Sunday, May 31, 2009

Public broadcasting announcement

For those luddites of you too clueless or, alternately, law-abiding to have already watched it on illegal go-straight-to-jail destroying-the-fabric-of-society interwebs filesharing bittorrent download, tune in tonight ABC 7:30pm to see the newest of the one-off Doctor Who specials - The Planet of the Dead.

I won't give any advance spoilers, but anyone who's seen the ads should see that it will be scary (sand everywhere - gets into one's nether regions - icky) and sexy (Michelle Ryan (mmmm) looking six million dollars; and David Tennant for everyone with a brain and a pulse - I mean really, who doesn't want to be, or to be with, Monsieur Tennant??).

Watch the episode, or suffer the endless shame heaped upon you by your more culturally enlightened peers.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A looooong poem, to tide you over until I return.

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,

To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:

There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads--you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho
'We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I’m off myself this week for a well deserved break*

I might pop in from time to time to shout abuse at people and to wonder what the hell is happening with Perseus’ love life.

*Or not. As the case may be.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Arty DVD Review Thursday

I hardly go to the films anymore. I live in a country town. It has a cinema and it's kinda cute, but it doesn't get movies until they are out on DVD. 'The Reader' opens here next week.

I did however see the Star Trek film last week. It was alright.

But my thing these days is watching DVDs which I buy on Amazon at very cheap rates, and I've started to build up quite an impressive collection of movies that nobody really cares about, even me.

I want to like Godard, Antonini and Fellini so that I can fit in at parties filled to the brim with filmy chattering classes, goatees and confident women who can wear dresses with spots, but a) I never get invited to these parties, and b) but I'm struggling to get what's so good about these directors anyway.

Can you go to a party with people who slept at Vali Myers' joint and know the difference between Surrealism and Dadaism, and say, "Oh, 'La Dolce Vita' wasn't as fun as 'Star Trek'?"

So anyway, I recently bought a shitload of arty DVDs in an attempt to get them.

First cab off the rank was a film called 'A Day At The Beach' and I figured I'd like it because it was written by Polanski in 1970 (now he's a favourite of mine that I can talk endless wank about), but he didn't direct it because his pregnant missus Sharon Tate was killed by the Manson Family and understandably he wasn't up for directing a flick. So, this honour was given to Simon Hesera. Never heard of him? Little wonder. This was his first and last film, and the reason for this is that it was directed horribly. I've seen better direction at Eastland Christmas Pantomimes. Like really really shithouse directing. Ham acting - on a par with Warwick Capper's performance in 'Neighbours', awful sound production, shit lighting and although the characters were stuck in the pouring rain, they seemed to be dry again at the start of every scene.

But despite the ham acting, bad production and the often convoluted script, the film was pretty good. It had that Polanski kook about it.

Bernard, an alcoholic, decides to take his estranged 8 year old daughter to the beach for the day in the pouring rain - (he promises his ex-wife he'll stay sober).

The film is all set on that day as Bernard gets drunker and drunker and drunker and drunker and he leaves his little girl outside the bars and pubs and leaves her in the rain and alone on the beach in the dark and in cars and he's rude to everyone and he steals and lies and it just gets worse and worse as the day goes on - kinda like Leaving Las Vegas, in that you want him to sober up but he just doesn't. But unlike Leaving Las Vegas, which was Hollywood schmaltz and where we feel pity for the soak, Polanski's script is realistic. Bernard is a cunt, and we mainly fear what will become of the daughter.

Although all characters and actors are very British, it wasn't set there, but I couldn't work out where. I saw some French, and then some Polish I think, and there were Swedish names in the cast/crew, and that made it all the more weird. If it was deliberate, then, wow, how arty! But if it was just shit location management, well, fuck 'em.

Star cameo for about two minutes by Peter Sellers as a creepy gay souvenir salesman (he steals the show in his brief scene... man, he's good) and the 8 year old girl was fucking awesome. Perhaps one of the best child-acting performances ever (up there with the Bicycle Thief* kid, and maybe the creepy kids in The Innocents**).

It is advertised as 'The Lost Roman Polanski Masterpiece' but I suspect the only reason that it was 'lost' is because Polanski or Paramount hid it in a shoebox somewhere. It really is badly made, but if you can get past the shit production qualities, it's a shockingly engaging film, and if anyone wants to borrow it, email me and I'll send it to you.

In the Polanski canon, it comes second last ('Pirates' with Walter Matthau being his worst film), but I argue that Polanski's second worst film is still better than watching 'So You Think You Can Dance'.

And more importantly, if I ever bump into Margaret or David, I now might have something to say.


For anyone here not acquainted with Polanski - here's five films to see before you die.

Rosemary's Baby
The Pianist
The Tenant

*My favourite ever film
** One of my favourite horror films

It's our birthday, but you get nothing. Nothing!

A year ago today, a man called Stubadubb had a dream.

A dream of a blog, attracting the finest writers on the internet. A blog where the important issues of politics, culture and music could be discussed in a lively, intelligent manner. A blog which could range from the whimsical, to the serious, to the furious without regard to shibboleths or doctrine.

A blog, in short, that would finally realise the potential of the information revolution.

But he couldn’t come up with any takers, so he started this site instead.

A year, eh?

Fuck, who’d have thunk it?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Midweek Mad Geniuses: Syd Barrett

The following took place at a Pink Floyd Band Meeting in early 1967, just prior to the release of their debut album Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Rick Wright walked into the room with a tray of tea and scones, placed them on the rickety coffee table Roger Waters had bought for a fiver at the Camden market, and took a seat next to Syd Barrett. Nick Mason, who had brought along a batch of his mum's homemade hedgehog, was lazing in a beanbag near the heater, tapping his foot in time with its regular clicks. Waters was idly picking his nails with a plectrum, tightly pursing his lips, while Barrett was eating buttered kippers while standing on his head.

