Monday, November 30, 2020

Do read the comments: Forget John Prine's CMA snub, he was deeply loved by those who count

They say never read the comments, but there are exceptions. 

For instance, if you read the comments under any random Youtube clip of John Prine, who died from COVID in April 2020, you'llread a flood of heartfelt emotion about the US country singer who died from COVID-19 back in April. It is no wonder. He sung stories of ordinary people's lives and struggles with with and humanity in equal measure.

Yet this year's Country Music Awards, a notoriously corporatised event for country establishment which have also been criticised for lack of inclusieness over the years, did not see fit to even mention his name.

Nor did the CMAs make any mention of Jerry Jeff Walker or Billy Joe Shaver, who were essential figures in the vibrant, deeply creative Texas country scene that arose around Austin in the early 1970s. 

In what I am sure is pure coincidence, the Texas scene personified independence from the country music establishment and Austin became an alternative to Nashville -- the base of that establishment that is personified in the CMAs.

Prine, on the otherhand, was a mailman from Chicago who played country but was closer in origin and spirit to the folk scene that emerged from cofee shops and bars in the 60s. It's hard not to see the left-leaning politics and social concerns being a factor in the snubbing.

The snubbings caused a predictable outcry. Singer-songwriter couple Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires -- both huge fans as well as close friends of Prine's -- handed back their CMA memberships in disgust. 

Representatives of a succeful brand of what is sometimes seen as "more authentic" singer-songwriters in country, Sturgil Simpson and Margo Price, also voiced their disgust with the CMAs.

The snubbings acted more as a final straw. Shires had previously worn a t-shirt to the CMAs criticising the country music industry's exclusion of women, while Price had already refused to attend on grounds of CMA's exclusionary approach and "plastic" nature (she'd already used her debut Grand Ole Opre show this year to support Black Lives Matter and slam the country music industry for its racist history). 

As for Simpson, a hugely succesful independent country artist, he pointedly busked on the street in front of the venue instead of attend,

Neither Prine, Walker or Shaver had the sort of sustained commercial success the CMAs thrive on. They have a reputation as "songwriter's songwriters", and while that is true (Bob Dylan called Prine his favourite songwriter), it's not the full story. 

Far from lacking mass appeal, they had it in spades -- just not filtered through the corporate structures who enforce a mindnumbly narrow set of cultural tropes. Snubbing John Prine while embracing Florida Georgia Line is an act of war on popular culture.

But in many ways, for the CMAs to actually recognise Prine, Walker and Shaver after their deaths would be an act of hypocrisy after snubbing them while alive. It would never have been acknolwegment the counted.

The best tribute to Prine comes from those who loved him. 

The contrast between the CMA sub and the love expressed "from below" is deeply symbolic. And you can get a taste through a spin through random Prine clips on Youtube -- the passion turning to grief in comments posted post April 7, 2020.

One example:

"I was heartbroken before he ever sang a word. I was one of those with a 'hole in his arm where all the money goes'. I carried Prine around in a stolen walkman player with a beat up cassette over-due from a library loaned in another state. He spoke pictures of life folks lived like he knew us personally. Like he lived it himself and had the words that connected with the feelings. But i won’t miss him, too much, I’ve got the legacy he’s left us. I wish i could tell him 'thanks'."

The lyric quoted comes from this song.

'Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.'

A random scroll through other clips produced a flood of tributes, a few examples I'll put below.

"God, I wept over my dinner listening to his music... I hate that he's gone."

"His songs can move me to tears, and I really don't care if the whole world knows."

"His music and words resonate with me like few others can. His music helped me through some dark days. Actually he’s still helping me get through some difficult times."

"I have had tears over the loss of 3 people in my life ,my mother,my sister and now John Prine .Im 73 and my heart is broken over the loss of one of the sweetest souls on earth.R.I.P. John "

"John Prine could bring a tear to a glass eye. I am overcome with emotion every time I hear this song."

"John wrote songs that captured the genuine, broken beauty of humanity. Leonard Cohen once noted that the cracks in everything are how the lights get in. John Prine was the light."

"No musical artist has ever affected me as deeply as John Prine."

"If you love John Prine, you are a friend of mine."

"If John Prine needed a kidney and mine worked, I would give it to him."

"John Prine sings from the heart - and his songs tell the truth ... The working man's Mozart."

"Tonight I am an old woman, and a mail carrier from Chicago, and Dear Abbie and a guy just trying to save his marriage while cooking sausages, and the one who wants people to quit hollerin at me. The kid wearing other peoples clothes, I am America, I am the underdog, the under served, the helpless. I am Prine."

"John Prine is not dead. Until the last person who ever heard his songs dies, he will never die."

"Makes me cry every time. 'Hello in there, hello'. Be kind. That is all."


'Some humans ain't human, some people ain't kind'

Now I'm not saying John Prine wrote that aove song for the pricks from the CMAs, but I'm not not saying that either.

Friday, November 13, 2020

I've Found The Exact Point The US Began Its Terminal Decline And It's Billy Joel's 1980 Single 'You May Be Right'


Donald Trump losing is a boost to the world's morale. 

But if the now-defeated 45th President of the United States has taught the world one thing, it's that US people who draw the line at supporting a racist, alleged rapist and open supporter of the super-rich who also wears a dead guinea pig on his head, really really like to say, "What's happened to us?"

It's a fair question.

And how could they look at their history and NOT declare, "We used to be decent genocide committing slave-owning then lynching apartheid enforcing shooting black militants and anti-war activists dead mass murdering around the world governed by certified psychopaths child labour exploiting violent union smashing foreign government overthrowing planet destroying nuclear armed and willing to use it folk!

"If only there was something, anything. in our history to provide some sort of context or precedent for this unsettling turn of events!"

I understand. In Australia, we hear the same thing every time someone living in this nation founded on mass murder and dispossession that explicitely banned non-white immigration for decades and in which Aboriginal people are jailed at a higher rate than Apartheid South Africa expresses shock that we run concentation camps for refugees.

