Furious Eye

Month: June, 2012

A Little Misconception About The Band.

T

ime is a fickle bitch, unpredictable. I’ve been having a little holiday, one of those ones where you kind of fall of the face of the world – or at least the world you usually inhabit; one of those holidays where you decide that you are going to wilfully ignore your need to do things – and by things I mean write, I mean actually doing something with the plague of ideas, of words, that flitters around the interior of your skull like locusts, devouring every thought that doesn’t begin (and end) with “sit the fuck down. Now. No, with the laptop, not the television. No no, with the interwebs turned off. Now write. Write. FUCKING WRITE”; one of those holidays where, contrary to your usual experience, time seems to exist in all its states at once – as opposed to that only state in which you otherwise perceive it, being the one that disappears so fucking quickly you basically don’t experience it anyway; one of those holidays where the days flitter past like a newspaper in a hurricane, and yet it seems like last time you were at home, or went to work, humans were only just crawling out of the ocean, where summer afternoons that last forever go by in the blink of an eye.

Despite the tidal ebb and flow of dissatisfaction that comes from that one locust in the back of your head you can’t quite ignore, scratching on the inside of your skull, trying to make you aware that you’re not doing. Anything; despite the regular consumption of yeasty, fermented beverages, and the madness of running around trying to see as much of the family as possible; despite being left in charge of multiple (ok, two) small children (and fuck me, parents, you are lunatics, LUNATICS… and properly amazing); despite all of this, this sort of holiday is really quite a peaceful one, and very conducive to some self-reflection.

I don’t mean the sort of self-reflection I usually engage in: “Should I have said that? I shouldn’t have said that. Did I come across as an arsehole? I should eat less pizza. And drink less. Oh my god, I am an arsehole. But I’m funny. I think I’m funny. I should cultivate that. Maybe someone else will think I’m funny. I should ask the wife. No, I should not ask the wife. I really need to exercise more. And drink less. And write more. Whisky.”

No, I mean the “Oh, what does it all mean? How do I get to not have to work for someone else anymore? Why hasn’t someone offered me a six figure advance for my novel? Why haven’t I finished writing my novel? Do I have to get older? Am I really good enough to even bother trying to be a writer? Will I be able to afford the liver transplant when I inevitably need it? Whisky?” sort of self-reflection, where you come to realise that there’s a level of constant rancour that’s suddenly absent from your life, and you think that this is it. This is The Life. It’s been over a week since I’ve sworn at someone just for existing, this must be the life… right?

Of course, the early days in familiar places are deceptive. You get all caught up in that moment of stepping out of the car into the fertile, hazy green of a New Jersey morning; or onto the tarmac in New York’s cool humidity, before the sun turns it into a sauna; of the smell of post-adolescence as you drive past the Morton Bay figs along Anzac Pde; of exiting the airport into the first chill fingers of the haar, surrounded by bright fog and the yeasty smell of Edinburgh’s breweries. Those deep inhalations, nostrils filled with the breath of nostalgia, with longing for things half-remembered, for the things all around you, as ephemeral as the touch of the air on your skin; filled with the sense of belonging, of coming home, these are heady and comforting breaths. But the nose quickly returns to its usual state of inertia, unresponsive to all but the most redolent of stenches. And the fading of comfort, of relaxation is never too far behind that. So too the clash of indolence and ambition… and back to the realisation/reflection equation.

Now the thing about reflection making its laboured way to realisation is that, without comparisons, it usually doesn’t. It isnae too bad for me though, being as I’m rather fond of comparisons, though typically I tend to compare the past more favourably to the present than I am currently. I have, in fact, spent more time than I care to admit in the throes of a desperate longing for something else, anything else, anything other than where I am, what I am. I have fooled myself time and again with a nostalgia for idyllic pasts that don’t exist, except in the imperfect black and white of my memories. I have tantalised myself with dreams of flight, of ceaseless travel, of worn boots, and a perpetual gaze into a bright, uncluttered future. I have succoured myself with the delights of inebriation. And I have bludgeoned those around me (and even nowhere fucking near me), all undeserving, with the ire of my dissatisfaction. This last bit probably a bit too much.