Waters: Thanks Rick.

Wright: So where are we with the album title?

Waters: Oh! Syd has a great one. Really nice suggestion. Where did it come from, Syd?


Mason: Syd?

Wright: Syd!

Barrett: For God's sake, Syd!

Mason: Mate, you're Syd!

Barrett: I'm Roger!

Waters: No, I'm Roger.

Barrett: You sure?

Waters: Positive.

Barrett: Cos I'm pretty sure I'm Roger.

Wright: No, you're Syd. Roger's Roger. I'm Rick and that's Nick.

Barrett: Well then where's Daryl?

Wright: There is no Daryl.

Barrett: I'm sure there's always been a Daryl.

Barrett's pants fall off. He is wearing no underpants. There's an a
wkward silence. Mason coughs.

Waters: So, ah, where did the title come from?

Barrett: Sausages.

Waters: What?

Barrett: Schmoozlepop.

Waters: What the hell are you talking about?

Mason: Syd told me the title was from Wind in the Willows.

Barrett: Yeah, that's it!

Wright: Oh groovy. I love that book.

Barrett: Especially when the zombies rise up from the mud and fuck mole in the arsehole.

Wright: That never happened!

Barrett: And then they ate Ratty's balls and beat up that fucking fat cunt, Toad.

Wright: There aren't any zombies in Wind of the Willows!

Barrett: How's this for an opening line for a song about bikes: "I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like..."

Waters: Do you want to have a lie down?

Barrett: I'm feeling fine. And I still reckon I'm Roger.

Mason (whispering to Waters): You know my mate Dave? He's a great guitar player and a handy singer.

Waters: (whispering back): Syd founded this band, man! We can't kick him out, no matter how weird he gets.

Mason: Maybe we should just pencil in Dave for the second album.

Waters: I always get this feeling of impending doom when I meet Dave.

Mason: He's alright.

Barrett: Are you talking about Copernicus?

Waters: Um, yes.

Barrett: Copernicus fixed my bike. Listen to this: "It's got a basket and bell and rings and things to make it look good..."

Waters: Nick?

Mason: Yeah?

Waters: Call Dave.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekend Food Wrap

Friday Night:

Hungry Jacks. I had to pick my sister up from the airport at about 10pm, and she had warned me that she demanded a 'Melbourne Pizza' before arriving at Mum and Dad's (she lives in Townsville). I ate a light snack at tea-time, saving space for this pizza. Thing is though, her flight was delayed by more than an hour and the pizza was thusly cancelled. I had no food of substance in the house, and all the restaurants were closed, so I had to get something on the way to the airport. Whopper with cheese and regular fries was my selection. I get US food-chain take-away probably once or twice a year, and even then it is only Hungry Jacks (haven't had food at Maccas since 1989). Jesus it's awful food, and almost impossible to eat whilst driving. Oh there was special sauce on my shirt. There's something in the burger that is ice-cold, something lukewarm, and something piping hot, and all of it tastes like pre-packed and ill-conceived 'generic burger taste'. What is it? Salt? MSG? How can a beef patty with salad, cheese and bread taste so... I dunno, unlike the sum of its parts? Why do people like this food?

Saturday Night

Dad's 70th birthday. It was fun and odd at the same time. We went to a Posh Restaurant and there was mum, dad, me and my two older sisters. We worked out it was the first time since the late 70's that the five of us, the family unit, were fully together and alone (without spouses, grandkids etc.). We even all went in the car with dad driving and us three 'kids' (39, 47, 49) in the backseat fighting. Anyway, minus the drinks, dinner for five at the Posh was $450 and for that we got, well, you know, food. Dad and Crazy Sister had snails. I had oysters, some spring rolls and some roast lamb with 'herb filling' (which I think was breadcrumbs with rosemary, chives and salt). Mum had a shepherd's pie. We had cake for dessert. The food was okay, but $80 a head? Meh. I guess what you pay for is the ambience. The maitre'd, the waitress who tells you her name, the decadence of looking at a menu with no prices, the 'antique' pictures (awful paintings of knights and ballet dancers) and fuck-awful pastel walls. You get better food for $10 in Chinatown, and a superior ambience. I'm a snob, but not a food snob. I don't get paying $80 for dinner.

Sunday Night

Back home late and feeling lazy, I cooked an eye fillet under the grill, doused it with salt, picked it up in my hands and ate it like a savage. I lightly steamed five brussel sprouts and ate them like lollies, also with my hands. Then I had vegemite and cheese on biscuits while watching an SBS film, along with a mandarin and a bowl of muesli (yes, at 10pm). Posh restaurants and US food-chains be damned. I like making it up as I go along.

What did you eat?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dogma My Arse

Lars von Trier is at it again. His latest film, ‘Anti-Christ’ has premiered at Cannes.

“Charlotte Gainsbourg drills a hole through Willem Dafoe's leg and sticks a stave through it after smashing in his testicles with a piece of firewood. But it is the moment when she apparently cuts off her clitoris with a pair of scissors that has become the succes de scandale of the great French film festival.”

Is there a more over-rated artist in the world than this fuckhead?

“Oh, but he has something to say...” his fans implore. But what? What does he have to say? All these people who protect him don’t know what it is he’s saying, just that he ‘says something’. So let us go to the man himself. When asked by a disgusted journalist to defend his film, Lars said, “'s a good starting point for a discussion, the fact that you feel something about the film."

A ‘starting point’? What the fuck? Shouldn’t the ‘starting point’ be the reason for the film in the first place, or its story, as opposed to the revulsion felt by the audience? Fuck me – even he doesn’t know what his film is about!

