The man in the bed.

This is something I haven’t exactly had to endure, yet. But I doubt I could tell my own experience of it so well.

mindful of thoughts

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o’er wrought heart and bids it break”

“Just do this one thing for me” my father asked me. “I know you’re thinking you don’t want to do it, but you’re thinking about yourself. Think about your grandfather. He wants to see you”

And now he’s said that, I know I’m going.

“I’m just warning you, it can be very confronting”

I say nothing, and the next time I open my mouth is to greet my Aunty at the hospital. As we walk up the corridor, the doors of each room are open. “don’t look in the rooms” she says, but inevitably my gaze finds its way inside them as we walk past. A young guy at a bed side, hunched over with his head in his hands, an old man splayed out on the bed like…

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Red Deer Music and Arts Festival 2013 – First Half

Blurry smartphone photo of Kingswood

Kingswood rocked so hard it was almost scary (and were in fact blurry, going by the above smart phone photo). This is about all I can remember from their Red Deer Music & Arts Festival 2013 performance. Not sure if it was the bass bleeding my ears or the BYO beer soaking my brain cells, or both, but the devastation their set wreaked remains but a shadow on my rock and roll soul. Then shit got real hazy. I can vaguely remember my brother hoisting the empty of all but soft drink esky on to his ex-personal trainer and labourer’s shoulders, as we prepared to depart for more alcohol. Then I recall us saying hi to three couples gathered around a campfire on a property between the festival site and the house we were staying at. They said nothing in return. One of them may have cocked a gun and spat tobacco at our feet. Then finally my brother passed out in front of home base and, despite my best efforts, would not be roused so we went to our beds instead of catching headline act The Grates. I woke up with barbed-wire-wounds on my hands, possible concussion from falling over deer fences and to sunlight hitting my hungover eyes like a truck.

Beardmance

Beardmance

In regard to malevolent figurative or actual trucks, as proof “these things come in threes”, the festival’s story from my perspective began early on Saturday September 7 – while most of my fellow countrymen and women were busy misguidedly ushering in Tony Abbott’s xenophobic and economically elitist right-wing government. Brisbane City had gloriously revealed itself from my mobile vantage-point atop Mount Gravatt, as I steered my car north along the Pacific Motorway. Presently one of those orange-texted traffic conditions signs stated there was congestion on the Riverside Expressway, beside the CBD. “How bad could it be?” I thought of the expressway, that I’d never had any trouble with especially at noon on a Saturday. Margaret, Elizabeth, Turbot and Herschel Streets into the city were all missed as rat-runs I could have used to escape traffic inching along the expressway. I needed Kelvin Grove Rd, which after becoming Samford Rd would lead me to Mount Samson, under whose evening shadow Red Deer would be projecting its progressive vibes north, south and eastward.

Journey to and from the festival

Journey to and from the festival

After an hour spent feeling the skin on my right arm sizzle in the spring sun I finally discovered the source of the congested calamity, where the M3 split from Coronation Dr and usually took cars north toward the Sunshine Coast. All manner of emergency vehicles had blocked the ramp, where a truck (the first of “these things”) had apparently lost its shit and crashed. Trusting in my metallic-voiced GPS, I had no choice but to continue along Coronation Dr then turn north along Park Rd, Milton, and get back on track. When I was confronted my yet more traffic, and I swear my sun-shrivelled right arm shrieked in alarm. An ALDI truck (second of “these things”) was sitting under the rail overpass, and someone was motioning for it to reverse. “Ah,” I thought, “it’s ok: he’s just waiting for the right moment to back up and deliver his German-owned and probably Asian-made goods.” Then the truck driver got out and wandered around his truck, shrugging. The horrific reality of the truth finally hit me and almost had me returning home convinced the gods were angry with me that day: the ALDI rig had gotten stuck under the rail bridge.

