On the Couch with Jan van de Stool

Jan van de StoolWho is Jan van de Stool?
I am a Dutch/Australian International Musical Therapist now living in Woy Woy on Central Coast. But I’m also much more – I’m an interpretive dancer, I’m a singing psychologist and recently when I was on the TV on Australia’s Got Talent – they said I was the “next great Ausssie comedian” – whatever that means.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would try to remember something my father taught me when I was a little girl, living in Schiermonnikoog in the Frisian Islands in Holland – which I used to think was silly but now I see was very wise. I would remember that people who live in the glass houses should not try to kill two flies with one rock, because they could miss the fly and the rock could break a window and then what? You let all the flies in. So true.

Who inspires you and why?
Pieter, my husband and cousin. He is very crafty – always making things. He mainly works on sculptures, carving iconic scene-scapes entirely out of Dutch cheese.  His latest project is a replica of the Harbour Bridge. Looking at it – It’s like you’re there. It was a real challenge carving the little people climbing.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would teach everyone the Bell Exercise. I do this one in my workshop (i.e. show), I Get the Music in You – an evening with Jan van de Stool, which I am doing in Melbourne at Trades Hall as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 24 March – 17 April. It goes like this…

You are bell. What kind of bell are you?
Are you a cathedral bell or a little bell on the counter of a hotel foyer?
Now you have decided on your bell shape I want you to think about what kind of donger you would like to have?
Is it a long donger or a short one?
Is your donger thick or thin?
What does your donger feel like when it is swaying from side to side?
Now you have decided on what kind of donger you would like to have, I’d like you to hit the side of your bell with your donger and make a bong.
Let me hear it?
Now share your bong.
You are healed.

Powerful isn’t it!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Well had I won the big prize money on Australia’s Got Talent, I would not have gone on holiday, which is selfish, I would have used it to go to many places around the world to help people, the same way that I have helped, literally, tens of people at the Manudji Scout Hall in Woy Woy, where I do my workshops. So I would have gone to help the people of the world in places like… Bali maybe, or Fiji, Hawaii, Ibiza… South of France… I probably would have helped the people in the South of France twice.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Well, I’m not sure. I don’t live here in Melbourne so I’m a tourist too. But if friends came to visit me in Woy Woy then that’s different. I live there, so I would show them all the sight… there’s only one – Deepwater Plaza – which opened for trade in April 1984 to much fanfare by Spike Milligan’s mother Flo. And I don’t mind telling you the butcher in there sells really great chops.

What are you currently reading?
Parlour Games for Adults by Lillian and Godfrey Frankel. It is an old book with the most wonderful, funny games that adults can play. They have Icebreakers, Mental Games and my favourite chapter, Games for Club and Church Social Events. Helen, Pieter and I spend hours playing these games and laughing. Helen is the tea and coffee lady at the Manudji Scout Hall and she’s also my pianist.

What are you currently listening to?
Helen – playing the piano. She has come to Melbourne with me for our ‘workshops’ (i.e. shows) at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I insisted we bring the piano from the scout hall (as I don’t trust that Helen could play anything else, even though she said all piano’s are the same, I didn’t believe her). The piano has gone very out of tune from all that time on the Hume Highway, so Helen sounds awful. She’ll have to tune it before our first workshop (i.e. show).

Happiness is?
A raw herring with raw onion on a white bun with butter. People are always asking me how I keep my slim figure – well now you know!!

What does the future hold for you?
Well that’s funny you should ask that because, besides being a musical therapist, I’m also a very powerful medium. In fact, in medium-ship circles they call me a medium rare – I’m that good. But I can’t unfortunately tell my own future. Just everyone else’s at $250 per hour session.

Queenie van de Zandt brings her cult-character Jan van de Stool to The Music Room – Trades Hall: 24 March – 17 April in I Get the Music in You, as part of the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Jan van de Stool