Duff tube views reach 1/4 million

Posted on 23rd August 2014

Duff tubes currently online have exactly 250,000 views, as of the latest Duff Rover report, which can be downloaded from here. Here’s the summary report, annotated:

——————–
Duff Rover Report:
——————–
2014/08/23 01:36:06 (# Aussie EST)

tubes tested = 145
tubes not counted = 3 (# this is like the Sunbury Festival clip)
tubes removed = 11 (# e.g., pulled down by youtube because of copyright issues)
tubes counted = 131

sum views = 250000
mean views = 1908.39694656489
max views = 51037 (# Easy Street on Paul Hogan Show)
min views = 9
total play-time = 9 hours, 29 minutes and 34 seconds

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On top of the Duff

Posted on 19th August 2014

Take the top hat, surmising how it crowns The Duff, and get more oxygen into your thinking, and more antioxidants into your brain, than, say, TV promises of …

Question:

What do Uncle Sam, leprechauns and Dr Seuss’ cat have in common with Jeff Duff? Add the Mad Hatter to that, and you’ve got an "a–ha" moment: It’s all in the a–hat. A topper, in fact. Taller than a trilby. A large but trim brim, occasionally fluted. And its most enigmatic feature: a flat crown.

uncle sam leprechaun cat in the hat  / jeff duff

Thesis:

Authority of class and sex are key signals of a topper: to be worn at the Stock Exchange, at the races or riding to hounds, on the coach going to Parliament or a funeral, taking a box-seat at the Piccadilly, playing high stakes at the Pontoon, or signing an armistice. So entertainers could signal themselves as a class-act by donning a topper — like Fred Astaire in dance, or Howard Thurston in magic (— who would pull out not just a rabbit but trapeze artists and multiple mini top hats from his own topper; see youtube). It’s artistic mimesis, imaginal association — appropriating a cultural meaning by taking up its cultural cue.

mabuse stock exchange scene races coach astaire

Antithesis:

At least as many entertainers, however, have used the top hat to create something different: to make an ironical statement, to show up the subversiveness of their acts and attitudes, including in song, dance and humour. Charlie Chaplin, before he came up with his bowler-topped tramp, was one of many English music-hall artists to use this theatrical trick. Performing in a top hat gave an ironical twist to their cockney accents, and upped their romanticizing about poor living, and reinforced the conservative values they sang into their songs. Among these topper-tiled curmudgeons and cads were Henry Champion (Any old iron?), George Leybourne (Champagne Charlie), Henry Vance (Walking in the zoo — a song that gave us the word “okay”), Charles Coborn (The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo), Harry Ford (Knocked ‘em in the Old Kent Road), Rich ‘n’ Rich (The Court of King Karactacus), and Ernie Mayne (And the fog grew thicker and thicker).


chaplin champion leybourne vance

Keeping close to classiness, Marlene Dietrich made her own subversive statement in top hat and tails — simply in virtue of being a woman taking on this most masculine (phallic?) symbol. More in line with the music-hall subversion, there’s Bert Williams, with a top-hat plus lap-lap or feather-tail, on top of playing on being a Black American. Then we get, in their footsteps, several rock artists, including Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper and Slash, taking up the topper.

dietrich bolan cooper

Synthesis:

As for Jeff Duff, look over the images he cuts in a topper. It’s not a mere Fred Astaire kind of classiness, and it’s also not a simple Chaplinesque twist. We’ve heard before about how a dialectical shift between opposites is a common feature of Duff’s lyrical work (blogpost). That’s a shift between the above thesis (the top hat’s class, authority, Uncle Sam, Lincoln, toffiness …) and antithesis (the leprechaun, Cat-in-the-Hat, Mad Hatter, music-hall artists, rocky fops …) So there are multiple voices, sources, signs and images in a Duff style – but the whole is more than the sum of these …

Duff in his toppers combines and goes beyond these elements. The image he cuts has both classiness and puckishness. He could be taking the best seats at the races, or treading the music hall boards, each with sure and sincere effect. He can’t really be slotted alongside any of the above reels, for instance, not with any depth. Naturally, it’s not just in the costume. The process is more prismatic than that. The person is the new synthesis himself. It’s the effect of the entity he is, accentuated by donning a top hat.

rockwiz throne jeff duff

+ P.S. Of course, other hats have fitted Duff’s crown — see the covers of Gonna Send the Boys Around, Ground Control to Frank Sinatra, Kiss My Apocalypse, and Fragile Spaceman, among his albums. Even a fez among his Great Gatsby appearances, and a propeller on a Countdown appearance, and whenever emergency portends. But in donning the topper, Duff epitomises and gives a key to something that is essential to his art — including in his words and music.
+ P.P.S. Further theoretical development could occur by referencing Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance, or Hardy’s theory of semantic fields, and their supposed parapsychological effects.

