.  Officially, the puppy should have been humanely disposed of.  There was no chance of that happening.  She cared for the little dog, who had been born deaf, and the puppy went on to live an extremely long life.

The puppy had been named ‘Alice’, but a sarcastic comment from my father when a visiting tradesman wondered if she would bite got her the nickname ‘Fang’.  It took about ten minutes for this name to become her actual name.  Fang’s birth predated my own, so she was a permanent fixture of my childhood.  The real horror came many years later, when Fang had descended into old age.

At the ripe old age of sixteen or so, Fang was basically a very happy member of the living dead.  She had cataracts in both eyes, would not let anyone cut her toenails, suffered from halitosis, excessive drooling, flatulence and a very weak bladder – and my grandmother thought she was wonderful.  I should point out that the vet who kept Fang clinging to life was my uncle, so I believe his arm may have been twisted by my grandmother somewhat.  Despite her many…disadvantages, Fang seemed happy enough.  She liked people, and loved to slobber and cast her death breath in their direction.  She went on little walks every morning and evening, during which her doting owner would desperately attempt to convince friends, neighbours, well-wishers and passers-by that the odious creature’s name was ‘Fangles’ because she thought it sounded better. Fang was constantly fed delicious little morsels.  She was always being eyedropped or tableted – in short, that disgusting, fetid creature was the apple of my grandmother’s eye.

Fang was not like this.

As grouchy pre-teens spending time at our grandparents’ place during school holidays and such, my cousin Courtney and I used to have a wonderful time mocking Fang.  We made up little dances mimicking her unsteady gait, we gave her an imaginary friend called the Boombah (Fang liked to stare into space, so we figured she must have been looking at someone only she could see), and finally, we decided to make up a club.  It was a terribly, terribly rude club.  Its name (giggle!) was Fuck Off Fang.  Of course, being 11 and 9, we could never admit to this.  Officially, we were members of Friends of Fang.

We loved making up clubs, and took it all very seriously.  Clubs had to have logos, so we drew one up for F.o.F. (as it became known) that featured a pretty flower – to further throw people off the scent of our true devious purpose.  Our grandmother thought we were lovely.

F.o.F. didn’t really get up to much besides eating Arrowroot biscuits and locking my sister in Grandad’s shed, but we had a wonderful time.  We grew up.  Fang finally died at an extremely advanced age.  Our grandmother sobbed for days, and then buried her under a tree wrapped in my sister’s baby blanket.  My sister was quite displeased.

I hope this F.o.F. will be just as glorious as the last I was involved in.  I’m sure it will be.  However, if I get the giggles and start dancing in a little arthritic circle – there’s a reason.

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