Friday, December 22, 2006

and another thing...

Here's a tidy little vid from the recent Uniting Australia Sausage Sizzle that was held in Brunswick (cf 'neo-nazi bikini party' below).
It shows, far better than my words, the success of the day.
Take that, bone heads!
(pity about the michael jackson music at the start, though...)
To be honest, I'm not religion's number one fan, but I believe everyone has the right to practice their religion if they're not harming anyone else in doing so and to exhibit the cultural traits and practices that are associated with a religion or faith with pride and not fear.
This is something that the 'Australian community' could be better at fostering and the sausage sizzle was an excellent example of just that.

Labels: , , , ,

ex-mass time

Well, Christmas hasn't arrived yet and I've already been showered with a whole bunch of really good gifts.
And I'm such a greedy fucker to my family I haven't really spent much time or thought on the gifts I've given them. Oh well.
I've received a great set of Sennheiser headphones from me man and he's got another surprise in store for me yet. Nice.
And if you're marveling at the artwork that adorns this post, one of them is a gift from my good mate Dave and you can check out more his stylee at this link.
Thanks Dave.
On a different note, there seems to be an assumption that the festy season is a time of year when everyone's supposed to be doing the family thing. I love my family and all but that doesn't mean I feel an obligation to be with them. I spend a reasonable amount of time with them and go out of my way to be with them often enough so this Christmas is going to be a time for friends.
That's right, this year I'm going to hang out with my fellow expat Tasmanian friends who I don't spend nearly enough quality time with. Nice, nice.
There's a real pleasure in spending time in good company with great friends. I live for that. Friends are affirming in ways that family often struggles to be.
I think families are a given, there's little choice around whether or not you accept your family. I mean, I can try and divorce my family if I wanted (which I don't) but there'd always be a sense of lack or loss, I reckon. Whereas, I've lost friends and it's been fairly easy to move on from that. Likewise, family has a way of dragging a person back into its fold. Friends don't. Friendships have to be maintained a lot more I reckon. Family is always there. And it's possible to love someone because they're family as much as because of who they are. I choose to be a friend with my friends. I can't choose my family. That's special in its own way, too.
As is Squarepusher.
now playing with extreme pleasure: squarepusher - hello meow

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

'tis the season...

Blimey, Guv'nor!
The number of child buskers on the streets of Melbourne at this time of year is somewhat disturbing!
Quite Dickensian, really. Three times now, as I've been winding my way through the busy streets, dodging hassled shoppers, scenes have struck me as redolent of Oliver Twist or a latter day Hard Times. I'll describe the two that struck me most for you:
Two 5 or so year olds, a brother and sister, were standing side-by-side at the traffic lights, facing shoppers, frowning as they stared off
into space, fiddling on miniature violins. The plaintive sound of the jigs they were playing on their battered instruments were only surpassed in poverty by the drab, ill-fitting Victorian rags they were draped in. Their little slip of black cloth strewn on the ground showing little silver or gold from an unappreciative public (myself included). They appeared profoundly weary and unhappy, a haunted look of innocence lost in their eyes, the dawning awareness of a bleak future. They looked like they would be happier if their parents had set them to the artful task of pick pocketing.
In stark contrast were two sisters, singing out the front of Myer at the milling, listless and sometimes wailing crowds of parents with their children, queuing in their thousands for a rushed glimpse of a Christmas front window diorama called Wombat Divine. The girls would have been no more than ten, one of them had a much stronger and sweeter sounding voice than the other, but even so she sounded shrill and desperate for attention and money, straining for her high register voice to be heard above her audience's much more compelling distemper and ennui. Naturally, their vocal talents as diminutive as they were, called for some ornamentation, which explained their tight, short cropped red shorts, black knee length stockings, pink tanktops, dangling Christmas decoration earrings and (coca cola [crunky]) red Santa pompom hats. Strangely I thought, they had a music stand with a page or two of sheet music to prompt them of the lyrics to the Christmas carols they were singing, but I suspect it was more of a prop to lend them an air of musical authenticity. I suspect that they would have rather been practicing their tennis serve after a stiff lesson in micro-economics and the virtues of Utilitarianism.
I have so many questions to beg:
What kind of a misguided parent puts their child up to busking in such ways during Christmas?
Did they tell their children that the only gifts Santa could afford them this year were those of self reliance and a lesson in market dynamics as they booted them out the door?
Will these children grow up to become failed entrepreneurs? Or Australian Idol rejects?
Did their parents take the money off them and spend it on the pokies?
Should I have called Child Protection?
Will they forever be under the yoke of parental control or will they throw off the shackles of oppression sooner than most?
Is it true that, as Nietzsche claimed, that which does not kill us can only make us stronger?
Do I really need to write this at 1am? Wouldn't I rather be in bed asleep?
I suppose these displays of various forms of poverty showed up Christmas for me in a newly absurd light, although they only reiterated the same old tired messages about Christmas, commodities, consumption and crunk.
Warnning: This entry may contain traces of unreasonable hyperbole.
Now Playing: Severed Heads - Come visit the big bigot