“Oh, but his films are confronting...” say the Dogma groupies.

Fuck off. Anyone can be confronting. I could drug a nun, smear dog shit over her tits whilst masturbating into a tub of lard and that’s criminal and foul, but if I call myself an ‘artist’ first, suddenly I'm 'confronting'.

Just because something is confronting, doesn’t mean it has artistic value, or meaning, or is entertaining, or is any good at all.

It is so easy to be ‘arty’. All you need is no talent, no direction and some money. But to create something of artistic worth? Now that takes some talent. Ay, there’s the rub.

Lasr von Trier is the pinup boy of this mass confusion as to what art has become. Call me old fashioned, but a central feature of great artists no matter what their field, is great proficiency at their art. You may not like Warhol, but he knew what he was doing. There was a meaning behind it. Lars lacks this. All he has is his stupid fucked up ‘Dogma’ which is a set of rules and agreements as to how a film should be made, and because he has stuck to these agreements, he earns the respect of movie fans around the world. But it’s just a mass stupidity as far as I can tell, a mass delusion of sorts, where because one person said, "Oh, he has integrity," his reputation spread like swine-flu.

“He makes films that adhere to his own artistic ethos...” So what? Just because he has a production ethos, does it mean he’s any good?

I can do that!

Perseus Q’s POGMA

*Only make films in black and white
*All films to be shot in real time
*Only one-take.
*Use different actors to overdub all voices
*Only use actors from broken homes
*Real dog shit must be smeared over a nun’s tits in every movie

There. If I make ten films like this with no coherent story purpose, no technical ability, no meaning, no direction, but rigidly stick to these rules, will I go down in history as an artist with integrity? Probably. But did I entertain people? Probably not.

I'd confront them though. Oh I'd be confronting alright. I'd confront them with inane 'shock value', just like Uncle Lars.

It is very difficult to create something that both entertains and enriches, and what we ask of artists is that they do one or the other, or even better, both. Britney Spears at least does one of these things – she entertains millions of kids, and for that, I have more respect for her singing and dancing talent than I do for the entire body of work created by Lars von Trier.

'Shock value' can exist in art. 'Guernica' by Picasso. 'A Clockwork Orange' by Burgess. 'Suicide In An Airplane' by Ornstein. 'Pulp Fiction' by Tarantino even. But what Tarantino, Ornstein, Burgess and Picasso have that Lars lacks is simple - artistry.

'Breaking The Waves', 'The Idiots', 'Dogville', 'Dancer In The Dark'... I mean seriously, did anyone see these films and say, "Wow, that was really good!"?

To quote TISM: “It’s novel, it’s unique, it’s shithouse.”


Rant over. Everyone back to Ramon's poem please.

Inspired by events elsewhere!

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I rejoice.
It has gone with bowed head like a defeated legion
Beneath the yoke.
What avail him now his awards and prizes,
The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,
His individual new voice?
Knocked into the middle of next week
His brainchild now consorts with the bad buys
The sinker, clinkers, dogs and dregs,
The Edsels of the world of moveable type,
The bummers that no amount of hype could shift,
The unbudgeable turkeys.

Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
Bathes in the blare of the brightly jacketed Hitler's War Machine,
His unmistakably individual new voice
Shares the same scrapyart with a forlorn skyscraper
Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed by others,
His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretense,
Is there with Pertwee's Promenades and Pierrots--
One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
With Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs,
A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
"My boobs will give everyone hours of fun".

Soon now a book of mine could be remaindered also,
Though not to the monumental extent
In which the chastisement of remaindering has been meted out
To the book of my enemy,
Since in the case of my own book it will be due
To a miscalculated print run, a marketing error--
Nothing to do with merit.
But just supposing that such an event should hold
Some slight element of sadness, it will be offset
By the memory of this sweet moment.
Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets!
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am glad.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Armchair Expert

I urge non-cricket-loving TSFKA-ers to get into The Ashes which starts on July 8 this year. As a sporting spectacle, it's just another series of cricket test matches, but as an event, it is a traditional and wonderful chance to smash up whinging poms and get revenge on them for sending us to this god-foresaken desert hell for stealing a loaf of bread.

Also, it will be handy to have even a dilletante's knowledge so when me, Catlick, Ramon and Bob suddenly say, "Fucking Hussey" you won't think it's a typo-ridden outburst against some trollop in the news. The Ashes is so important, we may even get 'Jamie' back because if I remember rightly, he and Ramon are co-Presidents of the 'Sack that Inbreed as Captain' (S.I.C.) club.

It also about regaining some pride after they beat us last time The Ashes was played in England. Who can forget the English cheer squad singing "You're Only Good At Swimming" and "God Save Your Queen" on the final day of the final test back in 2005? It was only Shane Warne that stood up to them in that whole series, and he had the awful task of bowling the last ball of the lost series (although a slow spin bowler, he bowled a bouncer at Flintoff's head).

Today, the touring team was announced. It is:

Ricky Ponting, captain
Michael Clarke, vice-captain
Stuart Clark
Brad Haddin
Nathan Hauritz
Ben Hilfenhaus
Phillip Hughes
Michael Hussey
Mitchell Johnson
Simon Katich
Brett Lee
Graham Manou
Andrew McDonald
Marcus North
Peter Siddle
Shane Watson

...and already the bogans are screaming for blood because of the exclusion of Andrew 'Roy' Symonds. But ignore this. In the last two years he has struggled to even bowl at all, he can hardly hit, looks too unfit to run and has been plagued with injury and behavioural problems*. At his peak he was fucking exciting and brilliant to watch, but his peak was a long time ago. The reason the bogans are having a sook is because Symonds is Bogan Pinup-God.

