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Teabag Sucker

Camellia Cha

Absurd Publications

are pleased to announce
the release of their very short film

Teabag Sucker

Watch Teaback Sucker Teabag Sucker has been released on YouTube, for on-line viewing.

Photographs from the recent "Teabag Sucker" film shoot can be seen on smugmug. Also, check out the lyrics chapter in Curiosi-tea on which this film is based.

Warning: Teabag Sucker contains unrelenting word play, and is not suitable for the timid, or the hard of hearing.


Teabag Sucker Background

Teabag Sucker is a short comedic rap clip, which arose in response to a daggy but humorous video clip I found in January 2007 on YouTube: We Drink Tea by two young British rappers, Sam Baron and Raph von Blumenthal  For me their clip is a spoof of a genre, and I guess mine is a spoof of a spoof. The script for my video clip response then became the basis for a chapter in my book (pp.152&153). I have also used the staffroom concept in the cartoon on p.150 for the opening sequence in the video clip.
The lyrics of Teabag Sucker are a précis of tea history globally. Its structure is based around a slightly more savoury take on Baron and Blumenthal’s original chorus of “Tea mother f***er f***er Tea”, with my narrative delivered by brother and mother tea ‘pluckers’. That same month, I was reading about the appalling conditions of tea workers in 19th century Assam and beyond in Roy Moxham’s Tea: Addiction, Exploitation and Empire, and then was sickened to read reports in online newspapers which reveal a continuing legacy of poor conditions for tea workers in India and Kenya. Several chapters in my book look at this topic, especially Inhumani-tea and Mortali-tea (pp.96-99), and several hints made their way into the video clip. Through the use of opium poppy decorations in the lounge room scene, I also allude to the past British trade in opium to pay for their tea habit. This topic is covered more fully in the Immorali-tea chapter pp.62-65.
About 10 months after writing the Teabag Sucker rap, I met Danny Techane, a friend of a friend who sounded interested in doing the music for the rap video clip. It was then another year before we found a lead rapper, Kojo Saffu, who was very talented and not too precious to rap someone else’s material. It had been a long and excruciating journey, and just before Kojo walked in on the scene, poor Danny was ready to spit the dummy, as I was not delivering the rappers we needed. Neither of us work in the field of rap normally, so it was not easy. As I make my living on the road continually touring, Danny had to audition people I sourced remotely, and then we would have expensive mobile phone conversations with Danny bemoaning another failed attempt to find a cooperative rapper, or a willing actor who could speak in rhythm.
I finally hooked up with the Deakin University animation department thinking we could animate the characters so it wouldn’t matter what our rappers look like. I’d had one agent send along an ‘African’ rapper who was Italian-Australian, which made for a humorous evening with an eager young rapper, but not a useful result. None of the animation students at Deakin were interested in the project, but several production students in the film school said they wanted to have a crack. We still needed a cast.
To cut a very long story short, I ended up spending more money and time than I had anticipated in pulling it all together, working with a mixture of amateur actors, rappers and film crew, sprinkled with a few professional friends in the music and dance industry who kindly came on set for two half days of shooting. Of course there were technical hitches and lost footage… and a small matter of Danny disappearing in Ethiopia for 13 months, but the end result is not too far removed from my original concept, and I am very grateful to all involved in bringing it together, and the enthusiasm with which each person approached the material.
Anne Norman: author and first-time filmmaker
Based in Victoria, Australia


We Drink Tea on YouTube

We Drink Tea


Sam Baron and Raph von Blumenthal

We Drink Tea on YouTube


Teabag Sucker Credits

The Cast of Teabag Sucker

Tearoom Suckers

Ash Starr – TeaBag
Jill Grevatt – NormaliTEA
Mike J Rivers – BanaliTEA
Kate Talbot – MediocriTEA
Susan Taylor – NovelTEA
Yumi Umiumare – SuperioriTEA
Andrew Hall – InfideliTEA

