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Retired carpenter..history buff, local and stories of Italianate style, especially those village superstition stories..Very far left-wing.

The Apprentice’s Revenge

This yarn was told to me back in the early eighties by my brother-in-law as we walked from his house to the “Top Bar” in his village in Sth’n Italy … he told me the basic rudiments of the story … as one does when relating a matter of interest, rather than a complete and constructed story-line … which is what I offer here to you.

It is of interest that in the days of yore, not that long ago as it happens … perhaps even to the early 1950s in some villages, an apprentice was not hired like we do here and now, rather, he was offered to a master craftsman to train by the youth’s parents … and sometimes money would be paid for that training … the apprentice becoming a sort of “live-in” servant to the master … not being paid any money, but given board in lieu of .. and perhaps being trained alongside a son as a companion. I have spoken to some older European tradesmen who “served their time” in this manner.

The downside was that once apprenticed, there was little that could be done to get out of the arrangement and this could result in a cruel master subjugating the youth to all sorts of abusive treatment. The story I heard may or may not be a type of generic village “myth” … but none the less, it was one of the best “paybacks” by a tyrannised apprentice I have heard. It must be said that the peasants of these isolated villages were very gullible to a well presented lie, and could be persuaded to accept all sorts of weird and lurid scenarios (what am I saying! it any different here?) … It wasn’t long ago that I heard and witnessed a “Evil Eye” consultation in that same village.

The superstitions still remain … Anyway, to the story for your entertainment …

It went like this:

The Apprentice’s Revenge

Little puffs of condensed breath steamed from the boy’s mouth in unison with his quick steps.

“Hurry there, boy, hurry” the Master Tailor poked and prodded the youth in the ribs with his rule “why, I had a donkey once, more lively than you.”

“Yes! … ” thought the boy “ … and I bet it carried almost as much, you old bugger!” but he said nothing and kept on hurrying over the cobblestone road, as he stepped, the pewter’d sheen of street-lamps reflecting off the wet stones made his steps cautious.

“What are you mumbling about? … don’t mumble, just get a move on … we have to be at Gemano Alfonsi’s half an hour ago! … step lively now!”

“Please don’t push me master, for if I stumble I will surely drop these bolts of cloth in the mud!”

“Drop the cloth?! Drop the cloth?! Just you try it, boy, just you try it and you will feel the thick edge of my boot a thousand times … yes, yes two thousand times!!” and he prodded the youth once more. A door opened on their right and a shaft of yellow light stabbed onto the road to their feet. a stocky man silhouetted in the doorway called to them in a mocking tone.

“Ahh! Master Tailor … keep a tight rein on your steed there, for these young ones will find any excuse to spit the bit!”

“Ha Ha! … right you are Signor blacksmith … right you are … but never fear, I have this young colt well and truly hobbled .. ha ha! on with you boy, on with you! … to Gemano Alfonsi’s to measure a suit … hurry now!”

So on they went, down street and lane till they halted in front of a peasant’s cottage at the far end of the village. Through the small window facing the street could be seen the wife and three children … girls (for Signor Alfonsi was blessed with only girls) methodically preparing the evening meal. Wafting of steam from a large pot misted over the window, a man’s hand wiped circular on the glass and a face peered out, then with raised eyebrows of recognition pulled away and opened the heavy wooden door.

‘Master Tailor … and his apprentice no less … we were expecting you an hour ago …. lose your way?”

“I was busy fitting a ruby coat to the king of Siam!” replied the tailor.

“And I am to meet him next Monday! … what a coincidence !” mocked the peasant.
‘Ebbene! … my house is your house … Master Tailor … the good wife is preparing a meal for us now.”

“First I will measure you and then I will eat … and tomorrow evening I will cut the cloth … speaking of which, I will leave some cloth for you to choose from though if I may suggest … ”

“Ah!.. I can guess what you may suggest, Master Tailor … But I want cloth that is elegant, BUT! … manly … ”

“Well, if I may … ”

“A suit with fine lines, BUT! … not too delicate … ”

“Well, if I may … “

”Robust.BUT! … (and here he wagged his finger side to side) not in the style of a pig farmer’s overalls!”