He has been replaced as the Number One all-rounder with Andrew 'McRanga' McDonald who as far as I'm concerned is a great choice. His bowling, although not awesome, is tight, very controlled and almost impossible to score off. His batting, once it gets going, is quite awesome. He is also young, enthusiastic and heralds the future of our cricketing team.

But I have other problems with the selections.

Brett 'Binger' Lee? Is he even still playing? Was he ever any good? What the fuck?

Michael 'Mr. Cricket' Hussey? Don't get me wrong, he's wonderful to watch when he's on a roll, but the only roll he's on is a pork roll, and when your batting average starts to resemble your shoe-size, it's time to go.

So I'm already calling for the selector's heads.

Tait should have been picked. Yeah, he has mental illness and when he bowls, the ball can go anywhere between middle-stump and the Gents, but I've seen him smash actual IQ-points out of batsmen's heads he's that fast.

And they should have swapped Michael Hussey for David Hodge, who is just as good a batsman as Hussey, but happens to be able to bowl a bit too.

Meanwhile, Hautitz has been chosen because he's our best specialist spinner. It reminds me of the great line by John Lennon. Given the style of music, he was asked if Ringo was the best drummer for The Beatles, and he replied, "Ringo wasn't even the best drummer in The Beatles." Hauritz may be the best specialist spinner in Australia, but even so, I'd still smash him out of the ground and I'm an utter spac of a batsman. Clarke and Katich are already in the team, and they can bowl good spin. Just use them! And pick another batsman, like Hodge?

From my armchair, I am better that the Australian Selection Committee.

Meanwhile, England are finding form in recent months, and so the battle will be hot.

Can't wait.

* I agree with Leaping Larry L though - when Roy decided to ditch a team 'meeting' for a fishing excusrion, he did what we all feel is morally right. Is there anything more over-rated than a 'meeting'?

Midweek Mad Geniuses: Virginia Woolf

"The fuck did you say?"

"What?" asked Leonard, waking from a deep sleep and rubbing his eyes. He had been dreaming of his mother's chicken soup. He often dreamed of soup after a big night.

"Did you call me a lesbian?"


"Are you sure? Didn't you just say 'move over dyke'?"

"What? I just woke up. You're hearing voices again."

"You didn't say anything?"

"I was dreaming of my mother's soup."

"Chicken soup?"



"I beg your pardon!"

"You heard me. I don't like Jews. Their voice, their laugh."

"Well, you married me."

"I didn't know you were Jewish."

"I was wearing a Kippah when we met."

"I thought it was a bald patch."

"I read you passages from the The Fifth Book of the Maccabees over dinner at Goldstein's Kosher House!"

"I thought you were listing the specials."

"Bloody hell!"

"God, I should've married some christian from the upper class intelligentsia. Like Rupert Brooke. Or Clive Bell. Virginia Bell certainly has a ring to it!"

"Very funny."

"You never liked my jokes."

"They started to become a little morbid after your third nervous breakdown."

"You could hardly blame me! It followed the fire-bombing of my house by the fucking krauts!"

"Well, whose fault's that? You put a huge bullseye on the roof!"

"It was supposed to be a tribute. I thought I heard my father say that William Tell was coming to dinner."


"Turned out it was William Thackery."

"Well, anyway, this new place is ok."

"When are you going to start work on the extension?"

"Again with the extension!"

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

"That's what you always say."

"I need my own space! I'm working on a new technique called 'stream of consciousness'."

"What are you talking about? Everyone's doing it."

"Name one."

"Dostoyevsky, Proust, Joyce."

"Fucking men!"

"Why don't you do what George Eliot did?"

"What did he do?"

"He's a woman. He pretended to be a man."

"George Eliot's a woman?"


"I guess that explains his vagina."

"Oy vey!"

"Anyway, I'm not going to hide behind a set of balls. I've started work on a new novel. In fact, I'm heading off this morning to do some research."

"Oh yes?"

"It involves filling my pockets with stones and walking into the middle of the river."

"Make sure you're back for dinner. I'm making matza balls."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Israel is not Nazi Germany

I wasn’t going to write anything about this entire Seven Jewish Children guff because – frankly – who really gives a fat rat’s.

Getting off the train at Parliament station the other day however, I had an encounter with a group calling on the State Government to dump Connex as the metropolitan train operator because its parent company has business links with Israel and “like, Israel is like Nazi Germany”.

Therein ensued a short conversation, which may or may not* ended with me calling the boycott bloke “an ignorant fucking knob-end”.

This inspired me to have a closer look at some of the issues.

First thing. Israel is NOT Nazi Germany. Israel, for all its flaws, is a working Parliamentary democracy. Nazi Germany was not.

Second thing. Israel is not involved in a “genocide” against “the Palestinians”, or it’s one of the most incompetent genocides in history given the fact there are still several hundred thousand Palestinians living cheek-by-jowl with the Jewish state; established 1948. What is this – genocide by “work to rule”?

Third thing. Isn’t it slightly odd that these buffoons whip themselves up into a lather about the “genocide” being conducted by Israel but the situation in Darfur – where the Sudanese Government is actively committing crimes against humanity – gets not a mention?

The boycotters whine about the Australian Government “always supporting Israel”. Call me an old-fashioned lefty, but faced with a choice between a country with a working democracy with a free media, an independent judicial system and robust debate or a pack of theocratic fascists like Hamas – I know which group I’d be lining up behind.

I don’t think all critics of Israeli are anti-Semites. I do think a great many of them are dickheads.