Brother Pluckers

Kojo Saffu   Kojo Saffu on Kojo Saffu on facebook Culture Connect on facebook Kojo Saffu on myspace
Jake Brar
Dominic Desribes

Mother Pluckers

Zaynab Zubair

Lounge Room Suckers

Production TEAm

Alana Jones – Director
Ash Starr – Assistant Director, pre-production
Annalei O'Connor – Editor, visual effects
Lyrebird Media – Post Production
David Matthews – Sound, HD operator
Luke Raisbeck – Technical Director
Rose Woodcock – Compositing Advisor
Penelope Campbell – Wardrobe
Nancy Lang – Sets
Andrew Hall – Ting's make-up

Camera TEAm

Annalei O'Connor
Kate Talbot
Michael Livett
Ian Cuming


Simon Wilmot – footage of Kerala Tea Plantation
Tricia Simmons – wardrobe & props
Doreen & Peter Norman – props & teacake
George Knox – props
The staff at the School of Communication and Creative Arts, and the Broadcast Television Studios at Deakin University


Daniel Techane
Recorded at Ras dan Music Craft by Daniel Techane
Lead rapper – Kojo Saffu
Shamisen – Noriko Tadano (sampled)
Vocals – Ria Soemardjo (sampled)
Electric guitar – Ryan Griffith

Words: Camellia Cha

Artistic Concept: AMNorman

Executive Producer: AMNorman

This is an Absurd film

© AMNorman 2010

Teabag Sucker Lyrics

OK. Who want’s what?
Normali-tea, Banali-tea, Mediocri-tea... I’ll have Novel-tea
Make mine Superiori-tea!
Hey you! Teabag sucker
don’t you know the black tea plucker
works all day to pay his way by plucking tea for you and me.
That’s right, TEA teabag sucker... sucker sucker!
TEA brother plucker ... plucker plucker!
I said, You think tea is British, yeah yeah that’s true.
Iraqis and Sri Lankans, they think that too.
And by the way if you’re Yank, and it’s tea that you drank, then you sank it,
you can thank it for your country’s liber-TEA teabag sucker!
Liber-TEA brother plucker! Some for me?
That’s right, TEA teabag sucker...
TEA brother plucker ...
The Chinese had it first, Japanese then got the thirst.
The Portuguese, prayed on their knees ‘til Chinese coffers burst.
Then the Dutch got in the act, but the Brits secured a pact
causing grief through o-pi-um calami-TEA
TEA-time. How sublime. Just ignore its links with crime.
Smuggling drugs and pantomime are no concern of yours or mine.
It’s someone-else’s immorali-TEA teabag sucker... (x2)
TEA brother plucker
Liber-TEA. Liberty brother plucker! Some for me?...
In India they grew the tea for English Lords and Ladies free.
Then Ceylon was brought on board and English Breakfast tea was poured
in young Australia way down under.
And it isn’t any wonder that the tea plant made its way into Java and Malay,
into Persia, Papua, Panama, Bombay.
Now grown in Argentina, Kenya, Zambia, Peru, Madagascar, Taiwan and Georgia TOO.
Grown for YOU teabag sucker
Thanking YOU brother plucker
WHO? YOU brother plucker YOU!
Some think chai is most appealing, some will only drink Darjeeling
others like tea fresh and green, or ancient pu’er is their scene…
But the message that we’re making, is there’s TEA there for your taking
in an endless choice of great varie-TEA teabag sucker
Have some TEA, mother plucker from a pot, nice and hot
or with ice is also nice…
And  just remember all you teabag suckers
the green and black tea pluckers
working all day to make their way by plucking TAY for you O.K.?
TAY from the saucer suckers, TAY saucer suckers!
TAY brother plucker pluckers TAY!
… I say!
Nice and hot!
Tea! Tea!
… I say!

Tea workers media watch

Visit Ethicali-tea for links to more information about the plight of tea pluckers.

Photograph Index
youtube Tea picker clips