Monday, December 30, 2019

The World Is Fucked So Here's 9 Kirsty MacColl Songs

'We should just take our chances while we've got nothing to lose'
Jesus Christ this world is fucked. 2019 was a basket case and 2020 will be the worst year til 2021, no contest. So fuck it, here are 9 songs by Kirsty MacColl.

The first time I came across English singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl, who was almost certainly killed by a multi-millionaire supermarket chain owner in 2000, was on "Fairytale of New York". On that iconic Pogues song, she plays the down-and-out female character, singing a duet with the ever-drunk Shane MacGowan.

On that track, she's full of charisma and fire. But if you stop there, with MacColl's work on someone else's song, you're missing out.

Because Kirsty MacColl, daughter of communist folk singer Ewan MacColl of "Dirty Old Town" and "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" fame, is something else. Her songs in her too-short career are filled with wit, anger and humanity. (You can watch a doco about her life and songs).

Genuinely original, her songs span pop, rock, country and Latin music. She can be tender, but most of all she knows when to shove the knife in and twist. A Kirsty MacColl song has zero tolerance for cunts.

Her death aged 41 in 2000 was not just tragic, it was fucking symbolic. It sums up this shithole of a world.

WHen she died, MacColl was on holiday in Mexico, having just visited Cuba again.

(A supporter of besieged Cuba and its culture, MacColl raised funds to break the fucked-up US blockade on the island. When she was killed, a charity was launched inspired by her work -- Music Funds for Cuba -- to support Cuban artists.)

MacColl was diving in a designated diving area with her two sons when a speedboat owned by Guillermo González Nova, multimillionaire president of the Comercial Mexicana supermarket chain, illegally sped through. It was heading straight for her 15-year-old son Jamie before MacColl managed to push him out of its path, only to hit by the boat herself.

She died instantly.

Despite Gonzalez Nova being on his boat, one of his employees claimed to have been driving (he later said he'd been paid to take the blame). A Mexican court gave him a fine for killing MacColl of US$90.

That's the world. The rich kill you and get the hired help to pay a minor fee.

Here is a a playlist of 9 songs, mostly hers with two covers thrown in. Any seeming connection to the current events in Britain or elsewhere is purely coincidental.


There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis
But he's a liar and I'm not sure about you
Lucky the world has changed and, since MacColl's death in 2000, no lying man of any note has risen to any sort of prominence. There is also a cool alternate country version of this track from her debut album.

They smile and say cheese
They're so eager to please
But they'll never remember your name
The names and the places all change
I love this song, with its country stylings. It is savage against men being cunts, but still shot through with hope, tenderness and a large dash of self-deprecation.

The mercury is rising and it's not all that surprising
In the land of milk and honey where you make big money
And it always keeps the rain off and it always keeps you dry
But back home the people hate you and you never did know why
I don't know how, but Kirsty MacColl appears to have written a song about Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison literally 30 years ago!

I thought of you when they closed down the school
And the hospital too
Did they think that you were better?
They were wrong
You had so many friends
They all left you in the end
'cause they couldn't stand the patter
I don't know how, but Kirsty MacColl appears to have written a song about recently re-elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson literally 30 years ago!

It is not in my nature to ever pick the winning team
Sometimes I think I'm happy then I remember it's a dream
Now it isn't in my nature to ever pick a winner
I always pick a bastard who would have me for his dinner
A true story about a bastard of a man/ruling class.

Then I met an Englishman
Oh, he said
Won't you walk up and down my spine
It makes me feel strangely alive
I said: In these shoes?
I doubt you'd survive
I said: Honey, let's do it
I must admit I can think of an Englishman I'd like to see killed in such a fashion. Fuck it, I can think of a few million of the Tory voting pricks.

I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
That's probably just as well Kirsty, after events in that fucking shithole this year.

You just haven't earned it yet, baby
You must suffer and cry for a longer time
Welcome to 2020... We are yet to earn deep-going radical change to create a humane, sustainable world. Yet.

Why should it matter to us if they don't approve
We should just take our chances while we've got nothing to lose
There's no need for living in the past
Now I found good loving gonna make it last
I tell the others don't bother me
Cause when they look at you they don't see what I see
No I don't listen to their wasted lines
Got my eyes wide open and I see the signs
But they don't know about us
And they've never heard of love
Look I'll admit it. This song is how I feel about Jeremy Corbyn. But I get it, he lost and he, as an individual, is stepping down as leader of Those Who Fucking Want There To Be a Fucking Future (English Division).

But the ideas -- the policies and the Manifesto developed since he unexpectedly and Quixotically became British Labour Party leader remain... so I guess what I am saying is this is how I feel about Corbynism and the mass movement around these ideas.

So yeah. We should just take our chances while we've got nothing to lose.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

7 Things We All Love About An Aussie Summer (Apocalypse Version)

The Aussie summer is pretty special. It's one of the great things about this land we are so lucky to live in and yet somehow have caused horrific destruction to in just over two centuries of colonial setter rule, undoing tens of thousands of years of carefully developed environmental management by the continent's original inhabitants. How good is an Aussie summer? Here are 7 things we all love when the sun comes out, presumably as we can't really see it these days in several major citites. Number 5 is our fave!

1) Coughing

Once, you'd only get a nasty chesty cough you can't shake in the winter months. Now, thanks to the monster fires in multiple states that are covering major metropolitan areas with dangerous smoke, we can cough uncontrollably all year round!

2) Coughing with relatives

Christmas is a time to bring families together! Well, assuming they don't need to drive on any of the major roads heading into the nation's largest city in the most populous state that are shut down due to out-of-control fires that can't be put out and just grow ever-more destructive. Also assuming they didn't book a flight with Jetstar. 

But if your extended family can make it to the same place at the same time, you can all enjoy staying indoors for health reason, and to avoid an unprecedented heat wave, and you can discuss how sore your throats are from the trip from the driveway to the front door.

3) Existential dread

As we can no longer pretend we aren't in the grip of a constantly worsening ecoholocaust fatally undermining the capacity of the planet to sustain human civilisation, a major trend this summer is "being consumed by existential dread". What does the future hold? Who knows but it looks pretty bleak! Luckily you are on holidays so you probably don't need to sleep any way.

4) Attend climate emergency demonstrations

One of the great things about summer is the chance to go out and socialise. Why not attend a climate emergency demonstration and meet a whole bunch of like-minded people also ignoring health warnings to stay indoors? Brave extreme heat as you march (and cough!) together to demand some fucking measures to tackle climate change, water theft and severe land mismanagement. 

As an added bonus you can also see cops threaten violence against children in defence of a government of fucking criminals who should be tried in the Hague for crimes against humanity.

5) The beach!!!

Who doesn't love the beach? This is one of the iconic "Aussie summer" joys, and this year it comes with a 2019/20 twist! Ash from the unprecedented mega-fires that cannot be put out until major rain (see below) is washing up on NSW beaches, turning the water black! We all love a new twist on a classic, and swimming in black water will remind of when you were a kid and you'd add food colouring to a bubble bath! Only this ash is quite toxic and will probably also get into NSW's already depleted drinking water supplies.