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

neo nazi bikini party

Yesterday I went to an open day at a local Muslim prayer room.
It's unfortunate that Muslims in Brunswick need to take such measures to protect themselves from neo nazis.
The story is, if you're not from round these parts and/or hadn't heard, a 'bikini veteran' grandmother thought it would be appropriate to have a bikini march to show how proud she is of being a woman in Australia who can wear a bikini. This was meant to be in opposition to Muslims who apparently don't allow women to dress themselves. Hmmm... not sure what planet she lives on.
The event was 'postponed' possibly after she freaked out from the number of neo nazis expressing interest. But the bottom line is that there was going to be a march on the prayer room to commemorate the Cronulla riots. Obviously not a good thing.
Hence, the community open day / sausage sizzle, which was a friendly and successful and peaceful event, because the bone heads maybe realised that they are not welcome in Brunswick. Or anywhere else for that matter.
I look forward to a time when this kind of violent bullshit doesn't happpen:
Cronulla riots and neo nazi bikini parties... Not in my lifetime... Not ever...
But watch this space and @ndy's blog because I'm told the 'bikini veteran' grandmother is planning a march in Melbourne's CBD planned for Invasion Day (January 26th).
I'll leave you with the words she said to a friend of mine who rang her up as an indication of her state of mind:
"We're not against all Muslims ... Just those who want to rape our children, our women and blow us up."

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, December 09, 2006

kid koala and me

Wow! What a night I had last night.
I'd been hanging out so bad for the last two months: Kid Koala and Amon Tobin were due to perform at the Prince of Wales Band Room!
I'm not going to go into detail about Amon Tobin's performance because for the half hour I saw, I almost suffered a mild depression at the poor standard of his set. Disappointing from such a great music maker.
But who cares? Because that maestro of the turntable: the indomitable, the irrepressible, the incomparable Kid Koala completely reigned supreme over the whole domain of music (that's right!) for the duration of his one hour+ set.
He had the packed out audience eating out of the palm of his hand with his crazy mix of slick deejaying and expert turntabling, all with extra helpings of good humour and friendly engagement with the audience. So swell.
His new album, 'Your Mom's Favourite Dj' is jolly good, by the way. You should do yourself a favour and buy it. You'll thank yourself. Seriously.
Anyway, I had a second highlight for the night, beside the supreme excellence of the music. I was really privileged to be able to talk to Kid Koala himself and thank him for his performance as I was leaving.
I started with an effusive, "Thanks for tonight! Your set was wonderful!" and the friendly guy put his hands together in front of him and bowed his head.
Then I said, "My mum sends you her regards." To which he chuckled. And then I remembered, "Oh and my friend Asha asked me to thank you for saving Buck 65's life!"
To which he laughed again and said, "Buck 65's my man, I couldn't let him drown!" And as I shuffled off I was rewarded with a handshake.
Kid Koala. What a swell guy.
now playing: kid koala - slewtest 1 / lunch with pavlov

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 08, 2006

scary mary

I know blog entries that consist of nothing but an embedded YouTube clip are lame but this is just too inspired and funny to ignore.
Mary Poppins recut as a horror movie. So obvious I can't believe someone hasn't done it before now.

