Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ya Basta!

This is my favorite picture in the whole world:

I think it’s far better in this post NAFTA world than a poster of a kitten hanging on a branch and the words ‘Hang in their Kitty’ to inspire you to stick through a stressful day. I don’t know the story, the time nor the place of this particular photo. I can only assume it is to do with the disspossesed indeginous populations of the Chiapas, Mexico whose constitutional land entitlements were swept away with the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Entitlements won for the indigenous Mexicans by Emiliano Zapata a revolutionary hero (as revolution is the South American favourite past time). When rule of law declines to the point where infants possess the motivation to try and strangle a heavily armed enforcer something is wrong. I know a lot about what the EZLN deals with in Mexico, their triumphs and tribulations and I can’t say I know enough. I’ve only met two Mexicans in four years and they both said ‘Marcos is very smart but he demands too much’ who is Marcos? We are all Marcos. But more accurately Marcos is the charismatic leader of the EZLN (Zapatista Mexican Liberation Army) who some years ago on a starry night in the Lacandon jungles put on a mask to become a mirror. He wears a balaclava everywhere and unlike Che Guevara nobody knows who he is (except maybe him). In effect he is a mouth for the EZLN one that cannot have his character called into question, his sexual preferences exposed, his shady past published in the papers. He’s a four inch mouth-hole in a black balaclava that speaks words of beauty and poetry. He writes for children and academics (he has won a children’s book award) from the luxury of his guerrilla camps as he wanders around the mountains of the indigenous Mexican homelands in hiding from the Mexican military forces.
‘Our Word Is Our Weapon’ is without a doubt one of the most important books I ever read in my life, who Marcos is and isn’t has shaped who I am and am not. Marcos helped me realise that I am not Australian, that I do not live in Australia, I am not a Marketer or a Student or a Salesperson, I am all those things though but not intrinsically, not by God’s design just convenience. I happened to be born in Australia and given the education and job opportunities I’ve received, the parents I was born to. But most of it is really names and behaviours we as humans have imposed on the reality around us. I participate in society by choice and all of us should seek to be conscious, active members of society, in control and conscientious otherwise we become unconscious pawns that don’t even really own the good or ill we achieve which is worse than making a mistake and at least regretting it.
Since New Years day 1994 when Marcos revealed himself to the world very little and a lot has been achieved by the EZLN. I’m still waiting for the Bush Administration to come good and ‘Shock & Awe’ the more local terrorist organisations like the EZLN of Mexico and the home grown Ku Klux Klan of the USA not to mention the IRA in the other coalition nation of any significance, the war on terror I have said before hasn’t carpet bombed anywhere near far enough those half-arsed politicians. There’s been no particularly bloody confrontations between the EZLN and the Mexican police. At one stage the Zapata’s managed to create a self governed indigenous community that was productive and with drastically reduced instances of crime and domestic violence achieved by a simple acknowledgement of social issues the community no longer wanted to tolerate. I guess that’s what I like the most about Marcos and it was a revelation for me. Margaret Thatcher said ‘Society does not exist’ and it doesn’t, at least not as a physical law like gravity. Societies and communities are informal alliances that aren’t questioned anywhere near often enough. Social norms can be adopted that are detrimental and nonsensical yet become part of something so important we treat it as a physical law, they become our identity.
Drinking in Australia for one thing. I didn’t drink in high school, I didn’t start drinking till after my year 12 exams. Here’s a question for you and I’d be interested if you posted your honest response as a comment if your reading this, which question seems the natural one to you ‘Why didn’t you drink Tom?’ or ‘Why did you start drinking?’ what a social fucking disease. I was underage in year 12 for most of the year and yet I found myself having to defend my choice at party after party. Why is drinking so Australian I have to apologise for not drinking? My reasons where stupid really, as an artist I didn’t want any form of artificial inspiration; that meant no pot, no alcohol, no caffeine, no acid, no e, no sniffing aerosol deodorant through a tissue. I was trying to be truly original.
The point is and remains that there are very few people who would be better off drunk all the time than sober all the time. There are very few advantages to alcohol and a lot of disadvantages yet it’s part of the National Identity, part of masculinity. Why did I start drinking? I wanted to have a good time with my friends, and I did. But I learned from this and other experiments most heinously mundane in high school was that the addictive security of being a member of society can come at a sad expense. I have to admit I don’t really care about the plight of the EZLN yet I’ve read ‘Our Word is Our Weapon’ cover to cover twice over and a lot of it is tedious essays written with flair but tedious nonetheless. The sad fact is Mexico is not mine to be taken or given. At least I can’t get there from here where I’m at now.
What I could do now tomorrow is burn down my office, I don’t want to. I like my job and I like the people I work for and with. But I could. I don’t because I’m a particularly prive ledged member of an old established community. There’s rules you see, I could physically burn down my office but society would reinforce this negative behaviour. I’d go to jail and I’d never hold down a job again. I’d never be able to rent in good areas and so fourth. I would be put out of society because I hadn’t paid my membership dues.
I imagine the people at work would be upset if I burnt down the office. I imagine the Mexican government were upset when 12 women lead a coup and captured key towns in the Chiapas reclaiming land in an act that didn’t conform to the rules of that society. The same rules that had been spat on when the constitutionally protected lands of the indigenous peoples where given to North American companies to mine, cultivate and develop at bargain bin prices. So the rules of society break down and there was Marcos, a questioning mind that understands the rles well enough to successfully break them. Unlike other revolutionaries Marcos could be bitten by a snake on the lavatory and drop dead tomorrow. Would the cause fall apart? No anyone who can write can put on that mask and become Marcos. Even you or me from the comfort of our own living rooms. I suspect Marcos is the shrewdest person alive with a mind that is unpredictable and a mask that is a mirror, and an idea that can’t be beat in a game of chess because when you checkmate him he throws the board into your stomach causing you intestinal discomfort and you come off second best. But that isn’t a manoeuvre sanctioned by the international chess authority? There is you know no physical law preventing it.
I’d like to share one of my favourite pieces from Our Word is Our Weapon and particularly relevant to the War on Terror:

Once there was a parrot who knew one word: “Victory.” Yes, sir, the days came and went, and on one of those days when our poor parrot was sitting on his perch without a care in the world, a hawk set his eye on him and swept him away through God’s air. The poor green thing clutched in the hawks claw’s began to complain, but he couldn’t say a thing except the one word he knew by heart. Each peck the hawk gave drew forth a cry of “victory.” A peck, a “victory,” another peck, another “victory.” The whole while he was being pecked to pieces, he kept saying “victory.”
- The Parrot’s Victory by Jose Joaquin Fernandez De Lizardi, 1823.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dumb things Med Students Say

‘When he walks into a room it’s like he has an aura around him. People respond differently because he is a doctor now’

‘I’m never watching [the secret life of us] again, it’s so irresponsible to portray a doctor smoking marijuana, a doctor would never do that’

‘My least favourite students? Med students by far’

‘I have to wear these brands mother, I’m a doctor I have to be credible’