Red Deer

Eventually, of course, I found myself on Kelvin Grove Rd, from whence there were no more traffic related problems. I was frustrated at a service station about 30 minutes later by a fat old guy in full bits-per-inch futuristic army camouflage, who was taking forever to choose his brand of bogan juice (energy drink) and blocking access to the good old fashioned water I wished to purchase. Talk about two worlds colliding. Then at Samford Central shopping centre, I left my wallet open while handing over money for my salmonella chicken wrap to the decayed-teeth late-teen chick apparently in charge of the entire shop at lunchtime. “That’s a nice photo,” she said.

“Thanks,” said I.

“I look like a criminal in mine, because you’re not allowed to smile anymore.”

I tried not to hesitate too long while also trying to avoid staring at her brown choppers, before saying: “I guess I’ll keep mine (taken about a decade ago, when I was 20) until I die, then.” The awful drive had all but killed my good spirits. Had she not been friendly, I may have snapped when after a 20 minute wait I brought the food toward my lips and noticed a piece of chicken at the wrap’s edge was barely cooked. With valiant calm I threw the offending morsel out, took the plunge on the rest of it and continued on to the house I was staying at nearby the festival – while trying to ignore imaginations that my stomach was already sending bad-meat-bacteria to my brain that might ironically render me a vegetable for the rest of my life.

Coming up: Bec Laughton

Coming up: Bec Laughton

Red Deer Music and Arts Festival 2013 – Second Half

Bobby Alu

Bobby Alu

The beginning of the end began as it always does: with that first sip, while we sat on the veranda looking down the valley toward Lake Samsonvale. Red Deer was audibly already in action somewhere nearby. After a short walk down the road the four of us set foot through refreshingly lax security into the dual-stage festival while Bec Laughton was in the middle of shaking her little pink hotpants through a jazz and hip hoppy set. I’d decided to take the $400US Canon I’d bought last year in San Francisco. And it was the catalyst for my being accosted by a Hawaiian shirt wearing rugby union playing type. He insisted on taking my photo, citing the somewhat dubious observation that photographers rarely have their photos taken. At some point during his drunken rambling a young blonde woman poked her head past him to wish me a happy World Beard Day, and disappeared. Then my brother joined us after using the men’s and immediately clashed with the large loud shirted and overbearing photographic sympathiser. Understand, the only “music” festival my brother has ever been to is the pill-popping and flesh flashing Gold Coast Spit event: Summafieldayze. Moments later, I told him he needn’t bring the same levels of testosterone-fuelled defensiveness required at that aforementioned celebration of boganism to Red Deer. We sat down with our two friends as triple j’s Sarah Howells began a very blues and rootsy dj set, and were almost immediately confronted by a horrific sight.

Sarah Howells

Sarah Howells

Many people had returned to their BYO couches and beers from the stage-front after Bec Laughton. One young blonde woman, carrying at least 40 kilograms more than was healthy, had also returned to her group which happened to be sitting right in front of us. It was time for her to change out of her party dress into warmer clothes and, my God in Heaven, did we get a show. Details aside, let’s just say we by her getting changed in front of us had unwittingly and not pleasurably been ushered “backstage” to her performance. I tried harder than most around me to avoid looking at, while stifling laughter, the train wreck unfolding in front of us. Think of my reaction as being similar to Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, repeating: “The horror. The horror.” Fortunately, a man wearing a bear onesie who had just won Howells’ costume dance competition walked past, and I put “the horror” behind me by congratulating him. One of our number headed off to get and then return with pizza, and we sat in the last of that day’s early spring sunshine washing them down with cold beer while Bobby Alu strummed his way through some folksy reggae grooves. All 1000-or-so of us were collectively aware that Tony Abbott’s iron-budgie-smuggler right-wing reign was about then being ushered in across the nation around our left-leaning, progressive bubble. Such anxiety could have contributed to the couple of scuffles that broke out nearby. Or it could have as usual been about women. Or perhaps some bogans might’ve gotten through hard to spot security. Impossible to be sure. As the sun set behind Mount Samson and the temperature dropped, I headed back to the homestead to collect my jacket – a trip for which I sacrificed listening to The Dashounds’ apparently bunny-suited drummer bash out some tunes.