6) Try to remember what rain was like

So it's been a super-hard year at work and you're finally on break, but you can't leave your home due to heat and smoke, or possibly a raging bushfire just round the corner. Don't fret! There is plenty of awesome things you can do in your hopefully airconditioned prison cell of a house. For one, try remembering what rain was like. What did it look like? What did it feel like? What did it smell like? This is a great mind game that will test the powers of your memory to their fullest!

For extra points, see how long you can go without panicking about the fact that even when these fires eventually stop, if they ever do, the drought has largely emptied water supplies and there are severe shortages in many places.

7) Flee for your life

You've worked hard your whole life and you've bought a wonderful "tree change" property that you just love in which to enjoy your well-deserved retirement. Only now it is on fire and you are fleeing desperately to safety as a life's worth of memories goes up in smoke and there is nothing the exhausted, volunteer firies risking their lives can do to save it. 

Don't look back! Seriously, don't, just keep driving till you reach relative safety. Fuck.That was exhilirating wasn't it? No one said the Apocalypse would be boring!


So there you have it, these are just some of the awesome activities on offer to Aussies this summer! For an added bonus, why not try overthrowing not just this government but the entire degenerated capitalist system that has no solution but burning ever more fossil fuels, despite the major fossil fuel giants knowing deceades ago that this would happen! Then re-organise society along eco-socialist lines, combining social justice with ecological regeneration and a building a sustainable economy. No doubt, if you are like most Aussies, you'll have heaps of things on, but see if you can fit it in. Please! I'm begging you.

'The streets are screamig help me...'

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Waiting For A Bus In Sydney: A Short Play

Sydney is a self-described "world class city" in which it is frequently impossible to move around. For instance, a Sydney Morning Herald headline from a week ago reads 'This is peak NSW': CBD streets closed after new Sydney tram breaks down.

There are many theories as to Sydney and its transport is as fucked as it is. One popular theory is "they've handed the entire state to private corporations and 'get rich quick'  developers' while massively defunding public infrastructure that you then flog off" are reasonably popular theories, as are "ARRGH JESUS FUCK YOU FUCKING PRICKS" (a quick poll from a random train station the other day).

In short, NSW in general is a strange combination of increasingly pure neoliberalism with ugly, sleazy nepotistic corruption overseen by incompetent gangsters.

Take for instance this totally true story that happened to me, that I have decided is best expressed in the form of a short play in a bid to "reach the masses", whose love for theatre is well-known. I hereby publish it below

I can't recall exactly where these events, but it was one of those places on the very outskirts civilised life. An isolated, nowhere land where dreams go to die and nightmares go shopping at Westfields. Which is all another way of saying it happened in "somewhere in Sydney".

The Bus Stop

[Carlo Sands waits at a bus stop somewhere in Sydney. There is no shelter, just one of those planks of wood stuck in the ground with a Sydney Buses logo sprayed on it. A small girl of about five approaches.]

SMALL GIRL: Hello sir, could I please borrow 50 cents?

CARLO: [looks at girl] Fuck off.

SMALL GIRL: If you give me 50 cents, sir, I’ll fuck off.

CARLO: [Looks at her, she stares back] Lucky for you I hate kids. [gives her a coin] Now fuck off.

SMALL GIRL: Thank you sir. I always keep a promise!

[She kicks him in the shins and runs off]

CARLO: Good! Ow.

[A man walks up as Carlo rubs his shin while looking down the road for a bus.]

MAN: Howyagoin there mate?

CARLO: [looks at him then back down the road, hand on shin] Bruised.

MAN: Let me guess, you had to pay 50 cents for the privilege?

CARLO: The little fucker got you too, did she?

MAN: She’s infamous round these parts. You’re not a local, clearly. No shin pads.

CARLO: You mean the little pigtailed princess violently assaults people all the fucking time? For cash? Why doesn’t someone deal with the little prick?

MAN: She’s the daughter of the local member. She’s got connections.

CARLO: What the fuck does she need 50 cents for then? Her family's fucking loaded.

MAN: The MP's a gambling man. Pokies. You can find him down the RSL most days losing our hard-earned taxes. When he runs out of coins, he sends his little princess out to do the rounds.

CARLO: Jesus Christ! Well, thank fuck I’m outta this hole. What time’s the bus come?

MAN: Bus? [Laughs] Mate, we haven’t seen a bus round these parts in years. That’s an antique you’re standing next to. Should be in a museum, but the council keeps it out for show.

CARLO: What the hell are you talking about? When’s the fucking bus come?

MAN: I told you, you’ll wait here for ever. You want my advice, you’d better start moving. You don’t want to get caught out here after dark.

CARLO: [Staring] You’re serious! Why has this shit hole got no fucking buses?

MAN: The MP's gambling debts. He acts in our name, so we gotta pay it back somehow. It’s only fair, they said. First thing they took was the buses.

CARLO: Oh, for god’s sake! Why don’t you boot the bastard out?

MAN: Oh c’mon! And let the other mob in? No one wins by replacing a mongrel with a street dog, that’s how we look at it ’round here.

CARLO: [looking down the street] But having no buses…

MAN: [looks at him carefully] You know, we used to have a few of your sort round here. Idealists. Most of them never did a day’s work in their lives, of course, but you had to admire them for their beliefs. But end of the day, you gotta play the game with the hand your dealt. If they’re selling oranges, no point dreaming up recipes for apple crumble.

CARLO: [turns to the man] Look, I’m not advocating a fucking insurrection! I’m not suggesting a free-love commune with magic mushroom handouts for the unemployed. All I’m saying is, this place needs some fucking buses!

MAN: [rubbing his chin, thinking] Hmmm… You could try walking to the next stop. Fair way though. And like I say, you don’t want to get caught out here after dark.

CARLO: What happens, someone head butts your elbow?

MAN: Very funny. Just take my advice. I’ve got better things to do than talk to arseholes. Have a good one.

[He walks away.]

CARLO: Good fucking christ.

[Looks at the app on his phone]

CARLO: [reads] Hmm, 4.10. The bus is pretty late. And my battery is about to go. [Looks at phone in frustration] And the battery's gone!

[A teenage boy walks past, headdown writing furiously on his phone.]


[Carlo walks right in front of the boy who, his path being blocked, reluctantly looks up.]

CARLO: Hey! [The boy looks up.] What time’s the bus come?

TEENAGE BOY: Bus? What’s a bus?

CARLO: Jesus Christ. Taxi. T-A-X-I. You fuckers heard of them out here?

[Teenage boy looks blank]

CARLO: Uber?

TEENAGE BOY: Yeah, haven't you got the app? [He puts his head back down and walks off]

CARLO: [calling after him] My phone's dead! Hey can I borrow yours! HEY! Fuck!

[He looks up to the sky.]

CARLO: And now it’s getting dark …

WOMAN: [from behind Carlo] Do you always talk to yourself?

CARLO: [turns around startled to see a smartly dressed woman with a sly smile] Jesus, I didn’t see you. You here for the bus? I’m told they don’t exist.

WOMAN: [smiles] Locals will tell you that. You just got to know where to find one.

CARLO: And where the fuck would that be?

WOMAN: Well, you’re in the wrong place for a start. Far too obvious. To catch yourself a bus out here, you’ve got to think creatively.

[A silent pause as Carlo looks at her blankly]

CARLO: Do you want to give me a hint?