But there is no doubt, whatever the historical context, that the US Empire is in steep decline. 

I mean for fuck's sake, their incumbent president just tried to launch a coup by getting his lawyer, who's just seemingly been caught on film trying to have sex with a woman he thought was a minor, to hold a press conference in the parking lot of Four Seasons Total Landscaping on the outskirts of Philadelphia opposite a crematorium and next to an adult bookstore.

You can't write that shit. I know coz I just did and ever cell in my body screamed, "PLEASE STOP!!!" 

However, we can't look away. For the sake of future generations, we must actually figure out the point at which US society began it's likely terminal decline.

And I think I've found it.

My exhaustive studies have narrowed the point of no return to the release on March 7, 1980 of Billy Joel's single "You May Be Right". It went on to reach the absurdly high position of 7th on the US Billboard charts. 7th! I mean have you heard it?

I know what you're thinking. I'm being ridiculous.

"Is it really worse," I hear you chorus, "than his condescendingly smug 'Piano Man' or Joel's kinda creepy 'Only The Good Die Young' where the 28-year-old singer declares 'You Catholic girls start much too late', or even 'We Didn't Start The Fire', which pretends to be profound but just lists historical events followed by an especially nonsense chorus?"

Look, I'm not denying the inherently barbarous nature of those songs, which clearly indicate a society being violently ripped usunder by its internal contradictions. I'm just looking for the exact tipping point.

To understand why that is clearly the release of Joel's "You May Be Right" in 1980, it is not enough to merely listen to the song. You need to watch the film clip. Try it!


Wild boy on the loose!

Now it's not just the lyrics or the vague musical approximation of "new wave" that was all the rage back then. It's that fucking clip.

In it, Billy Joel displays zero sense of irony. There's no self-awareness here. Nothing to show he's thinking, "Jesus I made my name writing long-winded faux-profound piano songs and then punk rock and new wave came along and now the record company says my guitarist must look at least slightly like Paul Weller from The Jam and my songs need more 'attitude' like what the fuck does that even mean?"

No, Billy Joel just dons a pair of aviator glasses and tries to look like some super-cool but kinda outta control badass. Iggy Pop snarling "Now I wanna be your dog" this is not.


Not Billy Joel.

I feel for the music clip producer. They did not get paid nearly enough for being asked to make Billy Joel look like he might be dangerous.

You can see what the poor bastard had to work with. You can hear the producer yelling "Go Billy, dance like a madman!" and Billy Joel sort of kicks his legs out on either side of him a couple of times and you can feel the producer's soul shrivel into a raisin.

And then there's the words. I'm not saying they capture everything wrong with the entire American psyche, I'm just saying that I'm also not not saying that. If you get what I'm saying.

You May Be Right

By Billy Joel, aged 30

Friday night I crashed your party
Saturday I said I'm sorry
Sunday came and trashed me out again
I was only having fun
Wasn't hurting any one

Come on Billy, wasn't hurting anyone? What about the feelings of this unnamed romantic interest of yours to whom you were forced to apologise? Is this how you propose to treat them? By ignoring and downplaying their entirely legitimate emotional responses to your shit behaviour?

And we all enjoyed the weekend for a change

No Billy. You enjoyed the weekend for a change. You just didn't care to check if that was just you.

I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone

I had to google Bedford Stuy and Wikipedia describes it as a neighbood in Brooklyn known for its "racial unrest". Put another way, Billy Joel is using venturing solo through a Black neighbourhood as evidence of just how "mad" he is and there is nothing ever that will ever be more revealing about Billy Joel.

Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I'm insane

No way Billy! You didn't ride your motorcycle in the rain? Didn't your mother tell you how dangerous that could be? But I did admire your skill in that clip in miming riding a motorbike, seeing as it's pretty clear there's zero chance you've ever actually touched one.

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for

Really? Has anyone in human history ever sat there and thought "You know what I need in my life? Another lunatic." 

Turn out the light
Don't try to save me

The thought never crossed my mind.

You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

Odds are that they've had more experience in dealing with lunatic men than you, Billy, so are likely the one who's right. That's science.

Remember how I found you there
Alone in your electric chair
I told you dirty jokes until you smiled

Or they thought, "If I pretend to laugh he might go away".

You were lonely for a man

Were they, Billy? Or did you just see them one day not smiling enough and conclude "I bet they are lonely for a man!" Did you ask?

I said take me as I am
'Cause you might enjoy some madness for a while

Will they?

Now think of all the years you tried to
Find someone to satisfy you

Is this you making an unseemly boast, Bill? I sincerely hope not.

I might be as crazy as you say
If I'm crazy then it's true
That it's all because of you

Way to victim blame, Billy Joel.

And you wouldn't want me any other way

That's what they really wants, isn't it Billy? They say it isn't, but you know better. You always do.

You may be wrong for all I know
You may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right

Get a grip, Bill! You're losing it! Seriously, they're on the verge of calling the cops! 

I think I've proven my point.






Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Jesus and the Devil discuss recent developments


[The Devil is in Hell. His phone rings, seeing who it is, he answers with a roll of the eyes]


DEVIL: Hello Jesus.


[Cut to Jesus in Heaven on the phone trying to smooth talk]


JESUS: Lucifer, mate, howyagoing down there?


DEVIL: I know why you’re calling and the answer is no. If he dies, we're NOT having him.


JESUS: Oh come Luce, he’s CLEARLY one of yours!


DEVIL: I don’t care, there’s NO WAY I’m going to let a bloke with hair like that anywhere near my lake of fire. That thing catches light and the whole place goes up!


JESUS: Now you’re being ridiculous.


DEVIL: I've got an aesthetic! I'm not letting some jumped up failed salesman get the coal furnace grate on the Eighth Circle gold plated!


