Very Small Business: articles

Kim Gyngell finds fun in Very Small Business

"HI MR KIM, I'm Carlos, Colin Hay's friend, we once met into our vacation in LA, in September 2001. We went together for the Disneyland, and you took a lot of picture of us, and I still don't have them…

"I really would appreciate if you, or someone close to you could see this message, because those pictures are really important to me. Hope to hear from anyone. Thanks. Carlos Pompeu from Brazil."

There aren't a lot of messages about Kim Gyngell on the International Movie Data Base website but the three that are there are all good. I wonder if he ever caught up with his old mate Carlos? Or do you think Carlos could be located in Nigeria, and hasn't technically met Mr Kim, and spends a large part of his day telling strangers they've won money and to send their bank account details immediately?

The second message on IMDB sounded more likely: "Hey everyone my dad went to the same high school as Kim Gyngell. My dad told me he always stuffed around in class and he was in a high school play and he was so funny."

And the third delivers praise to Col'n Carpenter, Gyngell's famous dill. When he dies, that's the name the newspaper headlines will mention, Col'n Carpenter. Assuming of course newspapers don't die first.

True, nobody needs a 12-year-old on the internet to tell us that Kim Gyngell is an hilariously funny genius, but what a marvellous example his own callow youth is to the youngsters of today — you too can bum around at school and you won't necessarily end up in the gutter. Although, as one of the women in Very Small Business points out in tonight's opening episode, he does look like he just got out of jail.

The last time we saw Kim Gyngell on screen he took Marcus Graham's head off with a double barrel shotgun. Or it would've come off in real life. It stayed where it was in Underbelly because, well, Marcus Graham has such a pretty face. Plus that's a whole other level of budget, heads coming off. Gyngell looked as low rent as the rest of those Melbourne grubs, even with that lovely speaking voice of his. He used the word blandishments in a sentence and made it sound like a sex move.

I can't decide who the star of Very Small Business is yet, Wayne Hope or Gyngell. Hope plays Don Angel, a small-time publisher of five trade magazines — Feelin' Great, Footy Inquest, Railway Union Monthly and Music Music Music Music. "Should that just be Music Music Music?" Ray tentatively asks his boss Don on his first day at work. "It's a printer's error, first issue so we're stuck with it."

Along with his five publications, Don has five different identities. Evocative names with an international flavour. Pete Mandela. Kerry Akermanis. ("Yep, cousin," Don says.) Don is also the type of bloke who takes phone calls in the toilet: "No, no, no no, I'm in kitchen… well it's a galley kitchen, that's why it's a bit echo-y… well, I'm cooking corn, and I've just dropped a big ear into the pan so that's what that was… "

Gyngell plays Don's only employee, Ray Leonard Leonard, a depressed journalist who is finding his way back into fulltime employment after a period of lying down. Ray has a very nice turn of phrase, honed by 12 years writing features at The Australian, which he puts to immediate use in the Railway Union Monthly. ("My first thought was to draw some sort of analogy with John Coltrane's quest… " he tells a bemused woman at Wilson Woodwind and Brass.)

I loved Very Small Business. Bloody loved it. Hope also wrote it, with his wife, Robyn Butler, who was the crazy woman in The Librarians, a bit of an overlooked series. They also wrote that. They seem like a nutty old pair. More power to them. Very Small Business deserves to do very big business.

By Dianne Butler
September 03, 2008
The Courier-Mail