Matt McHugh

Matt McHugh

Turned out the best way to get past the deer fence separating the festival’s VIP camping area and the property at which I was staying, was to simply fall almost spastically drunk over it. Then another couple of barbed wire cattle fences were surmounted, and I was away, my possibly emphysema-afflicted lungs struggling to power me up the hill. I was momentarily stopped by the fact the former serviceman head of the household had locked up the house tighter than a hillbilly fortress. Fortunately, some of the beers were stored outside. Plus his wife ended up responding to my text messages in query of a hidden key, and eventually appeared to unlock the place so I could get my leather. The return journey was vague. Memory had already become unreliable. The alcohol had reached my brain. Chance Waters’ future car commercial indie pop was lulling Red Deer’s crowd into a false sense of security upon our return. I remember by this point we’d lost the other two of our number, one of them being pregnant and all, and the other being her husband. I’d become engaged in a deep and meaningful bromance with the guy sitting next to me on the esky, who was literally my brother. We continued our D ‘n’ M as Kingswood took to the stage and shattered the peace for kilometres around. It was a lot like trying to carry a heartfelt conversation through the first sparks of a violent revolution, so great was the noise and so frenetic the mosh pit. And considering what was taking place in Canberra about then, I wouldn’t have objected to an actual uprising. It was about this time that things had started to become weird, in the form of the attractive lone young woman who had been loitering close to my brother’s left for several minutes. I leaned in front of him and said something like: “Hey, how are you?” And she vanished to our rear in a flurry of blonde hair. Then we had other problems. Kingswood had finished, as evidenced by rivers of blood from peoples’ ears beginning to dry on the grass and in a large pool in front of the stage. The Grates were yet to hit the stage. But alas, we were out of piss. And we both fully intended on returning at the time, but barbed wire wounds to my hands remain better evidence than actual memories that we even tried. And ultimately failed.

Hangin' with Pikachu

Hangin’ with Pikachu

24 ridiculous things I hope will never happen (soon)

Warning: contains (the band) Aqua.

Awkward Conversations with Burnzy

SEVERAL weeks ago, I wrote a list of things I wanted to achieve before I turned 24. Achievements  included capturing a drop bear, buying a toothbrush and partying with the Bundy Rum bear.

Even though I only have until early November to have a meaningful life – I haven’t fulfilled anything on the list.

So to help me feel better about myself, I am not going to try to cross things off the list.Instead, I’m going to write a more negative list which will suggest how much sci-fi fantasy has corrupted me. It will be a list of 24 things I hope will never happen.

Let’s begin:

1)  A respectable scientist (Stephen Hawking) announces that because of humanity’s irresponsibility to the environment, Drop Bears have become extinct. And that they are too dangerous to ever clone back to life.

2)      Hollywood producers (Universal Studios?) ask me if the Monkey King…

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US and UK – Emerald, Isle Be Hungover tha Whoale Taime – Part One

Visited the Tower of London while in, erm, London.  But it didn't rate one mention in my notes, perhaps because I was somehow offended by how touristy the 1000-year-old historical monument had been made

Visited the Tower of London while in, erm, London. But it didn’t rate one mention in my notes, perhaps because I was somehow offended by how touristy the 1000-year-old historical monument had been made

Way back. In San Francisco, I believe. In the figurative shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, I commented somewhat ironically in my journal about how important the very same was as a source of comfort and companionship in the absence of predictable others. While travelling alone. The outlet had gotten me through: jet lag in LA; giddying pleasure in SF; incarceration in Yosemite; I Fought The Law And The Law Won-related post traumatic stress while escaping from California; intoxicating solitude through the US Pacific north-west; contempt in Vancouver; disgust and suffered abuse in Las Vegas; death’s-door sickness in New Orleans; ultimately doomed feelings of love in New York; doomed feelings of love in Brighton; and finally recovering from rejection while fortunately staying with very extended family in London – perhaps the most impersonal and alienating city I’ve ever come across. Vancouver then New York would rate second and third, respectively. For more than two months, it had accepted my inner-most thoughts while I shielded it from rain and maybe theft.