JESUS: Well we can hardly have him run around up here trying to get planning permission to turn some clouds into racially cleansed tower blocks. And Dad will have a fit if he gets a KFC drive through put in. Plus his best friend is already down there! You know, that Jeffrey guy, loves jets.


DEVIL: I dunno...


JESUS: He’s not even that likely to die. Unlike the thousands who’ve died due to through his administration’s denialism and psychotic profits-first approach in a wealthy nation without a functioning public health system, he’s getting the absolutely best care accessible only to the rich and powerful in a stunning example of the US’s descent into a dysfunctional oligarchy!


DEVIL: Oh don’t get all political on me, Mr Hashtag Bernie Would Have Won. I tell you what. If he dies, we’ll take him on ONE condition. You get Mike Pence.


JESUS: oh cone on you know we can’t stand those Bible bashers up here! They’re always “Leviticus this” “Sodom and Gomorrah that” and I’m like READ MY FUCKING SERMON ON THE MOUNT! But OK, you take the orange baboon and we’ve got a deal. 


DEVIL: Good doing business with you [hangs up] Pompous prat.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

QUIZ: Are you John Lee Pettimore from Steve Earle's 1988 hit 'Copperhead Road'?


There's quite a lot going on in the world right now, but one "hot topic" -- as any a brief glance at social media will tell you -- is the sometimes controversial question of "identity". 

So if you've been asking yourself big questions about exactly who you are and how you fit into this world, this quiz could help you answer the most fundamental of questions: Are you John Lee Pettimore from Steve Earle's 1988 hard rock/outlaw country crossover hit song "Copperhead Road"?

***

Is your name John Lee Pettimore?

A) Just like my daddy and his daddy before!

B) No, it's Lars.

C) What? Why are you asking me this?

Has your family ever been involved in the bootleg moonshine trade?

A) Everyone knew my granddaddy made moonshine. My daddy too, until the accident.

B) No, my father and his father were tax collectors, as am I.

C) What kind of question is that?

Are you from the US state of Tennessee?

A) Yeah Johnson County. Not far from Knoxville, though you hardly ever saw granddaddy down there, as he only came to town about twice a year.

B) Actually I live in Helsingør, which is a town of about 50,000 people in eastern Denmark, just a short ferry ride from Sweden!

C) What?

Has a member of your family ever bought 100 pounds of yeast and some copper wire?

A) My grandaddy did!

B) No, what an odd question.

C) No, what an odd question.

Did your granddaddy ever had a run in with the revenue man that may have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of said revenue man?

A) Nothing was ever proven.

B) Definitely not as my familiy have worked for the Danish tax office for generations. We find the suggestion of foul play against a fellow revenue collector disturbing to say the least!

C) What's actually happening?

Did your daddy ever drive a big block dodge?

A) Yep. Bought it at an auction at the Mason's Lodge. Though that was before the accident. They say you could smell the whiskey burnin' down Copperhead Road.

B) No my family have always driven Volvos. Say what you will about those Swedes, they can make a solid car!

C) These questions are getting weird.

Did you serve with the US forces in Vietnam?

A) I volunteered on my birthday. They draft the white trash first round here anyway. I did two tours of duty.

B) No, Denmark was not directly involved in the US conflict in Indochina, although while the general public view in Scandanvia was against US policy, the Danish government was not as outspoken in opposition to the conflict as, say, the Swedish government was. There were a lot of factors behind this, such as more right-wing forces governing Denmak at the time. However I'm not really sure what relevence the geopolitics of Scandanvia in relation to US imperialism in the 1960s has to do with this quiz.

C) What the fuck is going on?

Have you ever grown cannabis for commercial gain?

A) Look, I came back from the Indochina conflict with a brand new plan. Moonshine's yesterday's news, these kids want a different high. So I took seeds from Colombia and Mexico and planted them up the holler on Copperhea...actually, I'm not sure I should be telling you this. Last thing I want is some fucking DEA choppers in the air! Not with my PTSD! Any narcs reading this, keep in mind that I learned a thing or two from Charlie, don't you know!

B) No I find Denmark's national tax office pays well enough to avoid the need for recourse in the illicit drug trade. I mean yeah I smoked a bit of pot in my uni days, who didn't? 

C) WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME THIS? WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING???

Has country musician Steve Earle ever written a commercially successful cross-over hit about your life?

A) Hey! That bastard owes me a shit-ton of royalities for that song he had in the 80s! I'm telling you now, that prick'd better stay away from Copperhead Road!

B) Steve Earle? Didn't he have that hit years ago about Tinfoot Avenue or something?

C) OMG WHAT IS GOING ON I DON'T UNDERSTAND JUST PLEASE DON'T HURT ME.

ANSWERS

MOSTLY As:  You are John Lee Pettimore and Steve Earle owes you a lot of royalities.

MOSTLY Bs:  You are Lars from Helsingør in Denmark and not John lee Pettimore. To be honest, I'm not sure why you even did this quiz.

MOSTLY Cs:  You are in the grips of a major identity crisis. You don't know who you are, where you are, or why. This stuff is actually really important so for your own sake and the sake of those who love you, I urge you to get professional help.




Sunday, September 06, 2020

This cat just offered the purrfect response to Essendon's Joe Daniher for his game against the Eagles

 

This cat will judge your onfield performance
Judging Joe Daniher.

There is a lot going on in the world, but some things never change. Such as the sheer frustration of watching Essendon's star forward Joe Daniher kick for goal.

It was something that had been missing from Essendon fan's game-watching experience for a long time. On August 27, against the Eternal Enemy of Humanity that is Hawthorn, Daniher took to the field in the Bombers geurnsey for the first time in 467 days. It wasn't clear this day would ever come, not just because of recurring injuries, but reports Daniher wanted to leave for the Sydney Swans,

Yet there he was, showing Bombers fans just why they love to see Daniher in the red and black -- taking huge marks and kicking big-goals to spur Essendon to an historic second half come back so brilliant you could FEEL Jeff Kennett's head exploding through the psychic waves of the universe. It was glorious.