WOMAN: And what’s in it for more me?

CARLO: I’ll fund your election campaign to kick out the corrupt bastard who gambled all your cash away.

WOMAN: You mean my husband? He’s done more than a few good things for this place you know. More than most people appreciate.

CARLO: Like what?!

WOMAN: He’s abolished waiting at bus stops. That’s why it’s so obvious you’re not from around here.

CARLO: Ok, just tell me where I can catch a fucking bus out of here so I never have to talk to one you asylum escapees ever again.

WOMAN: [points] Walk ten k’s that way.

CARLO: That’s not creative!

WOMAN: You couldn’t figure it out. I’d get moving, too, things can get nasty after dark.

CARLO: [looks in the direction she pointed, thinking reluctantly of the walk suggested] Why does everyone keep saying that? What happens after dark?

[No answer. He turns around but she’s gone.]

CARLO: Fucking nutters. [shuffles impatiently] I know how to make the fucking bus come. Light a fucking cigarette, never fucking fails.

[Carlo gets a cigarette from a packet in his pocket and tries to light up, with the lighter failing.]

OLD MAN: [from behind] Smoke a whole bloody packet, it wont help ya. Tried it myself plenty of times in the old days.

CARLO: Yeah? Well I figure, if it doesn’t bring the bus out of here, at least I’ll die quicker. Either way I win. [Lighter fails again] Fuck!

OLD MAN: I remember the day they abolished the buses. Smoked a whole bloody carton. Waited 48 hours before it kicked in and I realised: they’ve finally done it, the bastards. They’ve gone and abolished the bloody buses.

CARLO: Look, someone has obviously slipped a tab of acid into my schooner. I’ve got better things to do than hang around here talking to a community of outpatients. Now, I realise none of you are exactly the strongest beer on tap, but can someone tell me, please, how the Hell to get out of this god-forsaken, loon-ridden, shin-kicking, pokie-addicted busless shithole?!

OLD MAN: Well… [thoughtful pause] I can tell you what happens after it gets dark.

CARLO: I can’t believe I left my machete at home. Look, I don’t give two flying fucks what happens after it gets dark! Look around you, you useless, old, busless bastard, it is ALREADY FUCKING DARK! Well, you know what? Fuck it! I give up! If I’m stuck here — you do have a pub don’t you?

OLD MAN: Take the second right, one block down.

CARLO: Coz I need at least 10 beers just to fucking start!

[Carlo storms off. The old man passively watches him leave. He shrugs.]

OLD MAN: Kids. At least in my day, we had some buses.

[The old man wanders off. The bus arrives, turns out it just been running a few years late.]

At least, I assume that is how it ended. It was all a bit of a blur.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Five Songs About This Godforsaken Hellhole of a So-Called Country

This fucking country. Over two centuries of capitalism and white supremacy, built on genocide, dispossession and huge lashings of cruelty to the lower ranks of society, white or not...and today it is a hellish mix of oppression and ecological catastrophe that has entirely undone tens of thousands of years of sensible, quality management.

Australia is a horror show. It is a nightmare in which most of NSW is on fire and an Aboriginal man is shot dead by cops in the Northern Territory and violence against women is at epidemic levels and there is no fucking water and the pubs are unspeakable too. 

All nightmares deserve a soundtrack. So here is a playlist of five songs that help sum this hellhole up. Sure it is one sided, dealing with the horror, not the positives that have generally come through struggle... But here in Sydney, I'm choking on too much smoke from unprecedented fires to  feel overly enthused about that right now. 


1) A Tale They Won't Believe -- Weddings Parties Anything

"And some fool muttered 'liberty or death'..."

It turns out the convict system when Britain first colonised this continent was really fucking brutal and it brutalised people and nowhere was it more extreme than the horrific penal colony in Macquarie Harbour in Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania, which is still pretty bleak by all accounts). Those sent to what was a living hell were the poor not just from England, but places like Ireland where the vast majority were dispossessed by English landlords, forced into "illegality" just to survive. 

One such Irishman was Alexander Pearce, who was sent to Macquarie Harbour in the early 19th Century for stealing half a dozen pairs of shoes. With a bunch of others, he somehow escaped... only to find themselves lost in the desolate wildness in which First Nations peoples with thousands of years of experience could survive, but a bunch of desperate, broken Europeans certainly could not. 

Soon, they turned to cannibalism... and a more fitting tale of utter degradation and degeneracy that accompanied the violent subjugation of this continent to the European invader I cannot imagine. Suffice to say, this macabre tale is a true story.

2) Boys in Town -- The Divinyls

"Get me out of here!" 

Australian men, young men in particular, are presented in this song as mediocre and menacing to young women in equal measures, with both factors behind the increasingly insistent and desperate cry of "Get me out of here!" Luckily that's not reality! LOL!

3) Damnation -- The Nation Blue

"These streets are screaming help me!"

This song is Australia x 1000. Written about small "company towns" in far flung places like rural Tasmania, its desperate scream about standing "on toxic ground" is matched by its furious demand we "burn this fucking town down". In this song, the "town" is an analogy for this whole goddamn system, and we need to burn this fucking system down, amirite comrades?

4) River of Tears -- Kev Carmody

'Two hundred years in the river of fear...'

This is another true story. It is about a police execution of an entirely innocent Aboriginal man David Gundy in Marrickville Sydney in 1989. Sure, the cops got off scot free, but luckily it was just a one off, if you exclude all the other murders by police, up to an including the extradjudicial exectuion of Kumanjayi Walker from the Yuendumu Community in the Northern Territory just fucking days ago.

5) Anthem -- Tiddas

 "Don't sing me your anthem when your anthem's absurd..."

What else is there to say. This song by First Nations folk trio Tiddas was released two decades ago, and since then has just gotten more relevant. It would be more controversial, too, released now. For instance, Weddings Parties Anything, who start this list, covering the song on Hey Hey It's Saturday in 1999. That is the most "middle Australia" inane "rock-no-boats" show imaginable. Imagine performing a song dedicated to absolutely spitting on the Australian national anthem on any TV show in Australia today. Hell, if it was on the ABC, they'd pull it and apologise profusely for not kissing the flag ten million times every 30 seconds.

Fuck this country.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Here are all the song titles for my country-folk singer-songwriter debut album

I am a singer-songwriter operating in the country genre, of the sort they tend to call "alt-country" these days, I guess, to distinguish it from the absurd nightmareish horror that passes for mainstream country -- though there is of course a growing rebellion in recent y ears, as there is every few years in country music, with the likes of Margo Price and Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers and many more reclaiming the genre...and me. Of course.

It may be objected by some that I have certain disadvantages in launching a country-folk singer-songwriter career in that I can neither sing nor write songs. Nor play any instrument. Nor have I ever shown the slightest aptitude for anything musical.

There are always those trying to drag you down. I prefer to focus on the positives, such as the fact I already have all the song titles worked out for my debut album of classic country songs about heart ache, alcoholism and a troubled relationship with God. I hearby release the titles for the world to see and await expressions of industry interest.