*I suspect I may have used these and other similar expressions.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend Car and RSVP Date Wrap


I purchased a new car. I've never owned a new car, only ever used ones. I didn't even really want a new car, my existing one is fine. I have a 1999 Subaru Liberty Wagon (puchased in 2002) and in the seven years I've owned it, I've serviced it once a year, bought some new tyres, and I think I checked the oil level once. I'm not a car person. I drive cars until they break down, but this one has never broken down and purrs like a kitten. I mentioned to a mate last year that if I ever bought a new car it would be another Liberty. He mentioned this to a mate of his who worked at Subaru, and the stalking started. Months later, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse (end of financial year runout, plus economic recession, plus mates' rates, plus turning 40 this year and wanting some retail therapy equals buying a new car).

The negotiations took place on the phone and on email over the course of a few months, but Saturday was the signing of the contracts (the car won't be delivered until July).

I was to meet the salesguy at 10am, and I figured it would take me five minutes. Oh no. Oh no. TWO HOURS. All I wanted to do was sign, but no, we had to have coffee, we had to talk, small talk, car talk, he had to run me through the features, I had to watch a video, I had to meet other people, meet the boss, meet the receptionist, if his mother was there I would have had to meet her too, and they had to teach me about car care and Subaru technology and they even offered me a test-drive of a test-car and were confused as to why I said no.

Some of the conversations were meaningless.

Salesguy: Mate, I've thrown in a free sunroof for you.
Me: Oh, no thanks. I had one on a Mazda years ago and never used it.
Salesguy: But it's a free sunroof!
Me: I had a cancer ripped out of my face last year. I don't want the sun on me, and in the winter, I don't want the wind on me.
Salesguy: Well, you don't have to open it.
Me: Just give me one without a sunroof. It'll save you money.
Salesguy: Oh, not really. See the car we've allocated for you has a sunroof.
Me: So I'm getting it anyway? If I want a car without a sunroof, it will cost me more?
Salesguy: Yeah.

Then, after I signed, he congratulated me! Like, we stood up, he beamed, and patted me on the arm and offered his hand as if I had just been made the President. It's a fucking car! And then some very hot chick came to congratulate me as well, and said, "You have a NEW CAR!" and it sounded like I was on some game show and I was waiting for balloons to drop. She said, "Are you excited?" and I said, "No, I'm in debt, and all I have is a slightly cleaner version of what I already drive. I'm not excited at all. I'm 40." She hated me.

This car better be good.

(PS: They were nice people, and I don't want to come across as hating them personally - just the process bugged me. I'm not a car person.)

Saturday Night

Visited a childhood friend who has just had her third baby, and I was meeting the baby (4 months old). She handed it to me, and left it with me for like an hour. The first five minutes I was thinking, "God, how long do I have to hold this chimp?" and the next 55 minutes I was thinking, "Wow this kid is cute. Look at him, he's smiling and sucking on my buttons! I want one! I want one!"

Oh I'm clucky. I pity my next girlfriend.

Which brings me to...


Coffee date with a girl from, to be called E-bird. I reckon I read through 300 profiles, and E-bird was my favourite and so she was the only one I initially contacted and corresponded with, but I subsequently made contact with a standby (Em79 - plucked from Melba's researched list) and we will also be meeting for a coffee next week.

But I was very excited about meeting E-bird. We only had an hour, I was nervous, she was nervous, and here's the rundown.


* She's very smart.
* She's well-travelled.
* She's attractive.
* She's very witty.
* She's an ex-smoker (which is good for me - I rarely take advice about smoking from never-smokeders)
* She has a very good job
* She plays netball (I like sporty people)


* She's originally from Adelaide, so she's potentially a serial-killer.
* I think she was taller than me, and I'm 6 foot exactly. She was maybe the same height. Is that a problem? No. Yes. No. Tom Cruise didn't seem to mind. Did Nicole Kidman?
* I think she saw me as a scrawny pale 40 year old that lived in the bush and she'll have little more to do with me.

I'm going to ask for a second date, this with time with added alcohol, and I shall keep you all updated.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another poem about death, yay! Also, a book review

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Also, a review of a book I’ve been reading; God’s War: A new history of the Crusades by Christopher Tyerman.

The Crusades – in hindsight, probably not a good idea.

IDAHO: not just potatoes

I turned on the TV in my room last night and discovered I had BBC World News. At first, I was rather excited that I had another option besides CNN, but that quickly turned to confusion and anger when I watched the first story presented.

A BBC reporter was in Moscow, where the Eurovision final is to be held on Saturday night. A gay rights activist had petitioned the city council for permission to hold a gay pride march, but had been denied (every application since the first in 2006 has been turned down by the mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, who describes the parades as ‘satanic’). However, the council is allowing “hardcore nationalists and religious groups to stage a counter-demonstration on the same day.”

Being gay is apparently not illegal in Russia, but there are many cases of gay and lesbians being the victim of violence from “neo-Nazis, ultra-Nationalists and Christian fundamentalists.” Including British activist Peter Tatchell, who was badly beaten in Moscow two years ago, and Irina Fedotova, one half of the first lesbian couple to seek a marriage certificate in Russia (they were denied), who says she has been beaten twice by extremists. While I was watching the story, she intimated that many gay people in Russia have to hide their sexuality for fear of violence against them, and that anti-gay activists will wait outside gay clubs to bash people leaving them.

Indeed, Mikhail Nalimov, leader of the United Orthodox Youth, has said there will be “a very tough reaction from a lot of [their] activists” and claims gay activists are “spiritual terrorists” and that the “aim of the gay movement is to destabilise the country and society.” Of course, it’s not possible that the aim of the gay movement is simply to allow gay people to have the same basic human rights as everyone else.

