Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Our Times


As everyone in 2006 knows, the secret to a successful online blog is frequent content. That is why I sometimes post as many as one or sometimes two posts in any given year. Considerations like consistency on matters of style, content or quality just don't matter. Just pump it all out in a hodgepodge fashion to a widly inconsistent timetable and you too can replicate my huge success as a blogger.

So I will post something I wrote recently simply to make my self write. It took me as long to to write it as it took to type it,but less time to think about it. It is a work of genius.


SAMMY: (looking out the back door furtively): Huh.

FRANKIE: (inside) What are you doing?

SAMMY: The neighbours.

FRANKIE: What now?

SAMMY: One of them, I swear to God, is recording a TikTok.

FRANKIE: (sigh): This again.

SAMMY: They are! I can tell!

FRANKIE: How do you know?

SAMMY: Because someone always is! Somewhere there is always SOMEONE recording a TikTok! And someone, I am CERTAIN of it, is recording a TikTok ON THIS STREET!

FRANKIE: What does it matter? What is your problem with TikTok?

SAMMY: It makes me nervous.

FRANKIE: That’s it?

SAMMY: Yeah!

FRANKIE: Jesus christ, I thought maybe you had a geopolitical objection based on the role of the Chinese state in the company and the collection of data and I was GOING to point out that was a ridiculous and hypocritical thing to object to, seeing as all these multinational social media giants farm our data on a mass scale for profit, there is no space safe from the wholesale collection of our entire online identities and activities by these evil monstrosities that get us hooked on and entangled with their product then turn it against us with the force of a New York cop on a Jewish student who opposes Israeli genocide!

[Long pause]

SAMMY: GREAT! Now I’m terrified of EVERYTHING on my phone! (walks back inside) What should we have for dinner?

FRANKIE: I’ll check Uber Eats…

SAMMY: (lunging for the phone) NO!!!!!! (chucks the phone on the ground and starts stomping it) OK … now we’re safe. What were you thinking???

FRANKIE: (Immediately produces another phone) Luckily I have plenty of spares. I was thinking pho. (Starts to order).

SAMMY: (suspiciously): You haven’t been recording TikToks with these phones have you?

FRANKIE: Sammy, this whole thing is a TikTok! Smile (points to the corner where a phone is taped near the top of the wall) you are on camera!

SAMMY: (laughs) Oh Frankie, you and your tricks! (waves to the camera) That’s a good one, I hope it goes viral. (sticks head back out the back door). They are up to SOMETHING though.


"Kid's these days, don't leave the house now' This is a random song I've been listening too.

Monday, June 24, 2024

The Murder Of Carlo Sands By The Cad Leslie Richmond

Being dead is not so bad – said no dead person ever!

Death is unpleasant to experience and its aftermath has a catastrophic impact on your social life. I should know – I have been dead for years, ever since my MURDER by THE NOTORIOUS CAD* Leslie Richmond.

Leslie knows what he did and he has never apologised. 

His murder weapon? A facebook quiz from the late 2000s.

We were in a duel to the death. The cad had offended my honour in some Facebook comment in a manner I’ve long forgotten. Such concerns fade away once you’ve passed over to the Other Side. 

As a Gentleman, I immediately demanded satisfaction. Challenging the cad to a duel to the death, I insisted he choose his weapon. Without hesitating, the cad chose aging, commenting that he’d “seen the state of my liver” and was quite confident.

It was a bold statement. My liver had survived horrors inflicted on it that would fell the Greatest Monsters from the Myths of All Ages. It was bound to out-live some beret-wearing bastard from Adelaide. 

It never got the chance. 

It was early 2009 when I took the Facebook quiz “When Will You Die?” Such quizzes were all the rage in Facebook’s early days; a more innocent time when “mass data harvesting” was not a widely understood concept.

I received the shocking answer: October 21, 2008. I had been dead for several months!

It actually made a lot of sense. My hangovers had been getting drastically worse.

You might wonder why I didn’t challenge the quiz’s result. But at the time, I was in the habit of repeating loudly every time I did such a quiz that “Facebook does not lie!” Such was my first response to its terrible findings.

It was only when Leslie gleefully popped up to declare victory in the duel that the true significance of the moment dawned on me. I had lost a duel to a cad in Adelaide.

Having declared my faith in the quiz result, I could hardly now admit I was wrong. As anyone could tell you, admitting you are wrong on social media is a fate distinctly worse than death. 

I had to accept defeat. I had been murdered by a cad.

Now some may wish to play the “devil’s advocate” and equivocate over the claim of murder.

Surely, I can hear these apologists declare, it was the Facebook quiz rather than Leslie Richmond who consigned me to the After Life. 

Leslie merely got lucky, this “theory” goes, skating through to victory as the Steven Bradbury of duellists.