Then, just days later, against the West Coast Eagles, Daniher showed why it is so fruastrating to see Daniher in the red and black. He took big grabs, create a target all day, and utterly shanked every shot he had on goal in an inept display you'd be embarrased to see in a six-year-old as Essendon lost the game by failing to turn onfield dominance into scoreboard pressure (as the experts say).

Well, one Essendon fan had had enough! After what felt like Daniher's 20th miss (it was actually just his third) NC/DC (short for "Night Cat/Day Cat"), looked up at me from the couch and said clearly: 

"I am not watching any more of this match."

'I'm not watching another minute of this game'


"Why?" I asked, pointing out there was still enough time on the clock for the Bombers to chase down the Eagles lead should we finally start converting a few chances.

"WHY?" was the dismissive response.

'WHY?'


"WHY????"

'WHY????'


"Because Joe Daniher just missed AGAIN! BORING!!!"

'BORING!'


"Oh look at me," he said, starting a mocking impersonation of the key forward. "I'm Joe Daniher on the lead!"

'Look at me! I'm out on the lead!'


"Oh look I just a spectacular grab! What a brilliant mark I just took!"

'What a brilliant mark!'


"But now I have to go back and take the kick. On no, I'm all a-tangle!"

'Now I'm all a-tangle'


'Oh look at that, I missed again!'

'I missed again!'


"That's why I've stopped watching YOU IDIOT! We can't win with goal kicking like that."

'We can't win if we squander chances like that, you idiot.'


And with that, looking smug at having summed the game up, NC/DC promptly took a nap.



By doing so, NC/DC saved himself the pain of watching what remained of that frustrating game.

And now, in just one hour, Essendon are going to play again, taking on Geelong. Let all Essendon players know that NC/DC will be watching. DO NOT FAIL THE CAT AGAIN!

NC/DC will be judging you, Essendon players




,

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Footy Frenzy has ended but you don't have to wait till Friday to enjoy the commentary!

We are all upset at the temporary end of the AFL's "Footy Frenzy", where by 33 games were played in just 20 days! And while the AFL is back on Friday, and another bout of frenzied game playing isn't far away, it has still left a gaping hole at the very centre of human civilisation.

Worse, it's left us with little to distract us from an out-of-control pandemic with no obvious end point, ecological collapse and Sydney FC winning the A-League premiership for a record fifth time, which has been set out in all known religious texts as the clearest signal of the End Times.

The loss is far less watching mediocre games whose results are beyond doubt by half time, with the few close games largely due to both sides finding ways to fail to kick goals with a level of skill previously only seen on the Australian left. 

No, we all miss the Channel 7 commentary. So, having provided a basic script last week to allow people to not have to watch the game to get their shot of "BT action", I post a new script below so you don't have to miss out.

***

Both sides have everything to play for

And we’re away!

Great second touch

Touch wasn't clean enough

Beaten by the boundary line

[obscure stat]

It's pretty even around the stoppages

Almost a throw

He's normally a good kick

Well

Not his best effort there

And that's not a good kick

And he slots it through

They set sail again

Just bundled him out the way

A bobbling ball

And that's a miracle goal!

[Blokey banter -- "You'd have got that one wouldn't you Kingo?" "Oh not sure about that Bingo, I reckon he's been practicising those in his back yard"]

Happy to take a bit of time

They're just slowing things down

They're travelling well

[obscure stat]

And just a minor score

They're keeping them in it

Bundled him out the way

He's found the boundary line

Defence doing their job

Some friendly fire

They're grimly defending

Great effort not to give away the free

They've have done all the scoring this quarter

Hugging the boundary line

And it's touched on the line

[obscure stat]

It's within his range

He's missed the mark by a fair margin

Got the better of him that time

Served it up to him on a plate

He needed a kind bounce

He just holds it up

Oh! He felt that!

[blokey banter like "I reckon you know about hits like that eh Kingo" "Oh I don't know about that Bingo, but I reckon I copped a couple of them from you back in the day" (blokely laughter all round)]

It's a real arm wrestle

It's evenly poised here

And they hit the front!

This game's got everything!

He's taken a screamer!

And the goal umpire doesn't move!

Don't go anywhere!

Might have got away with one

Clever use of the footy

And they are back in front!

Who's gonna stand tall?

Heard the umpires call, he's gotta go.

Happy to see it over

[obscure stat]

They stream forward

Just blazes away

A bit of an up and under

Crowd getting a little restless

He's battling hard

A lot of time on the clock

[obscure state]

They've started to even up the numbers around the ball

This will be interesting!

Goes across the face

He'll be disappointed in that

They've just got a sniff here

A low scoring affair

Just over a goal in it

He's missed a sitter!

It's a chaos ball

They've just gotta go here

[obscure stat]

Bounces unkindly

Kicks into space

He should have swallowed that

The next five minutes crucial

There's a bit of feeling in this

[Blokey banter about how "Kingo" didnt mind a bit of a push and shove in their day.]

And who else!

You wouldn't expect anything different from him!

They're hunting in packs!

They're just hanging around

They've clawed their way back into it

And they can go!

And he's picked his pocket

And he makes no mistake!

That's what makes this game so great!

And didn't the crowd love it!

That was on the back of some forward pressure

This game just keeps delivering!

To ice the game..

And that'll just about do it!

What a great advertisement for our game

There are a lot take aways from this tonight

...will be very happy to walk away with four points

As for... it's back to the drawing board!

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti playing footy
Making it into contests when you're thinking that he couldn't
Arms like Arnie and hair like the predator
Just when you thought he couldn't get any better-e

 

r


Monday, August 10, 2020

Now you don't need to watch! AFL commentary provided free of charge right here!