Too Much Booze Will Kill You (But So Will Not Enough)

Whiskey River Took My Soul (So I Drowned In It)

I Don't Believe in Death (But It Believes in Me)

I'm Still Drinking About You

Jesus Says He Loves Me (But I've Taken Out a Restraining Order)

Please Don't Save Me, Jesus

But Who'll Save Jesus (Coz It Won't Be Me)

I Kicked The Drinking Habit (But The Bastard Kicked Back)

Without You (I'm Drinking For Two)

An Alcoholic's Kiss (Always Tastes Minty)

Even My Beer Has Gone

I'm Sorry I Drank All Your Booze (But I'm Not Sorry I'm Drunk)

She's An Enigma (Wrapped in a Cliche)

The Grass Is Always Greener On Top (Below It's Just Dirt) 

The Past Is A Locked Door (And You Stole The Key)

Waiting Round To Drink

Desperados Waiting For The Pub To Open

Man In Black (With Slight Vomit Stains Down The Front)

I'd Walk The Line (But I'm A But Unsteady Right Now To Be Honest)

Hey God, Buy Me a Beer You Bastard

Bottles and Bibles (The Preacher's Been Drinking Again)*

Whiskey Whiskey Whiskey Whiskey Whiskey Why Did You Leave Me Whiskey Whiskey Where is My Whiskey

* This is a cover of a song by the great, young Kentucky-native country singer Tyler Childers.

...Now the preacher's been drinkin'
But it's hard not to do
Since she ran out the screen door
And swore they were through

Oh Lord, if you care, send a spirit down here
Cause the preacher's been drinkin' again...

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Leaked Transcript Of Donald Trump Sacking John Bolton

Donald Trump has sacked his National Security Adviser John Bolton, apparently over conflicting view on whether to bomb all things or just most things in the world. As one of the world's most famous whistleblowing sites, An Alcoholic's Guide To Modern Life has acquired a secretly record transcript of the meeting. In the interests of transparency, AAGTML publishes it below.


[The Oval Office, West Wing, The White House.]

DONALD TRUMP: [Speaking with mouth full] Wow this filet-o-fish is great. They're the best, I order them all the time, I make the best orders. Take a seat John, just move those filet-o-fish wrappers. Thanks for coming to this meeting, I hold the best meetings, they're great, people talk about them, they say "the president's meetings are great", I mean not in the fake news media, they hate greatness, but people know, they do, they come up to me and thank me for my service, they say I'm doing a great job. So I'm glad you came.

JOHN BOLTON: No problem, Mr President.

TRUMP: What was that? I can't hear you through that thing on your face. I gotta tell you John, your moustache is not great, it's not great at all, and I need my people to be, well not as great as me, but great.

BOLTON: I'm sorry Mr President.

TRUMP: OK don't worry about it, we can't all be great. [Into speaker phone] Can I get another filet-o-fish up here? With an extra filet? John, do you know why I called you here?

BOLTON: To discuss who to bomb.

TRUMP: John, I asked you to prepare a detailed briefing paper on the global geopolitical situation in relation to the strategic threats to blah blah blah something whatever. Now I got it here somewhere [sounds of rustling paper] sorry, it's got a little tartar sauce on it, but I had one of my people read it, they're great readers, the best. I only hire the best. They tell me it's got two words on it. It just says "bomb them!"

BOLTON: That's right Mr President.

TRUMP: John, you're my National Security Adviser. I ask you for advice. Your advice is always "Bomb them!"

BOLTON: That's right Mr President.

TRUMP: But bomb who?

BOLTON: Them, Mr President. Bomb them!

TRUMP: Who, Venezuela?

BOLTON: Bomb them.

TRUMP: Iran? North Korea?

BOLTON: Bomb them.

TRUMP: Japan?

BOLTON: Bomb them.

TRUMP: Look John, I'd love to bomb Japan, my TV show ratings were terrible there, really terrible, they got terrible taste in TV, it'd be great. But my guys tell me we're allies. And my guys are great, the best.

BOLTON: Bomb them.

TRUMP: What, bomb my guys? John you're not thinking straight. That facial hair can't help. Look, I'm with you. I love bombing things. And our bombs are great, we do the best bombings. Iran, their bombs are terrible, they're terrible bombers. The Saudis, they're alright, but they're our bombs. We sell them the bombs, we do the best deals on bombs. But John, I'm a businessman, I do deals, I do great deals, everyone says so. But you can't do deals with rubble, believe me I tried. It doesn't work.

BOLTON: Bomb them.

TRUMP: John, my maths guys tell me, and I got the best maths guys, really, they tell me if I follow your advice I'll run out of bombs by next Tuesday. You can't reuse bombs, believe me I looked into it, they tell me you can't. And you can't make America great without bombs. I run out of bombs, they'll say look at Trump, he's got no bombs, he's weak, his terrible, he's the worst. No bombs at all. How will I fight the hurricanes?

BOLTON: Bomb them.

TRUMP: John, can I ask you a question?

BOLTON: Anything Mr President.

TRUMP: Can you shave off that stupid moustache?

BOLTON: Never.

TRUMP: You're fired. I can't have a guy working for me looking like a deformed walrus from some animal freak show! People will say "That Trump, he hangs out with the deformed walrus guy!" You're gone, get out of here.

BOLTON: It was my honour to serve you, Mr President. [Sounds of footsteps and a door closing]

TRUMP: [Calling] And don't bomb anything on your way out! This is my house! It's a great house, the best. What a stupid moustache. (Into speaker phone) Hey where's my filet-o-fish? I'm starving, I can't tweet on an empty stomach! Get me a 12 packer of McNuggets too. They're great, the best. And ask my guys again if they sure we can't bomb Japan?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

For god's sake, just let the unemployed get as trashed as they fucking want

Of all the points raised by the federal government's latest bid to drug test welfare recipients, no one seems willing to say the obvious: for fuck's sake, just let the unemployed get munted!

Honestly, if you're not going to provide any fucking jobs (and there is one job for every 15 job seekers, and that's going on the understated official stats) and you also subject those without a job to well below poverty line incomes, then also subject them to a cruel bureaucracy that docks their shitty pay if they breath irregularly, then at the very fucking least let them pull a few fucking cones to cope.

Who are they actually hurting if somehow, out of their poverty pay, they manage to score?

Yet almost no one opposing drug testing welfare recipients dares raise this point.

It is all "oh people who are addicted need help, not punishment!" And yeah, the resources for people who need treatment for problematic drug use are severely lacking, and this is a scandal and an example of the hypocrisy of this government and emptiness of rhetoric about "dealing with drug addiction".

And yeah, testing such people if they are on payments, potentially cutting off their very meagre source of income, is a recipe for disaster as well as unspeakably cruel.

Details of the welfare testing bill. Image via 
@carlatreloar / twitter.
But there is a huge fact no one wants to talk about: the vast majority of people who use drugs, legal or illicit, whether they are employed or unemployed, do not have a "problem" that needs treating.

They just like to get off their fucking faces when the opportunity arises, and why the fuck not seeing as we are rapidly heading towards an ecoholocaust destroying the basis of the planet to sustain human civilisation?

Anyone who doesn't need to escape this reality in some way is probably a psychopath directly profiting from the destruction, and let's face it, those pricks surely have access to some very pure, high quality narcotics to abuse to their shrivelled, black hearts' content.

The poor, on the other hand, are just not allowed to have fun.

They are not allowed to escape the nightmare other, more powerful people, have built for them.

