Friday, January 03, 2014

So what the fuck's been happening, world? 2013? What *was* that shit?

Yeah well, end of the year, and what a fucking year eh? There were some real horror stories, some real nightmarish "how can humanity DO this?" moments. And I am sure the absolute lowest moment for all of us was the truly stomach-churning news emerging from Nigeria in November:

Police enforcing strict Islamic law in Nigeria publicly destroyed more than 240,000 bottles of beer in an attempt to crack down on alcohol consumption and other "immoral" behavior in the area, an official said Thursday.

Graphic scenes of a beer holocaust emerged from Nigeria in November.

Christ... all that beer... 240,000 bottles... it is so hard to see the good in the world when you read things like this. Man's inhumanity to beer, eh? It gets to you. For God's sake, world, how could we have JUST SAT ON YOUR HANDS WHILE SUCH SLAUGHTER WENT ON?!?

But, amid the carnage, there was progress. For instance, Tilburg has become the latest Dutch city to embracy "drunk voting".

For the next municipal elections in March 2014 Tilburg, the sixth biggest city of Holland, opens a special voting booths at midnight in the city centre to attract more voters. In other big cities like Rotterdam, The Hague and Groningen this was already the case four years ago. Several hundreds of people made a small stop to vote when they returned home from the bars.

Sure, this might seem a small thing, but symbolically this is an important win. I mean, just look around the world and see what happens when you force electorates to vote sober.

It can only improve the political situation.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un showed the world *just how it is fucking done* by ordering the execution of two advisors to uncle and counter-revolutionary traitor Jang Song-Thaek -- while said to be "very drunk".

Fuck, *that* is how you rule a country! In my opinion, this style of government should be extended globally. The Australian political situation would be a *fuck load* more interesting if you never knew which political figure or high-ranking bureaucrat had been bumped off when you checked the news in the morning.

Hell, I might even start watching Q & A just to see who had survived -- especially if they show footage of the executions from the past week. Among other things, you give Labor hacks machine guns, there goes the "workers' party" in a glorious burst of gunfire and blood splatters.

'I'm drunk! Kill him!' We need a ruler like this, if only to make current affairs programs more watchable.

And they say binge drinking is out of control among young people in this country! Exactly how many people do they execute on an average night out?

The sad truth is it is all a beat up. Kids don't drink *enough*. Seriously, whenever I hear the youth of today are out of control with their drinking, my response is *if only*. In my experience, this is the most sober-minded young generation I have ever had the misfortune to meet.

Sure the media and cops and governments beat up "drunken violence", but stats actually show a *21%* decline in non-domestic violent assaults since 2008.

It is just as an excuse to give the cops more powers. And more often than not, as this horror story of a savage unprovoked violent assault from Brisbane shows, it is the *cops* you gotta worry about if you're out at night having a drink.

But on the youth... I don't get their lack of commitment to drunkenness, I just don't. I mean, I get that the price of alcohol in licensed venues is outrageous... and all the decent pubs are being gentrified into stainless-steel hellholes, and the severe undermining of the social safety net has left a generation dependent on precarious casualised work just to survive, and the pressure of actually making sure the education you increasingly pay more and more for actually translates sooner rather than later into a badly needed job is really high and... well FUCK just typing that shit makes me want a drink.

Of course, shit aint easy all round. The Global Recession begun by the 2008 financial crisis is hitting millions of people really hard, but sometimes, it is the personal stories that really bring it home. Like the heartrending story of England's Princess Michael of Kent.

Princess Michael of Kent has explained how she and her husband have been hit by austerity; meaning they can no longer dine out as it's "too extravagant".

The Princess, who is an interior designer and author, told The Times in an interview to promote her debut novel: "I am in very austere economic times too, thank you very much! We’ve cut back dramatically ..."

The Princess, who lives with her husband at Kensington Palace, added: "We invite people here [Kensington Palace]. I cook. Well, if I’m giving a dinner party I get in help."

She also told the interviewer of her love for budget carrier easyJet saying: "it’s the only direct route to Biarritz [a luxurious seaside town in south-west France]."

But there are good news stories amid all the gloom! Why, here in Australia, we just recently heard the *great news* that 2900 Holden workers have been, in Prime Minister Tony Abbott's words, "liberated" from their jobs.

Yes, no more are these longs-suffering proletarians oppressed by a reliable, livable wage! Modern-day Che Guevaras are the liberation fighters known as General Motors executives, who took millions every year in taxpayer-funded subsidies only to shut down all production when profits weren't good enough.

Sure, liberation is never easy, as Comrade Abbott acknowledges: "Some of them will find it difficult, but many of them will probably be liberated to pursue new opportunities and to get on with their lives."

'All we have to see, is that I don't belong to you and you don't belong to me! Freedom!' Holden workers have learned to appreciate George Michael's wise words now they have been liberated from a regular, decent wage.

And of course, this year we actually got to see the End of the World, and I am not talking about some shit self-referential Hollywood film. I am talking about the End of the World that wasn't broadcast -- in the Philippines post-Super Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the strongest storm to hit land on record.