We're in the midst of of an AFL "Footy Frenzy", as the recipients of $10 million hand out of taxpayers cash taken from COVID-19 relief funds put it! Yes they are part way through playing 33 games in just 20 days in a  mad race to finish this weird, plague-interupted season and hasn't it been an absolute feast of mediocre skills, dire games and umpiring so bafflingly irrational it makes Donald Trump look like Dr Spock.

Actually watching all these games in their entirety gets pretty draining, even nothing else to do. So I've decided to help.

Let's face it, the only reason anyone watches a game these days is for the sheer quality on offer from the Channel 7 commentary team. 

Imagine a game commentated by wits such as Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward and Dorothy Parker (relegated to occasional special comments as a woman of course) and you barely scratch the surface of what is on offer.

Luckily for you, I've curated the commentary into one easy to read piece that covers any game -- so you no longer have to torture yourself watching insane interpretations of the holding the ball rule, forward 50s so packed with players they are like a pub in a posh suburb mid-pandemic, nor wonder what percentage of players on the ground have committed serious sexual misconduct. 

No, I provide the comments culled from real games in a stunning testimony to just how much time on your hands you actually get amid the collapse of human civilisation. This is only a small selection of phrases culled.

Just insert which ever team or players you want.

***

A win for either side here is crucial in the context of this season

And we’re away!

He gets a hard won ball

Kicks down the line

But only as far as …

That’s a terrible turn over

You can’t do that there

Who'd be a coach?

He makes no mistake!

And they’re off to a flying start!

Appeals for a free are ignored

And the umpire says he’ll have it How was that not a free, BT?

Kicks an up and under

They’re just controlling the tempo here

I don't think he had any prior there

Dropped on he should have taken

Looks to buy some time

Umpire says it travelled the required distance

And that's a poor finish

They’ve let them off the hook

And they'll bring it away

Did well to keep it alive

Got away with it

The fans letting the umpire know they don't agree

Well I'm not sure what that was for

Fair call, BT

A golden opportunity

And that's a bad let off

Who'd be a coach?

Big ball to win here

He's taken out of it

Too unselfish there

I’m not sure about that one, BT!

...is front and centre

Hits him on the chest

Familiar territory for him

And the goal umpire doesn't move!

One against the flow

His team needed that one!

He's up and about this quarter

Got away with one there

...and off hands

And he sees it over the line

What do you think they've got to do here BT?

This is a big moment for…

He needs to go back and slot this

And he makes no mistake!

A bit of push and shove

Umpire let’s it go

He's wrapped up in the tackle

And they'll throw it in

Saved by the siren!

They've started well this quarter

Clean hands

Not a great finish

He'll be disappointed in himself

That's a clever kick

They're on the back foot here

He's got nothing to kicked to

Looks up and sees nothing

He just needed to lower his eyes

They've had enough chances

Next goal here is crucial

Could have almost had a shot

Slides a little hand ball to...

They hit the front!

And it's very much game on!

And aren't the crowd just loving it!

Too true BT!

A good pair of hands

What's he got? He's got plenty!

Ad tnhey hit back quickly!

He's dragged off it

A little overzealous on that occasion

And that is a harsh call

I'm not convinced he had prior there

Kick was ill directed

A bit of a chaos ball

Should've held onto that

Kept his feet and did that really well

A centring ball

Slots it through!

We've got a game on our hands!

They need a quick response, BT

Numbers out the back here

...will be breathing a sigh of relief

An interesting stage of the game here

The next goal is crucial, you feel

And that's a bad miss

He won't enjoy watchin the replay of that one

Who'd be coach?

And straight away they are made to pay!

He’s on fire!

They’ve blown it wide open

A bobbling ball

Made him earn it

Played it well

Told to go

It's a penetrating kick

And look who’s lurking!

And he doesn't miss those ones!

They're hanging in there

The next goal is crucial in the context of this game

He's instantly claimed

The umpire let's it roll

And the ball's taken over

Very much game on

A long bomb

And that's happening way too often

He’s having a quiet night

I think you’re right about that on BT.

Made him earn it

That hurt!

There's a bit of feeling to this game BT!

And it's on just before three quarter time!

They want to be careful they don't do anything stupid here

That was dumb

He's gifted them a goal on three quarter time!

Who'd be a coach?

He won't enjoy watching replays of that

The tribunal will have its work cut out this week!

The game is hanging in the balance

Brilliant hands

He makes it look easy

We've got a game of footy!

The viewers at home would be absolutely loving it!

Can they manufacture something here?

Finds some space

Strange sort of kick

Spirals it out to the wing

Which way will it bounce?.

He's got an acre to work with

It's a long way back from here

Takes him on

Can they find a way out

Not much ahead of him

But only as far as...

Desperately need the next goal

They've just to to wheel and go

Time's not on their side

Seconds keep ticking

They've got to roll the dice here

And he's taken an absolute screamer!

This to seal it

That's game set and match!

They get a late one but it's too little too late

What a game!

And didn't the crowd love it!

Lived up to its billing!

What an advertisement for our game!

A cracking start to the round

… Will be very disappointed with that result

They had their chances

But taking nothing away from…that was a quality performance

They've sent a message to the rest of the competition… LOOK OUT!

And don't go anywhere coz we've got MORE FOOTY coming up right after the break!


Picture this, a paper boy
He stands outside a Collingwood hotel
On his back black and white
He hums a tune I've learnt to hate so well
...

Is there anywhere you'd rather be
Than with me at the MCG
And if the Saints get done again
By Christ, I couldn't care...

Weddings Parties Anything from when Melbourne people could actually go outside and even watch footy games in person, thus missing the Channel 7 commentary.


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Hungover at Dan Murphy's

I want to write a lot more, of whatever type, but can't make myself so a friend gave me a topic, word lengths and deadline, and I immediately wrote this story. The topic is "Hungover in Dan Murphy's", which was great because they say write what you know. It should go without saying that every word below is true.

***

I was very hungover in an aisle in Dan Murphy's. It’s a strange experience as you’re trapped in Hell, surrounded by Heaven. 