There was once so big a topper on Duffo
 
that all bods agreed was just troppo,
 
or too Viennese, or made them all sneeze,
 
which mightily pleased Maestro Duffo.

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Ziggy Show 2014 Cool-Down

Posted on 18th August 2014

After the August Ziggy Shows, many people will need a cool-down … so try …

+ vids by Colin Hay of the Duff & Co Ziggy Show that was: Recently updated (pre-August 2014) to now include Let’s Dance and Young Americans:


+ a Ziggy-esque performance of Eagle Rock by the Duff at The Great Australian Songbook show, 26 May, Enmore Theatre:

~ and how about pre-listening to some recorded Duff-does-Bowie tracks (includes Duff-as-Cyril covering "Weirdos" off Cyril Trotts to Bogna):

+ and there’s this pic of Duff at the ACMI announcement, mid the Ziggy shows, Aug 13, of their score for 2015 (16 July to 1 Nov): Bowie IS.Duff at ACMI Bowie IS announcement

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Cake 4 Kush with 50,000+ Easy Streets!

Posted on 1st August 2014

The top-rating of about 120 Duff-vids reaches 50,000 views by August 2014. That’s for Jeff Duff and Kush on the Paul Hogan Show:

easy_street_aug_2014That’s a lot of views for a single released in October, 1974. Many live performances by Australians of their singles don’t get near this many views. Also, there was a lot of competition in 1974: the top-selling singles by Australian artists included Olivia Newton John’s I honestly love you (561,807 views), Sister Janet Mead’s The lord’s prayer (182,893 views), Ross Ryan’s I am Pegasus (202,092 views), Helen Reddy’s Leave me alone (104,848 views), and of course on top at the time, Stevie Wright’s Evie (275,758 views). And Duff was only a teenager!?

Going below the Top 5, Easy Street crops up as one of the kickass survivors, growing by an average of 775 views per month (since November 2012, when the Duff-Rover first went to work).

Even Farewell Aunty Jack by Graham Bond, while reaching No. 1 for 3 weeks in 1974, now only has 21,658 views on youtube (its top-listed vid for artist + song on this 1st Aug at about 6:00 pm AUS, as for other stats mentioned here).

So congratulations, Kush. Mushy marketeers and little terrorists envy you and your art, while a kickass survivor of 1974 keeps propelling popular appeal.



Then follows a Van Morrison song, then:

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“Me a celebrity? I just grow bananas.”

Posted on 28th July 2014
Duff in Sydney Morning Herald September 2004

Duff in Sydney Morning Herald September 2004

Duff recently commented on his facebook that he didn’t regard himself as a celebrity – as well as offing his banana again. Both of these themes were taken up in a Sydney Morning Herald article on Jeff Duff, 25 Sept 2004. Richard Jinman was the journalist. Thanks to Justin Pearson for the material.

From the bashing that greeted him back in Oz, after a decade of “losing touch with my genitals,” the article almost assures us that, when not packing fruit, Jeff Duff doesn’t suffer from, say, “Fame, that makes things hollow.” Or “Fame, fame, fame,” in general.

Or is it like Tiberius, wasn’t it, who didn’t want to return to power to win a war if it stopped him from growing cabbages? A Tiberius Complex? But one that still makes Duff the hardest working artist in Australia, there to F your mind over and over and over again.

2061 views as of posting

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L’Art de Duff: Visual artists portray Jeff Duff: #1

Posted on 8th June 2014

duff_portrait_basement_2Visual artists have espied a lot about the Duff, in their visuo-intelligent ways. Like that portrait greeting goers-down to The Basement, once bled for delight and goodwill, to see him in silken blouse, against a warm cabaret drop, coolly fitted against a soporific wall of blue – now here before it in striking creams, with a watch about his otherwise nubile left-wrist, his right-arm in frozen salute to rest his countenance upon; and a winking eye where once eye-fulls of reflection did floweth. All as he art-masters the situation. But who these artists?