At very best they get to be "deserving victims", poor "addicts" who need saving.

What seems beyond the popular imagination is the idea that maybe they have the same fucking right to get out of their skulls from time to time as anyone else in this God forsaken "society".

When not talking about the poor addicts needing saving, opponents of drug testing welfare recipients like to point out the blindingly obvious: those on the dole can not afford to eat properly, much less buy drugs.

This, as opponents of drug testing point out, is proven by the testing of sewerage in Australian cities (which shows it is rich suburbs that actually use the most drugs, unsurprising as drugs actually cost money), and by the fact that when this was trialled in New Zealand, only 0.3% of welfare recipients tested in 2017/18 returned positive results.

But what no one else seems willing to say is that this is a fucking disgraceful state of affairs! This surely is as strong an argument as any to back the campaign to raise the rate of Newstart, so the unemployed can actually afford some drugs. This would be good for the  economy, as more money would flow to hard working small businesspeople such as local dealers.

Plus, if anyone deserves to get as wasted as humanly possible, it is the unemployed! It is poor bastards forced to deal with the dystopian "job network providers", who don't provide jobs but do specialising in torturing those laughingly called "job seekers" (despite their being fuck all jobs to seek) while taking huge hand outs of tax payers money.

That is, these "providers" bludge off the taxpayer (by more than $1.5 billion), which is the very thing those who hate the unemployed complain about most. This is ironic seeing as, by available evidence, no one hates the unemployed more than these "bludging of the tax payer" job network providers!

It's not easy trying to live on the dole. My housemate is on the dole, and I'm not saying he takes any opportunity to smoke himself into a total stupor. Hell no! He often bakes space cake as an alternative way to achieve oblivion.

And here we get to a further, but rarely raised, hypocrisy. Whether your "poison", as the kids say, is a legal and socially acceptable drug or not.

It should be obvious from the title of this blog that my preference is soaking my liver in non-medically recommended ways. But alcohol is hardly a "better" drug. It is just one that is socially acceptable, and legal as a result of pure historical chance.

I work in the area of harm reduction for people who use drugs. I work with people, and I mean as colleagues not "poor souls to be saved", who, for instance, are frequent users of ice, are former users of ice, and are sometimes users of ice. The same with heroin.

And the difference with this and my experience of working with people who frequently drink too much, who used to drink too much, and who sometimes drink too much is... nothing at all.  People can fuck themselves up with intoxicants, find some balance that works, actually be more functional due to some level.of use, and every other variant relating to intoxicants. Our society, from top to bottom, is riddled with unthinking hypocrisy about intoxicants.

So we have a double whammy of stigma and discrimination.

If you are poor, you are demonised. And if you use the "wrong" drugs, you are demonised, plus face potential legal threats. And if you do both, well may the Good Lord have mercy on your soul coz you are pretty fucking screwed.

For fuck's sake... just let the poor get wasted. If only because, whatever else, without their coping mechanism, they will probably get quite violent. And frankly, so they fucking should.

I only had a couple drinks last night 
And few good hits from an antler pipe
And I must admit, I had a few white lines 
And I don't know what all happened...
Ah, the West Virginia-bred saviour of country music Tyler Childers singing a song for our times. 

Monday, September 09, 2019

I Didn't Support Brexit Until I Read This Story About Trial By Combat Being Ruled Out By A Court

A depiction of trial by combat in Augsburg in 1409.
My political assessment, from Australia, of the whole "Brexit" thing has been to fall out of my chair laughing as the so-called "United" Kingdom rips itself apart in a display of slapstick comedy not seen on the world stage since... no, this particular act of national suicide is actually pretty unprecedented. 

Then I remember that there are real lives at stake and the most vulnerable -- the poorest and especially migrants -- are victims of this cruel farce. And I nod solemnly at how terrible it is. Then I burst out laughing again.

I'm sorry, it's objectively funny. It just is.

I mean we get to watch Boris Johnson be humiliated in ever more extreme ways every single day. And yes it's sad that huge numbers of people are getting screwed along the way, but honestly Ireland is kinda used to it by now and if you remove that tsunami of human misery from the equation, then you've got yourself some wholesome family entertainment called "Watch The Failing Toff Fall On His Face Again".

And look, I don't even like the European Union. It is a deeply undemocratic neoliberal torture house, as any Greek can tell you. I have zero love for it.

But responding with Brexit is like trying to get over a dose of the flu by injecting yourself with rabies.

And yes, here in Australia we are hardly in any position to laugh, having re-elected a government so insanely cruel, so avant garde with their torture regime, that Donald Trump shook his head in wonder and declared: "You're worse than I am!"  Like, really

But still.

My point is I have looked at Brexit with a kind of wonder usually reserved for winners of the Darwin Awards. It wasn't something I could understand in any rational way.

I mean come on! Britain... Britain!...whinging about sovereignty??? They colonised huge chunks of every single continent!

And democracy??? Every law has to pass an unelected upper house and be signed into law by a born-to-rule inbred German! It doesn't pass the "this is batshit insane" test.

Then I read one story that totally changed my perspective.

Before now, I never understood what true national oppression looked like. I could not grasp at how stifling and humiliating it is to have your culture, practised for centuries, squashed without a second thought by some overpaid bureaucrat in Brussels!

Not until I read the story about how some court had ruled that a decent English mechanic had his God given right as an Englishman to have his legal matters settled by the long-standing tradition of Trial By Combat ruled out by a court of law!!!

Trial By Combat, for those millennials too obsessed with which ever Kardashian they are following on Instagram to know, is a way of resolving a legal dispute by means of a fight to the death between the defendant (or any champion he or she appoints to represent them in the fight) and the prosecutor (or any champion they may chose to employ). 

It has been practised in the once proud nation of England ever since 1066!!! Banning it is truly political correctness gone made, by any definition!

And some pedants will say, but this was a ruling by a British court, and anyway, it was introduced by the Norman Conquest of England by a bunch of Frenchmen, and also trial by combat was widespread across Europe as part of the feudal order that was part of Germanic law, but that is not the point!

The point is everyone knows the snowflakes of the European Court of Human Rights hate tradition! The British court in question must have known, when they made their ruling, that the ECHR would rule it out, while everyone know they allow beheadings and suicide bombings to take place every day under Sharia Law! 

Just read this!

Mechanic Demanded Trial by Combat in Response to Parking Ticket

It’s safe to say that no one likes getting a ticket. But in England, a Suffolk mechanic, Leon Humphreys, then 60, took a next-level approach to challenging his $32 (£25) ticket in 2002, issued for failing to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that his motorcycle was off the road.
Leon Humphreys demanded trial by combat, citing medieval precedent.
He “claimed he was entitled to ask the court to establish his guilt or innocence by allowing him to fight to the death against a champion nominated by the DVLA,” reported the Ipswich Star.