“Allora! … then it leaves me only one option to pursue I will make a suit of clothes for you so fine, that when you take the promenade on the Sabbath, people will stop and stare and say: “Ah! … There goes Signor Alfonsi; a Gentleman!”

All this banter back and forth was done with the appropriate gestures and twirls and twists of fingers and hands, with all the nuances insinuated with raised eyebrows and winked eyes. The two men finished with effusive back slapping.

“Master … ” the youth interjected so they both turned a surprised eye to him. “The cloth, it gets heavy.”

“Ah! … if they’re not lazing off in some corner … they’re whining for the little work they have to do.”

Signor Alfonsi “tch’d- tch’d” and nodded in agreement.

The cottage, having one room for eating and meeting, the rest for bedrooms, meant the measuring for the suit had to be done amongst the setting out of the evening meal. The females weaving about and placing dishes amongst the lifting of arms and the shifting of legs … the apprentice eyed the meal, for he was as hungry as … as only a young man can be … and oh! … the tantalizing aromas of a hearty peasant feast sent his tongue licking and smacking against his lips!

“But seriously, Master Tailor, I must look my best for the council meeting next month!” and here he bent low to whisper secretively into the tailor’s ear. “I have heard … heard mind!, that a position may be available for me to sit on the commune council for next term … and then?” (a gesture with the hand).

“Aha! … then you must look to your friends who support your election … and I for one would be grateful for any uniform work that could come my way?”

“Well, I am not elected yet Master Tailor, but … er … given the right price for your services … er … I will certainly not overlook the … er … consideration.”

“BOY! ” called the tailor, “wake up and bring me the chalk!”

“Signori! … ” called the matron of the house. “Dinner is served!” … and placed a large bowl of Chicken cuts in a deep sauce in the middle of the table.

“Are you asleep, boy? … ah! … I see …. more of a mind for the meal than your work eh? … I didn’t bring you here for a feast outside with you! out! out!”

“Ah … truly, Master Tailor … ?” began the peasant …

“Out … and next time think more of the duty to your trade than your stomach! … ” and he shut the youth outside … The peasant and his family were a little embarrassed at the whole incident, but said nothing, not wishing to further compromise the boy.

“A firm hand … Gemano .. a firm hand is what is needed … ” (then a cutting motion with hand-on-edge up and down …).

The youth outside sat sorrowfully down on a bench seat and commiserated with himself … then he plotted his revenge … he would have to be cunning!

“Hmm! Ah!”

The next day in the street near the post office.

Gemano Alfonsi gently lay his hand on the apprenticed youth’s shoulder …

“Look. it was a terrible thing for you to be left out of the meal last night … We expected you to eat with the tailor as is the custom (shrug of shoulders) but … ?”

“NO, no, signor Alfonsi, think not of it, for I am used to Master Tailor’s moods … ” Here he turned to look about him and then looking meaningfully to the peasant made a twirling motion with his finger about his ear

“He gets a bit crazy, you know.”

The peasant raised his eyebrows.

“How do you mean … he doesn’t seem … ?”

“A bit unbalanced … is what I mean … oh! not badly, mind … he just flies off the handle sometimes … it builds up in him, you know.”

“He did seem a bit tense last night … for he was a little hard on you … ”

“Oh that was nothing … but it is building up though … little by little … I can tell.” The youth leant a little closer; “That incident last year in San Angelo ?”

“What incident!?”

“Oh, it was hushed up nicely .. cost Master Tailor a pretty penny .. ” with a low whistle and a nodding of his head. “It’s those lonnng, sharrp scissors he uses to cut the cloth … he becomes mesmerised by them … they say his pregnant mother was threatened in the war by a sword wielding soldier”.

“Long, sharp, scissors?”

“Yes, Signor Alfonsi … you’ll see … you watch his eyes when he runs his thumb along the edge to test the sharpness … you watch … mesmerised.”

“But what will he do? … I have my family … ”

“Nothing! … nothing, if you act to snap him out of it! … Oh don’t judge him cruelly I beg you … and I chastise myself most severely if I have led you to doubt Master Tailor’s intentions, which, at all other times are irreproachable .. and I beg of you also not to tell of this … this confession to Master Tailor, for, while I feel I must be a sort of guardian against any outrage that he may commit in a … a dazed state, I must consider his “face” in the community and his pride … what man needs his pride dragged through common mud … ?”