Bottles that normally look so inviting, when hungover just look like they contain toxic brews poisonous to the human body. Which, of course, the bastards do. Yet the mind remembers even when the body revolts. Those liquids offer Heaven. Used properly, of course. I won’t make last night’s mistakes again, even as I struggled to recall exactly what they all were.

This being 2020, I was wearing a mask. Its main advantage this morning was less keeping in coronavirus as the overpowering alcohol fumes that passed for my breath. No virus could survive in there, so the biggest hazard was I’d pass out from the trapped fumes. Still, breathing it back in might even pass as hair of the dog, though it wasn’t working to judge from the way each part of my body was insisting it was mortally wounded.

I rounded the corner and saw a young couple just as one said to the other, “honestly forget face masks, some people should be made to wear bum masks, the amount of shit they talk”. The other sniggered and agreed it was a fair point. I may have too if my brain wasn’t frozen stuck fast, lest a cell make a sudden movement and send waves of pain through my skull.

Which made the timing of what happened next unfortunate. Just behind the couple, a large swirling portal appeared next to the row of passion pop bottles. A large red tentacle emerged suddenly and snatched the startled couple back through the portal, which promptly vanished. 

I stood there for a while before finally, gingerly, looking around. There was no one else in the shop but a bored guy behind a counter on the other side of the store, looking in the opposite direction.

This was not ideal. Was what I’d seen real, or had my feverishly hungover and possibly COVID-riddled brain (were hallucinations a symptom?) invented the entire scene, possibly as payback for all the red wine with beer, whisky then more red wine and then gin (I think) I subjected it to last night?

There was only one thing to do. I walked up to the passion pop aisle and decided a couple of bottles of ultra-low priced bubbles were definitely called for.

I took them across to the bored server, who scanned them and let me press my card against the machine, muttering that if I got a six pack of beer as well, I could get a stubby holder with the logo of some alcohol brand as a special deal. 

I was less interested in a new stubby holder than in the blatant fact he gave no indication he’d seen a portal or a tentacle or a couple of young 20 somethings disappear to God knows where.

I could have mentioned it. I could have asked him if he’d ever seen magical portals open up in the store before. But low-wage work is a drag at the best of times, and when you add the economic downturn shedding jobs everywhere right now, I decided not to add to his stress. 

After all, if it wasn’t real, he had no reason to worry. If it was, then he’d probably be scared enough to abandon his post, leave the store and lose a badly needed job. Assuming he escaped with his life. No, let him scroll his phone in an ignorance I was already envying.

As I walked outside, the late morning sun hit my face flush on. I grasped the passion pop bottles tighter -- I was going to need them to make this pain disappear. 

I stopped to take a breather from the exertion of walking 10 metres from the counter and sat on a seat I prayed was not infected and thought about it. This was exactly the sort of shit that 2020 would pull. Unprecedented bushfires, an out of control global pandemic and the sudden appearance of menacing portals with human-snatching tentacles. 

Still, I thought, at least I don’t live in the US. There, tentacles emerging from portals would probably be defended by Trump so long as they disproportionately targetted minorities. He’d probably try to contract the portals to do “security” at voter booths in November to assist with voter suppression plans.

Somehow I made it home alive, a miracle given my hangover let alone the threat from unexplained tentacle-porthole snatchings. Then two things happened.

One was that I drank a bottle and three quarters of passion pop and passed out on my couch in the early evening before waking up at midnight feeling worse than the morning.

And the other thing was that I never saw a portal, with or without a tentacle, ever again. But as all of us who survived know, given what happened next in that accursed year 2020, that was the least of the planet’s worries.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Look, I don't know, but maybe we should have overthrown this entire fucking system before now


I think we can safely say that 2020 is going exactly as well as you'd imagine 2020 would go if you hadn't, in advance of 2020, overthrown the psychopathic, self-destructive monster that is capitalism with a rational system that seeks to put the needs of people first.

A lot of people are doing it really tough right now, in so many places. Personally I'm lucky, I got great odds at the start of the year on Nick Kyrgios doing something sensible, so I'm sorted. 

Some may say "you can't blame COVID on capitalism", except that you sort of can. I mean obviously this is an entirely unpredictable event, except for the fact it was predicted. Naturally, this being an entirely rational system, the predictions were ignored and the wealthiest nation on Earth slashed funding for pandemic preparations.

There is no question the world has been turned upside down. Things are so wild and crazy that the Australian Coalition government even started paying unemployed above the poverty line. It's really that nuts.

Imagine saying that would happen at the start of the year. They'd have given you a kindly look and said "please come with us, we have a place where you'll be safe" then injected you full of Lithium and locked you away for your own good.

Naturally, they are trying to take it away. They say higher unemployment benefits are "putting people off" from seeking work.

There's a slight issue with this, with there being 12 unemployed people for every job vacancy. And that's without even taking into consideration the fact the official stats are blatantly wrong and the reality is worse. (I know, I can't believe they'd lie either.)

Why stop at "finding non-existent jobs" as impossible things the unemployed aren't doing? I also blame the current JobSeeker rate for unemployed people not flying to Pluto, running a marathon in 60 seconds or inventing a COVID-19 vaccine two months ago and stopping this madness that's threatening to restrict my God-given right to destroy my liver in pubs and not just at home, the goddamn lazy bludgers.

Anyway, I have it from a reliable source these dole bludgers just spend all day on their phones anyway. My mate's the guy at Centrelink who monitors its call waiting times and he has the hard data to back it up.

At time of writing, Melbourne has gone back into level 3 lockdown. Possibly the worst thing about this is all the jokes us Sydneysiders want to make about Melbourne, but are way too nervous to coz our return to lockdown is just one bureaucratic fuck up away.