Oh he’s covered his tracks. You’ll find no smoking gun or clear cyber trail leading back to his blood-stained hands. But the explanation I somehow just happened to stumble onto the quiz that ended my life – and delivered the cad his greatest victory – is far too convenient.

I would go further and suggest that Leslie Richmond may not just be responsible for that quiz but for Facebook itself – a crime almost as terrible for humanity as murdering me!

I would not be surprised if Mark Zuckerburg turned out to really be Leslie Richmond in a latex mask, and that the cad secretly enrolled in Havard in the mid-2000s as part of a long game to entrap me. 

Provoking me with his relentless slights on my honour on the very site he developed for its ease of trading public insults, he knew it was just a matter of time before I would say NO MORE and insist on a duel to the death. 

And then he struck!

This is the only believable explanation for the series of events that led to my current status of deceased.

It is not easy being dead. The world is almost entirely set up to serve the living. There is very little advice available for navigating life once you've formally departed it – with the honourable exception of America’s Greatest Living Philosopher who once wisely sung “Never drive a car when you’re dead”.

Wise words, Tom Waits. I never do. Not even with the current state of Sydney’s trains.

'Never trust a man in blue trench coat, never drive a car when your dead...'

* A cad, for those born after 1830, is "a man who behaves dishonourably" -- a complete bounder, in other words.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024



This is unbelievable. Apparently NOTHING is sacred any more. The Big Banana! 

Located in Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast, this is surely Australia's MOST SACRED LAND MARK, although some might make a case for Queensland's Big Pineapple or maybe NSW's Southern Highlands Big Potato. Australia has many Big Things that are ALL sacred to ALL true patriots!

And now some VANDALS have DESECRATED this ICON -- and for what? To call for a ceasation of killings in Gaza??? SIMPLY because it amounts to a horrific genocide that has killed more than 37,000 civilians, rendered the Gaza Strip uninhabitable and currently threatens thousands of children with starvation??? 

Some people have ZERO sense of perspective.

I just hope the Australian Defence Force is being mobilised RIGHT NOW to protect the Big Prawn, the Big Lobster, the Big Cane Toad and the Big Galah from the horror of some spraypainted slogans calling for peace.

What has this got to do with Australia anyway? Just because our government has signficant military ties to the Israeli state, including manufactoring parts for F35 planes bombing Gaza that the govenrment is refusing to cancel???

And "ceasefire"! What a horrific display of unmitigated hatred! 

We ALL know that while TECHNICALLY this slogan is a call for the bloodshed to cease, it is REALLY code for the destruction of all Israelis. And sadly such hatred is on the rise globally, as seen by the mass protests of thousands of Israelis calling for a ceasefire! It is so sad so many Israelis can hate Israelis to such an extent that they want to stop a conflict in which Israelis are also dying!

I honestly never thought I would live to see such horrors in this country as wanton and wilful calls for a ceasefire to stop a genocide. Next people will start asking our government to stop faciliating it, and God only knows what follows that. A better, more peacful and safer world? Christ wept.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

How the mighty have fallen! The sad decline of the ex-Shannon Hotel

Every day in this late monolopy capitalist hellscape brings fresh horror. It starts to numbs you. 

But as I scrolled thoughtlessly through instagram in a depserate bid to mine some hidden store of dopamine from my social media-wrecked brain, the algorythm produced a reel so blood curdling, I dropped my phone and let out a shriek that startled nearby passengers on the inevitably not-moving Sydney train.

The "Chipo Hotel", the ad proudly declared of the venue on Abercrombie Street in Chippendale, was now Australia's "first 100% fully vegan pub and bistro".

Now I have nothing against vegan options in food and drink. I have nothing against entirely vegan outlets being opened. It is a dietary choice made by many people and should be catered for. 

(I do have an issue with what is actually The Chippendale Hotel giving itself a very presumptuous, overly familiar, "matey" nickname, but that's something every inner-suburban pub does to fake actual public affection and distract from the fact 80% of the pub's floor space and more of its revenue is just pokies.)

No. My blood was chilled because this is hallowed ground.

Long before this was "The Chippo", as they so desperately want to be known, before even that brief unspeakable phase when it was "The Lybrary" and its walls were plastered with fake-book wallpaper, this was The Shannon Hotel.

The symbolism of the decline of human civilisation could not be greater. What is now Australia's first ever 100% vegan pub and bistro was once a dive so great, I wrote my first ever post on this blog 18 years ago in its honour.

Stuck in a then non-glamorous location in Chippendale in inner Sydney (this was before they ethnically cleansed the Redfern Block just up the street), it was a hangover from a brief period in the 90s when Irish pubs were considered a bit trendy. 

The trend ended, leaving Paddy, The Shannon's grey-haired Irish bar manager, to pour beers for what one online reviewer called "drunk losers". 

