Saturday, December 01, 2007
How wrong I was.
Now if you go on Facebook you will see a thousand different groups claiming it is all a grand CIA consirpiacy, or denouncing some latest alleged violation of personal privacy.
Well I say there are much greater problems with this institution.
Let's start with this: So-called friends *repeatedly* send you so-called drinks. Like they are doing you some kind of favour.
Of course, I am for people buying me drinks. But there is one small problem. THEY DON'T FUCKING EXIST!
That's right — you cannot consume a Facebook drink. Take note, everyone, a Facebook drink, no matter how many "Tequilla Sunrises", "Cockersucking Cowboys", or "Irish Carbombs" you may deign to send, CANNOT get anyone drunk.
Now, maybe you missed a meeting, but that is kind of THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT of alcohol.
I mean, what kind of person thinks *fictional booze* is a good idea??? What is this post-modern drug abuse everyone is so keen to promote?
Is this someone's idea of a sick joke? Well, I for one want to see corpses hanging from lamposts in response. Teach the fuckers a lesson.
You see, alcohol is not a joke. No! It exists for a reason. To get *drunk*. And you are all taking its name in vain.
It appears to be some kind of taunt to us alcoholics. Here, have drink! On me! Only... you can't *actually* consume it. Have fun!
It isn't as though I don't appreciate the sentiment. I just happen to think that a law should be passed that says anyone who sends a fictional drink to someone else using this evil institution is required, on pain of death, at the next convenient moment, to transform this positive "drink buying" sentiment into a material reality — and buy the *real fucking thing*!
Otherwise, I thank you not to waste my time.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Yesterday myself and fellow Australians went to the polling booths under threat of being fined hundreds of dollars (for we have compulsory voting). And — let the world hear our cry! — we voted for change.
Oh yes, we told our former prime minister John Howard to go and get fucked, in no uncertain terms. So decisive were we that we even kicked him out in his own electorate in the seat he has held since 1974. This is the first time since 1929 a prime minister has lost their seat in an election.
Why did we vote for change? Because Howard is a fucking racist anti-worker, anti-poor warmongering, democracy-hating extreme right-wing fascist. Howard bashed one too many sectors of the electorate.
He bashed welfare recipients, he bashed trade unionists, he bashed refugees and migrants, he bashed Indigenous people, he bashed women, he bashed gays and lesbians and finally he bashed the ENTIRE WORKING CLASS with "Work Choices".
(This was not a good idea, because the views of post modern sociologists about the non-existence of the working class notwithstanding, most people still actually need to go to work for a living.)
Having attacked pretty much everyone but the CEOs of BHP — assuming they are aren't women (pretty likely) or gay (I wouldn't be wagering money on that one) — strangely enough he struggled to find enough people willing to throw a vote in his direction.
So, like I said, we threw the bastard out. And what did we get for our troubles? THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING IN RETURN!!!!!
(Actually, it is quite a clever trick. Kevin Rudd gets elected because he isn't John Howard, and does so promising to continue doing what John Howard did. The genius of the trick is he wont have to break his promises because he never really made any.)
What a wonderful system, thank *christ* we live in a democracy where the will of the people prevails.
The whole debacle brings to mind that classic election slogan from the last time a long rule of the conservatives was ended, back in 1972... It's Time. It's time, alright...
Damn right! On election night, I drank in celebration at the defeat of John Howard. Ever since I have been drinking in commiseration at the victory of Kevin Rudd.
Now, if *only* there was a singer out there with the guts to say "fuck you"... Thank you Jarvis Cocker. This song is aimed primarily at "New Labour" in Britain. It applies, word for word, to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Jarvis has even been kind enough to include the words to sing a long to in this clip.
There is nothing else to say.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I fucking love it.
So when I find out someone's career is going to be ended by it, I get a little upset.
Tomorrow is a sad day in the history of the Australian Football League.
Aussie Rules superstar Ben Cousins faces a Show Trial, where he will be found guilty of generating bad headlines (the official title is “bringing the game into disrepute”), banned from playing for at least a year and quite possibly for ever.