At those words the peasant puffed out his chest … for there is none more proud than he! … for it is always so: The more unworldly a man is, the more that pride has hold of his heart.

“Have no fear of betrayal on my part, boy … but what can I do to snap him out of this … this mood?”

The youth pulled the peasant close in a huddle, shoulder to shoulder, face to face and went through a little pantomime.

“You will see when he is about to ‘snap’, for he will be cutting the cloth like this and his tongue will be pushed between his lips and he will be biting down on it … look, look … like this .. and his eyes will grow wider and wider … ” and the youth acted out the gesture while the peasant, now wide eyed also, obediently watched … “and when he is doing that, you must have a stout stick handy … no, not too heavy, for we don’t want to brain him! … just stun him … and when he is doing that which I just described … whack! … on the back of the head …. just here … ” he tapped the peasants’ head … the peasant rubbed the spot as if reassuring himself it was really there … “and he will snap out of it”.

“But, he will demand to know why I hit him!?”

The youth pulled a confident face and made a dismissing gesture .

“Deny it … and say he fainted … and tell your family to say the same and all will be well … you’ll see … this isn’t the first time, you know … and after all, you’ll be protecting your family AND his honour.”

“Why don’t YOU hit him then .. since you know how it’s done?”

“ME!… as if I can move about without Master Tailor watching my every move and giving me orders … no .. it must be you, signor Alfonsi .. or we must ALL take our chances.”

That night in the kitchen of Gemano Alfonsi’s …

It was a very nervous family that gathered behind the Master Tailor as he stood at the kitchen table with the cloth laid out in front of him. The peasant; Gemano Alfonsi stood immediately behind the tailor, behind him cowered his wife and the three girls clutching at her skirt. All were wide eyed and trembling.

“My scissors,” commanded the tailor, with hand out.

The youth made a grand gesture of extracting the long shears from their sheaf, like he was withdrawing a sword for the executioner (he had spent some time that day polishing these shears so they gleamed cruelly). The peasant’s hand tightened on a stout stick he had ready behind his leg, his tongue flicked over his dry lips, his eyes as wide as saucers. The tailor snipped once or twice in the air then suddenly spun around toward Gemano … God. how they all leapt in the air!

“I had the boy sharpen them today … you can’t do a good job with blunt instruments.” and he licked and ran his thumb slowly along the keen edge of the blade. The apprentice puckered his eyebrows toward Gemano meaningfully, fear filled the peasant’s eyes, mama’s knees began to fold and she was clutched under the arm by the stout Gemano and brought around.

“Allora!” cried the tailor, “to work” and he bent over the cloth, the family in one motion also leant over the tailor watching his lips closely … he straightened up, so did they …

“My glasses!” he announced, reaching into his pocket, “where are they?” he stared into the empty holder … (the youth had earlier deliberately removed them and left them at the tailor’s home).

“I remember you setting them on your desk at your home ” … the youth quickly answered.

“Well if you know where they are, go and get them! … don’t just stand there!”

The boy opened the door, stopped for a moment and gazed at the little scene … The tailor, head slightly turned on one side, his right eye close to his markings on the cloth, his left hand held the cloth off the table, his right was ready to cut the cloth then with an expression of utmost concentration on his face, he slipped his tongue (as he was want to always do from habit) out between his lips and bit down on it gently, his eyes widening in a glaring stare of deep concentration … The boy stepped outside and closed the door … he took two steps, halted, cocked his ear to one side to listen …


… the noise of the thump, a trifling interruption in the still, silent air of the night. The youth smiled and with his hands plunged deep in his pockets, went off whistling down the cobbled street!

Can the citizen body (social) litigate a political body (corporate)?

Here’s a little teaser for the weekend … But first let me make a disclaimer: I have no training or standing in any platform of the study of law and I place this debate on site for whomever may be inclined to contest the proposal …

It has to be admitted that the fair state of security anticipated and expected as compensation in what we call “A Civilised Society”, comes at some cost to both the citizen and corporate body. This civilised state is trusted to be implemented by those political representatives elected and remunerated by The Citizens of The State.