These attitudes get up my nose. Being a Doctor is like any other job and no nobler than being a teacher, a police officer, a venture capitalist, a psychologist. Gone are the days when the only educated people in town were the doctor and the priest, it just isn’t that prestigious anymore. There’s nothing better than feeling healthy but being healthy isn’t all there is. Why there’s a whole hierarchy of needs out there let the prestige go to the dreamers, the John’s that get shot by fanatics.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Growing up in Ballarat and living in Melbourne I live in a fairytale where I can easily convince myself that Australia is a first world country. Yet here in a country that regularly reports budget surplus’s in the billion dollar category we have our indigenous peoples still living in some areas in abject poverty. There’s so much I don’t understand about the issue of reconciliation, I signed a partition on National Sorry Day and my comment was ‘what’s stopping us?’ I guess I didn’t realise how much land and money has been denied A&TSI over the years since we colonised. I still don’t understand but an apology should be affordable and I know can make all the difference. I guess I don’t know enough because in highschool we spent more time looking at overland explorers (who once you disregard terra nullis for the bullshit that was where in effect guys who didn’t explore anything new just went walking in the bush) than on indigenous studies. In SOSE and RE we spent more time on Islam than the mythology and religions of the many and varied cultures of indigenous Australians.
So many beautiful languages, really cool dreamtime stories and a nomadic population that was living sustainably off the land has a lot to offer the general population and of course will be impossible to totally assimilate nor should we want assimilation. I know my Grandma loves the Queen and the Anzacs and stuff but she’ll be dead some day and I wouldn’t mind living in a republic who’s national identity takes into account the truly unique cultures that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. When my host mother from Japan came out I tried to explain that outside of the Sydney opera house Australia had no historical shrines or monuments ‘just rocks and parks’ which are actually really great national monuments, there’s no way to replicate them.
Unfortunately the white colonies from which I (assume) I’m decended did a very thorough job of removing me from any exposure to the original inhabitants of the land in which I now reside. It is a poor person who sends aid to devastated trading partners and can’t look after the malnourished, dispossessed and abused in their own family. Out of site out of mind. Passive resistence techniques probably won’t even work (though like the British in India we do claim moral superiority) because it wouldn’t even cause a stir in the media these days. I don’t know what to do, I’m not a Marxist either that gets a hard on for revolution either. Listening seems most likely to me, because I don’t know shit yet I feel so strongly about the disparity between white and black Australia. I don’t get how I had to sit through RE in primary school which was someone from the local church talking hell and brimstone and singing songs about father Abraham. What the hell does that have to do with education? Kids aren’t old enough to understand religion till their like 16 at least if we’re going to sing songs about world wide floods and learn about the afterlife we may aswell learn about the dreaming.
I just can’t think of an indigenous body that has fared well against a colonial governments the few exceptions are where they’ve been the democratic majority eg India and South Africa that I know of and Ghandi was involved in both. Indigenous minorities like the Native Americans, the Aztecs and Maya, the Ainu in Japan and Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders seem to just get buried and forgotten. What would Marcos do? He’d listen and write and set up independent communities having been afforded the luxury of the Lacandon jungle for shelter. I’d like to know more but bodies like ATSIC seem alienating more than informative to me. Litarature on the dreaming is poor at the libraries I have easy access too. I’d just like to see Land entitlement reports and feasibility studies to create self governing communities where the indigenous can get justice that isn’t dispensed by the commonwealth. A genuine process of reform that isn’t just an arbitrary jail sentence or fine that doesn’t have any impact on the situational and structural factors that contribute to the disproportionate incidents of crime. The white justice system I don’t think is that good at handing oout justice for whites or reform for that matter. No matter what a persons motivations or specific circumstances we treat them the same and effectively remove them from the community rather than making them a functioning part. Read Shantaram (or don’t) it does have some good points about the cut and dry justice system.
As for land title there must be opportunities for land to be better utilised that can be utilised by dispossessed populations. I’ve seen really good projects covered like Cattle Drives, Community magistrates, Arts & Culture festivals and of course those gods of AFL Gavin Wanganeen, the upcoming Eddie Bets, Michael Long, Kickett, Craker and my current favourite player Wirrpundah {I can’t spell his name} mind you I haven’t checked out if there’s significant pay disparities and all that.
I guess I’m one of those dangerously ignorant individuals who wants to help has no idea how ‘Philosophy without action is worthless, Action without philosophy is a lethal weapon’ to quote Soichiro Honda. If anyone knows good places for me to learn stuff, good informative bodies or just ways someone stuck in an office most of their life can help please post links, recommend book titles or just tell me what to do in the comments section. Otherwise we’ll just be reading a headline one day that says ‘well meaning idiot kills millions’ or some such.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Eric Clapton is God

When I was eight I was going through my Dad’s cd’s and there was good shit there. Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here, Momentary Lapse of Reason, Animals, Beatles Abbeyroad, Mike & The Mechanics and some pure shite as well like Genesis and Kenny G. Then probably the single most important discovery of my young life. I pulled out an Album called Strange Brew: The Very Best of Cream. The guys on the cover were washed out with psychedelic lights and looked like a combination of pirates, gypseys and courtiers from Louise XII’s court. I said to dad ‘Look at these crazy guys’ and dad said ‘Hey Cream there fucking excellent put ‘em on’ or something to that effect.
Blown away. Dad put it into heavy circulation on the CD player regressing back to his Uni student days. For me the music just got ingrained. Probably two years later I took an active enough interest to learn Eric Clapton was the guitarist of Cream. I’d always been raised to believe that Clapton was the best guitarist in the world but I never questioned way some old dude who sang Tears In Heaven. I like probably most people of my generation could have ignorantly cruised through life not knowing how truly awesome Clapton is. My definition of a priveledged upbringing is if you had a dad who was into The Who, Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple you know bands that actually fucking rock. The Beatles I excuse only because defining them is much harder than most other bands.
I guess more than anything else, the music industry really has forgotten Rock. The raw concept. There is no better way in my opinion to turn anger and frustration into something beautiful. The guitar is such an important fucking instrument to my development even though as a lefty I can play less than most people not even ‘Wonderwall’ by oasis. Rock was Alive and kicking as late as 1997 then I’s just died with this Simple Plan, Good Charlotte and other pure shite that doesn’t challenge anything. Faith No More is the only other band I’d put in the same category as cream as knowing purely and simply how to Rock. Infact Cream where together for 2 years and the only real supergroup ever. People call AudioSlave (a band I love) a supergroup but it just isn’t true. Jimi Hendrix tops all those guitar magazine polls of the Top 100 guitarists of all timeand Eric Clapton kicks around between 2-5 generally but there’s a simple explanation for why this happened Jimi Hendrix died at the peak of his career, but he is an amazing guitarist in his own right. Eric Clapton popularised the wah peddle with White Room, Sunshine of Your Love is the most played guitar riff ever he was eloquent and thundering where Hendrix was experimental and rebellious. Ginger Baker would still be a contender for greatest drummer ever, Jack Bruce blew open the Bass Guitar world by playing all over the place instead of the oppressive root note of the chord every first beat of the bar.
Fact was for the two years they where together, the first band to ever go platinum, the band that topped the sales of the bible in two years versus forty years of bible sales, is largely forgotten or at the very least, least likely to be mentioned as an influence by modern bands.
Nirvana, Faith No More, Tool, Primus, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails all the bands that fucking rocked the 90’s are the all the bands that rock the fucking new millennium (apart from those that have disbanded) but most of the ‘Alternative’ acts to have emerged have been side projects of these bands. I don’t mention these to demonstrate how hung up I am on living in the past but more to validate the staying power of these bands in sales versus the late 90’s groups Limp Bizkit & Korn are struggling more than Marilyn Manson and all the other progeny of the nu metal wave. The Strokes where massive too but where have they gone? Koolio who? Headline acts at festivals are the same bands that rode the crest of Nirvana’s biggest contribution (which turned out to be a brief respite) of getting record companies to take a risk. Tool have complete creative control over there albums and put out 1 every four years or so, like RATM did also never resulting to fill the blanks compositions like Korn who I’m sure had to put out 2 albums a year at some point. At the moment there are no albums like Mother’s Milk (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) thrashy inaccessible but impressive shit before they blossomed on Blood Sugar Sex Magic & One Hot Minute. Instead you have artists like Linkin Park going on tour with only a debut album worth of material and Alien Ant Farm. You get a simple plan where all the group members where the same outfit? I know the Peppers used to do the same but there outfits were tube socks covering their genitals. Simple Plan couldn’t even convince me they have even started shaving yet (unless it’s their armpits).
Australian music is selling better than ever but rock is dead. The Australian obsession with mediocrity (look up mediocrity in the dictionary and there’s Delta Goodrem shaking hands with John Howard) means by promoting Australian music we’re pushing shit that in a open market not dominated by triple j, would never make it out of the pub circuit. The plethora of acoustic Australian artists to have been jammed down my throat (particularly Missy Higgens) baffles me. Everyone went to school and listened to the acoustic and vocal numbers. I don’t have a problem with this a few of them are really good, Robert Johnson lay the foundation of rock with an acoustic guitar and his sweet vocals in the Mississippi delta oh so long ago, Ani DiFranco I will happily listen to. But the message, the fucking message is what it comes down to! The message is all the same. Australian music doesn’t push or challenge anymore it’s the same whining message that life’s unfair and I’m a victim and boohoo. My generation isn’t in anymore and music reflects the attitude of the main consumer of singles 12-14 year olds who are getting handouts. It’s marketing idiocy, everyone knows kids want to be older round about till they hit 21. You sell to the uni student market like the good old days you pick up everyone younger for free. If you like Missy Higgens you should love Dolly Parton. I personally prefer the music I listen to come from a diverse cultural melting pot like the California Bay Area than my highschool and every other highschool in Australia, or Australian fucking Idol, if Mike Patton walked in there they’d send him away and he’s the greatest vocalist of all time. And a screamer too, like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Chino Moreno of Deftones, Maynard of Tool fucking injected energy into music and could be heard over an electric guitar. There’s a reason people used war cries in ancient times, you feel good jumping up and down on a bed, and smashing things makes you feel good when you’re angry. It’s the energy, it makes you feel alive. Rock made me feel like I could fucking change things, it made me feel superhuman not ordinary. Rock was empowering, Grunge was empowering because it tought us not to bother with pretenses. Grunge’s demise probably had more to do with not being able to sell clothing or image (don’t pay off your loan on that Ferrari Fiddy buy some fucking Jewellery) when cool was buying flannel shirts from an op-shop sunglasses from a petrol station and neither cutting or washing your hair.
It is really a testament to the bands who rocked the early 90’s that they dominate the arena concerts in Australia still, they probably should have been buried long ago, but nobodies been given a chance to dislodge them, clapping your hands to Delta Goodrem or letting the relaxing melodies of Alex Lloyd wash over you just can’t compare to having your ribcage rattled from 800m away by Justin Chancellor’s drumkit, or bits of your brain broken by Tom Morello’s guitar solos. Women should enjoy it too, why when I saw AudioSlave the entire evening was spent rubbing up against buff half naked men.
Seeing Tool and Audioslave however was shat on by seeing the Who. I always watched those adds for those Irish folk groups playing just for old times sake concerts in front of senile pensioners and looking forward to when my dad hit that age and the just for old times sakes concerts where Cream, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones etc.
That day has dawned I’ve never looked forward to retirement more than seeing Pete Townsend bald with grey hair in a navy blue suit leap around stage like a Springbok carving the air up with his axe. No matter how many times today’s R&B singers, neo punk groups and manufactured alternative bands go platinum they’ll never have it that good. It breaks my heart that I’d rather talk music with 50-60 year olds these days than people my own age.
Buy and listen to these albums:
Cream – Disreali Gears, Wheels of Fire
Faith No More – King For A Day, Angel Dust
Jimi Hendrix – The Ultimate Experience
Led Zeppelin – Remasters
Tool – Aenema
Primus – Frizzle Fry
Nirvana – Nevermind
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Mother’s Milk
The Who – (Any best of there masterpieces are too spaced out)
Pink Floyd – Animals
Jane’s Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual (Perry Farrel had a girlfriend overdose and his mother commit suicide, Dave Navarro’s Mother was brutally murdered in front of him when he was a child, when Simple Plan talk about “not understanding” they should pull their head out of their arse)
Regurgitator – Tu Plang Kon Uak (just about the best thing Australia has produced)
Skunkhour – Chin chin
Powderfinger – Double Allergic (in case you’d forgotten)
Silverchair – Frogstomp (same again)
White Stripes – Elephant
Audioslave – Self titled
Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine
Mettallica – Black Album
Eels – Beautiful Freak
Rock is a vitality that is unsustainable for many artists and most calm down to focus on song writing which is a natural progression and most are better off for having rocked, there are slivers of light in the darkness too. Oh yeah and Richard Kingsmill can boil alive in his own urine for all eternity for what he’s done to triple j.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Good time is had by all