In true Show Trial-style, if he ever wants to play again he will almost certainly have to publicly “recant”, confess to his degeneracy and apologise to the entire fucking country for having sinned.
Now don’t get me wrong. Ben Cousins may well be one of the greatest Aussie Rules footballers ever, but he is far from innocent.
Until his recent sacking, he played for the West Coast Eagles — a close contender the most arrogant and obnoxious club to ever bring the game into disrepute.
However there are a good three dozen or so other young men currently on the Eagles playing list, and none of them are being hauled before the AFL’s Star Chamber.
And as Cousins has never played for Carlton, some leniency is surely due.
So what has he done?
Well anyone who has glanced at the papers will know this is all about drugs.
Not “performance enhancing” drugs. Recreational drugs.
Seems young Ben has a liking for for substances that, for reasons of historical quirk, are currently prohibited.
This state of affairs is not even 100 years old and, like the ill-fated (and utterly evil) alcohol prohibition in the US in the '20s, has proven a complete and utter failure.
Prohibition merely makes prohibited drugs more dangerous and under the control of violent gangsters.
I'll have my coke with ice, thanks
So what are these drugs Cousins is perhaps a little too fond of? Well, that has not been confirmed.
Let’s just say that the popular joke goes: “Have you heard about the new Ben Cousins meal deal at [Eagles sponsors] Hungry Jacks? No burger and fries, just coke and ice.”
So young Ben Cousins, who has won pretty much every award it is possible for an AFL player to win at the age of just 29, likes to put a lot of white shit up his nose.
There is an obvious question no one asks: so what? What business is it to anyone else where one of the games highest-paid players pocket money goes?
Personally, I prefer to soak my liver. I will admit that certain stimulants can assist in this task, allowing you to drink for entire weekends at a time.
But I have principles and don’t believe in performance enhancing drugs.
I take my booze straight.
Apparently, our fine and principled media and politicians have a different take. I don’t want to call the media vultures, as that would be an insult to what is, in comparison, a mighty fine bird.
Let’s be clear — this means profits for them as they voyeristically pick over every aspect of Cousins’ personal life that can be sold as seedy, troubled and down right fascinating.
And as Cousins is, on available evidence, a drug addict, there is a lot out there. A lot of headlines, a lot of readers and a lot of advertising cash.
For politicians, who I am sure we would all love to drug test, it is simple moral hysteria to turn working people who like to drink against working people who like other drugs — and give the cops more power to attack us all.
The facts are these: Cousins has never tested positive to drugs. He has never been found guilty of any crime. His only crime is generating bad publicity for the AFL via the vulture-media — threatening the AFL's “brand” (read: corporate sponsorship).
Cousins’ drug use does appear to have become something of a problem for him. But there is a reason such things are, usually, referred to as “personal issues”. It’s because they are no one else’s fucking business!
The importance of getting wasted
Now, I love booze, but I am not a fascist. I see no reason to force my personal preference on others.
The important thing is we all love to get wasted.
And we can all too easily cross that fine line between good, healthy drug abuse and serious addiction. Most of us do this with alcohol, a minority with prohibited drugs.
To give a sense of how ridiculous the system is, according to the media, Cousins, who had fled to the US, was admitted to hospital after overdosing on cocaine. Having survived, needing care and assistance, Cousins found himself pursued by the US police wanting to charge him for using a prohibited substance!
Of course, that was more front page headlines, notwithstanding Ben Cousin’s dad’s emotional appeal to the media to leave his son alone because he has little hope of recovering with the media pillaging his every movement.
But this is not all that the AFL are considering when they charge Ben Cousins with bringing the game into disrepute.
No, he has also brought the game into disrepute by associating with what are referred to as “underworld figures” in Perth.
Ben Cousins is a known “associate” (that is what you call someone's friend when you want to spit on the friendship) of John Kizon, well-known suspected gangster and drug dealer who, according to his lawyer, is a fine upstanding citizen.