Labels: ,

kickapoo joy juice

I went into a 7 Eleven or some such on upper Swanston St today and lo! there in the fridge with the sundry colas and juices was the holy grail of softdrink weirdness: Kickapoo Joy Juice.
As you can't see from the nothing if not indistinct illustration on the can, sampling from this fount of delight will send you off this planet.
As for the drink itself, it tastes like yellow...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

your rights at work - worth electioneering with?

Unfortunately, the "Union Movement's" (if it makes any sense to reduce Unions in Australia to one movement) campaign against the draconian Howard Govenment's Industrial Relations law reform, the so-called Work Choices 'workplace relations amendment', has hit full swing.
I say, "Unfortunately," because their strategy for restoring workers's rights to a more reasonable standard revolves around throwing their lot in with the Labor
Party, and in particular, Kim Beazley's re-election. Interestingly enough, Beazley is trying to survive his second leadership challenge against him, this time from Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. This won't have any discernible effect for the worker as far as the anti-IR reform campaign is concerned. (Addendum: Beazley lost to Rudd and Gillard.)
Whatever. The point is, I knew that when I went to the "Fill the G" protest on Thursday 30th last week as a Union member I would be supporting Beazley's
election campaign. But somehow I was unprepared for just how terrible this really is. Not only did the rally fail to fill the MCG (although 60,000 protesters is nothing to be sneezed at) but the speeches from ACTU and Labor politicians were incomprehensible due to poor sound. The phrase, "Working families!" was used too many times. What about workers who don't have families? There are plenty of them too. The Jimmy Barnes performance, replete with Working Class Man and that song of his that goes:
You've got nothing I want!
You've got nothing I need!
dedicated to John Howard (which I thought a little weird as it's a jilted love song, isn't it? Isn't it?) failed to impress. The rapidity with which the Greens placards were covered up by other union's flags was, on the other hand, quite impressive. This event was televised all over Australia and we don't want the Greens and the Labor Party to be seen sharing the same airspace, now do we? What will the voters think?
Though, the event hit its nadir, I thought, when, during Beazley's speech, the slogan "Your rights at work - worth fighting for" emblazoned in large letters on the field was altered to "Your rights at work - worth voting for," (see picture). Truly disheartening. And, as my workmate Liz said, this means that Unions aren't fighting anymore but are content to let the pressing issue of oppressive Industrial Relations legislation to become an election issue in the incompetent hands of the Labor Party instead of a living, breathing fact of dire importance that needs to be acted on, like, now.
What's going to happen to workers in the meantime?
What happens if/when the Labor Party isn't elected at the next Federal Election?
What happens if we do get the Labor Party in? They're just not left anymore. They may repeal Work Choices but that doesn't mean they'll be that much better for workers than the Liberal Party is in the long term.
Why is the ACTU not doing something now?
Why not strike? The Union movement could bring the Liberal Party to its knees if it wanted.
The march into the city was more impressive than the media event. All those people stopping traffic and rallying together against Howard et al. That's people power, there in the streets, not mandated by the ACTU, not mediated through politicians, entertainers and SkyTV.
So the next question is, why doesn't the ACTU want to strike? It must be because there are some grounds on which it agrees with the Liberal Party.
Something to do with Capitalism and how it operates, surely.
And as a friend of mine commented, the only time the phrase 'working class' was used was in Jimmy Barnes performance. That's an unsurprising indictment on the Labor Party and, more significantly, the ACTU.
Now Playing: Boards of Canada - The devil is in the details