I am completely baffled by opinions such as this. I just don’t understand what people have against homosexuality. What does it matter what two consenting adults do in their private life? How on earth does it impact on anyone else? Why do religious people get their knickers in such a twist about it (such as the ‘God Hates Fags’ group in the US)? And not just religious people, but anyone? Why? I’ve heard of some people who are against homosexuality, and in particular same-sex marriage, bring up paedophilia as an argument, and say society makes it their business to prevent that sort of perverse behaviour, and claim that it’s no different to homosexuality. But that’s bullshit. Paedophilia is not between two consenting people, because one of the parties involved is a minor and unable to give consent. There is also the ridiculous argument that if we allow same-sex people to marry, what’s to stop someone from marrying their dog in the future? For the same reason – the dog can’t consent.

While I was watching the report, and listening to Nalimov say the church and his activists will continue to fight against gay activists (and putting aside the very important issues that those who call themselves Christians are hardly acting like Christians when they bash other people and act with such intolerance), I just kept repeating to myself, “But why? Why do you care if these people are gay? How is it affecting you?” Sure, you might think homosexual acts damn the soul and what not, but what does it matter to you if someone else is doing it? I hardly think bashing someone up is going to endear you to god, even if said person is doing something you think god doesn’t approve of. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all of that. Not to mention, Jesus doesn't say anything about homosexuality in the New Testament of the Bible. You’d think if it was really that important, he might have mentioned it once or twice.

I really don’t understand homosexual-hate. Anyone have a clue?

P.S. May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), so I thought this was a fitting topic.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What the 2009 budget means for you

Buggered if I know and I suspect that most of the commentators and experts – if pushed – would probably come to a similar conclusion.

Bernard Keane over at Crikey makes the very valid point that a single budget isn’t really going to affect things all that much but it’s in the interests of the media and the pollies to beat it up into the all singing, all dancing budget day.

Why, I don’t know. Something to do with “narrative” or “discourse”, I suspect.

My opinion of the budget, based on blind hatred of the Tories and the fact that Neil Mitchell doesn’t like it, would be that Kruddy and Swanny have pretty much got the mixture right. True, I would have liked less of the “fiscal discipline” and more of the “social control of the means of production, distribution and exchange to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation”*, but that’s just me.

There’s always some cunt, whinging that “there’s nothing in it for me”. Well, tough shit buddy. We’re in the middle of the worst international financial crisis since 1930.

Shut the fuck up.

*This is an incredibly obscure political in-joke. I will buy a roast diner for anybody who can pick it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's an Evolution

I'm a little pedantic when it comes to spelling, grammar and punctuation, although I'm far from perfect and my vocabulary needs work. However, I think it's important and a necessary part of good communication. And I think society's standards in this area are a fucking ridiculous mess. Just take a look at the frequency of misplaced or, conversely, superfluous apostrophes that pepper public places and offend the eyes.

However, I'm all for the evolution of the language. It can't be stopped anyway and why would we want to? English has been evolving since it was first recognised as a language. It had a Germanic beginning and has since been influenced by French, Latin and, more recently, American and the language of technology. Cyberspace. Terabytes. Google. As much as I hate seeing Australians and Brits write 'color' or 'flavor', I'm afraid the traditional spellings are done for - given time - along with recognise, surprise and, an old favourite, arse. Don't get me started on 'thru'.

The abbreviations of email, instant messaging and texting are catching on. I really hate this because it stems from the lazy fingertips of stupid teenagers. But, if I'm to embrace the evolution, I can't be picky about where the change comes from. LOL. OMG. ROFLMAO.

Even annoying words like 'workaholic' (you can't use a part of the word 'alcohol' which is totally unrelated to your obsession for work...unless you work at the Hofbrauhaus) and 'homophobic' (what, you're afraid of something that's the what?) will endure and become acceptable. After all, the word 'ask' used to be pronounced 'arks'. Now if someone says 'arks' they are rightly mocked. Perhaps they're the pedants. And then there's 'its'. I really want to put an apostrophe in 'its' when it feels like it's a possessive. But I can't because it's wrong. But maybe one day I can, because it might be right. Or perhaps it once was right. In Shakespeare's day. Or something. Speaking of Shakespeare, that wag even invented words. What a character!

So, a note to pedants: go with the flow, dudes.

Weekend Wrap

My weekend really started last Thursday night.

I drove to Melbourne and caught up with The Sculptress at an art exhibition in Port Melbourne. Because this time I didn’t know the artist personally, I was confident that I wouldn’t feel compelled to buy anything, but yet again, under the influence of the free wine served by a particularly cute gallery chick, that whole Pavlov’s Dog thing came on. I think I understand those people who get addicted to Pokies – they claim it is largely due to the sounds and the flashing lights – because I think I have some sort of compulsion to the red dot at an art exhibition. At least this time I had the wherewithal to not spend so much and I did a Homer Simpson and bought the second cheapest artwork.

The Sculptress and I then went to Mario’s for tea (she, the salmon, me, the turmeric chicken risotto) and then on to see some bands at The Evelyn (Inverto: ace / Jackson Jackson: meh). I got home at 3am.

Worked Friday, went to bed early.

Saturday, back to Melbourne and caught up with The Drummer and we went to the footy to sit in the freezing cold and watch Richmond lose again. At one point, a six year old kid turned to me and said, “They’re not very good.” I looked back at him and said without any condescension, “No kid, they’re not.”

Off to Mum and Dad’s for fish n chips, more footy on TV and I stayed the night.

Mothers’ Day I went to my sister’s apartment with Mum and Dad for lunch. My sister has had some problems (pokies, prescription drugs) but is now mostly back to normal, except she can’t/won’t work. But the fact she can make us lunch is exciting because she hasn’t been capable of that for many years. Her son, my nephew, was also there. He’s just out of jail (two years, which was a year after spending another two years in jail) and he must’ve been working out in the prison gym because his shoulders were wider than the desert. He was in good spirits, and had bought his mum a giant teddy bear for Mothers’ Day. Crims still love their mums.