Ultimately life should be fun. Like you want any experience to be. Suppose you die and the sentient component of your being drifts off into space and encounters some pure energy condensing into matter but not sure what it’s going to be yet. You would hope that you could honestly say ‘Be life, it’s awesome. Just awesome fun. Good time is had by all’ I guess ultimately that’s how I’d like it to be for everyone who get's a crack at being alive.
Peace out.

Marketing Myths II

Marketing isn’t cool . In fact it performs the opposite function really. Depending on your definition of cool. 1998 Limp Bizkit cool band to those riding the crest of the inbound Nu Metal wave. 2003 Limp Bizkit (and particularly Fred Durst) not cool at all. What happened? Marketing, MTV, Total Request Live, Video Hits, Album Recording schedules pushing them till Wes Borland to my great admiration walked out with the excuse ‘it was cool to feel what it’s like to sell out for a while but I’m done with it.’ Or whatever it was he actually said, anyway Fred Durst cried and that made me happy.
You can divide products into to categories esteem and informational. Esteem are the products people want to buy, make them feel good and generally enjoy. These products have to be likeable, unlike the Toohey’s Extra Dry in that tongue add you need people to like the ad, like the product if you want to sell some. Informative are things like homeloans, washing machines and lawnmowers. Things people have to buy but don’t want to so you can have adds that just shout ‘Cheap! Cheap! CHEAP!’ at people and it can be just as effective/sometimes more effective than trying to make it appealing.
Unlike products people can be divided into four categories on two axis of Esteem and Opinion Seeking creating four quadrants but there’s only one that really matters which is someone with high self esteem and low opinion seeking is called ‘an opinion leader’ and then there’s basically everybody else. Opinion leaders are the people that walk into an op-shop buy whatever article of clothing put it on and go to a social function, where there friend in easily identified brands says ‘Why are you wearing a cowboy shirt?’ and the opinion leader says ‘Cause I fucking like it.’
An opinion leader is cool and self assured and generally find their personal fashion taste, preferences in music is constantly ruined for them because marketers hunt them down, take photo’s of them, sew a brand onto whatever they’re wearing , mass produce it and sell it to everyone else.
A good environment to see this happen is Ballarat where like most regional centres fashion for teenagers is the exclusive property of Surfbrands, which never really made sense in Ballarat or Bendigo or Alice Springs. You buy a bucket hat from St Vincent’s then Rip Curl sew a brand on it and sell a $90 version to everyone else. It’s a cashcow fashion because it’s renewable, highturnover industry where brand loyalty is high. The big joke is that if your not cool , you never will be because it’s one of those esteem/attitude things. Sandra D is still Sandra D in lycra. You can’t be cool playing ‘Magic: The Gathering’ in all the latest fashions if you have to ask what’s cool you probably aren’t. Not really, sure you might be laughing at that girl wearing a petticoat over army cams but if she’s an opinion leader, marketer’s will find her, and introduce what makes her cool to the mass market, making it uncool.
That’s it the function of marketing in esteem products, find something enjoyed by opinion leaders, package it for mass market, kill product.
Why the opposite of cool? Surely your just spreading coolness around for all to enjoy and nobody is humiliated by wearing Dunlop Volleys and black explorer socks combo’s again right? You would have noticed that opinion leaders have Low Opinion Seeking, they don’t ask the guy in the store what’s in when they buy a pair of jeans. They don’t look around to see what their friends are wearing (unless it’s a hilarious novelty shirt like ‘Pobodies Nerfect’) they don’t identify with most people. There Maslownian need for affiliation isn’t barking in their ear right now. If ridiculed over there decision to where their pants back to front they don’t even offer up argument. And they don’t get punished for it either. ‘They pull it off’ is the common expression. Other people just don’t. Coolness is desirable for it’s exclusivity, I want to be cool as an edge in the social pecking order. I wish I’d never signed up to that ‘Magic: the Gathering’ Club but they gave me a free I’d tag. Someone has to be uncool or being cool is of no value. You would have noticed that when you wore the cool gear and talked about radio head in the yard you actually became no more popular with the ladies/guys than you already were. You just don’t feel as uncomfortable.
I hate it, I was an op-shopper for a while. Then I noticed I was trying just as hard. So I came across the technique I’ve been using ever since, not a guaranteed success or coolness but does pull you out of the game so you can be lazy (I’m a thinker not a doer). I pulled out my rip curl gear from when I’d given conformity a go and just wore it. It was a couple of seasons old by that point and for some reason you never get last seasons surf gear in op-shops and combined it with my op-shop wardrobe because they’d both been cool once. Then I simply never bought another shirt or pants for the next 5 years. My oldest serving shirt is from Grade 5 it’s a mambo one though you can’t tell now.
Whering stuff that has already been cool means it’s legitimately cool (unless it was a fad like anything from the 80’s) and works particularly we’ll with music. I never have anyoing conversations about Faith No More or cream with 16 year old try hards because they’ll never get back into the charts. Nor do I feel compelled to listen to a Simple Plan, no I don’t know what it’s like you angry unhappy young dudes. So I guess I’m an opinion laggard jumping on the band wagon way waaaaay too late. I hear codpieces where all the rage in the 1600’s.
What’s the point? What was the point I don’t draft these things afterall, oh yeah that marketing isn’t cool. That’s right really I guess I was just disappointed to turn up to my classes for marketing and see people dressed up for it in the middle of the day with white white teeth and fake tans and pointy shoes with stiletto heals and made in Italy ties. Marketing really is just pouring over statistical data and trying to communicate benefits as artlessly as possible so your product doesn’t get misinterpreted by consumers. So don’t do marketing if you want to be cool, you’re trying to sell stuff to the mass market at the lowest cost. You’re never on the cutting edge of cool you’re chasing that wave not riding it. You destroy cool so don’t glamorise your analytical office job. I hear PR courses are worse.
I’m a condescending prick.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I am a River