Meanwhile as Australian governments continue their deep and unabiding commitment to detaining brown people, some rich people win exemptions from quarantine. Proving that, a seemingly endless stream of irritating TV ads nothingstanding, we are not all in this together except in the sense we all share the misfortune of inhabiting this planet at the exact moment as the fucking Arctic is being ravaged what the scientists are calling "zombie fires"

I'd never heard of a "zombie fire" before either. And while I've no idea exactly what it means, an undead brain-eating fire is not exactly a very reassuring image, even if it was ravaging a place well known for bushfires, like all of Australia, and not, like... THE FUCKING ARCTIC. Which is where we keep most of our ice. Or we did, until the Rise of the Zombie Fires.

It's in this context that news cam that Australia had won a new award: we are now the world's largest exporters of fossil fuels. It just goes to show, with some vision, drive and a bit of gumption, you can achieve anything, even the end of the world.

It is this kind of thing that allows us to keep a sense of perspective about the COVID-19 pandemic. As bad as it seems now, things are going to get so much worse as the consequences runaway climate change increasingly hit. It's gonna make Mad Max look Utopian.

I dunno. Maybe not overthrowing this system and installing an entirely new one was a mistake. 

Anyway, here's a song. I was going to choose something Apocalyptic by Tom Waits, like "Earth Died Screaming", but I don't know if it will exactly help anyone sleep so I've gone for "I think You Outta Try Whiskey" duet by Canadian country singers Cob Lund and Jaida Dreyer. It is off Corb's new album Agricultural Tragic and it's a lot of fun. It's got a great "Johnny and June" vibe to it. 


"I think you outta try whiskey, babe"

"Well I think you outta try gin!"


No need to fight, you are both right.





Sunday, June 21, 2020

Granville loses its MP and a true account of the mean streets of Clyde

As if there wasn't enough terrible news in the world today, Granville's state MP Julia Finn has stepped down from the NSW Shadow Cabinet over branch stacking allegations.

I am not happy. This leaves those us Granville residents without any voice at all in the NSW Labor Shadow cabinet. It is a big blow.

It's no coincidence that these allegations come at a time when powerful forces have made clear their desire to silence Granvillian voices.

I personally give no credence at all to these allegations. I've never met Julia Finn but I do know Granville. Manipulating the rules of the NSW Labor Party to inflate your local branch membership so as to gain political advantage is simply not what we do here. 

I've lived here for over a year and I've never seen any branch stacking. Either the branch stacking happens very discreetly or these are straight up lies by those whose anti-Granville agenda is well-known.

Some will say that now, at least, Julia Finn has more time to spend tending to the needs of her constituents, no longer distracted from high flying, high stakes world of the NSW Opposition's cabinet meetings. Maybe. Who knows, she might even find time to recruit actual humans to the local branch now. Anything is possible in these unprecedented times. 

Now I am Granville till I die. I have "2142" tatooed across my heart.

But... well with all the heat we've been getting with this unseemly branch stacking scandal (I've heard property prices have dropped) ... well I thought there can't be any harm in checking out the neighouring places. Just to take a look.

And so on this day I set out to do something I had never done before. I would walk eastwrds to Clyde Train Station and there, I'd cross the train lines to the northern side, and walk streets of Clyde that I had never done before.

This was as far as I'd ever gone before:


On the other side was unknown territory. Forget branch stacking, did they even have Labor Party branches?

I walked forward with trepidation. I had to stop half way across to gather my courage.


It was when I began my descent on the other side of the tracks that I began to grasp just why these streets had such a notorious rep:


Look I'll not deny the sign caused me pause. But it takes a bit more than the threat of entering Kelly Country to scare me. I used hangout with the Kellys back in the day. In fact I was known as the "Fifth Kelly", like with Stu Sutcliffe and the Beatles, only I didn't die of a brain haemorrhage but was kicked out of the Kelly Gang for excessive drunkardness. Which, if you ever saw how those bastards drank, you'd realise was a big achievement.

Anyway, if you walk closer you can see those red splatters on the wall aren't actually exploded blood splatters at all. They are actually just leaves! Look:


So I made it. I walked a free man into that barren wasteland that lies just east of Granville and west of Auburn.


I have seen more welcoming places to be honest.




I have read that as the suburb is just industrial these days, and no one actually lives in Clyde any more.Having seen how mean Clyde's houses are, I'm not surprised.




And I don't know what Clyde is hiding, but security is out of control! This place is protected by a flying jeep driven by a ghost child!



And I don't know what they dump in this body of water, but it's called Duck River and I didn't see a single duck. It's very suspicious.



Still, you can get all your cement needs met in Clyde, so it's not all bad.


But the strangest thing I noticed about Clyde was that, while in Granville the berries on our trees are red or sometimes green, here the berries were purple.


Or yellow.


This was very unnerving. Of everything I saw, it was these strange berry colours that made me realise something was not right.

I had to get out of there and I moved quickly, not raising me head to notice what I can only assume were an increasingly bizarre array of colours, like brink pink or off-white with magenta spots.

Finally, I made it onto Granville land and headed straight to safety.



At the end of the day, whatever problems Granville faces, I think I am far better here, where it is relatively safe. Plus it turns ot the Granville elctorate takes in a large chunk of Clyde anyway.

Still, a nice day.




Tuesday, June 09, 2020

On Statues (Or 'Me and James Connolly')


I don't think I ever really thought about statues until I was 19.

Backpacking around Europe, I'd arrived in Dublin. Walking around the city centre, I stumbled across a statue of this proud looking bloke with a big moustache, the quote behind him declaring, "The cause of Labour is the cause of Ireland. The cause of Ireland is the cause of Labour."

I grew up in Australia. Here, the statues are what seemed to me an endlessly bland array of colonial figures.

So what THE ACTUAL FUCK was this?

I read at the statue, or maybe elsewhere in Dublin, about James Connolly being a trade unionist, socialist and republican who died in an the 1916 Easter Rising insurrection against British rule.

Seriously WTF? A statue to a trade unionist, just by itself, was totally foreign to me. I'd never seen one in Australia. I mean, trade unionists organise the downtrodden against the powers-that-be and the powers-that-be build the statues... don't they?

