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Are we, or did I not?

By Mark Needham

Recent unfortunate deaths have been among us, as death always is.

I personally am at a time in my life where the death of a parrot/echidna/pheasant/frog, or, as is commonly the case, a poor bloody kangaroo will just about bring me to tears. Animals, unlike humans, are the best part of the life on this planet. Losing a pet cat or dog is one of the hard transitions of life that is brought upon us.

To lead a common thread, as I have often remarked to friends, that it is amazing how, when someone dies, young or old, how terrible it was, and that “Such a Lovely Person” their Godly Behaviour was Sainthood personified.

Me, myself, I have often, nay, always wondered, that the little turd got what they deserved. This always, from a position of absolutely “Not Knowing”, but irrelevant to my thinking or reason. Yep, we have all done it, I reckon, but like my thoughts, regarding the above, chances are that I am WRONG. As I often are.

In particular the venom that was forthcoming from the idealogical opposites, to the recent passing of Bill Leak, a cartoonist and John Clarke a satirist. The descriptions I use, to give these two blokes a job, are open to discussion, and not the intent of my comment here.

I will not make any links to a “differing” blog, as it is most apparent to me, “That, WE do not go there”.

Having observed the reaction to these two top bloke’s passing was an absolute eye opener. From either side of the political spectrum, the wishes from the “Other Team” was as usual on party lines, … ( Shite, I wish I were a wordsmith) and normal. Like a five-year old boy, saying “I don’t like girls” and a five-year old girl saying ” I do not like boys”. It was “script written” expected and delivered, by both boys and girls. You know what I mean. Atypical, vitriolic and disturbing (well, to me).

I call your attention to a past article on The AIMN: ‘Speaking freely of the dead‘. I also recommend your perusal to our comments at the time.

Thing is, having made the comment regarding the “terminology used for the dead, the liturgy” decrying its oft discriminate use, we now find that one of our own has passed away. Suddenly the “liturgy” tends to bite our own arse. This is a point in my own life where I have often found myself. Makes one ask the question of our own fallibility. I mean, I know I am good, but how good, and how often … or not.

We all know when we cock up, but to not appreciate the excellent work from these two blokes, the humour, in your face, bite me, up yours, cop this, slap me down, pull me up and, I would dare say that both fellas would like to say also, “f*ck you”.

They were funny. Often said stuff which was … you know what it was … you know what I mean …

John and Bill were picking away at our foibles, our own castles, our inadequacies, predesposed ideas, our own “Gods”, trying to wake us all up, to what was in fact, bullshit, but was actually reality.

Bullshit was the humour, we laughed at that, but the reality was the funniest or bullshitiest bit of it all, and I should have hoped that we could see, that at the end of the day, it was all we were left with.


John Clarke, Bill Leak, you have left us some wonderful memories of your own acerbic wit, charm and humour.

Thank you.

I am an electrician, not a writer nor academic, give us a bloody go, hey!
I also know, that I can be a proper pain in the arse – sorry about that – but the main problem is that my brain is about 30 letters behind what I am typing. Saying what I mean, and then typing what I’m saying, it is pure chance, that anything comes out even half understandable.



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  1. Jaquix

    John Clarke will be universally missed. Never a nasty word from him, and not an enemy in sight.

  2. Roswell

    Mark, you surprised me with that one.

  3. babyjewels10

    I can’t help but compare them, one humorous, giving us a laugh, the other taking us back to a meaner, nastier, time that I thought we’d put in the past, feeding on the ugly side most of us have, and not funny at all.

  4. guest

    I am with you, babyjewels10.

    Both have their fans. By their works ye shall know them. I like the subtle, nudging humor of one; I dislike the sour grapes poisoning of the discussion by the other.

  5. corvus boreus

    Mark Needham,
    Thanks for writing; food for thought.
    I offer some in return
    In ‘ Speaking freely of the dead’, it seems you were upset by a few people writing ill-words of the recently deceased Bill Leak and thus chose to roundly and indiscriminately berate all and sundry (“Gossip, bitchiness, ridicule and crap”).

    In ‘ Vale John Clarke’, it seems you were still upset by a few people who had previously written ill of the recently deceased Bill Leak, and thus chose to roundly and indiscriminately berate all and sundry (opening with ” you people make me bloody sick”).

    Perhaps, if calm decency in discourse is what you truly seek, you might try first articulating your grief through expressing a celebration of the lives of the deceased, rather than opening your contributions with a general shout of abuse to the wider audience.
    If you must rebuke, try to be a bit more discerning in your targets than simply spraying a broadside at ‘you lot’.

    Ps, if you wish to offer a link to a “differing blog”, I recommend choosing a less rabidly extremist offering than the ‘Pickering site’.
    It is the ego-page of a rabid and repulsive conman, who not only serially bombarded an elected PM, and her colleagues and peers, with degrading, perverse and pornographic cartoon images of herself (usually wearing a strap-on dido),but also recently made public praise of the daesh for their murder of homosexuals.
    There is less to learned on that page than can be gleaned from reading the scribbles on a dunny wall.

  6. Phil

    Bill Leak spoke in a language that divided and sought to conquer in pursuit of ideology. He made his choices and he chose his words and his art. I saw nothing of merit in what he drew and what he wrote and I have never respected his American employer.

    His death meant little to me. In fact I found myself quietly murmuring ‘good riddance’ to one who had acquired wealth and status too often at the expense of the vulnerable – those whom his American employer still considers fair game.

    On the other hand John Clarke spoke the global language of satire with incisive wit and pin point accuracy. He was a thoroughly decent man and a brilliant wit. He never belittled people who lacked the ability to defend. He skewered pomposity and he gave clarity through humour on complex matters of state.

    Mark Needham, your attempt at drawing the satiric talent and pure humanity of John Clarke into the racist web of vitriol that so often defined the Leak offerings, is in my view, pitiful.

  7. kerri

    There is a vast difference between lampooning someone for their words and deeds and principles to lampooning someone for who or what they are. Play the ball not the person.

  8. Kaye Lee

    This is Bill Leak’s idea of humour. I don’t find him funny

  9. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Mark Needham,

    others here have precisely said what the difference is for me about the deaths of John Clarke and Bill Leak.

    John Clarke was someone, who aimed to make powerful people accountable to us less powerful by exposing their falseness, inconsistencies, indiscretions, idiosyncrasies and double-dealing. John Clarke was one of my voice pieces against an ugly, dangerous and ridiculous political and public administrative world run by fools.

    Bill Leak, much more often than not, targeted the vulnerable because he was willing to do Uncle Rupe’s bidding and he enjoyed the rewards he received to do that dirty work. Some have said Leak was once a decent bloke, so I’m sorry for those who remember that version of Leak but I don’t. I’m not particularly sorry for the others who supported the nasty, neoliberal and divisive version.

  10. Ayla

    Mark, you give inspiration that can change many people

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    Mark attempts to bridge the gap between people who are not impressed by wannabe neoliberalists who will sell their backsides for their bosses and ppl who are impressed.

    I presume you fall into the second category.

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