In my first year staying at international house I was drinking goon with my best girl of the time when a Maurition friend who had just had five shots of tequila staggered out of the darkness towards us and hit me with this awesome bombshell 'You, you... you are a river when I see you I see a river, there are no obstacles for you even mountains you grind down to small pebbles in time.' my girlfriend said 'and what about me what do you see when you see me?' inadvertantly I triggered my gag reflex because I fucking hate wine I don't know why I was drinking goon. 'You I see nothing I don't know you' he said.
So I took this spiritual insight to heart possibly just because I thought indian people tend to be more spiritual than whiteys, we've all done it. In the end it probably doesn't matter whether I have a soul or not and all that shite. A river's a pretty good metephor for someone's character regardless, and generally if you want something to be true about yourself you can make it happen.
There's an awesome quote on one of those inspirational posters at work nobody reads "Talent will not bring success, because the world is full of unrecognised talent. Genius will not, genius unrewarded is a story as old as genisis. Education will not for the world is full of educated people that have never achieved anything. Only persistence can bring about success.'
Which is a truism really, unless you can just cruise through on natural talent.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quack Yeah

I feel too socially active, so much so I may have forgotten what this blog is all about: me.
I’m ‘sposed to be sharing. Well by request of my good friend Brenton whose feedback was to the effect I was a high brow wanker I thought I’d talk about my various fetishes. Dolly Parton was covered in ‘A dream I once had part I’ but I have others. Don’t you worry. The most notable is ducks. Ducks? ducks. It’s the one I understood the least. Until my brother described some book featuring a dysfunctional couple who had sex on their honeymoon and then never again until he bought an Antique cupboard and put that together with the antique four poster bed at the honeymoon venue to discover his wife had a fetish for old furniture. Supposedly such irrational fetishes can be traced back to first sexual thoughts. It clicked, I remembered vividly going to see a stage production of peter and the wolf at Ballarat Civic Hall. They were pulling the cast from random audience members who turned out to know there lines and fit the costumes suspiciously well. I can’t remember the plot of Peter and the wolf but they had this ballet dancer who wore this little tailfeather piece that she waggled like a duck. I dread to think my teacher could have looked around and seen me red in the face sweating profusely with the leer on my face that later became my winning poker face. A perfectly reasonable sexual experience except for the fact that I was a tender young innocent. Infact I probably didn’t know what the hell was going on and somehow it just got imprinted so a subliminal cue goes off when I see ducks that puts a lear on my face (though now a subtle one) I mean officers don’t single me out as a shady character in parks, and I don’t want to do the ducks or anything (though I’ve seen a picture of that too) I just wanna have sex with someone, you know.*
I was reading some sketches I’d written about policies of mine last night and came across some other fetishes of mine too. I generally develop a policy every time I make a poor purchase decision such classic examples include ‘The bigger the big pants the better’ even though having too much waistline does strange things to your fly when you belt up and ‘You can never buy underpants too small’ which really I applaud myself for because happiness comes from appreciating what I’ve got. As an aside there was a kid in primary school who had to wear gumboots everytime his mother needed his basketball shoes (which was most days) had the nickname fungus and not a chance to be cool in life. At Sovereign Hill the Jewell in Ballarat’s crown for reasons I still don’t understand kids love to buy boiled sweets and this poor kid bought two lollypops with the 50c spending money he had received. He got one that was fine and one that was just a broken lollypop stick. Me having my mothers penny-pincher instincts told him he should take it back (he was hard done by enough) but he said defiantly ‘I like the stick part!’ and you should have seen him relish this stick. He taught me a valuable lesson that day.
Anyway in high-school in my late blossoming love life a generally dated girls my height and unfortunately close to my build. I mean if I stood on tippy-toes I could see the top of their head. Later I ended up in a longterm relationship with what my family would call a ‘short-arse’ I’m technically short but my body’s out of proportion I have like six foot man legs and a shortarse torso so my arse is reasonably distant from the ground but I can never where my pants up around my hips because I look like a grade 6 teacher tucking her breasts into her pants. Anyway in the spirit of appreciating what you have I devised another ill fitting policy of ‘the shorter the better’ figuring less height meant tighter distribution of curves (my probability teachers would be glad to see I use their theory in practical applications). And I think we’ve all seen the Guiness World Record pictures to back that up.
The last fetish I’ll discuss came from different rational again, namely just being impressionable and pie-eyed around a girl that was older than me. She just stated that ‘forearm hair makes you a good lover cause it means more testosterone’ it’s something I still look for even though I later realised that a year older isn’t really jack in terms of maturity (infact age isn’t really as good an indicator of maturity as behaviour) it stuck. There you go, fetishes can come from youthful imprinting, obstinancy, general advice and dream visitations moral of the story if you’re a short Ukranian Duck Keeper who sings folk music give me a call.
I’ll need some alone time now.

*not someone YOU know just a figure of speech.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Australia Day

I went to see Father Bob last weekend at his Parish or Cathedral I don’t really know how the system works nor care, what a waste rather than preaching to the converted that sharp charismatic social activist is preaching to a brick wall (in some part) but the service was marred by the final hymn in preparation for Australia Day sung to the tune of waltzing matildas with classy lyrics like ‘our own piece of earth’ and ‘god given land’ ‘home of the Anzacs’ and other WW2 mentality sentiments to make you vomit. This was followed up by watching Today Tonight’s piece on introducing Aussie Pride to the school curriculum and the compulsory singing of the national anthem at all school assemblies.
Something I’m really passionate about is the abandonment of National Pride, isn’t pride a sin. An old lady shamed me for ‘walking out on Australia’ when I decided the service was done in the second verse of that craptastic hymn that neglected to mention traditional land owners. When I was being trained as a tutor for refugee’s I was warned off using the phrase ‘In Australia we do…’ Patriotism is a value like loyalty, a value that generally benefits the party you are loyal to and of no benefit to the vassal. Same deal with patriotism. It just makes politicians jobs easier that’s all. I’d rather have kids in schools forced to study as many different value systems as possible. Furthermore there’s so many negative one’s in Australia, like tall poppy syndrome which makes Australia one of the least entrepreneurial in the world.
It’s the precise patriotic national pride that is a subtle evil to emerge from winning WW2 which is the assumption that we were and always will be the ‘good guys’ as an allied nation. Yet my Grandma, proud War Widow can espouse opinions that Hitler would have been proud of such as ‘Those arabs come to Australia to enjoy our way of life they have to assimilate’ I really just think ultimately race is purely environmental and patriotism is a barrier to integrating nations. No two countries with McDonald’s have ever gone to war. That’s one thing that can be said in favour of globalisation but national pride is a glorified term for Xenophobia too often. I think the best thing about Australia is that it’s remote location breeds a harmless indifference that allows mateship to occur. The fact we don’t take ourselves so seriously that we actually learn the words of our anthem means we really shouldn’t be participating in wars we don’t and shouldn’t care about, because if you don’t and shouldn’t care your probably going to botch the job (Like Iraq) well maybe people should care about man’s inhumanity to man but they should care more than getting a hard on over ‘shock and awe’ and remember there’s people underneath those planes.
We should be one of those heroic coward nations, the mediators. I mean we had a retreat line that gave up Darwin to the Japanese in WW2, and we would have done it too. That’s worth celebrating. Darwinians slaving for the Japanese master race possibly would have generated more sympathy for traditional land owners and helped reconciliation along. More on that later.
At the very least balance it out with National Shame day parading Pig Iron sold to the Japanese military for use in attacking us, Mugabe Tasmanian indigenous genocide and of course Crocodile Dundee 3 just so we remember no nation is perfect.