What is Cousins’ problem? Why would he want to hang out with petty, small-time gangsters when he is more than welcome to associate with big-time corporate robber barons from the insurance industry like SGIO — high-profile sponsors of the Eagles?
First the man abuses the wrong drug (why can’t he abuse alcohol like most famous Aussie sporting icons for fuck's sake?)
Then he hangs out with the wrong sort of gangster!
He clearly has to go.
A new Oscar Wilde?
The actions of the media vultures, the moral hysteria, and the hypocritical clamouring for the blood of a high profile victim guilty of preferring the wrong sort of pleasure brings to mind another infamous case from over 100 years ago.
Now, I am not saying Ben Cousins is a modern day Oscar Wilde.
I am not trying to compare his problems with the white powder with the persecution of the genius playwright and Irishman for homosexuality.
There is obviously no comparison. By all accounts Wilde had none of the grace nor poise on a football field, and he never won a Brownlow.
In his defence, Wilde also never played for the Eagles.
What I will say is I hope Cousins gives a spirited defence of his right to put whatever shit up his nose that he wants. As footballers are not renown for a Wildean way with words, I have taken the liberty of writing Ben’s speech for him.
Head held high, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s famous trial speech, Cousins should declare to the whole world his love of the drug that dare not speak its name:
“‘The love that dares not speak its name’ in this century is such a great affection for stimulating narcotics that Sigmund Freud enjoyed for cocaine, such as Coca Cola made the basis of their corporate expansion ... It is that deep spiritual affection that, when pure, is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art.
“It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as ‘the love that dares not speak its name’, and on that account of it I am placed where I am now.
“It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of drug abuse. There is nothing unnatural about it, and it repeatedly exists with a younger man who has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him.
“That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.”
Well, Ben Cousins, you have the support of this fellow drug abuser.
Or an alternative speech Ben Cousins could give if Wilde’s not his bag.
Sure enough the inevitable happened. The AFL Show Trial found Ben Cousins guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and banned him for 12 months, after which it will consider whether to let him back in.
The AFL *refused* to even say what the evidence against Cousins that their Star Chamber considered actually was! And on this basis, Cousins is denied employment for at least one year in the only thing he is any fucking good at. Beyond running from cops, of course.
And as predicted, in true Stalinist style, Cousins was forced to hold a press conference at which, woodenly reading his prepared script, he publicly “confessed” to his crimes and admitted to being a degenerate human being.
He apologised to everyone for this state of affairs.
The only hint of defiance came with this reference to the seemingly endless stream of lurid stories about Cousins in recent weeks: “Contrary to media reports, I am a lot further down the track in my rehabilitation than has been reported.”
Of course, Ben Cousins had no choice but to capitulate. It was a kangaroo court, the verdict was prepared in advance and everything was stacked against him. He could play his assigned role or he could kiss his career (and livelihood) goodbye.
But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to accept such hypocritical stupidity.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
And it was spoken over a cool jazz backing.
If you get through Tom Wait's brilliant spoken word, a song awaits, introduced thus:
"Y'know... this is kinda a torch song, it was written primarily for the piano and fire extinguisher... [sings] Warm beer, cold women, no I just don't fit in ..."
"It's like pissing in the wind... you got step back or you'll get it all over your slacks... I never drink when I drive, I might might spill something on my sports short..." — Mr Tom Waits.
Here, finally, I present it for the viewing of the general public.
I KILL YOU NOW FUCK OFF AND GET ME A DRINK
I kill you
Because you are a bastard
And you deserve to die
Because you are a fucking arsehole
I will kill you again
What do you mean I can only kill you once?
Why are you talking, you are dead!
Now fuck off and get me a drink
I await my Nobel Prize.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I thought I would share with the world a valuable lesson I have learned recently, so hopefully I can help someone else, perhaps a little green around the ears as I was once was, avoid the same mistake. If only someone had been around to warn me!