First photo in Dublin

First photo of Dublin

There were times when I left the notepad simply under my hostel pillow while I journeyed during the day or bar-hopped during the night. In such a situation I would often feel guilty; like I’d left my young child at home unattended. My parasitic dependence on my journal was quite clearly indicative of my introversion. It was a friend I could pick up and discard at my convenience. Just like regular socialising, using it as a passive listener to express myself would exhaust me, as is the way of introverts. But I would swig all the more heartily at the bottle of life for the knowledge that I could recycle the energy gloriously onto its non-judgemental paper. And now, in respect of my efforts, at least, dear reader; its service has come full circle. The details it kept mostly hidden (except for my side-story about riding a Dragon through cold wet skies in the north-west USA) have after more than six months almost all been committed to Word Press. And whether you’ve been loving my story or judging it, the next move should you want to make one is yours.

Second photo of Dublin - an Aussie-themed pie shop, duh.  No Guinness, yet

Second photo of Dublin – an Aussie-themed pie shop, duh. No Guinness, yet

It’s Thursday night, September 5 – two days before a conservative Australian government is swept into power on the back of paranoia and misinformation. A warm, windless early-spring evening. Blues In Hoss’ Flat by The Gene Harris Quartet plays on my phone through the Pandora app. I received a probably taxpayer-funded anti-Greens pamphlet from Brisbane, today, that I spent a 50c stamp on to send back to the Joseph Goebbels admirer who initially sent it. Instead of a Saturday night spent watching Tony Abbott’s impending prime ministership secured over the Telly. And my status as a young progressive in a land of the elderly and bigoted further maligned. I’ll be at the Red Deer Festival, west of Brisbane, with my exuberant pregnant semi-retired geologist half-sister and her resourceful strong-quiet-type husband. And my notes tell me Dublin’s coast in the evening sunlight was “quite enthralling from the air”. It was less-so from the ground. At Los Angeles, the US-Canada border, San Francisco (linking to Las Vegas from Vancouver) and Heathrow, London, at the end of all of my international transitions so far, I had been confronted by angsty or simply unhappy customs officials. Not so in Dublin.

Christmas was coming up - in Edinburgh, Scotland

Christmas was coming up – in Edinburgh, Scotland.  This photo, however, is from Dublin

My experience of customs there consisted of almost precisely: “Where did you fly from? For how long are you here? Have a nice stay.” Then a stamped passport. Delightful. I’d later come to the conclusion that the city and country desperately and almost no questions asked needed tourists and their money. I must’ve ordered a drink at Dublin Airport before heading into the city, because I wrote: “One thing I have to remember to find out is why do they give you a receipt for everything – even drinks at a bar – in Dublin, without being asked.” Still haven’t. Found out, that is. Considering the Irish reputation, alcohol is probably tax-deductible regardless of employment purposes. Maybe just for Guinness. That’s just about all I drank. Almost constantly. I caught the Airlink bus south to the, ahem, “city”. Naturally by 4pm it was already dark. I got off about a 15 minute walk south of my west-Rotunda area hostel, and reasoned it was a good tactic for which to familiarise myself with the area straight up. Google maps simply helps you get around, while hard-earned local knowledge helps you at least survive or, at most, have fun. After checking in, I turned right around and set forth for a night out in a city in which family removed by hundreds of years surely lingered amid the lamp-lit, cobblestoned streets.

Yes.  Yes it is

Yes. Yes it is

US and UK – I Lived By the River – Part Nine of Nine

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For so long, I resisted travel. My closest friends who had travelled internationally spoke to me of its educational and practical experience qualities. And my less close friends spoke to me of: “Oh my God, like, travelling is so much fun! Like!” Or something to that effect. To the former I would sometimes reply that through the very act of living and being an adult and studying at university (twice) and experiencing the occasional horror and less regular pleasure of share-house living, one can gain all the education and experience one might need in their own society and country. And to the latter I probably concealed a slightly contemptuous sneer and said something like: “Great. Glad you had a good time. Catch ya later. . . .” What I’m pretty sure I said to my two closest friends, in reply to their promotion of travel abroad as holistically positive for the individual, was that I thought in the context of a world in which countless millions struggled to afford food – let alone absorb other cultures by plane – that travel was simply an indulgence. An act that served in my mind at least from a touristic perspective only to waste money, embitter contemporaries less financially capable and show disrespect and disregard for the starving masses. And the thing is, since travelling, I still see it as an indulgence. But not only.