Humphreys, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, unemployed at the time, said that his choosing trial by combat meant he did not have to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. However, the court decided to log his plea as “not guilty.” 
The defendant offered to take on a clerk from Swansea with “samurai swords, Gurkha knives or heavy hammers.” 
Humphreys told the media after his hearing: “I believe the right to trial by combat is still on the statute books. I can ask for it because the new Human Rights law gives ordinary people the right to use the law for their own purposes. I am willing to fight a champion put up by the DVLA if they want to accept my challenge – but they must remember it is a fight to the death.”
He continued: “The victor speaks in the name of God and justice so it is a reasonable enough way of sorting the matter out. I know I am in the right so I do not have anything to worry about. I am reasonably fit and not afraid of taking anyone on in a fight.”
WELL SPOKEN MR HUMPHREYS! GOD BLESS YOU FOR INSISTING ON YOUR RIGHT TO NATURAL JUSTICE!!! Shamefully, such a cry for justice was ignored, with the article noting: "Not only did the court disagree, but the magistrates fined him £200 with £100 costs."


'I don't need to read the papers or the tea leaves to understand. This world's been shaved by a drunken barber's hand...' You're singing our story, Slaid. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Yes, even dental industry spammers from New Jersey want a piece of this blog's action!

Photos via Advanced Dental Group of New Jersey.

Much has been written in praise of this blog, from "totally deranged rantings" to "deeply disturbing insights into the mind of a probable psychopath with substance abuse issues" all the way through to "hardly ever updated".

(And that's just from my mother HAHAHAHA no actually she just refuses to acknowledge my existence these days.)

This blog, if the mail I receive is any indication, is famed over the world as much for the quality of its contents as for its reach into key target communities for spammers ranging from supplement sellers (possibly driven my references to the Mighty Essendon Bombers?) to a disturbingly wide array of porn providers.

But finally, I've made it. Finally the dental industry in New Jersey has been forced to sit up and take notice! And they wanna piece of the Carlo Sands action!!!

Yes, I received in my inbox the following piece of correspondence that indicates beyond all doubt that appreciation of my world-shaping impact only grows.
Hey, Carlo! 
I am Andrea from Advanced Dental Group of Edgewater, I was searching for local bloggers in New Jersey where our business is located and I found your blog 
I'm writing this to you because I'd love to contribute a guest post to your site or if you find our site helpful to your audience you can add our link as an additional source of information to one of your posts that fits our nature of business. Here is our link: 
Please let me know if you’d be open to accepting guest posts. I will be glad to promote it (when live) on our social media profiles. 
Wow. It is always nice to be noticed and appreciated by your own locals, isn't it? I mean, sure I may live in Sydney and the closest I ever got to North America was an ill-fated trip to Venezuela in 2005 when I nearly died from e-coli until the Cuban doctors in the country as part of a solidarity exchange with the Hugo Chavez government gave me entirely free and high quality care after a private hospital had milked me for my travel insurance (but that's a whole other story).

But I've drunkenly sung along to Bruce Springsteen's "The River" more times than I can count, so I reckon I'm pretty much born-and-bred Jersey.

What makes this particular piece of correspondence so convincing is how it picks up on the essence of my, to be honest, only ever dental-related blog post -- the highlighted piece on how the frontman of the Irish Celtic-punk pioneers The Pogues, Shane MacGowan, got his famously terrible teeth fixed.

Sure, my post was a disturbed drunken rant about how MacGowan had betrayed everything he ever stood for by selling his soul to Big Teeth, as I like to call these dentistry QUACKS!

But still, somehow, in my uncalled for and frankly quite weird raging about MacGowan selling out, Andrea from the Advance Dental Group of Edgewater has detected, underneath all the bile, an actual fondness for dentistry. In New Jersey.

So please, if you ever find yourself in New Jersey and you've drunkenly smashed you teeth to smithereens like Shane MacGowan, consider giving these people a call. Tell them Carlo sent you, they're fans.

'I come from down in the valley, when mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done...' The Boss sings the song of my people.

Friday, June 07, 2019

My latest Carlo's Corner column on the smug bastards ending the world and how I won everything!

My latest "Carlo's Corner" column for Green Left Weekly, fuelled by booze, despair and fury, in no particular order.

Destroying the world is bad enough but do they have to be so smug about it?

It is bad enough that our rulers insist on pushing ahead on a course so disastrous that when a new report says human civilisation could end by 2050, you think “that’s optimistic” as you just saw another report saying the Arctic is melting so rapidly the scientists trying to measure it keep losing their tools, but, honestly, do they need to be so fucking smug about it?
“How good is Australia!,” leers our prime minister, a grown man known as “ScoMo”, who grins like a psychopath who has just caught a fresh victim in a B-grade horror flick.
Defying grammar and Amnesty International reports alike, this is a statement, not a question... read the full rant
 Contemplating the report mentioned in my column, that human civilisation is likely to end in 2050, I got very worried and posed The Big Question on Facebook: "If human civilisation collapses in 30 years, what will happen to all our blogs?"

Of all the responses I got, the most reassuring said: "The blogs will remain, dormant in the datasphere, awaiting the rise of a new civilisation or alien archaeologists."

I thought thank fuck, coz I was getting really worried that this might all be in vain, and I've got some awesome drinking stories buried among the wild rants on here!

However, one other comment simply read: "The hottest take."

I asked, obviously, "Does this mean I win?" and got the reply, "Only if you blog it."

Now I have. I WIN!

I have about three decades, max, to enjoy my victory. I think I'll get another beer.

The weather's been funny thirty years or so
the winters got warm, not as much snow
hear the big cats comin 'cause there's nowhere left to go...

Canadian county singer Corb Lund, in 2007, makes some obvious points.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Tuesday Evening in Sydney, Wanting A Quiet Drink And An Easy Train Ride Home

I wanted was a quiet beer after work. And a simple train trip home.

In Sydney. What a fool.

Now admittedly, you can't blame the authorities, maybe, exactly, for how little I enjoyed my regular "post-work" pub. I mean not logically, but I'll give it a go!

And sure the train wasn't too bad. The trip only took 20 minutes longer than usual, and, by itself, that hardly seems a guillotining offence,

But it is the sheer consistency with which things get worse in this city that grinds you down.

So maybe I can't blame Our Overlord Gladys for the pub adjacent from my work in Surry Hills being seemingly inexplicably overrun by young arseholes. But the generalised degeneration of pubs in this city?

It isn't even the much-talked about "lockout laws". I blame the fucking pokies. It's bad everywhere, but you head west of Ashfield and "pubs" are mostly gambling dens, with huge rooms of pokies, a big room for the TAB and then a bar stuck somewhere near the front with a couple of small tables.

Well before the "lockout laws", the dominance of pokies in NSW pubs killed live music Sydney outside a small, shrinking number of venues. Why would a venue owner pay for live music when there's a far greater revenue stream in zombified punters in front of flashing screens scientifically designed to maximise addiction and minimise loses to the house?

All the old-timer stories about iconic pub gigs by "the Oils" or "Chisel" don't outweigh the easy cash stream generated by pure human misery accompanied by an irritating electronic orchestra.

So I yeah I blame Gladys and every NSW corrupt politician before her who let the cancer of gambling erode the decent cancer (as in the one I personally enjoy) of alcohol abuse.

But I guess I can't blame our inexplicably re-elected Premier for what happened as I strode from my office on Elizabeth Street to the Strawberry Hills Hotel, one block up from Central Station in Surry Hills, for what I had imagined would, as per usual, be a QUIET post-work beer at Happy Hour prices.

I managed to catch the end of Happy Hour, but there was little happy about it. The bottom floor, usually sparsely inhabited on a Tuesday evening, was packed. With fuckwits.