As I explained in my previous post, I made what I am big enough to admit was a serious mistake in my "lifestyle choices" a little while back. I decided to give up drinking.
My thought for the day is inspired by this misguided adventure:
"Anything in excess can be dangerous, but especially sobriety."
Remember that one, kids. They'll tell you that too much booze can kill you. Yeah, well, so can not enough.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Yes. To stop drinking. At least for a bit, and generally to cut back.
Well, I guess I was sick of severe hangovers, and thinking about all the useful things I could do if I was at home more evenings, and not struggling to avoid falling off a stool in some inner-Sydney dive. Perhaps, without realising it, the constant bombardment of anti-booze propaganda in the media was seeping into my consciousness.
Whatever it was, I was wrong, and I am big enough to admit it. The brutal reality is, I didn't feel any better for not drinking. True, a friend commented that I was "looking a lot better", but really, unless not drinking is going to transform me into Johnny Depp, who really cares?
I still spent large amount of time feeling like crap. I felt more stressed. I didn't get anything more done. In short, I mistakenly blamed booze for the general horrors of life in late monopoly capitalism. Modern life is not nice. In Australia, it is hardly ever even interesting. I recommend a diet of struggle against the status quo, however difficult that seems in Australia. And, in the meantime, a drug like alcohol can be a useful tool to make the seemingly endless rise of barbarism a bit more bearable.
Don't let the propaganda get to you. Below is an article from The Age, called Beware the wowsers trying to stop us enjoying a drink. By James Campbell, it demolishes the myths.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Stewart is better known for taking Wait's great tale of despairing heartache, Downtown Train, and turning it into an overproduced piece of forgettable pop — quite an achievement given the quality of the material he had to destroy.
But this, well this is so much worse.
I had heard rumours he had covered Tom Traubert's Blues. My hopes were not high, but they were still shattered by the horror of it all.
This is an atrocity. Rod Stewart should be hauled to The Hague for his crimes against humanity. Needless to say, I flagged it as inappropriate.
(If Youtube have removed the clip, you can hear the audio-only version.)
I mean what hell does Rod Stewart think he is doing? I think he may have, just maybe, missed the point of the song. It is a lot of things, but smooth, overproduced and lifeless aren't among them. Why is he wearing a fucking dinner jacket? The song is about being drunk and disheveled, not going to a god damn concert recital!
This, while singing lines about being "No prima donna/ The perfume was on a/Shirt that was stained with blood and whiskey"! The only thing his shirt looks like it is ever likely to be stained with is cranberry sauce and chardonay.
And the horror of that perm has to be seen to be believed, topped off as it is with a gold earing and highly disturbing facial hair. Seriously, it looks like he fell into someone's pubic hair with glue on his face.
When you look like that, no amount of earnest staring into the camera, and clutching of the heart, is going to convince anyone you are or can relate to the first person character whose life consists of a "battered old suitcase/in a hotel someplace".
Especially not when when you replace Waits admittedly unmatchable gravely deep-throated voice with a high pitched squeal. It sounds like musak being tortured.
It does, however, have the fascination of a bloody car pile-up in peak hour.
Luckily, You Tube serves both the forces of good as well as evil.
To see how it is *supposed* to be done, see this sublime performance by Waits in 1977.
"Wasted and wounded, it aint what the moon did, I got what I paid for now".
Waits provides a genuinely moving and very beautiful version. If only because you believe he could very well be telling this story from personal experience.
Watching this, you would not be surprised to find out that, just before Waits entered the room and made his way to the piano, his manager was desperately searching the streets looking for him. And, upon finding him slumped on some random park bench, shook him furiously while shouting "Tom! Tom!!! Come on, your late for your show again!!!!"
Then, having shoved black coffee down his throat, pushed him out onto the stage, crossing his fingers and hoping for the best. And Waits, making it to the piano without falling over, produces something as stunning and near-perfect as this rendition of that classic song.
* The video has now mercifully been removed by Youtube - quite possible as a direct result of Carlo Sands' intervention.