That critic missed a key point: the very fact it was "filthy" and "a complete dive" meant that the patrons might be drunk losers. but the patrons were few and far between.

In The Shannon, Monday to Sunday, you could have a whole pub almost entirely to yourself. And if you caught a slight whiff of urine from the toilets, that just meant you needed another drink, 

No worries, Paddy would sort you out -- a one-man rebuttal to those who think the "alcoholic Irish" stereotype is unfair, and who remains to this day the only bar manager I have ever seen escorted from his own venue for being too intoxicated. 

And you had to be very intoxicated to be escorted from The Shannon Hotel.

Back then, the place was just up the road from The Resistance Centre, where a bunch of us "radical activists" worked long hours dedicated to building the socialist utopia that the world is today. We did a lot of Palestinian solidartiy campaigning, resolving that conflict once and for all. Transforming the world is thirsty work, The Shannon was close and cheap.

It had entertainment that the "Chippo" will never match. There was a jukebox that Paddy would gladly sling you a bunch of $2 coins from the till to play -- on the unspoken agreement you would always and without fail play "Ordinary Man" by famed Irish folk singer Christy Moore. 

That sad ballad decrying the devastating impact of Thatcherism, told through the eyes of a working-class man chucked out of work, seemed on endless repeat. For a decent chunk of my life, I knew not just every word but ever beat of the song, the despair in Moore's voice as he sung "you stripped me bare!" seared into my soul. 

It had other attractions too.

Wanna play pool? Paddy -- I think he was keen for company -- would chuck you more two buck coins from the till. Once you learned to avoid the cigarette burn pockmarks, you could play a decent game, with most of the balls generally present. 

You could also play darts. 

Very few places these days are willing these days to hand over a half-dozen sharp miniature metal arrows to a bunch of drunks to fling about in yet another example of health and safety gone mad. Not a problem at The Shannon.

Not that Paddy didn't take health and safety seriously.

Once I was there drinking and playing pool with the impish Young Tim (he's older now but he's still Young Tim to me). Having consumed more than the medically recommended daily intake of standard drinks, Young Tim thought it would be a good idea to try to "spear" me by chucking his pool cue half way across the room in my general direction, rather than just taking his fucking shot like I wanted, managing  only to smash his own half-filled schooner, sending glass and beer flying.

When Tim went to the bar, Paddy poured a new beer to replace the spilled one, no charge. 

Then Tim spilled another. And then another. 

Finally, after the fourth beer, a fed-up Paddy shook his head as he poured one more "free of charge" replacement, and said sternly: "Now this is your last one!"

At the end of the night, as Tim staggered towards the door, Paddy thrust a $20 note into his hand to get a taxi home safely. That is a concern for health and safety that I will happily gamble the "Chippo" will never match.

Another time, a bunch of us were there at a table that had those high chairs, and someone poked Emma (who to be fair was already not walking straight when we arrived), causing her to topple off the chair, spilling her gin and tonic.

Paddy rushed straight round from behind the bar, helped her back up into her seat and then returned with a fresh g+t, free of charge.

Now if you've ever seen what a drunk Emma could do when denied a g+t, you would appreciate Paddy's commitment to health and safety of all patrons, and broader society in general,

The Shannon also had it's resident weed dealer, Toothless John. An aging hippy who'd seen better days (he earned that nickname), he would sit in the corner most nights, nursing a beer and doing the crossword. If asked, he'd sell you some really crappy weed, but only in really small deals.

In clearly poor health, surviving mostly on the disability pension, Toothless John taught us how to play the darts games Micky Mouse and Killer. And his weed may have been shit, but he was consistent. You always knew where to find him.

He used to live in a shitty apartmennt not far from The Shannon, struggling with the effort of the stairs as he went to collect what he considered $20 worth of weed scraps. There are no Toothless John's in Chippendale these days.

Even the poor guy's livelihood of selling poor quality weed to supplement the once-sort-of-livable disability pension has been taken by big pharma medicialising recreational cannabis consumption. We no longer get wasted with homemade bucket bongs, instead we pay much higher prices for prescriptions to "treat our conditions".

Ultimately, The Shannon could never survive -- even without the gentrification, giving a bunch of broke alcoholics an endless supply of two buck coins to play Christy Moore songs is not much of a business model.

The decline of The Shannon started long ago. I published an Open Letter on this very blog back in 2008 warning of the inevitable consequences of a bunch of rennovationsthen under way.  This is just the final, inevitable conclusion of a long process.

Are there any Shannons anywhere today? From what I can see, outer-surbuban dives have been replaced as well -- by soulless pokie palaces with a bar attached so they can still call themselves a pub on a technocality.

The scene is bleak. The Shannon Hotel is now 'The Chippo', Australia's first 100% vegan pub and bistro. Jesus fucking wept.

'... I'm just an ordinary man, nothing special, nothing grand'