It's Good To Own Land

I am incredibly thankful to my parents for giving me the firm grounding of taking me to a national park camping year after year. It’s given me a sense of grounding that would have been lost when my parents sold up in Ballarat. If I hadn’t decided already to be marinated in rosemary and garlic and lemon and then roasted on a rotisserie at my funeral I would have my ashes scattered there at the park which shall remain nameless namely to keep other people from going there. Nothing personal but that’s the way parks work.
National parks provide a wonderful counterpoint to development. To remove a hotel in a national park and undo the development that takes place there is more expensive (if not also impossible) to replace what has been lost. If you take a long term perspective neiche resort opportunities like raw bushland make economic sense to preserve in the long term. If you take a truly long-term perspective of course it doesn’t matter because the earth is incredibly good at restoring itself. Even if we were to scarify the earth’s entire surface with nuclear weapons it would be a lush green planet again within 100,000 years or so I’m told. But why be fatalistic? Fact is the contribution of parkland and public spaces in the city aren’t recognised in economic terms. Infact due to speculation (my most hated business practice, ruining the stock market for everyone) it is entirely possible to make money simply by buying an empty concrete lot with weeds poking through, fencing it off and sitting on it as the land appreciates.
Your parents are fucking you over because they think land values never go down, a mentality that brought ruination on the Japanese. This is simply because the property market is a financial horserace that moves slow enough for the stupid masses to understand (as masses increase in stupidity the more massive it get’s refer fundamental theory of stupidity). Due to massive superannuation payouts and this general stupidity more and more retirees are choosing to finance their retirement through investment. Buying investment properties that don’t even need to be leased because people who are just receiving their superannuation payout are going to appreciate the land value because property is the only investment strategy they perceive as zero risk. Which is bullshit and homeless people keep asking me for change while rental properties go unfilled. They go unfilled because you don’t have to fill them because you feel like you’re still making money.
Enter earthsharing (go on enter it http://www.earthsharing.org.au ) just another way of thinking about taxation really and beautiful in it’s simplicity. Tax people for owning land, or charge them rent. You wouldn’t lease a shop in a department store and just leave it vacant growing weeds through cracks in concrete would you? No because you can’t afford it. If people were taxed rent to the point they had to make use of the land they owned land would be more accessible for one thing because Baby boomers couldn’t afford to sit on so much and you wouldn’t see closed vacant extinct petrol franchises fenced off in the middle of the suburb you and 12 mates from college are looking for rental properties near public transport.
Furthermore you get rid of income tax. Which is what we want because while my parents are spending my inheritance in Tuscany I’m being taxed 70c in the dollar of my mediocre wage to pay pentions to the Australian majority of bankrupt baby boomers, who blew their super money in bum property deals. That’s one huge tax burden for the working population. Some G8 nations will be bankrupted by it. Why scrap income tax? (I must point out again having studied marketing people should generally just be taxed to shit so they can’t spend money on the crappy consumer goods they want) because if the majority of government revenues is drawn from land tax then the only way to raise revenues is increase land values through investing in infrastructure and services.
Why won’t it happen? (A good devils advocate always makes this assumption and plows on) because there isn’t any incentive of the current voting majority to bring about such a tax reform. They own all the land and want us to pay for their retirement (indirectly). It will happen though if enough of our generation develop a positive attitude towards it because eventually our generation will be paying for everything and I’m sure nobody in our generation looked at the old growth logging policy in Tasmania of John Howard and thought ‘There’s an investment for the future another generation of structural unemployment’ there needs to be a general attitude change. The good thing is you can choose your attitude, if incentive exists and a good way to motivate people is to force them, ‘Aussies’ wouldn’t give a shit about recycling if we weren’t first given smaller wheelie bins that forced us to cut down our waste and then yellow bins for recyclables, we were forced and our attitude shifts. Attitude effects behaviour, behaviour dictates attitude. The tendancy of people is to justify what they do rather than change. So legislate! The GST is good, because it taxes people for consumption and it’s simple. Income tax is good because it (slightly) holds the disparity of classes in check though it’s weakening. Land tax is good because it pushes speculators out of the property market and makes a government that will always want more revenues have to look beyond the three years between elections.
Of course there are limitations to earth-sharing that I must admit haven’t really thought about much, like how do you economically value park land? The masses are so stupid that economic theories that say ‘A ghost gum increase the value of the land surrounding it’ results in some dude planting neat rows upon rows of Ghostgums and other such stupidity. Nor myself believing life isn’t fair is everyone entitled to own land, because we are at the end of the day dumb animals who don’t own the land and need to encourage (through legislation) a value of restraint in trying to control the natural environment. (While camping I saw kids trying to redirect the river mouth) an ignoble moral (read Nietzsche’s – ‘Genealogy of Morals’ just don’t get excited about bashing Jews that’s not the point) add deepecology (a form of meditation based on the theory that in order to control successfully the natural world we have to understand how we are connected to leaves, insects, everything) I did a lot of this while camping. Just force people to appreciate these things that’s all culture really is. I love AFL because I’m bombarded with it, I couldn’t avoid it.
There we guy, I’ve leant my shady name to a cause, but I like it. I said to some smelly hairy girl who talked to me about Goolengook (I never said I wasn’t an arsehole) that you could do more for Old growth forests if you were CEO of a logging company than if you chained yourself to a tree. Lastly read Growth Fetish by Clive Hamilton I strongly recommend it to understand the danger in trying to economically evaluate things that really should only be appreciated and valued in spiritual terms, places like my National Park produced by a chaotic and random set of geographical coincidence which is the only way diversity ever truly occurs. Can’t be done by design. Be patient, we’ll be able to vote in a charismatic crazy of our own in 20 years or so. In the meantime tell your friends.
http://www.earthsharing.org.au – I could probably write more, but there’s shite loads here/there.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bruce Lee Doesn’t Scare Me

The best way to win a fight remains by 500m. Running to me is the ultimate martial art, I’m a runner and I run. I watched futurama last week and there was this great line from bender: ‘I refuse to fight as a conscientious objector.’ ‘A what?’ ‘You know a coward.’ Running is a martial art so powerful and legitimate instinctively it has a category all to itself in the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Running is my first preference sport for a number of reasons to me. Firstly because generally speaking I’m too uncoordinated at ball sports. Secondly all sports are mind games and long distance running really does strip you down to your mind as the key muscle being exercised. It’s truly the best thing for willpower and discipline except for maybe staring contests, but running you can do by yourself.
If I may in praise of cowardice just in case I gave you the impression that I am some sort of noble character, you can get hurt, braindamaged or do long term damage to your joints engaging in a fight even if it’s only over spilt beer. You can gain a sense of achievement (and I have) by turning tail and burying an aggressive individual in the dust. If you run enough you gain extra sensory powers and superb reflexes as good as any shaolin monk. You end up knowing exactly when things are going to turn ugly. You can hear exactly how far behind your pursuers are so you don’t have to turn your head slowing you down and putting you off balance. You also get a good sense for how mentally strong your adversaries are and get a sense of when and how people give up. Like watching the tennis if your two sets up then drop one you know you have to come out in the fourth set and destroy all hope otherwise you go onto the backfoot and probably are more likely to lose. Every contest has a momentum that rolls between the contenders. Running is the best way to understand when your mind gives up, when it feels strong and how far it can push your body.
If they introduced the draft I don’t know whether I’d go to jail or war. Bullets can run you down for sure. And with my pretty locks and rosey cheeks I’d probably be bell of the shower ball in prison but I could probably run round the exercise yard. I was good at british bulldogs man that was a great game. I chipped a tooth. Now it’s black. I’ll never get in a fight again.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Marketing Myths I

Yo, having completed a marketing degree I thought I'd tackle some of the misconceptions out there as generally marketers get treated like evil, conniving arseholes that sell you shit you don't want. Whilst kids are pretty simple minded and can be marketed to easily and that's pretty straightforward to and you probably could sell them a shit sandwhich if you tried marketers cannot and never will be able to sell shit sandwhiches to the mass market. Marketing is erroniously viewed as a process of creating wants, which is just plain plain wrong. Marketing is just a delivery system for value. It's trying to make sure you're happy with the shit you buy. Markes become saturated becuse people are stupid. The person who invented perfume probably found it sold out with no promotion whatsoever and found it sold out. It was only when you have 500 different brands of perfume that marketing becomes necessary and demand is there because people want it.
Economists are the ones who if anyone create want's because it's a fairly loose theory on what to do with resources and at the moment we are obsessed with growth. The pursuit of the vague 'Economic Growth' isn't evil just irresponsible. When you bitch and moan to marketing students about consumerism just remember it's your boss and every other boss and the government trying to push more products out onto the market, of course your going to be a consumer that's your whole life. Adam Smith said when he practically founded economics 'We must be mindful of the pursuit of growth, we must identify what growth, where and for whom before pursuing economic growth.' or something to that effect.
What marketers do do is make you understand the benifits of what your buying. That's all because engineers design something called ABS and then in engineering driven car companies you get ads talking about ABS and unless you're into cars you have no fucking idea what that means. So a company pays marketers to tell people 'Anti-Lock Brakes mean your wheels don't lock when you go into a skid and it's safer because you can still steer around objects when you're breaking in an emergency' that's it. They don't make you want the product if you get upset because you saw an add for a pair of hipsters by just jeans and you get them and you hate them it's just because the pursuit of economic growth (and a good sustainable growth industry is fashion) is meaningless. I bet if you sat down and tried to figure out how many tangible objects you need to buy until you're satisfied you couldn't. Unless you're a blues brother you can't buy one outfit you'll happily wear for the rest of your life. You just want shiny baubles and funky pants because your a human being.
A poigniant example of marketing not being able to make people want things came to me in this weeks greenguide. There was an article on Vulture which described the show as 'generally loathed' which I thought was pretty strong, I must admit I didn't like the panelists and I wouldn't have watched it myself if I didn't know someone who worked on it but the article raised a point of trying to get diverse audiances to tune in to arts and culture because people believe that it's good for them that they should learn about the arts to benifit their general wellbeing. I'd never thought about this before, we live in an age with more artists than ever and most of them are struggling. They struggle because despite any support and funding the arts recieves ultimately people just don't want it. I'm a painter myself but I think it would have been a selfish decision in the end to be an artist and live of funding that is essentially dollars wasted on marketing trying to get people to want the arts.
They're not going to. I love art, especially minimalist which seems like the greatest joke in the world. Magritte, Dali, Bacon, Rembrandt, Da Vinci and especially Michealangelo and Smart have contributed shiteloads to my personal development. But I don't think people need to want it like they want AFL I'm not even sure they'd be better off. It's not like smoking where you can empirically test the health effects of quitting smoking.
Arts has a place on television, for the people who want it, and just want a nun talking about portraits and there's 40,000 people like that in Australia that can tune in at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon or a Wednesday. But you cant pay marketers to make 450,000 people a week want to watch arts at 7.30 on a monday. You just cant you can make people understand benifits of art, or environmental sustainability, or the Liberal or Labor party because benefits are the reasons people buy, act or vote in a particular way but you cant just make people want shit.
Well someone probably can, I mean somebody bought those Hole albums right?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