But this guy wasn't just a trade unionst ...but a socialist? Even more, a revolutionary who was executed for leading an insurrection against British colonial rule??? My beer-addled teenage brain was trying to figure out WHY a statue would be built to such a person.

It was obvious I knew fuck all about Irish history and politics. I had a vague idea they had grievances with the British, and I kinda liked their folk music and Guinness. Especially the Guinness.

But I never knew their grievances could run so deep that in the centre of their capital they would erect a statue to a socialist revolutionary who had died trying to overthrow British rule by force of arms.

I was shocked, coz I also quite liked English-style ale. Did I now have to choose?

The Easter Rising museum in Dublin provided a basic introduction to the 1916 rebellion Connolly helped lead. I was introduced to the profound and moving Proclamation of the Irish Republic that Connolly helped draft.



I should point out, I wasn't a stranger to such revolutionary documents and their role on mass struggles. I had been to South Africa in the immediate aftermath of the end of Apartheid, when Mandela was first elected president, and the ANC's Freedom Charter was everywhere. It has a lot in common with the Proclamation, but is even more detailed in its radicalism.




But still... to walk through some European nation, which culturally seemed not a million miles from my own (alcohol abuse especially) and see a statue of a revolutionary socialist was gobsmacking.

In truth, as I now know, the statues I grew up with were not actually bland colonial figures at all. They were psychpathic mass murdering white supremicist colonial figures. Which, say what you will, isn't bland.

That's the great magic trick of Australian history. It presents itself as paint-drying levels of boring. Nothing happened, bar a gold rush, the Eureka Stockade, Ned Kelly and then 100 years later a prime minister got sacked.

That was about all we learned at school and predictably every single student was convinced there was nothing more boring in the Known Universe than "Australian History".

It is a clever trick to use dire boredom to distract from a huge decades-long, multi-faceted Frontier War and ongoing genocide. Most students never looked too closely coz we were too busy yawning.

Australia's statues tell a story that is fascinating, if monstrous. They are monuments to the true nature of this nation. They repesent figures associated with the violent and bloody dispossession of the First Australians.

What struck me about the Connolly statue was this was commemorating a figure who died rebelling against the British Empire, and the statues where I was from were all of representatives of that Empire.

That the Irish state that emerged from the 1919-21 War of Independence against British rule bore no resemblence to Connoly's vision was not really the point. That statue told me, in literally concrete form, that a different and better world had been fought and died for, and that this struggle was important enough to commemorate for future generations.

Statues are visual depictions of what values your society holds. What moral compass guides your society? What principles does it hold to?

So when I see people in Britain upset at the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol had been dumped in the sea... I think this says an enormous amount about them and their society.


As it does about those who want to "save" the statue of pro-slavery general Robert E. Lee in Virginia in the US.


As it does about those upset at the fall of a statue in Belgium to King Leopold II  -- the butcher of the Congo.

 As it does about the snowflakes up in arms about some grafitti on statues of James Cook in this country.



And on Ireland, it's not that they never had statues to figures representing colonial power. For many years, right up until 1966, Dublin was not just home to statues of republican heroes like Connolly... but also "Nelson's Pillar", a homage to British admiral Horatio Nelson.

It towered over Dublin until one night in1966, it was blown up by a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army.

That statue was just granite. Here are seminal Irish folk group The Dubliners singing a jaunty little tune about the incident.










Monday, June 08, 2020

These clips of J. Cole and Janelle Monae might give some clue to why the US has exploded


I don't really get what is happening in the United State right now.

I simply cannot see what in the US's history of genocidal dispossession of its original inhabitants, wealth built by slaves, violent suppression of post-slavery Black people to keep them second class, violence unleashed on super-exploited workers fighting to improve their conditions with anti-union terror common place, growing imperial machinery to use violence to impose your interests the world over as a bloodstained super-power, a campaign  of disruption and murderous violence against Black radicals, the collapse of post-war prosperity and extreme rise in inequality and general suffering as the top 1% grow exponentially richer all the while the judicial system imposing extreme violence against non-whites, also often the poorest, grows too, and the out-of-control system wrecks havoc on the planet causing worsening extreme weather that disproportionately affects the poorest everywhere including the US where it is an opportunity to ethnic cleanse Black areas in the name of "gentrification", worsening persecution against migrants whose cheap labour underpins the entire economy, and the undemocratic, corporate-owned electoral system blocking any sort genuinely pro-people movement to express itself institutionally all the while people's living conditions keep worsening and there isn't even basic universal health care, then a deadly pandemic breaks out and the government does fucking nothing to help its people with the virus killing Black people disproportionately and yet more deadly violence against Black people could give us any sort of clue this explosion was coming.

Talk about blind-sided.

Still I guess it hasn't entirely come from nowhere. These two songs from the US I have found myself listening to, one after the other, when thinking about US state violence against its people, espeically the ones with black skin.

The first involves heartbreak, the second defiant fury, The second follows the first.

The first is by rapper J. Cole, performed on Late Night With David Letterman in 2014, in the aftermath of Eric Garner's murder (among many others). The second is by neo-soul singer Janelle Monae and everyone else from her own record company Wondaland.



'All we want do is take these chains off'



'Say their name...'


BONUS SONG:

In unrelated news, Black people are shot dead with impunity by police in Australia too. Aboriginal country singer Kev Carmody produced this haunting yet matter-of-fact tale of the cold-blooded murder of Aboriginal man David Gundy. And unrelated to this tale is the outbreak of Black LIves Matter protests in Long Bay prison today.



Terrorists dressed in uniform
Under the protection of their law
Terrorise blacks in dawns of fear
They come smashin' through your door
You're not safe out there on freedom street
You're not safe inside the "can"
For their shotguns and their stunt gas
They're licenced to drop you where you stand


Check out Warrioirs of the Aboriginal Resistance on Facebook.