Monday, July 23, 2018


As we drift blindly into a rabid consumerism that seems to be completely bolstered by submission to the fascist tactics of rampant capitalist ideology, I am not comforted to learn it's all quite accurately predicted in literature.

I have been reading the book Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell and have been reflecting on his observations of poverty that cause a shiver down my spine.

As we see our Government remove the safety net for unemployed, people with disabilities and even the elderly, while they vilify refugees, take away their support and give handouts to big business, a very grim picture of life in Australia is emerging. 

Though Orwell deliberately turns his back on the pursuit of Money as an Ends he illustrates quite clearly how the absence of money in a capitalistic society can rob from people all sense of basic human dignity. 

There is a concept of the failure of the individual in an environment that (possibly mostly in the author’s eyes) puts far too much importance on money as the measure of success. Capitalist ideology is dependent on a system that promotes ‘failure’ in order to motivate people to ‘success’. It is a producer of failure, and success is the illusion of those who manage not to be perceived to fail. The toll this attitude takes on individuals and society is devastating. The temptation of the successful to kick the ladder out from the feet of those aspiring to ‘do well’ seems a completely natural response to living in this kind of society. It is by nature cannibalistic and will create an underclass who have very few prospects and have very little cause for hope. Demoralization of the ‘underclasses’, the proletariat, or just plain ordinary folk seems to be the ultimate goal of this kind of social system.

In Australia I thought we aspired to a kind of democratic socialism that understood the need to protect the whole of society against the ravages of destitution, financial bankruptcy and the subsequent moral and social squalor that accompany it, because we could see that it produces a net loss to the country as a whole. 

That was the old way. We are now living in a very different country. For the financial elite it probably doesn’t seem any worse, they will amass more wealth and so will invest more into security, prison’s, military and punitive legislation to keep the rabble from messing with their comfort… 

I think Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a book that is worth reading as the conditions in Australia today are becoming very relevant to the themes in this book.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Aces High

I've been thinking lately about old friends and the life we lived together somewhere between childhood and the great drifting into the world of seriousness and responsibility.
God knows how any of us survived our youth. Growing up as children in the 70s allowed us a sense that we were born to be wild, that the paths we blaze would be flaming with the burned debris of our parents ambition for us to succeed. We stomped into the 80s as long haired bogan louts with heavy metal T-Shirts and a surprising appreciation for Culture Club, Madona and Duran Duran. The 80s was a time of peculiar changes, a naive ignorance of the environmental realities and a capitalistic view of unlimited potential for the future. It never sat well with me and I rejected it out of hand... Which did set me apart from my mates as I always have been.
In our time together leading into late teens, we were really just kids. Before the proliferation of video games, internet, mobile phones, social media, etc... etc... we amused ourselves by hanging out with our mates, cruising around on bikes, trolling the streets, wagging school and getting into a little too much trouble. 
Some didn't make it to adulthood. Some were too wild, some had grown up in abusive homes and turned their anger in on themselves and society. 
We were intolerant of boredom and did anything possible to relieve the symptoms, usually at our own peril and in contempt for the broader community... Harm was done to neighbors, friends and family paid particularly dearly as our adolescence reigned! 

Some just had a wild curiosity and a furious lust for more of everything all the time and of those the least likely survived into adulthood. Shane was one of these but amplified by 10. His fearlessness and confidence were anomalous to me, I have no idea how he managed to survive as long as he did, but it didn't come without a price.

Image taken @ AC/DC Lane Melbourne

Farewell to a Brother -
Shane although I haven’t seen you in more than twenty years, your spirit is carved into the sinew of my youth.
In all the adventures and the scrapes, and broken teeth and laughs we shared.
So hard you lived and always fought, nothing could keep you down! You were tougher and kinder than I could ever have been. Sometimes I stood back and wondered how you dare be so sure when I was full of doubt.
You never flinched! 

Shane no one and nothing could contain you! So many times I watched as you took the hardest of blows, you always got up with a wicked grin! While I think about you now I can feel a power riff in heavy metal coursing through my veins and the memory of you rises! 

You were a loyal and loving friend. Even after all these years and the distance that has grown between us when I think of true friendship I think of you. You were at times reckless. Yes! Loyal and loving undoubtedly! But Fearless! Always! In the maelstrom of youth and for as long as I have known you… Fearless! Go NOW 

I’ll light a candle as they set your body to ashes! If I could be there to walk you to the door I would as you would hold that place for me! 

Go Grinning! Go Well!

I will sit now, put on my headphones and think of you.

Aces High - Iron Maiden
Hells Bells - AC/DC