We have nothing to fear but fear itself

I’m afraid of being alone, not short term day to day basis but as in for as long as I can remember I’ve just wanted to lock down a marriage and remove the uncertainty of singledom forever. But by the same token doing it right as in not just marrying someone who want’s Australian citizen ship and shit. It’s an archaic concept too the institution of marriage is not the miserable guarantee it used to be and there are couples I see and say thank god for divorce. So really as a game plan it’s a pretty dumb one, but fear is never rational and I think one advantage I have as a human being is I for one no when not to trust my decision making processes. I know when I’m making decisions out of fear, lust, greed or just a desire for control and like to hold back on these occasions.
Yeah but you know I’m not really actively ploughing the fields I don’t hit the bar scene in desperation and stuff, I don’t look after my cuticles. I don’t really even eat right. I just know what I’d like is to get married and have someone to come home too and bitch about inane things all the time, and more of course like laugh it up, go out to eat, dancing, dancing and more dancing and good quality regular sex as well none of this once a week bullshit. You know and that easy comfortable love feeling where your so familiar nothing else matters in your presence you can drop all the pretenses like when I closed my door and highschool and rocked out to Rage Against the Machine all night, that sort of comfort except your not alone your in company and that’s real important to me.
Yet importantly the answer is never someone else, such theories have worked poorly for people in the past most notably (probably) Kurt & Courtney. I don’t want to sound Puerto Rican or anything but ‘You gotta look out for number one’ which is more self centred than necessary. You aren’t adding anything to a relationship if you don’t have your own sense of worth to take in. I was listening to ‘The Real Thing’ by Faith No More an album I enjoy because for some reason almost every song on the album reminds me of one of my ex girlfriends the first of which almost made me cry today. It probably says more about me than the girls but ‘From Out of Nowhere’ reminds me of a girl I dated in first year. The break up was particularly ugly by virtue of her coming down with depression and there was a clear cut deterioration of the relationship so I don’t think it was ultimately the wrong decision, I should have left when I got ultimatums over the length of my hair. But she came down with clinical depression neither of us knew at the time but I’ve felt like I got shafted because I couldn’t make her happy anymore. But of course nobody could have and since I learned about clinical depression and understand what a horrific affliction it can be I felt guilty because she told me about it and I didn’t respond because as the dumped individual I felt empowered by cutting her off. Which was horrible really it was 6 months after we’d gone separate ways what could I have felt threatened by except the very real fear that I would get hurt again. But that was a poor decision who I am now three years down the road would endeavour to help anyone even if they’d stabbed me in the balls so long as they ask, (and realising I’ve only got as much time as anyone else) but I’d try rather than look after myself because the long term damage to me of making that decision based on fear (and that her choices I can’t control ) still causes guilt today. Incedently I’m sure she’s fine but most people who have trouble moving on believe that there are contracts between people which brings me back to marriage. Loving someone doesn’t entitle you to anything, people shouldn’t sock you in the eye for overcooking steak and you shouldn’t stick in the relationship but it doesn’t mean you don’t love that person nor does it mean that because you love them they are obliged to treat you with respect and shit.
Chris Rock said ‘There’s no such thing as a soul mate, if your lucky you get a mate and that’s if your lucky!’ I’m afraid of being single all my life but there are fates much worse than being single too, read ‘The White Masai’ if you don’t think love or the soul mate concept can cause serious harm and that books a fucking romantic account. (make sure you don’t pay for it though like I did)
Incedently I am also terrified of sea monsters if you want to kill me specificly in the cruellest way possible drop me from a plane into the middle of the ocean. Now you know that about me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

General Patton I Salute You

Not much time today, check out this insightful piece though also, I fixed up the blog so you should be able to post now it was restricted to 'registered members only' before, what a wank.


If music is dying, musicians are killing it. Composers are the ones decomposing it. We are as responsible as anyone--although we'd love not to admit it. We lash out at "The Industry", blaming things like corporate structure for our shitty music--but we are the ones making it. We open the box they've given us and jump in, wrap ourselves up, and even lick the stamp. Why? Insecurity--the need for acceptance--maybe even money. We're not thinking about our music, just how it looks. One would rather have the warm tongue of a critic licking his asshole than the tongue of his spouse. It gives him a sense of validity and power. He seems to defy gravity. Maybe it is because he doesn't know what the hell else to do. He sees it coming--but freezes with panic like a deer in the headlights. Don't laugh--I've done it and you probably have too. And it has undoubtedly effected out music. (But have we learned anything form it?) We know that we are mostly a lot of slobbering babies who need constant stroking. We realize also in the moral order of society, we occupy positions similar to the thief, pimp, or peeping tom. We know that even if one has the pride of a bull, it is hard enough just to remain focused in this world. It gives us milliona upon millions of images--distractions--all saying the same thing at the same time: DO NOT THINK. If your fantasy and desire give you migraines, how easy it is to forget them when there is so much to look at. Our creations die quickly when abandoned like this. Do we realize that we are eating our young? It seems the passion that moves us is accompanied by an incredible urge to squash it. It is as quick as a fucking reflex--a conditioned response. It it a sexual problem? A puritanical one? The most intense and convincing music achieves a sexual level of expression, but what we normally feel is frigidity and limpness. It is just too easy for an artist to 'socialize' his desires when life tells him cardboard is OK. You should be ashamed of yourself! What is your fucking problem? If you don't come out, sooner or later you will die in there. Use chunks of yourself. Bodily fluids. Look left and right. Sift through others' belongings. Borrow. Steal. And try to achieve some sort of pleasure while doing it. This excitement should increase and intensify when you visualize it being shared by a number of people. Think about it. If it comes from inside you, it is automatically valid--it just may or may not be good. Because if it is not communicating in some way, its pleasure is as short-lived as a quick fuck in the back room. It doesn't mean shit. The labor of many composers is to construct elaborate walls of sound--but we often forget to leave a window or door to crawl out of. ow can we survive in these clever little rooms? We must eat our creation or we will starve. At this point, we have heard what we wanted to hear--our ears have shut down. We've resigned as slaves to our own gluttony. But if we have boarded up our learning environment, our only way out is to teach what we know. Will they listen? Why should they? Because they need you as much as you need them. You can save them from being swallowed up by the world--they can save you from being swallowed up by the world. Young and old players should be seeking each other out and using each other. They should develope a healthy exchange of smut--and learn to wear each other's masks. In this kind of environment, incredible things can happen. Music can emerge that is athletic and personal. Music that is riddled with contradictions--impossibilities. And that is the shit that can defy gravity.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Heiho cherry oh

It's amazing how much of my life was determined by virtue of spending two months in Japan in Airhostess class after 4 years of sexual repression in a school who's population was too small to sustain experimentation and gossip. You play a card wrong in a pool like that your exploits are over. Anyway I was in Japan and as is the tendancy of people in their first foreign culture you fall in love (in a period known as the honeymoon period) and think the answers to all your problems is in that particular culture.
And so for the next 4-5 years of my life my desperation to unlock these answers and get to Japan dictated most of my key decisions. I did however stumble on a book by Japan's Sword Saintthat has been one of the most inspirational reads of my life. This guy talks flippantly about killing 60 other warriors in various duals having never lost a fight. He sat back and questioned why he was so good. Infact he talked about how without instruction he had become a master of painting, sculpture, farming etc. he had discovered it through the very ordinary pursuit of mastering learning, a path he called heiho. I was naturally intrigued by this concept for the prospect of being able to be good at everything you try is always going to be attractive. Infact the book of five rings is a book of strategy employed by many modern day businesses.
I highly recommend the book. Musashi struck me not as arrogant but supremely confident and self assured, an image I could have painted in my mind for sure but it was a concept I had become familiar with through art, and resonated with my image of a professional who is someone that pulls up their sleeves and gets the fucking job done. I had learnt that the secret to being good at art was to say you were, the secret to being good at painting was not to get intimidated by a blank canvas but to just lay down your brushstrokes with confidence. Same with public speaking, every joke you tell from a podium is funnier than if you tell it socially. The secret to confidence is to will it as far as I can tell.
What is worth noting though is that Mushashi lead a life on the wander and was slaughtered mercilessly alone in ambush shortly after he published his secrets. Not a lifestyle I aspire to though I do try and take on and try out as many new activities as possible these days and try and broadly apply concepts. Object fixation is dangerous, look to Yoko Ono who tried out every possible way of sitting on a chair before concluding that the common assumption that sitting upright in a chair is the most comfortable way to do so.
Yeah so as much as I admire Musashi I really have no interest in splitting people down the middle with a sword, living life as a vagrant and eventually being butchered at the expense of my reputation.