However, there is a clip posted to You Tube of Stewart performing the song live on Top of the Pops in 1992 that is almost as bad. At least he isn't wearing the dinner jacket, though he does have the facial hair.
And you can still hear the horror of the studio version here. The person who posted the song was thoughtful enough to provide a slideshow of Rod in action to give at least a visual taste for what has rightly been buried.
* THE VIDEO IS FUCKING BACK UP!!!! AAARRGGHH!!!
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I used to live in Canberra. People assume you can’t live in Canberra, in any real sense of the term living. But those people are mistaken.
True, most of Canberra is an unbearably atrocious, soulless, neat, tidy, public servant collared-shirt-underneath-a-lovely-knitted-sweater-wearing hell. This is undeniable.
But there is respite. It is called The Phoenix. It isn’t just respite - it is quite possible the best pub I know of. There is an inverse relationship between The Phoenix and the rest of Canberra. The degree to which the rest of Canberra resembles hell is directly related to the degree by which The Phoenix resembles heaven. It is as good as the rest of Canberra is bad.
Everyone who doesn’t fit into the polo-necked shirt-wearing hell of Canberra seeks refuge in The Phoenix.
It is easy to find, too. It is in the closest thing Canberra has to a “city centre”, and it has a chalk board out the front with the word “pub” written on it and an arrow pointing to the door. You might have to queue on a Friday if you get there late enough, but it wont make any difference if you have on a three piece suit or are wearing thongs. (Pretty much every other place at a similar time is full of the polo-neck shirt-wearing prats).
The Phoenix is usually full of its fair share of drunks. As such, it pays little attention to the normal rules of the working week. Friday’s are usually packed out, it is true. But you have almost as much chance of find the place raucous until after midnight on a Tuesday or Wednesday night — depending on a combination of the mood of the clientele and the mood of the bar staff (who, when desperate to go home, will resort to shouting “it’s closing time, thanks for coming, now FUCK OFF!!!”)
However “closing time” doesn’t always mean “closing time for everyone”, and it isn’t unheard of for regulars to gain entry in the early hours of the morning to join other regulars, and the bar staff, in violating the licensing laws.
Amongst other features, The Phoenix also has a non-smoking section — as is only proper (to say nothing of “legally required”) in this day and age. Unfortunately for non-smokers, it is situated out the back. The section around the bar is “smoking”, and on a busy night the whole front section is barely visible through the heavy cloud of smoke. Not the most practical arrangement, but it does help keep out undesirable elements.
What sort of person frequents The Phoenix? Well, I provide one case study culled from an old email, from about five years ago, below:
I was in the Phoenix on Tuesday night. I wont name the person I was there drinking with, for fear of bringing their otherwise good name into disrepute by associating them with a den of sin and depravation such as The Phoenix. So let’s just call them “Kristian”.
Anyone who knows “Kristian” will know how out of character it was for him to be frequenting such an establishment. However, he is a person given to charity work, so clearly was there to see what poor souls he could assist.
Kristian introduced me to an individual, propped somewhat unsteadily up at the bar, called Justin. I wondered how Kristian could know such a clearly “dodgy” character, but figured that charity work amongst the less fortunate brings contact with all sorts.
Justin was in his late thirties, with short, balding hair and about four days growth. He was wearing an old woolen jumper, coming apart and full of holes, that almost succeeded in obscuring what was a generous pot belly. He was slurring his words a little and swaying a bit, but with all the air of a man for whom this is his natural condition — and a condition to be carried with pride.
He was someone who had not moved on in the slightest from his student days.
He told me proudly that he comes from a long line of radicals. His grandfather founded the Communist Party in Canberra. He even knows the exact address of grandfather’s house that served as the first Communist Party headquarters here.
“Me and Kristian used to walk past it on the way back from the pub in the old days.”
“Yes”, said Kristian. “You were so proud you pointed it out and told me the same story seven nights in a row.” (Note: clearly charity work amongst the less fortunate is a full time occupation.)