In the Philippines, you'd struggle to find a single person willing to accept, or even listen to, Australian environment minister Greg "But I read It On Wikipedia" Hunt's insistence that referring to the scientifically-accepted impact of global warming on extreme weather events is "playing politics". It is hard to do that when it is a matter of life or death.

Also, last year was Australia's hottest on record and globally, 13 of the 14 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. But whatever. Nice planet we had, and all that. In more important news, what has happened in *my* life?

Well, thank you for asking, I thought we'd *never* get round to it! I've been writing my Carlo's Corner column for Green Left, coz the goddamn editor keeps insisting, no matter how hungover I try to point out I am when, a day or so after the deadline, I am pressed for copy.

And in the process of writing "Carlo's Corner", I got blogged by far right-wing climate denying crypto-fascist/Daily Telegraph comment editor Tim Blair -- after I dared to mock Australia's role in destroying the UN Warsaw climate talks -- and Blair's congratulatory celebration of this ugly fact.

I was then predictably attacked in the comment section by Blair's right-wing zombies, which is only to be expected... but one went too far and *dared* to criticise my poetry!!! MY POETRY!!! HE SPECIFICALLY LINKED TO THIS POEM WHICH IS MY ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE!!!

I then defended my poetry, and another of these bastards, called "Right Wing Demon", said: "Carlo, so I went to the link and read your poetry. Sorry, it is not much better than my poetry which is crap. I wouldn’t be so proud of that effort if I were you."

All I can say is I *really* wanna read Right Wing Demon's poetic efforts, if his poetic efforts (and we can say with 100% certainty we are dealing with a "he") are even worse than my totally serious and and not at all written as fast I could type them while drunk masterpieces.

Asides from that, well I did some stand-up stuff, particularly via the ever-wonderful Comedy on Edge at The Pub Formerly Known As The Shannon in Chippendale). I didn't do a huge amount, really, but when I think on it, I kinda got to do some incredible shit.

* I got to take part in Green Left's annual comedy debate down in Melbourne hosted by Rod Quantock. Performing with Quantock meant a lot to me, coz he is a legend of the comedy scene -- renown for his left-wing political bent and for starring for years in all those ads as Capt'n Snooze. He also said some nice shit about me, which you can read on the poster for my own show a bit below.

* I got flown to Darwin to do a gig for the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network in August. Rod Quantock was originally going to perform at the event, but had to pull out. After they almost secured a bunch of performers with actual *names* in comedy, my name got thrown into the mix.

Never having been to the Northern Territory, I was pretty keen... until, having agreed, it was revealed the gig was just outside Darwin in Palmerston at a Sports Club with the explicit aim of drawing in the redneck locals to seek to "educate" them away from hostility to asylum seekers via a free comedy and trivia event.

My mental image of having to make a Blues Brothers-esque escape from the venue as bottles rained down around me was not altered when, before it started, a local, not knowing I was there to perform, cheerfully told me his exact views on these dickheads who'd come to his local to talk about boat people, and his personal solution to the problem of all these boats coming: blow 'em all up.

As it turns out, I had no need to worry. The locals all happily shunned the well-meaning event and stayed in the front bar while I performed to the 20-odd refugee rights supporters who had turned out. Which was fine by me... And then afterwards, I got to see Darwin and other bits of the Top End with Robbo and Conehead, who had made the trip up.

We saw the best Darwin's nightlife had to offer, featuring a violent bar brawl involving off duty soldiers. Then we went to Adelaide River to see far more socially agreeable creatures.

Adelaide River. More agreeable company than off-duty soldiers in a bar. Photo by Conehead.

* I did my first show at a festival, going up to Brisbane for the Brisbane Fringe Comedy Festival to perform "The Yucky County: Just Make Clive Palmer PM". It went well, was quite a lot of fun, and, in passing, I got Rod Quantock to give me a nice quote for publicity.

'Carlo Sands is a sharp, well-informed political comedian who crafts laughter from the absurdities of Left and Right '-- Capt'n Snooze.

* And I performed, along Twiggy Palmer (who interrupted Abbott's victory night speech), Newcastle comic Hannah G, and Michael Hing who has been on TV and shit, at Green Left's enormously successful "Welcome to the Abbottoir" in November. You can see my clip below, and all four performances are here.

'So Adelaide's bus tickets, eh?' If there is one thing I have learned performing comedy across this wide brown land of ours, it is that people love to laugh at Adelaide.

But, of course, it would be totally remiss of me to not mention the most important, inspiring and just GODDAMN GLORIOUS event in the ENTIRE WORLD for 2013 ... the Western Sydney Wanderers winning the A-League premiership in their FIRST EVER SEASON!!!

This feat was achieved in the very final game of the regular season on March 29, when many thousands of Wanderers fans made the trip up the see the mighty red and black down Newcastle 3-0 to conclude one of the most remarkable feats in sporting history.

'Who do we sing for?' Wanderers players (above) celebrate winning the Premier's Plate in the club's first ever season with the fans (below).

Well... fuck, that was glorious. But anyway, here is Texas country singer Hayes Carll summing up what it is like trying to *live* in this godforsaken hellhole of a world.

'And I'm out here in the filth and the squalor... and all I wanna do is stomp and holler...'

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