They were young. They were loud. They were obnoxious. And they were everywhere. Much like an infestation of cockroaches in an over-priced Sydney flat, only at least these patrons left less droppings around the place. So far as I could see. Still, the night was young.

How bad was it? I had to share a table! On a Tuesday evening at the Strawberry Hills Hotel (or "The Strawbs" as the signs around its interior indicate it desperately wants to be known... or to go by one sign, #thestrawbs, even though if that hashtag were to ever "trend" on Twitter, it would surely be for reasons the hotel management would regret).

How bad was it? The table next to me was packed with loud young people holding forth on the important matters of life. Which, in their case, centred on a couple of the loudest young dudes at the table discussing how frequently people vomit in their sharehouse.

Spoiler alert: pretty fucking frequently.

How frequently? Well, they announced they'd taken to leaving hand towels around the place, strategically, so when people chuck up, they can at least clean themselves up a bit.

They really were pretty proud of this state of affairs, which you might have thought would be cause for an emergency "house meeting" at the very least.

With my beer and Happy Hour both finished, I made a rapid exit, and discovered the problem: renovations to the upstairs area that features a beer garden. All the pricks I don't normally have to deal with who drink up there were, tonight, downstairs. Taking up space and discussing vomit.

It may not be rational, but I still blame Gladys.

I was not ready to face Sydney Trains just yet. I only went to #thestrawbs in a futile bid to dodge the worst of a packed peak hour on the 40 minute ride to my new place in Granville, despite knowing the trains remain pretty unbearable until much later.

So I stopped at the Royal Exhibition Hotel, opposite Central Station, and discovered the paradise I was seeking,

There was hardly anyone there, which is only decent for a pub on a fucking Tuesday evening. I enjoyed my schooner. I felt as relaxed as I foolishly hoped to be after visiting the Strawberry Hills Hotel. I thought: "This evening isn't so bad!"

Fucking idiot. I had forgotten I still needed to get a train home. In Sydney.

Of course, I arrived in time to just miss a train. But the next one stopping at Granville wasn't too far away. It is not, after all, the scheduled frequency of trains that causes the ever-growing angst with Sydney Trains. It is every single other thing.

The train arrived and I think it was more or less on time. By now, just after 7pm, it was even possible to get seat. Things were looking up!

They looked up for all of about a minute, before the train stopped inexplicably somewhere between Central and Redfern, which is the very next station after Central. The train had gone a few hundred metres without any issues, which probably broke some sort of record for efficiency.

There was no announcement. What that means is, whatever the problem is, they dare not even tell the driver...

It can't have been too bad. We didn't wait too long before the train started moving... slowly.

I don't know why it moved so slow. What I do know is that somehow, travelling between Redfern and Burwood took half an hour, which, for a limited stops service, surely defies the laws of physics.

"How are we only at Burwood?", someone around me asked. Perhaps realising how weird this was, the driver broke his silence, apologising for how slow the train was moving, saying it was down to "operational issues". I'll bet Thersea May wished she'd thought of that and blamed Britain's Brexit debacle on "operational issues".

I felt for the driver. Surely, by now, they could have automated these apology announcements, much like the weird, disjointed recorded announcements that tell you the next station is Strathfield and you should change at Strathfield for trains to the Central Coast and Newcastle. They should just follow that with "And we... apolo...gise for... all...the de...lays" as a matter of course. If only to save the voice of the poor drivers.

Because the train was now running late, it picked up significantly more passengers than usual at its key stops, till the carriage resembled the ground floor of #thestrawbs -- far too many people for this time of night. What was comfortable at the start of the trip was now definitely not.

It wasn't just the inevitable urgent need to take a leak that comes with getting on a train after a couple of beers that was bothering me. No, I had to deal with a "manspreader".

Now, I was lead  to believe the problem with "manspreading", whereby some entitled male takes up more space than they are entitled to, was an issue to do with sexism! Yet I am a male! And here I was suffering!

How can this be? Have the feminists lied to me? Or should I have turned to the manspreader and said in my deepest, most manly voice: "I believe think there has been a misunderstanding here!"

I don't know, all I know is from Strathfield on I was pressed uncomfortably into a corner of the train cabin by a bloke with his legs unnecessarily spread, as I desperately sought to suppress the beer-driven desire to take a piss.

The train moved at what felt like a snail's pace. Somehow, it made it to Lidcombe, which just meant more people piled on. Then Auburn and then Granville was next!

Oh fuck, not quite. I'd forgotten Clyde Station. What is the fucking point of Clyde? Has any human being ever gotten off at Clyde?

The answer is yes: this night, one guy out of the entire packed carriage got off at Clyde. I cursed and tried not to piss myself.

I made it. To Granville with non-urine-stained pants. A MODERN DAY MIRACLE!

Little known fact: this 55 minute train trip only takes 35 minutes according to the Sydney Trains timetable! It's like an especially irritating time machine!

And yes, OK! It was only 20 minutes late. It wasn't the full scale meltdown that increasingly plagues Sydney Trains. But it is the sheer repetitiveness of this that starts to grind. The inevitability of constant minor inconveniences punctuated by large-scale collapses of the system.

And sure, it all seems inconsequential compared to the news today we are looking at the total collapse of the ecosystem with no less than 1 million species facing extinction... but that is the point, surely. This fucking system is bringing on a horrific, runaway, multi-faceted ecoholocaust and THEY CAN'T EVEN MAKE THE FUCKING TRAINS RUN ON TIME!

I mean, if they can't even do the basic minimum to sustain civilisation -- functioning public transport and decent pubs -- they got fuck all chance of stopping the shitstorm already under way.

Overthrow the pricks. The Bolsheviks made the Russian Revolution around the three simple slogans of, "Peace, Bread, Land!" Let us do it around our own, modest demands: Pubs, Trains, and No Total Destruction of All Life on Earth in an Unprecedented Ecoholocaust.

'We want to burn your fucking whole town down!' Sometimes, The Nation Blue, I get your point.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

This Is An Important Blog, As Is Widely Recognised, With Important Things To Which To Link To

This is an important blog.

Make no mistake! The commentary here is of great important, ranging as it does from issues relating to Texas country singer Hayes Carll, to my strident defence 12 years ago of then-AFL star Ben Cousins right to get wasted on whatever intoxicants he wanted (that ended well), right through to that time I yelled a lot about George Pell and it didn't even involve child sexual abuse!

Very few people seem to realise this, sadly -- indeed shamefully! SHAMEFULLY!

The few interactions I get are of a -- and I hate to say this about about my fan base -- commercial basis. By which I mean spammers. The readers of this blog seem to all be spammers. Often, but not only, trying to sell Viagra.

So I was very happy to receive a message that wasn't about Viagra or gambling.

Back in 2017, I made a quite personal post in the midst of the marriage equality "plebiscite" about sexuality and homophobia. At some point in it, I included a link about LGBTI health statistics, coz I figure I needed to prove I was basing my shit on something and that was the first link that came up when I googled it.

Well, this did NOT go unnoticed!

I received an email last October, which I didn't notice at the time. It appealed to me, Carlo Sands, directly! It said:
Hello there Carlo Sands,

I saw that you mentioned here and I wanted to share my gratitude for your work on the promotion of LGBTQ-related issues.