Not sure what this shopping arcade is called, but it's very pretty nonetheless

Not sure what this shopping arcade is called, but it’s very pretty nonetheless

Kind of ironically, my closest friends were right and travel is something that can be infinitely enriching. And my not-so-close friends were wrong. I mean, I’m sure they’re genuine when they speak of having had a good time, but it won’t last. If you only travel on an atavistic agenda, even if it at least serves to blow off some day job steam, at some point in your life you will come across situations in which your life could have been bettered if you had bothered learning from the cultures through which you journeyed, instead of just using said cultures to have some good times. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars travelling, you’ve got to appreciate and fulfil the many other ways such an experience can potentially enrich your life. That said, it is nowadays so much more easy and cheap to see the other side of the world and everything in-between, assuming enough domestic sacrifices have been made, than it was for our parents. I guess my point is that, whatever existential benefits you derive from travel, it will always carry an element of superficiality. It will always be a gamble; in a literal sense because travel is risky to your well-being and abstractly because it might never serve any real practical purpose in future life.

IMG_0726

Pragmatism and cold philosophy aside, travel is to be loved. With the whole heart. I think that may have been something which held me back with the beautiful Emma. I was so blissed-out by the mere fact that it was possible for me to be sitting beside a gorgeous girl outside a pub on the other side of the world, let alone that I actually was, that I guess I lost sight of the smaller picture: a focus of emotional energy on her. It’s so bittersweet. Who knows what might have happened had I got my courting of her right. I might still be in Brighton, returning after a day’s work doing God-knows-what to enjoy a meal with her. Or I could after a romantic interlude with her have ended up with another girl over there. I do know that retention long-term of the attentions of women to whom I’m enamoured is not something that’s happened to me very often, whether overseas or down at my local pub. I love all women, not to mention respect them and find them to be the most intriguing, sometimes baffling and always beautiful creatures on the face of the planet. But if I’m able to elicit the same posture from any one of them, I wish she’d more explicitly let me know.

Australia House, London (I probably was a little homesick)

Australia House, London (I probably was a little homesick)

This present morning, I believe it was a Tuesday, I told Emma through a Facebook message that I was that day off to Dublin then Edinburgh, and that if she’d had a change of heart I would be on the next plane then train back to London then Brighton and into her arms. Can’t blame a guy for trying, but can remind him of his failure – if that is you’re a soulless torturer. I had to get up at 7.30am, and I never sleep well before a flight. It’s not from fear of death. It’s fear of being marched like a sheep through the check-in/security/gate-adjacent shopping areas/boarding process. Not to mention the de-humanising customs ordeal upon arrival. Both are factors that really distastefully sandwich the romance of air travel with feelings of, at best, dejection. But I managed anyway to summon enough motivation to get out the door on time with Jim and hugged her goodbye before she caught an earlier train to the city. Not sure why I didn’t go with her.

Think I may have already used this shot of London from Greenwich Park, but am unapologetic either way

Think I may have already used this shot of London from Greenwich Park, but am unapologetic either way