Yes, the Walk on the Wildside faces of Duff by Richard Sharah, soon after he crafted Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes face. Yes, award-winning music-vids by Lew Keilar of Duff songs. But as for still artists …

Justin Pearson paints Jeff Duff: 1994. oil on wood, 90 x 65 cmJustin Pearson – painter-most-prized of Australian opera – gives Duff in angelic mode – brushing him down on wood in oil with wings – about the time (1994) of Duff’s Angels and Rascals album. Is this not the most transliminal of Pearson’s subjects? By setting Duff against a wood grain, Pearson accentuates Duff’s über-naturalness – whorls-n-whirls well setting off the Duff without containing his wonderousness. Maybe this painting recoups but surpasses a theme of that Wim Wenders movie “Wings of Desire” (Himmel über Berlin, 1987); that amongst us, there are angels with human biographies, in our very own necks of the wood. Yep, proving the point, here’s a pic of Duff like a Wenders angel, but smiling over human traffic, and smiling back to any kid rising over it.castlehill_a
The painter, Justin Pearson, has kindly informed us of the following inspiral thoughts, with more pix from the Duff-Pearson Experience:

"In 1994, Surry Hills, I meet Jeff at an art exhibition in Sydney. At that time i was looking for a good subject to portray at the Archibald. He said yes and i was thrilled to paint such a great singer and charismatic figure. I did two portraits of him in oils. One small one on wood (i thought the grain of the wood was a bit psychedelic and so matched him). He asked me if I could put Angel wings on him (angels were the thing at that time, like vampires are now) so wings it was. The other painting oil’s on canvas was very big, so big I had to do it in two parts (not a good thing to do for an art comp), one on top of the other, portrait size.
 
"He and I spent a lot of fun time painting the portraits, Me splatting colour on canvas and him singing and posing. Sorry to say the large painting did not get in the Archibald. I understand now, it’s not the way you paint and the techniques of painting but also the way you present the painting. Some might say it’s the subject matter or who you know, but I think Jeff is an Icon and a great benefit to the music world and Australia." – Justin Pearson

Justin Pearson artist
Justin Pearson's Duffodyssey>/a>

Justin Pearson’s Duffodyssey



Jeff Duff by Catherine Hourihan

Catherine Hourihan’s New Wave Ghost

Art-photographer Catherine Hourihan shows Duff amid a series of Phantastical Portraits that featured in many of Duff’s 2013 publicities. The collection was exhibited recently at m2 gallery in Surry Hills. Ms Hourihan kindly writes the following for us Duffophiles …

hourihan_1museum3
"I conceived and directed the shoot, it was shot in the tunnel at Museum Station and it was a lot of work liaising with the Downing centre and organising the lights etc. I thought of Jeff because I met him briefly in the early 90s when my friend Mark Chochrane made that amazing video for Jeff’s version of walk on the wild side. Not long after that I went to NY for over a decade but I guess I never forgot him; I loved the clip and his singing. When I returned to Sydney I began a serious photographic practice and I thought of Jeff.
"The portraits are about combining the mythical and other worldly with mundane reality, how there is a magical element to existence just beneath the surface of everyday life.

I called the portrait of Jeff ‘New Wave Ghost’. I think he embodies an era but also he has a whimsical, other worldly quality. My direction to him was imagine you are from the past and you found yourself here and that you can see the future. He just went with it and we got a beautiful evocative image.

"I'm very excited that Jeff is using the pictures on his next album "Walking on Eggshells." I can't wait to hear it."