In fact, there seems to be quite a lot of this going around at present. Was reading one of Birmo’s Brisvegas Times Posts recently, which usually I think are a bit of faffle – frequently amusing, to be sure, but not quite as thinky as they might be… to be fair to the guy though, that’s not really easy in the twenty seven and a half words that editors typically limit opinion pieces to. Anyway, he asked, rather poignantly I thought, pertinently even:

Are we just so miserable and dissatisfied with our existence, so pissed off that we do not have everything we think we deserve, that we cannot help but lash out in retaliation for our relative deprivation? And I emphasize relative because most of us are not deprived at all. Does some sense of having missed out on something surround us like a poison fog, infecting everything? 

Um… yes. That’s me, up the back, with my hand in the air, and my eyes on the floor. Oh my god, I am an arsehole.

Look, for the record though, while we’re on the realisation/reflection bit, this doesn’t change the fact that Josh Pyke really does suck, and Perth still has no fucking idea how to use a train (or an escalator) that has more than two people and a midget on it.

Anyhoo, years ago – actually, thinking about it, it was fifteen… fuck. FIFTEEN… years ago. There’s that fickle bitch for you again – at one of the many mind-fuckingly amazing Tool gigs I’ve attended, the Rev. Maynard James Keenan said something along the lines of:

So, I’d like to clear up a little misconception about the band, if I could. A lot of people think that just because there’s a lot of energy coming off the stage like this that we’re all about hate -violence & stuff like that. And that’s just not the case. We’re about a lot of things; unity, evolving thoughts & ideas, choosing compassion over fear, emotional stuff and, uh, anger which is ok. Anger is constructive, unlike hate which is destructive. This particular song is about choices…

And now, possibly the only cross-referencing of John Birmingham and Maynard Keenan that will ever exist.

So very little of the anger that gets bandied about by, well, nearly everyone, is constructive. No, don’t fucking argue with me, I should know, I’m a bandier… or I have been… I’m mending my ways… I’m going to meetings… Hi, I’m Gethin, and I’m a bandier. It has been twenty one days since my last…

It’s destructive. It’s hateful. It’s bullshit.

If we weren’t all so fucking concerned with Mackbook Pros and Google Glass, with a fifth bedroom, fourth bathroom and third ensuite, with amassing our fucking dollaroos, we’d realise that we’re not deprived, of basically fucking anything… other than what we deprive ourselves of – see afore mentioned lack of six-figure advance and unfinished novel. And there’s the rub. We. Fucking. Deprive. Ourselves. Because it’s easy… but we hate ourselves for it, which is not quite as easy as hating other people for it, so let’s fucking do that instead.

Ok, look. I know there are plenty of people who are genuinely deprived of things. But they’re typically deprived of things like drinkable running water, and access to basic health care, and enough food, and a roof over their heads, and somewhere to hang out where they don’t get shot at, and somewhere to stay while their asylum status is determined that’s not behind a fucking barbed-wire fence. And they’re generally not the ones using their Macbooks to spew forth HateTweets about Android users having access to Instagram, or about equal rights for all mobile operating systems, or about lefty/hippy/liberal weenies wanting to see other people being happy and having some of their basic needs met, or about said weenies wanting to take away the soft, plush carpet of poor people that lines the halls on the way to the penthouse suite.

Oh, and for the record, shouting about people other than ones self being (genuinely) deprived of the basic things we rely on, that is anger, shouting about ones self having to pay too much tax to help people who are deprived of privilege, and BMWs, and 24-carat gold plates to snort their uncut cocaine off, well, that’s hate motherfuckers.

*     *     *

Um, so apparently, credit for that Maynard quote is required to be given to http://www.collectiveunconscious.org, because said website, it would seem, has copyright over something that someone else said, in public. There you go.

And also:

All you read and wear or see and hear on TV is a product begging for your fatass dirty dollar so … Shut up and buy, buy, buy.

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That Damned Sand in my Vagina

This thesis is in its approximately seven hundred and thirty first iteration. It has changed somewhat. I can’t seem to remember what my original intention was, though it had something to do with Arsetralia and my genitalia.

I seem to have crawled back into an old familiar hole the last few days. Or perhaps I fell into it, seeing as I find myself here, and don’t really remember how. I’ve been trying to keep my mouth shut, but I have failed, and now I appear to have a mouthful of soil, choking on it like a crumb of embarrassment lodged in my wind pipe. I have been cranky and tired, and deep in a bout of I-cannot-bring-myself-to-give-a-fuck… about anything. Ok, well, that’s not true, but we’ll get to that.