According to the notes I penned a few days later in Dublin I “had a smoke and took my last look at Blackheath. The problem was the airport (Southend) was on London’s extreme north-east side. In fact I’m not even sure it was still in London. Just a couple of (train) changes. Because I had to leave with Jim (I) got there with plenty of time to spare – but not too much. Had some time to read the Metro paper. Pretty interesting, even for (me as) a tourist. Guess they figure some of their readers would be tourists. God knows London had enough of them – taking photos of every bloody thing.” The only way I could describe Southend airport is: cute. Only one small runway, situated to the north of Southend-on-Sea and just south of Rochford; it looked very new. And was surrounded by deep green grass from which grew pretty little homes. I discovered before sipping a quick pre-flight gin and tonic that the bar chick was extremely flirty. And my flight was delayed. Which gave me the chance to enjoy more of her sexy sarcasm. And read. And more sexy sarcasm. And more reading. And wondering. Where the hell the fucking plane was. But that’s the Irish for you. It was an Aer Lingus flight. Satirically, of course, I must have stood on a four-leaf clover for the flight to have landed safely in Dublin a couple of hours later after finally boarding, and instantly enjoying the air-hostesses’ accents.

I learned the power of capturing moving water on film - effectively but perhaps not artfully exhibited here - from probably the best photographer I know.  Find his work here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blainey-Woodham-Photography/185731364796492

I learned the power of capturing moving water on film – effectively but perhaps not artfully exhibited here – from probably the best photographer I know. Find his work here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blainey-Woodham-Photography/185731364796492

Electoral Circus Australia

ELECTION night is coming up in Australia. And straight away, right there, that last sentence or even its first word, I know I’ve lost some readers. Which is sad, but I don’t really blame them. Many sources, most of them unfortunately foreign, have defined our politics in various ways but not exactly these terms: as a joke. And they’re mostly right. I think it was the creators of South Park who in one of their episodes defined presidential American politics (around about the time of George Bush’s incomprehensible second term against God knows who (Al Gore?)) as a choice between a douche and a, I believe, shit sandwich. And really that’s what we’ve got in Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd. But I’m thinking when it comes to who between them is the douche, and who is the shit sandwich; it’s totally up for debate. So I’ll leave that up to you, dear reader. Perhaps give me your opinion?

Back to the joke which is fast approaching its punch-line on September 7. With the Greens and their leader Christine Milne bleeding popularity in the wake of a swiftly, and in my opinion bafflingly, becoming extremely conservative society, we’re left with two choices: incumbent Rudd and experienced opposer Abbott. Now despite Australia’s inevitable transition to a republic from its monarchistic hangover being still a ways off, our federal politics is becoming increasingly presidential. As in more and more every three years people are voting for either Labor or the Coalition’s leader, rather than their local member of parliament or even the potentially life-changing policies each party represents. After September 7 we will have an Abbott (most likely) or Rudd (less likely) government, rather than a Coalition or Labor government, respectively. As portrayed at least by a negatively homogenising Murdochian media.

Coalition

Abbott first. I rub my hands with disgusted glee. A former Catholic clergyman (alarm bells!!??), private schoolboy and currently quite wealthy but I have no idea by what means, man. Abbott is a tool. And I mean that in a literal and not exactly insulting sense. He is little but a blunt instrument used by the wealthy, the old and the culturally right-wing who really control Australia to put the rest of us in our places. He is able to do this effectively because the “rest of us”, as young people, immigrants and progressives of myriad varieties, have due to our very diversity a wide range of views that cannot be adequately captured by centre-left Rudd. Centre-right Abbott is able to as the homogenously conservative power-bloc’s attack dog bite into the cracks and stretched connections between disparate progressives, further widen said cracks, then fill them with conservative propaganda and policy. Because of this wedge factor the values channelled through him pervade each of Australia’s loosely constructed three classes. The lower class love him for his paranoid racism, the middle class love him for his promotion of small business-based employee slavery and the upper class love him as their wrecking-ball against any hint of human rights and egalitarianism below them that might come at their financial and philosophical expense.

As prime minister, Abbott will drag Australia quite mostly willingly backwards on human rights, the environment, the arts and the much vaunted but rarely actually practised idea of our commonwealth as a champion of the “fair go” and equal opportunity for all. Don’t even get me started (but I already have) on his attitudes toward women. If sexism and misogyny were themselves sexual attractors, Abbott would have more “sex appeal” (a reference to his comment about one of his own female candidates) than any man alive. And that’s despite his hairy, gangly, big eared, bicycle-riding latex wearing and genuinely disingenuous appearance. Abbott is ’50s power Australia thrust into the 21st century. Prepare for an only seven days away rip in the space time continuum, as the Doc from Back to the Future repeatedly warned of in reference to elements of different points in time coming into contact. Abbott’s irrelevance to cultural modernity will form a black hole beginning in Canberra that will soon after take the form of the rest-of-the-progressive-world’s horrified reaction to his election as prime minister. His leadership of our nation will quickly move beyond irony into cynicism.