Catherine Hourihan

Hourihan's photos remind of Bowie on the escalators of "Ricochet," to the tune of doubt and dog-howled "Heroes"; and the "hours ..." shoots, as below. But as opposed to Bowie's exhaustion, and invitation, Duff's stance is, in part, puppet-like, inspiring by bald curiosity as he goes into a Frankenstein walk, still wanting back his brain; a frozen-momented street-mime; a rabbit at the end of a shot-gun, caught out for being curious; a neo-über mainman in a late Space Odyssey.

bowie_hours_1bowie_hours_2



Penelope Beveridge does Jeff Duff, Fragile SpacemanPenelope Beveridge's photos for Duff's Fragile Spaceman give off, momentarily, a gasp; and then a reverie, and then a storm. Babes just think of the morbid; those who've walked some miles are mystiqued, walk its wharf, fall off its plank, and enter its world; dance not with death but tear off their skirts to excite Querelle, the man who kills the thing he loves, lost at the precipice of human touch, in love with Duff songs, submitted to heavenly ends. Da-ti-dah, l'art de Duff. Beveridge's Duff could be the antithesis of Fassbinder's Querelle, but strip away lust and loss, and we end up with similar eyes upon the seas, meditating over the waves of the world in blind wonder.Brad Davis in Fassbinder's Querelle



grace_garton_jeff_doll_1From quizzical starts, we now end the same: to a donkey-doll called Jeff. Is this our Duffo? Here's how the artist, Grace Garton, describes the doll:

"Jeff is a most entertaining donkey, singing and dancing to 20's vaudeville and 80's music! Jeff would make a lovely addition for collectors of vintage dolls and toys. Jeff a wears a red and white polka-dot pair of britches detailed with vintage cloth covered buttons. He also sports a racy little red checked scarf and a little rusty pin and bell. ... His eyes are made from two vintage chocolate brown buttons. Jeff has been distressed using coffee to give him a vintage look [but he has] a warm layer of varnish to protect him from the elements. He measures 9 inches high and 6 inches wide from ear to ear." – Grace Garton

This doll was a featured work in the Spring 2013 edition of Stampington and Company's Prims magazine, a deluxe publication of contemporary doll-art rivalling painting itself, and older than photography. Still, if this is Duff, it is a non-representational, impressionistic, take on the artist; us 'philes don't remember Duffo ever appearing in polka-dot pants. (We understand that the artist might be working on a more associative representation of the Duff, in a doll; let's keep our buttons peeled.)

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Buffet de Duff

Posted on 24th May 2014

Jeff Duff at Dee Why RSL May 2014No "dining on Einstein’s mind", at Duff’s up-coming supper-show; not even Polish bison; it’s more savoury than savant: Sushi with Pickled Ginger and Soy, a Mediterranean Antipasto platter, Semi-Dried Tomato & Mushroom Frittata, followed by Chicken in White Wine and Mushroom Sauce, Braised Lamb with Rosemary and Root Vegetables, Mediterranean Vegetable Lasagna, topped off with Old English Trifle, Apricot Bread-and-Butter Pudding with Vanilla Custard, Lemon Meringue Pie … all fare for a rare reprisal of Ground Control to Frank Sinatra, the Jeff Duff musical extravaganza previously shown at the Sydney Opera House, this coming Saturday at the Dee Why RSL.
That’s the songs of two legendary pop-crooners spliced over each other: Frank Sinatra songs rock-dramatised à la Bowie, and the songs of Bowie jazz-coolified à la Sinatra, as realised by Jeff Duff, hot from his Bowie “Unzipped” shows about Sydney. By the end of this fabulous night-of-nights, from your seeded bread rolls & butter to your Double Chocolate Cake with Cream, you’ll be smoking like Hockey till dawn, and happy as a rainbow-parakeet on Sunday.

Meanwhile, you can preview the tracks off the two studio albums related to this show, e.g.:

But back to Duff-dining. While ensconced in his European career in the ’80s, Jeff Duff was invited to dine with Andy Warhol (the man who rated Duff on top of Sinatra, Presley, Jagger and Bowie). Duff had this to insouciantly say about it:

I subsequently learned that his dinners involved having people to the Factory, and he’d send out for McDonalds, and you had to find your own way over there – like flying to New York for dinner. So I didn’t take him up on that. Besides, I’m a vegetarian. [Sun-Herald, May 5 1987]

Taking up Duff’s invitation to dinner in DY this last day of May is more accommodating.

Start spreading the news … It’s only a drive-in Saturday away … Tickets here.

Vid of Duff’s Ground Control to Frank Sinatra at the Sydney Opera House: [7194 views as of May 1 2014]

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