I drove back to Lorne and attempted my bi-annual roast beef. Dry again. I can’t keep a roast beef moist! How’s it done? Though the veggies were exemplary. I got into my pyjamas, fed the cat and watched a DVD, and fell asleep.

Yes, yes. A bland but comfortably safe weekend. No sex, no chance at sex, no gossip. But I have three points to make.

1. I did some things, which I have struggled to do in the past month... you know, things have been a struggle.

2. Throughout the weekend I was reading the essays of Schopenhauer, because I’m all highbrow and shit, and he says The Fall is the only thing in the Old Testament that makes any sense, and as such, we should regard mankind as, “...a being who exists only as a consequence of his culpability and whose life is an expiation of the crime of being born,” and what’s more, on the vanity of life, he writes, “ our amazement we suddenly exist, after having for countless millennia not existed: in a short while we will again not exist, also for countless millennia.”

I don’t think we should regard Schopenhauer as negative. His words have the opposite effect on me. I was buoyed. Life is fleeting, and whether we sit around watching the dust settle, or go to the footy, or achieve great or charitable works, or amass fortunes or amass debts, or go to jail or not... it doesn’t matter, really, to anyone else, and certainly not to the Earth. We’re all guilty, or not, and vain to presume our actions have any consequence to anything or anyone. Which brings me to Point 3.

3. With my newfound energy to go out, and the words of Schopenhauer backing me up, I’m proudly going to see the Star Trek movie next weekend. I'm even going to try to get a date. Nerd, you say? FUCK. YOU.

*** UPDATE ***

Also, as part of my Schopenhauerian "I don't care what anyone thinks because it doesn't matter anyway" epiphany, I have, after years of being told I should, put up an RSVP ad for myself. I'm giving it two weeks.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I wish I'd written this (but didn't).

Well it's 9th and Hennepin
And all the doughnuts have
Names that sound like prostitutes
And the moon's teeth marks are
On the sky like a tarp thrown over all this
And the broken umbrellas like
Dead birds and the steam
Comes out of the grill like
The whole goddamned town is ready to blow.
And the bricks are all scarred with jailhouse tattoos
And everyone is behaving like dogs.
And the horses are coming down Violin Road
And Dutch is dead on his feet
And the rooms all smell like diesel
And you take on the
Dreams of the ones who have slept here.
And I'm lost in the window
I hide on the stairway
I hang in the curtain
I sleep in your hat
And no one brings anything
Small into a bar around here.
They all started out with bad directions
And the girl behind the counter has a tattooed tear,
One for every year he's away she said, such
A crumbling beauty, but there's
Nothing wrong with her that
$100 won't fix, she has that razor sadness
That only gets worse
With the clang and thunder of the
Southern Pacific going by
As the clock ticks out like a dripping faucet
Till you're full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin
And you spill out
Over the side to anyone who'll listen
And I've seen it
All through the yellow windows
Of the evening train.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Don't Care What You Think of Me...Mostly

Everybody cares what others think of them. It's part of what makes us human. It's an evolutionary thing, geared to help us survive. The difference is how much you care. It's just a matter of degrees.

As I grow older, I care less and less what people think of me. But when you're younger, particularly at school, life's much easier if you conform, if you're pretty much the same as everyone else. If you dress similar, if you speak the same way, if you declare that you hold particular values that equate with the consensus, even if you really don't. It's safe. You're accepted. You're not teased, ridiculed or friendless - a sad state when you're a kid or a teenager. In a way I'd love my son to be an individual when he's at school (he's only 3), a character, an eccentric, an unpredictable artist. But another side of me, the side that wants to protect him, wants him to fit in, to be accepted, to be popular.

Australian adults rarely escape from the safe position. We have our Australian values. We only vote for 2 political parties. We all love sport. We still dress more or less the same as each other. We all watch reality television, blockbuster movies and read Bryce Courtney books. We listen to 3AW and read the Herald Sun, believe what we hear on Channel 9. Break away, people, think differently. Explore new ideas. Forget what other people think. Argue, discuss, challenge. Provoke.

The point I anticipated making here was that I no longer care very much what people think. Perhaps about 5% of what I did when I was 15. I'll challenge people's opinions at dinner parties. I'll admit to my own weaknesses. I'll confront people who are being unjust. I'll piss people off.

Here's something that proves I don't care what people think. And I'd like you all to contribute something too. Something that you might not have liked to admit when you were 25 and thought you were cool:

I went to a Billy Joel concert in 1987, and I enjoyed it.

Beginning of a Great Adventure

WARNING: The following contains high levels of sentiment. Readers with a weak stomach and Desci may want to turn away and have a crack at the crossword.

The other day I had the honour of helping do the reading for the prep class at the school that The Boy attends.

I say “the honour” because, with perhaps one exception, they were the happiest, most cheerful little kids I’ve ever come across. They had about them so much spark, so much curiosity, so much energy that they were almost bursting out of their skins with joy.

Reading to them (or perhaps with them, as most of them were pretty much reading on their own) wasn’t a chore – it was a delight.

And this wasn’t some posh-o school in what the media delights in calling “Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs”, but a state government school in what was – until fairly recently – a solidly working class area (until lumpen- intelligentsia like myself blew in).

Happily, The Boy is still of an age where everything delights him. Witness this exchange on the weekend;

The Boy: “Daddaddaddad, come and look at Kitty!”

Out we go, to discover the cat having a dust bath.

The Boy: “Kitty’s having a bath!!”

Me: “Yes, Boy.”

The Boy: “In the dust!!”

Me: “Yes, Boy.”

The Boy: “In the dust!!!” *peals of hysterical laughter*

Kitty: “What! What? Stop laughing at me, you human cunts.”