But particular interesting for me was he used to live in my hometown of Perth. Not just that, but he played a role in an event of some nostalgic significance for me — the first protest I attended as a student way back in 1995.
It was a protest against the then-Keating government’s attempt to introduce up-front fees for university courses. I followed when Resistance led a section of the crowd off to occupy the Austudy offices. Justin is especially proud of his role in this. He lead the way smashing the door down. Lost his shoe and appeared on the front page of the West Australian.
“They always want to condemn you for radical action, but it's like Castro said ‘History will absolve me!'” he says earnestly, almost falling off his chair.
Of course, radical action has its costs for those involved. Castro went to jail. Justin lost a shoe. And this meant that, having at the end of the protest only one boot (the cops apparently having stolen the other), he couldn’t get into the pub for after-rally drinks. Struggle exacts the harshest of sacrifices.
But politics soon moved onto a topic clearly close to his heart. Poohey pants.
“Who wants to hear a poohey pants story?”
He ignores the vote and stands, swaying with wild arm gestures, to launch into it.
He was, he says in the middle of a bender. “When are you not?”, someone suggests.
No, he insists, a real bender. One where you go for months drinking from first thing in the morning until you go to sleep.
He was wearing his good friend Scott's white woollen underpants. (His friend George, who was standing next to him and trying his hardest to ignore the “poohey pants” story, was forced to respond when Justin slapped him hard on his arm exclaiming “You remember Scottie!” George gave a reluctant nod of recognition, and stared into his schooner).
I asked why he was wearing his friends underpants. He treated my question as though the answer was obvious.
“It was the middle of a bender. There were no other clean undies.”
Anyhow, there was a dinner party. He had to take a leak. He goes to the toilet and he explains how, during a bender, things “get pretty messy out back”. He stands there and, as he pisses, his bowel simultaneously loosen…
He takes off his trousers and removes the now-poohey underpants. He is not quite sure what to do with the them, so he looks around and hides them under a washing basket full of clothes in the laundry. He figures they are safe for the time being. No one is going to notice them during the dinner party itself, and he can deal with them discreetly later. He goes downstairs to rejoin the festivities.
What he didn’t count on was the resident dog. The dog’ s keen nose leads it inevitably to the washing basket, and nosing around, it finds the thoroughly shit-covered pants. Proud of its find, it eagerly takes off down the stairs to show off. The dinner party, having only been recently rejoined by the secretly underpants-free Justin, is confronted by the happy dog, poohey underpants in its mouth, running around the table.
“It did laps!”, a hapless Justin tells us, pausing for a decent swig from his schooner.
He says there was nothing he could do. It was obvious to all present that he had just shat himself. Including Scott. Who, as the dog circled the dinner party guests, suddenly cried out: “Hey! Those underpants are mine!”
He tells this story without a hint of shame. It has his immediate audience in tears of laughter. Unfortunately, this only encourages him. He decides to tell another poo-related story.
It goes way back to when he was 19 and travelling in Europe. He was in Amsterdam, and not accustomed to smoking marijuana of the strength the Dutch provide.
One day he gets back to his hostel stoned out of his nut, and decides what he needs is a shower. With only two shower cubicles, he has to wait for one to become free. Eventually a guy walks out of one, and Justin walks in. He closes the door and sees, before him in the middle of the shower, a turd.
As he stares at it — stoned out of his skull — a queue is forming outside his shower. Paranoia begins to grip him as he realises that whoever comes in next is going to blame him for that shit. As he showers, he figures he has got to get rid of this turd somehow.
Water running, he uses his foot to push the shit towards the drain and his toes to forces it down the plug hole. A slow and unpleasant process, but, he says, it ultimately works. He manages to get rid of all the shit.
Relieved, he walks out of the shower cubicle and starts to leave when the German tourist who was in the cubicle next door emerges suddenly and calls out, in front of the long line of people waiting for a shower: “I saw the turd! There was a turd and you tried to get rid of it, but I saw the turd!”So, that is the cliental at the Phoenix.