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Dream I once had part Twix

It’s kind of embarrassing talking about profound dreams but I guess that’s what disclosure is all about that sometimes I take dreams seriously. I have had a problem with Christianity for a long time. I don’t understand how people could worship a god that threatens eternal damnation if you don’t follow certain rules. Especially stupid rules like no suicide, no practicing of homosexuality, no divorce I mean cut people some fucking slack. Particularly coming from a god that stops the Suns transit to allow more daylight for slaughtering philistines and sends an angel of death to kill the eldest child of all Egyptian families. Or punishes Job for gambling purposes. As an atheist it raised an important point: why concern yourself with details of whether or not God exists but whether he should be worshipped anyway. I mean Saddam Hussein is relatively more powerful than me (I mean when he was powerful) and has the ability to inflict a great deal of suffering on people who don’t please him yet nobody would say that these qualities make him worthy of worship. I mean if God’s an arsehole why spend money or time on him/her? For many Christians the answer is obvious because I don’t want to go to hell I want to go to heaven.
Conscientious objector is a fancy word for coward but conscientiously objecting to a paradise that excludes people because they’re homosexual I think takes some balls. Anyway the dream, the dream I had. I was in hell all defiant and everything and it was pretty bleak but not terrifying. Being a dream I wasn’t paying attention to details but I was clustered in a yard I don’t know like a victim of the holocaust waiting for a cattle truck. Anyway these two demons walk up and ask me if I’m repentant and they don’t look very tough because they look like they’re made of plasticine or some stuff. I say no I don’t care and I won’t worship no god or something to that effect. The rest of the dream was pretty straight forward they chucked me in a metal barrel that I learnt once inside it was flesh burning temperature. I tried to leap out the top and ended up being scraped across a wall with nails and broken glass sticking out which just destroyed my beautiful, beautiful face and arms and everything. Then I was tipped out on the ground and had like my entrails pulled out and then I was strung up on a barbwire fence and burning stuff was put in my eyes and I looked like a beefcarcass wallhanging. Anyway I woke up, and I was all like ‘Oh so that’s how bad hell can be’ it really shook me up. But I thought about and thought there’s probably fates worse than being a beef carcass wallhanging and if it was for eternity you’d get use to it as opposed to being a jizzmopper at an adult shop.
So that was my dream, don’t test out how much pain I’m willing to endure for a cause because I’m quite cowardly in nature but that’s what I’d choose over hanging out for eternity with a pack of arseholes. I mean for demons it’s just a job you know. For smarmy evangelists hanging out in paradise spitting on homosexuals, divorcees and suicidally depressed people it’s a lifestyle choice.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Go Womyn

I don’t want to come across as trying to pick up by showing an active interest in the women’s lib movement. Infact I think a lot of vocal contributers to feminism have set the movement back. I read in Growth Fetish by Clive Hamilton that women set them selves back by settling for equality when men themselves aren’t free. Anyway I got in a shit fight once with a girl dealing with an inane hypothetical where I was a manager interviewing two prospective employees with identical credentials and different genders that knowing nothing else I would pick the male candidate simply because we had gender in common as in last remaining common trait between me and him.
Needless to say I sufficiently unimpressed the female counterpart. Since working in an office type scenario I understand what it’s like in the workforce for women (a little better) institutionalised male management is a reality, in my student career I never encountered any real established hierarchies because the turnover of students is far greater than that of managers. Companies have management from the 80’s, 70’s and 60’s and boards from the 50’s and 40’s. Furthermore I discovered that whilst men have a tendency to form clubs to help each other along their career paths and generally be self congratulatory women tend to compete with each other and make their lives so much harder.
Most unhappy people I know have one trait in common which is the belief that life should be fair. You know the real victim mentality but the attitude is all wrong. If you are at a natural disadvantage the best attitude is to accept it. If you have to work twice as hard to get where you want to because you’re a woman don’t forget that it’s to get what you want. Sitting back and complaining about it being unfair isn’t doing you any favours and nobody else cares. You should be doing it for you anyway to achieve the lifestyle’s you want and if you are disadvantaged so much more the sense of accomplishment when you get there. Man has turned every facet of life into a game and with all games there is a natural tendency to increase more rules and complexities with the intention of making the process more difficult for the purpose of increasing fun and satisfaction. Oscar Wilde said ‘Life is far too important to be taken seriously’ and he’s right. There isn’t any point whining about rules because the only rules that should be enforced are the physical laws. All the rest is just custom, rights are infact an invention of society that can disappear in a plane crash, a flood or a foreign invasion. There is no devine rights nor is equality necessarily as positive an ideal as it sounds. I would like to live in a world where people no matter what circumstances they are born into are pushing themselves to maximise their potential regardless. If people where doing this, exploring new areas then of course there’d be inequality but more to the point life would be new and surprising and empowering.
Anyway from all these musings identical credentials between two candidates of opposite gender probably go the opposite way to my original ignorant assumption I’d pick the female because trhose same credentials are worth twice as much, and by extention she’s twice as good. But don’t get me wrong guys milk any advantage you can get and aim high everyone should try and push the boundaries and whilst the ladies may be disadvantaged it doesn’t make them any smarter, professional or better than us. And we can grow facial hair and it’s socially acceptable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A dream I once had Part 1

There have been to occasions in my life where I have awoken from a dream with pause for thought that I can remember. The first of which was in about year 11. I was in a cabin sitting on a bunk bed and Dolly Parton was sitting singing me songs, one thing lead to another and well we slept together.
At the time I listened to Tool Aenema almost exclusively (occasionally listening to Primus and I think I was enjoying fear factoryat that point) in fact it was probably whilst I still had my fatalistic revelation that one day I was going to die and there were only so many times in my life I could listen to 'White Room' by cream before I died, a song that despite forcing myself to listen to every morning still gives me a sense of religious ecstasy apon listening to, I had absolutely no contact with Dolly Parton except glimpsing her in steel magnolias. I had no knowledge, I didn't even know any of her songs, what did it mean? why did I have carnel knowledge of her in my dreams? How did she seduce me? Was invading adolescent boys' dreams the next step of desperation after cosmetic surgey?
You know what, it didn't mean anything. But it gave me pause for thought because you know what? I loved it. It was great.
Since then alongside the guitar gods of 1969 britain, and the bay area virtuosos of 1996 california dolly parton resided as my bizzarre musical influence from somewhere else, somewhere different. I embraced this strange relationship I had with a distant star. I never recaptured the romance sure, or the passion I guess I'm not sure how romantic it was. I like to think the experience of experiencing such an experienced celebrity has helped make me a confident lover if not a very good one. It's given me that edge. I've never doubted myself, thanks Dolly. Furthermore it's influence can be felt in other areas. My general attitude was changed, I could draw out the positive from things outside my experience. I like Dolly Parton's music now, but the motive was getting to know a lover better. I never would have picked up the tacky rhinestone encrusted cd of my own accord. But I'll read about stuff now that equally I have never had any interest in. Pythagorus is a nut, he competed with Jesus to form his own religious community and we forget this amongst right angle triangles! I did just becuase I was trying to find something interesting about maths in year 12 hoping to make studying easier. It broadened me my magical night with DP. I listen to more genres than I would have. It allowed me to accept Audioslave appreciating Cornell's contribution in his more flexible vocal styling allowing a blues influence to creep into Morello's playing. It's also a great strategy for gift giving. Give people gifts you enjoy and find interesting. Sure you're loved one will be initially dissapointed but eventually they'll find time to read that book or play that banjo. And one day, one day in a job interview, these peculiar interests, these inconsistencies of character are going to give me the competitive edge.
Or get me ostracised from society in general.
Dolly Parton is hot.
P.S. It's really nerve wracking writing about this at work. You don't know what it's like thinking someone's going to read about your infatuation with dolly parton over your shoulder.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My suit is chafing me