Labor

Rudd is more complicated. And this is reflected by his numerically superior but divided and conflicted supporters. Hence his waning popularity in the mind of an electorate which elected him in 2007 as a champion of the people – some of whom are the same people who in 2013 look set to dismiss him from the top job due to his intra-party backstabbing, right-wing lurching on boat people but massively left-wing grasping on education and other things, reputation. Rudd would still like to be seen as a man for the people, but due to his own private-school background, not to mention pompous manner of oral expression, and his wife’s millions (earned, albeit, through provision of underprivileged employment services) he could never be a man of the people. There’s a few problems with even the “for” part. He outdid even the Coalition on human rights violations by decreeing to send all visa-less boat arrivals in Australian waters to Papua New Guinea – his worst infraction in that direction.

I mean, I understand politically why he did it, but he still shouldn’t have because aside from how he surely knows as a diplomat it makes us look to other countries, it would have lost him as many votes as it gained. Also, the carbon price, which Australia had an opportunity to lead the world on. He brought forward before the election its market-dictated price reduction of more than 10 bucks a tonne charged to big polluters. But hasn’t been able to capitalise on the move. Meanwhile the world continues to turn, and, apparently, warm. And the mining tax. Oh, the mining tax. It was a fuck up, but it wasn’t really Labor’s fault. Howard should have taxed the miners years ago, but of course such a move wasn’t in his political DNA. Then the dubiously titled Mining Boom conveniently came to an end not long after Labor’s ascendency. The boom was really a 10 or 20 year-long vehicle the upper class used effectively to further accumulate wealth and distance themselves by the depth of a mining shaft from the despised working class – which could do little but watch on jealously and catch any scraps that fell off the ivory tower’s dining table.

Greens

Why do the two represent a joke? I hear you thinking. Because with Rudd the people don’t know and have really never been able to figure out what to expect from him. He speaks to people like they’re children, he changes his policies based on populism rather than core political values and his argument, though quite true, that government spending during the GFC prevented recession simply hasn’t penetrated deep nor covered wide enough. Abbott’s core supporters, on the other hand, know exactly what to expect from him. He will erode workers’ rights, ignore the environment and kick away any and all ladders leading to the middle-floors of his rich puppet masters’ skyscrapers of abundance (I already used “ivory tower”). His core detractors – who unfortunately don’t all automatically support Rudd – understand this reality. But the problem is too many people who aren’t rusted on Coalition supporters also tend to believe that he will be good for them, their families, their jobs, their health, their environment and their fundamental human rights. Which is quite simply false, as all the pluralistic evidence points to. As long as you actually care to consult the evidence. And most people don’t. Or they only slurp from News Corporation’s biased and unashamedly rightist trough. I didn’t say it was LOL funny, but it is a situation that is to a healthy democracy what an episode of X Factor is to quality entertainment. It is ridiculous, and we either know it and can’t do anything about it, know it and don’t care or don’t care enough to know. If we get an Abbott government swaggering and sleazing its way around the country and world-stage from September 7, then we got the government we deserved.

Diversity

Anyway, aside from the candidates I’ll leave you with something I suggest captures how much of a joke the wider and most protracted election campaign we’ve ever seen is:

“BLEED”. Noun, acronym.

Stands for: Bloody Longest Election Ever Disorder.

Definition: madness or otherwise mental turmoil resulting from the Australian national election of 2013; which at about 9 months was the longest in that country’s history. Symptoms included involuntary tackling of politicians, obsessively compulsively watching ABC 24 or Sky News and venting politically on Facebook in gibbering, nonsensical rants that led to anything from un-friendings to letter bombs.