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:: TISM - White Albun boxset (2xDVD+CD)

Recent times have been TISM intensive. Melbourne’s favourite wankers have emerged once again from their day-job hibernation, scratched themselves, pulled on their latest outfits, and thrown themselves into yet another hectic schedule of touring and publicity. This time around, instead of just a new album and tour, they have produced a set of two DVDs as well as a ‘White Albun’ of new music.

I’ve liked TISM for some time – my first memory of them is some local wit who managed to play “Ol’ Man River” over the loudspeakers at high school. They have had a number of standout songs over their two decades of existence. Unfortunately, none of the White Albun songs really grabbed me right away. To be honest, they seemed fairly average.

The DVDs were better – I had never actually been to a TISM gig before, and it was really good to be able to watch an abridged history of their last 20 years or so. The first DVD shows the entirety of last years “Save Our TISM” telethon gig at the Hi-Fi Bar, where the band claimed they would break up unless one million dollars were raised. Of course, the balance came in one dollar short, so TISM broke up. The sight of the band, stage, and MC being bombarded with coins from the audience was pretty funny.

The second DVD goes further back in time, containing a large amount of material from 1983 to the present, ranging from home video clips of their early pub gigs and later tours, to the Big Day Out. A standout clip is an obviously wasted Ron Hitler-Barassi making a Herculean effort to get through TISMs ode to Derryn Hinch ‘The Penis is Mightier than the Sword’, at a Frankston gig in 1989. Music videos to some of their more prominent songs have also been included, as well as a strange TISM guided tour documentary.

In this section, Ron and Humphrey wander around, dressed in their silver ‘Save our TISM’ spacesuits to various places that may or may not have represented various points of their past. Their banter is somewhat like Roy and HG, but the main reason for TISM existing (other than to providing a pretext for the band members to get naked in a public forum) is as satire, to take the piss, to mock whatever they find in front of them – and left with only themselves to satirise, it all seems to ring a bit hollow.