‘Oh, behave, baby!’

Russell McGilton

The Big Issue

(693 words)


The women scream as I poonce around the stage in my blue crushed velvet suit, cravat and ill-fitting wig. The band kicks into the next song I’m Too Sexy and the women in the audience get even wilder, playing the part, I suppose, as sycophantic sixties starlets.

As an Austin Powers impersonator this is certainly an improvement on the last gig I did – a Christmas party bash full of leery, staggering bank workers. When I had entered the crowd they had groped, humped, licked and much to my surprise, flashed at me. As for the women…

There is obviously something about the suit, the awful wig and the gnarly teeth and the indefinable mojo that rouses normal, law abiding people to cross the line and to do things quite out of character. I just didn’t think it was going to me on this occasion. Let me explain…

Unlike the bank gig, this party I was now jumping around at was at a private residence. But it wasn’t your usual backyard suburban slap up birthday party. Let’s just say that our hosts weren’t the kind of people to blanch at getting an extra garlic bread and Coke with a home delivered pizza. Set in an exclusive suburb of Sydney’s north shore, the hosts had hired an event company to organise all the particulars: a giant marquee over the tennis court, caterers to unload piles of pink King Island prawns and oysters onto mountains of ice, an army of roadies to stage our show, and a sixties theme painting – flowers and a large hand painted spiral on the dance floor.

As for the band, we had been flown up from Melbourne and treated like rock stars – limo service from the airport to our very own hotel.

Anyway, there I was in the middle of I’m Too Sexy when an old guy, dressed identically to myself as Austin Powers jumps up from the crowd. He pushes one of the back up singers out of the way and runs towards me. ‘Oh no!’ I think. ‘I’m going to be John Lennoned!’

But he runs through, letting off an inaudible quip in my microphone, then jumps off stage. Unfortunately, it’s not the last I hear or see of him. Throughout the evening this guy follows me around like a drooling Labrador: poking me when I dance in the crowd, leering at me, copying every gesture as if we’d been employed to do a tedious French mime.

As you can imagine he is starting to really get on my flares and figure I must teach this annoying twat, this usurper of bad taste comedy a lesson. When he nears, I dance with him, playing along, getting him to out Austin himself. Just when I’ve got him fooled my arms snap out like a crab and with both hands I give him a big Bugs Bunny/ Elma Fudd kiss on his gnarly Austin Power’s teeth.


Our teeth click and almost lock. He pulls away, shocked, his false teeth poking out like a bony tongue.

It at this point that the band comes to the end of the song and I hear the audible gasp of other guests. The tarp walls, I’m sure, concave as all the oxygen is sucked out of the marquee.

‘Oh, Austin!’ sighs Allotavagina, my fellow singer on stage. She shakes her head. Embarrassed, old Austin, runs outside into the rain.

‘HE USED HIS TONGUE!’ I shout after him, trying to get a laugh. ‘Not groovy, baby!’

Thankfully the band, sensing the spine crushing awkwardness, kicks into the next song and the guests are back to dancing again.

Later, as the night comes to an end, the event manager, Terry, drives us back to the hotel in his Mercedes.

‘You know that man you kissed tonight,’ he turns to me, ever so casually.

‘Oh, yes. Him! That annoying birk, that stupid –’

‘That was the host’s father.’

I nearly spit my false teeth into the windscreen. ‘Oh, riiiight, baby,’ I’m suddenly back in my mincing Austin Powers shtick, trying to hide from my crime. ‘Well, it’s not my bag, baby. Not my usual meat and potatoes, thang, you know. Not –’

‘Groovy, Austin,’ he said flatly.

‘Yeah. Not groovy, baby. Haha…,’ and I find myself giggling and snuffling in that annoying Austin Powers way. ‘Not groovy at all.’