All of which left me wondering, where does it all go? That joy, that wondrous sense of optimism that your day is going to be full of good things and good friends and excitement.

Fucked if I know.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Climate change is the new black

While reading a particularly sycophantic interview with Missy Higgins in the paper* the other day, I was struck by this sentence.

Missy is passionate about climate change.

Of course you are, poppet, of course you are. Just like every other fucker who wants to boost their public profile.

Long ago, the entertainment industry’s spin-doctors realised said industry was populated by people who were vain, stupid and not particularly nice. They also realised the punters wanted a form of emotional connection with said artists before they forked over their readies and people who were seen as vain, stupid and not particularly nice were likely to attract few**.

They understood, however, that artists who were vain, stupid and not particularly nice would be reluctant to put their hand up for any cause that would require - you know - any actual sacrifice or effort.

Thus was born the passionless passionate.

It’s so easy. Just attach yourself to a cause which isn’t going to affect you personally (anti-uranium mining, ending poverty, climate change), mouth a few clich├ęs that don’t really mean anything (in this case bang on and on about your latest DVD/concert/tour being “carbon neutral”) and bingo-bango you’re seen as “socially aware”.

It's almost as sick-making as people who discover "spirituality" (and yes, Ben Lee, I'm looking at you).

Missy also says she’s a supporter of PETA.

I rest my case.

* I was bored, OK.

** Except here, of course.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dokic - 2 Things

Jelena Dokic has gone public with the sporting world's worst-kept secret - that her crazy nutjob father used to physically abuse her. I feel for this girl, always have.

One Thing

I am reminded of the time I unwittingly made the front page of the Herald-Sun. It was Jelena's first match in Australia representing Serbia. The Herald-Sun (and other tabloid outlets) had made a big deal of it in the lead up, suggesting that people would jeer and boo because of her seemingly unpatriotic decision to represent the country of her birth rather than the country that raised her. But, as always, the tabloids undersetimate the average intelligence of the common person. We could all see that it was her crazy father's decision, not hers. She was 17 or 18 at the time, and clearly under the thumb of a despot.

So when she came out to face Lindsay Davenport, nobody really jeered. Oh, there was a clown or two up the back, drunk, trying to join a mob that failed to materialise in the first place, but from my seat, one row from the front, all I heard was a mix of quiet and generous applause for Jelena. I cheered louldy for her. We knew the poor girl was suffering under her father, and our cheers were as much in sympathy as they were celebratory.

But the tabloids ignored the real event. Front page of the Herald-Sun the next day came an article saying the crowd had 'mixed feelings', and ran a shot of some people cheering, some not. There, right smack bang in the middle of a close up of a randomly picked section of the crowd, was me. I was eating sushi, and my mouth looked like it was in a frown. They clearly took the photo at some other time, because when she came out on to centre court, I was cheering for her.

My Mum rang: "Did you boo that poor girl?"
Me: "No Mum, Jesus. I was eating sushi. I cheered."
My Mum: "And who's that girl you're with? She looks pretty."

Seconds later my sister rang from Sydney.

"Did you boo Dokic?"
"Did Mum ring you?"
"No, you're front page of the Sydney paper."
"For fuck's sake."
"And who's the curly-haired chick?"

The Sydney one was worse, because the picture was much bigger and the headline was, 'Fans Boo Dokic'.

The calls and emails kept coming, and worst of all, Damir Dokic, the anti-christ himself, was interviewed and he got a hold of the paper and pointed at me saying I was a disgrace for jeering his daughter... but I didn't! I would've jeered him because he was a cunt, but not hs talented and obviously abused daughter.


But anyway, years later, of course, the tabloids are now throwing so much support behind her that you can smell their guilt in it.

Second Thing

I hope that none of the resident TSFKA-ers with kids even remotely act like Domir Dokic (I'm sure you don't). I remember as a kid doing aths and footy - there were some parents of other kids that were insane about their child's sporting performances, and as even as young as 10 years old, I knew that their parents were acting stupid. I'm not a parent, but I'd like to think that if I was, I'd give support to my kids' sports, but never ever be one of those parents on the sidelines screaming abuse. My Dad was perfect... he was the athletic club's treasurer and volunteer, so he was involved as such, but never once did he become angry or even pressure me to perform better. He helped me to perform better, but never insisted that I do.

Domir Dokic is of course the extreme opposite of this. He is a failure at life, a failure as a father, a failure as a real man, and for that, he punished his extremely gifted daughter. I have nothing but sympathy and support for Jelena.

I just hope they don't make a schmaltzy film about it. But they will.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Weekend Champions: Stephen Malkmus

Stephen Malkmus is a champion. His music fills me with happiness, wonder and awe.

Since the release of the first Pavement album Slanted and Enchanted in 1991 through his collaborations with Silver Jews' songwriter David Berman to his current solo career, the guy has been delivering R.E.M., Sonic Youth and Pixies-inspired brilliant, witty and original songs to the independent music scene on a regular basis.

He is also a guitar maestro. His long live jams are legendary and his outstanding guitar work is equally evident on studio albums. Furthermore, his songs are catchy and many are unforgettable.

If you're not familiar with the guy or any of his guises, I highly recommend getting hold of a Pavement album such as Brighten the Corners (particular for the unbelievable song Shady Lane) or Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, the Silver Jews' album American Water or his latest solo work Real Emotional Trash.

This is not an ad. This is a community service announcement.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A poem I could have written (but didn't).

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night -

When money's tight and hard to get

And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt -

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,

And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,

When food is scarce and your larder bare

And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare -

In time of trouble and lousey strife,

You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life -

By-the-by, today is May Day, the international day of the labour movement.

I might have a beer later to celebrate.

It’s also the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere, but fuck that.

I hate Spring.