I had my first day back at work yesterday, it was good insofar as I realised how helpful I am even though it isn't the most stimulating job in the world. But it was hot, man it was raining and muggy outside and the airconditioning inside can be set to too hot or too cold and being outnumbered by the thin skinned people in my department I generally cop the too hot end of the stick.
None of this was helped by having to wear shirt, tie and trousers. Why can't I just wear a t-shirt and big pants instead of maintaining a professional image. Professional has always been an ideal I aspire to but always likein the movie sense, you know the cops that get out of bed in their houseboat have tequila and cornflakes and just happen to be really good at their jobs.
I love to dress up sure, look good, feel good, but not to work in.
The only reason I suffer this discomfort is custom, the necktie comes from croatia and used to be tied by a wife around her husbands neck to say he's taken. How did such a useless accessory become the norm. Conservative dress is designed and enforced to avoid offense. So I can't wear a shirt that says 'fuck' on it and lose a sale or a customer, but having been to RMIT marketing course I think companies should actively encourage people to remove anything that may give them the impression that they are professional. People used to turn up to my lectures dressed up in pinstripes and fancy shirts like they were making a pitch to some advertising executives. I maintain atire doesn't make you professional, that's playing dressups. Professional is simply doing what you are paid to do.
Man nothing jacks me off more than the glamorised misconception that being professional means getting a fake tan, spending extra money on your hair, obligatory teeth bleaching, driving some car and talking at the water cooler all day taking three hour lunchbreaks and arguing with indignation any time an exploited worker priveledge gets taken away.
In the end it's all just communication, the Democrats managed to lose 2 elections through image makers controlling their candidates communication. It destroyed Simon Creen. It's all hellbent on minimising offense. But whenever you minimise risk you minimise all deviation from the mean both positive variations and negative so you become some bland boring glass of water trying to strike up a conversation with me at a luncheon, you light up a cigarrette and you've lost my interest whereas if you'd worn that Faith No More shirt you have in your drawer at home for weekend wear we may have had something in common.
Still I don't have the balls to just turn up to work in casuals.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Fundamental theory of stupidity

People are stupid. It is inevitable, all knowledge is imperfect because we can't possibly know everything. We may at best get a feel for what we do actually know but we're still gonna make mistakes, it happens even to like messiahs and prophets and shit. There isn't one person in the world that hasn't said or done something stupid or caused some harm to some other parties in some way. So what? So fuxking relax. In fact the more people you put together the less they will collectively know. Terry Pratchett of all people said the way to determine the IQ of a crowd is to take the lowest IQ from the crowd and divide it by the number of people there. I gotta admit with the best of intentions I wen't along to protest the outbreak of 'war' in Iraq and was feeling a complete lack of solidarity as I watched I construction worker from trades hall run past me yelling 'Anarchy, yeah anarchy let's spread anarchy yeah wooh!' that was cool he was happy just to have an arvo off work and I dig it.
But we know so much about how to avoid making bad decisions and we still do them all the time, on matters of faith you can argue all the time because there's no way to rationally win on ground that consists entirely of faith but drink driving? using heroin? unprotected sex? replying to unsolicited spam mail? smoking? fucking Noam Chomsky would be hard pressed to come up with rational arguements to merit these poor decisions. The messages have been rammed into our heads again and again yet people still make these decisions all the time. The only answer you ever need is just an exceptance of the fact that people are generally, characteristically stupid. It makes life interesting though and puts money in my pocket. Anti-ageing creams, designer clothes infact any consumer good designed to make you look good. Only a moron would buy these again and again and it may look like a waste because you can always change fashions season after season and rename and repackage and reprice the same old chemicals and it's okay. It's not wasteful, it's just the most effecient means we have to sell intangibles, like confidence and self esteem, contentment. We sell these concepts that people can probably just as easily make at home by putting them into little bottles and stitch them into fabrics, and people can buy them and it has an impact on their self esteem and confidence and contentment they just where out because we have to use tangible goods to hand them over. I imagine one day marketers will just stand around in department stores and you pay them $129.95 to have them say 'you're looking good and feeling better, look your lips are very sensuous and your pretty well built, you got a lot to offer and a pretty good support network that loves you very much. Go think on that.' and you go home and you think on it and the intangible product lasts much longer and actually manages to appreciate. But right now people just need something to spend their surplus money on and it's luxury items, they have to really because otherwise there's no real point going to work. There's no real reason we do half the shit we do. We just don't know what we're sposed to be doing, we've got imperfect knowledge. As yet all meaning in life still requires a bit of faith to make up for missing reason. Some people don't even have cause to dwell on what the point of their life is cause everything is peachy, hence you can just listen and do as your told whether thats saying 12 hail marys or buying into real estate because it always goes up (ou damn speculators!). Just relax, someone may know what the meaning of life is. Many people may know. But knowledge of how to communicate it is imperfect because all knowledge by definition is imperfect because we are born into a universe of everything that's been around forever (two infinite vectors) and we start off knowing nothing and occupying very little space (two finite vectors) there's no way we could catch up, even if we all get together and try and share knowledge there isn't enough time in the day to learn everything your partner knows and you to share what you know cause you have to go on living. So people are fucking morons relatively speaking, devide a finite number by an infinite one and you get a number so close to zero it may as well be. So if you ever ask why? or have lost faith in humanity just remember we're stupid, there's nothing wrong with that, we're trying. Some lessons we may have to learn 7 or 8 times so don't fucking panic. I myself take great pride in the fact that in six months time I'll look at this post and say 'Tohm you fucking moron' it's pretty much the reason I started a blog.
Anyway just thought i'd share, so long as I keep learning eh.

Johari promised me fortune and glorious glory

So I started a blog, part egomania, part fear that some day somebody far more important than you might listen to me and take me seriously. You know like George Bush or Hitler Mark 2 and some unqualified unpc comment starts getting associated with genocides or worse economic idiocy. The Johari window says Self awareness is like one axis of leadership and disclosure is like the other axis. I'm pretty good at self awareness, I actually know when not to trust me, I know when to think less of myself than I previously did and I sure know what my own face looks like. Disclosure though through years of delusional paranoia has been my downfall pushing me to secrecy heretofore never concieved of being required for a rather lackluster contributer to the community. So here I am 'sharing is caring' after all starting a blog so I can share my thoughts and get feedback even though it will probably just be corrections from my schoolteacher mum. Gotta not be afraid though. You can't make decisions based on fear afterall, unless of course you want a lifestyle dictated by what your afraid of kind of like the war on terror our very Australian lifestyle choice. I've said from the outset we didn't go far enough, we need to tackle more 'forces of evil in the world' (I'm not sure who I'm quoting, but I'm sure some ignorant piece of shit in some trailer has called terrorists/freedom fighters forces of evil) that could unpredictably kill us with incredibly low probability of actually doing so. Like lightning. Where's my damn war on lightning, it's lethal, unpredictable, decentralised and determined to wreak destruction on very small sections of the western world. I tell you I'm sick of living in these times of half arsed political commitments, my kids won't be safe in a world with terrorism and lightning why they could be killed in a terrorist attack or a lightning storm. I pay taxes, Australia has a 'defence force' why aren't they doing anything about lightning? Of course you know I won't let the fear conquer me. I have to go to work and pay taxes 5 days a week, if I stay cowering in my house because of lightning, that means they have won.
So I started a blog despite my fear that I will be swamped with feedback talking about how ignorant, insensitive and cowardly I am. But disclosure is key, you may as well advertise, I have no intention of ever joining a Gym (for as my brother's friend pointed out to him who passed it onto m in general conversation; what kind of society do we live in where we eat so much fuel we have buildings dedicated to burning off the excess) and as a marketer you learn about sustainable competitive advantage, having a beautiful body is something I can't sustain as my key means to attract the fairer sex. I keep fit and healthy but I'm not going to stress over a six pack (though maybe I am? some fuck has made me self conscious) for two healthy reasons, I don't want a partner that is attracted to me because I have a sexy body because what will happen when I invariably let myself go during an exam period or one of those months where you can get a cheeseburger for like 50c? I gotta have a sensual and sexy attitude and be funny and rich and shit! those I can sustain sitting on the couch watching TV thanks to exciting underwear, sensual music tastes and compound interest. The second reason is I lack the imagination required to come up with a means to whip my t-shirt up and demonstrate my sixpack to that smart, funny, ballsy girl I meat at a party (note the freudian slip). I guess you could say 'hey check out my six pack' but oh so much easier to say 'hey check out my cufflinks' those things i can buy from a store, you know what frankly I'm just not interested in girls that lack the maturity to know it's all about the feel and a bit of pudge feels nice. I'm not afraid, as soon as I can i'll post a picture of my chest. Damn you judgemental jerks.
It's all about disclosure after all, just remember no matter what size you are you can never get underwear too small, good things come in small packages even if you really should be wearing L or at the very least M (why can I never find XM?) and you spend a whole day in discomfort and are sterile before you know it it's all about disclosure.