Today, I read this lovely piece by Neil Gaiman about the late Ray Bradbury, about how much joy he took in spending time with him, in continuing to think about him. I wondered how long it has been since I have taken that much joy in the company of another human being. That’s partly my wife’s fault, for dragging me to this god-forsaken backwater where I know no one, and like even less of them. But it’s really mostly my fault for being a miserable cunt, and not finding a bunch of like-minded people in whose company I might delight.

This whole thing began some time ago, as a response to a response to a response to the statement “Fuck. How good is Australia.” (which ends, I note with some pleasure, in the way that only Australians can manage to end a question… without a fucking question mark). Somewhere in that confusion of responses, was the suggestion that most of my thoughts probably stem from the ever-present discomfort of a bunch of grit in the pink bits between my legs, which is not an entirely unfair observation, but it got me thinking.

Before I go on, I’d just like to say thank you, Boris, by the way, for pointing out the sandy state of my vagina to everyone.

And so here I am, we are.

In it’s various incarnations, this little soliloquy has been a rant, a fleeting thought, an epitaph, a  couple of god-awful stanzas of (something like) a poem, a rumination. It has concerned the decline in university enrolments in the arts, in education for education’s sake, in anything that doesn’t have a quantifiable return on one’s investment in the form of a well documented first-year-on-the-job-salary; it has discussed the rampant shift toward quick-fix, Band-aid politics in this country, the love of an extra dollar now at the expense of anything at all to safeguard our future; it has wondered, slack-jawed at the embrace of slagging off the opposition as a legitimate form of selling oneself – as opposed to having anything of worth to offer – see: Tony Abbott, Apple, Samsung, Oracle, Google, The Republican Party, The Coalition, The  Democrats, The ALP, etc, etc; it has been a whine, a drone, an ear-shattering scream; it has been thoughtful and considered, and it has been a stream of baseless fucking profanity; it has discussed my lack of faith in humanity being able to even come close to fulfilling its potential, and Freud’s idea – I think it was Freud – that humanity as a whole is absolutely amazing, but individuals, to paraphrase, are a bunch of self-centred cunts; it has examined how fucking good – in fact – Australia actually is, and the fact that it’s so good, most of us don’t want anyone else to come here; it has looked at the paranoia about job-security and dwindling resources, and the fact that we’re all quite fucking happy for multi-national corporations to come in here and mine all those fucking resources, and not pay any reasonable fucking taxes to the people of this country who own those fucking resources; and it has made note of the greedy, selfish, bigoted people of this country who welcome those less fortunate with a barbed-wire fence and the constantly repeated refrain “Fuck off, we’re full”, while we go and crawl all over this planet like a fucking virus, working our drunken way from one Oz Bar to the next in our Essendon footy jerseys, swilling endless cans of VB for its nostalgic value, and telling anyone who tries to come and join us in Arsetralia to “adopt our bloody way of life”.

Yes, I suppose these days, and despite my recognition of the fact that we in this country do have it so much better than so much of the world – which just makes it fucking worse to be honest – when it comes to Arsetralia, most of my thoughts do start with “God damn that sand in my vagina.”

I can’t help but be reminded – in thinking of all these things, in considering how much more concerned we all are with our dollars than with each other – of Bill Hicks, and of him urging us to “QUIT PUTTING A GOD-DAMNED DOLLAR SIGN ON EVERY FUCKING THING ON THIS PLANET.”

~ Sentinel ~

She stands in the elevator like a gatekeeper, surrounded by a miasma of Chanel No. 5, the glossy black brick of her purse outstretched to hold the door open. I’m pinned to the wall by her javelin gaze, a silent admonishment for neglecting to hold the door open myself. Perhaps she fancies herself shepherd to the sheeple disembarking the train, perhaps she doesn’t like my haircut, or the small German flags upon the shoulders of my jacket. The lanolin stink of commuters in confined spaces mingles with the choking fumes of her perfume. The sign on the wall says Capacity: 11 Persons; there are twelve of us; the black purse remains firmly lodged in the opening. A final glare, eyes narrow above her cat’s-bum mouth, and she releases me. A resolute shrug, nose in the air, she lets the doors close.