I'd like to suggest that you also share an important LGBTQ online safety guide which came out recently. Did you know that 73% of LGBTQs have been harassed online due to sexual orientation or gender identity? This guide aims to empower them and give them the tools to protect themselves online.
I like how they give a few tips and practical suggestions for each situation.
Thanks for helping protect LGBTQs online...
Now OK having edited a marginally better read publication, Green Left Weekly, I know you get these types of requests to highlight some url or other, for reasons that have never really been clear to me, coz very very few urls, especially in the form of hypertext, are ever clicked on.

It is also pretty clear, actually, that this particular link is to something that is both important and yet still posted purely to promote their "vpnMentor pioneering toolkit", and so you know, it might not be Viagra but the logic is not overly different.

Now I may have missed that first email, but vpnMentor -- fair purveyors of a vpn-related pioneering toolkits (I don't know what that means either) and very concerned about online bullying of "LGBTIQs" were not willing to accept my silence lying down!

I got a follow up email, which I did see, that simply said:
I wondered if you had a moment to look at the article I mentioned below:
Please let me know if you decided to share it with your users :)
Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
                                             Have a great day,
Wow they are really keen for me to post their link about cyberbullying of LGBTI+ as a way to get people to their site to sell them some weird internet privacy thing I don't even understand! AND FAIR ENOUGH asThis BLOG IS IMPORTANT even if only spammers REALISE it!

So who am I to deny this report to the masses who read this blog! READ IT HERE!!!

Are YOU worried about cyberbulling of LGBTI+ people on social media? Of course you are, unless you are some kind of homophobe and then you are probably the one DOING the cyberbullying, you prick!

If you wish to know more, please click the link! It even has reasonable advice on how to deal with them. There is a full report there that I have skimmed and the stats sure are damning and it is a worry. Hell, maybe even look into the weird vpn shit they sell, I don't know because, as I've said, I don't understand it. But still, as far as spammers go, at least their hook is something of social value for once.

So, I am thankful this blog could bring this to your attention, and maybe next time you goddamn arseholes will realise I have IMPORTANT THINGS to pass on and PAY ATTENTION! It is not ALL country music you'd rather not listen to on here!

Speaking of which, here is LGBTI activist and country singer Sarah Shook.

'Just gonna lie here and complain instead...'

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I Saw John Prine Live And I Didn't Cry, Who Said I Did?

John Prine, at a gig that wasn't the one I was at, but at which I also didn't cry.
I saw the legendary American country/folk singer John Prine on the weekend at the State Theatre in Sydney and I didn't cry. Why would I? Who said I did?

What sort of freak would cry at the likes of Prine, who was discovered and championed by Kris Kristofferson (who said Prine's songs were so good "we'll gave to break his thumbs") and who, when singing 'Sam Stone', one of the first songs he ever wrote while working as a mail man about five decades ago about a Vietnam vet suffering PTSD who dies from a heroin overdose, offers up lines like "good songs don't last long on broken radios"?

I didn't cry.

I didn't cry when his opening act, young Kentucky country singer Tyler Childers, ended his set by singing "Lady May", a beautiful love song to his wife. I don't know who has been telling you what, but my eyes were dry!

I was bemused, I'll admit, when Childers first appeared coz he was wearing a nice suit and was clean shaven with a short, neat haircut whereas the clips I've seen of him he had his long, wild red hair pulled back with an unruly beard and his dress sense was more... well about up to my standards of slovenly care.

How I had been lead to believe Tyler Childers would look.
But then he started singing and his hoarse, but emotively powerful voice rang out through the State Theatre and that was him alright, singing his stories of a heartbroken preacher succumbing to alcoholism or of a quiet night where he "only had a couple of drinks" and "a few good hits from an antler pipe" and he "must admit I had a couple of white lines' and then the next thing he knows he awakes to the noon light with a pounding head and a black eye and it "feels like fierce abandon", you just like everyone else's Tuesday night too, this guy is singing our lives!

I may have have been enthralled in his stories, sure, but I never cried when a simple story of love like "Lady May", sung as the best country songs are, from the bottom, from a man who has "held my weight in shame".

Now I ain't the toughest hickory that your ax has ever felled, but I'm a hickory just as well. I'm a hickory all the same...
I think it is his use of rural imagery that enables me to relate, being a renowned outback type myself.


Now I will admit I felt like crying, sure, at only being able to see a truncated opening set by Childers, without his full band. And at the fact that, early on especially, he had to play while many in the audience were still taking their seats. Sure. I felt like crying. But the point is I didn't, whatever tales may have been spread by my enemies.

Then John Prine came on and he at least had the decency to look exactly as expected -- small, hunched over, old and absolutely nothing like any kind of popular music star, let alone icon. Until he sings his tale of wit, love and loneliness, but, and I don't know who has been telling you what, but even when he went for the heart I didn't cry.

I didn't cry when John Prine sung "Hello In There", from his 1971 self-tiled debut album, about the loneliness of growing old. I didn't cry when the narrator, recalling his growing list of dead friends, notes, "We lost Davy in the Korean war. And I still don't know what for, don't matter anymore." Anyone who says I did is a straight up liar.

I didn't cry when John Prine sung "Summer's End", a melancholic song tinged with a gentle sense of grief from his latest album, which was released with a video tying it to the US's devastating opioid overdose crisis, now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Of course I didn't.

I didn't cry when he played "Angel from Montgomery" from his first album that was later a hit for Bonnie Raitt, or at the endearing sweetness of "I Have Met My Love Today" from his latest. All these accusations are getting ridiculous.

I may have laughed.

I may have laughed when he sung a one-person duet of "In Spite of Ourselves", his tale of lovers who bug each other, first recorded with Iris DeMent. (He "drinks his beer like its oxygen", she "thinks crossing her legs is funny").

And when he sung "Jesus The Missing Years", where he speculates about what the Son of God might have gotten up to in those years the Bible doesn't mention (such as recording with The Stones). And at "When I get To Heaven", from his latest album details the vices he is keen to restart.

I definitely smiled an illegal smile during "Illegal Smile", also off his debut and which offers an energetic defence of consuming cannabis. Mine came courtesy of the baking efforts of a friend staying with me, but judging from the enthusiasm of those who joined in the chorus, I was not alone in wearing a grin still banned in this godforsaken country.

Hell, I probably should have cried when he played "Paradise", one of popular music's first ecological songs that describes the environmental destruction wrought on the town he grew up in by a coal company, seeing as that describes the goings on in this godforsaken country all too well.

But at no point, and I can't stress this enough, did I shed any tears. Nor were my eyes even moist. It is absurd that I have to answer this campaign of fake news, but these are the times we live in.

I'll admit one thing: I still feel like crying when I think of how expensive the tickets were. Mine was in the cheapest stalls and was still just shy of three figures. The profiteering gentrification of live music seems to gall more with the case of someone like John Prine who has dedicated his career to singing stories of ordinary people only for the type of characters who fill his songs to be priced out of seeing him play them.

But I didn't cry, and I hope that is the end of it.

'You know what blood looks like in a black and white video? Shadows...' John Prine also played this literary tale that jumps from a pre-European colonisation creation tale to a disintegrating marriage to two random, unexplained murders.