When we attend daily to our work, business and social activities, we expect to do so with a sense of security and calm deliberation as can be best achieved in the civilised state that has authorities and policing arms to maintain law and order in such a manner as to give that sense of calm deliberation that all is under control and we need not be afraid nor concerned.

And, in a civilised state, that is how it should be.

Necessity of settlement and all that comes from an established population that is self-reliant and all-inclusive, demands legal boundaries that give clear understanding of the rights and obligations of both corporate and citizen body … These boundaries are the obligations agreed upon by representative members elected to oversee a Parliament that makes such laws and agrees to such social and infrastructure changes as required when needed. It is when these political bodies lapse in their duty of care or deliberately institute legislation detrimental to the citizen(social) body in the majority that it has to be asked if such action calls for the Citizens of The State to instigate legal action against the political (corporate) body to recover and compensate for damages done?

What is a legal person or “citizen”?

“A legal person (in legal contexts often simply person, less ambiguously legal entity) is any human or non-human entity, in other words, any human being, firm, or government agency that is recognized as having privileges and obligations, such as having the ability to enter into contracts, to sue, and to be sued.

The term “legal person” is however ambiguous because it is also used in contradistinction to “natural person”, i.e. as a synonym of terms used to refer only to non-human legal entities.

So there are of two kinds of legal entities, human and non-human: natural persons (also called physical persons) and juridical persons(also called juridic, juristic, artificial, legal, or fictitious persons, Latin: persona ficta), which are other entities (such as corporations) that are treated in law as if they were persons.” (Wikipedia: Legal person).

So it would appear, to this lay person at least, that there is some scope to name both the citizen (social) body and the political party(corporate) body as “entities” with similar rights and obligations even while they are held apart by a necessity of legal identity.

“While human beings acquire legal personhood when they are born (or even before in some jurisdictions), juridical persons do so when they are incorporated in accordance with law: (Juridical person : Entity (such as a firm) other than a natural person (human being) created by law and recognized as a legal entity having distinct identity, legal personality, and duties and rights.)”

Given then that both citizen and political party can be seen as having identity obligations toward civil law and order, and the breaking of an “agreed contract” between those two parties by either of those two parties, would it then allow a case of litigation to be measured against the offending party? In other words; When we have a political party (say, the LNP) deliberately enacting legislation favourable to a vested interest embedded within that political party but detrimental to the citizen body, would there be scope for a class action by the citizen body to recover damages from that individual political party?

“In some common law jurisdictions a distinction is drawn between corporation aggregate (such as a company, which has a number of members) and a corporation sole (which is where a person’s public office is deemed to have a separate personality from them as an individual). Both have separate legal personality. Historically most corporations sole were ecclesiastical in nature (for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury is a corporation sole), but a number of public offices are now formed as corporations sole.

The concept of juridical personality is not absolute. “Piercing the corporate veil” refers to looking at the individual natural persons acting as agents involved in a company action or decision; this may result in a legal decision in which the rights or duties of a corporation or public limited company are treated as the rights or liabilities of that corporation’s members or directors.

The concept of a juridical person is now central to Western law in both common law and civil law countries, but it is also found in virtually every legal system.” (Wikipedia: Legal person).

“Incorporation of political parties Parties are required under the definition of ‘political party’ in s.4 of the Act to be an organisation before they can be eligible for registration …“ (AEC: Party registrations/Incorporation of political parties).

Given that most well-established political parties are registered corporations, surely that would place them under the obligations of corporate law? And even though they can claim “mandate” by gain of office to frame and pass legislation, if they promise one set of objectives before gaining office and indeed, used such claims to gain office then do a turn around (as was denied and then done by the Abbott LNP government) and institute political actions and legislation that are destructive to civil institutions and civil infrastructure when in office … surely there is scope to construct a class action by the affected citizen body to recover and claim compensation not from The State (a separate social body from the corporate political body), but from that particular political party?

“Sovereign states are legal persons … The concept of legal personhood for organizations of people is at least as old as Ancient Rome: a variety of collegial institutions enjoyed the benefit under Roman law: “Ius Naturale, Ius Gentium”: Law of Persons, Law of Property, Law of Obligations … ” (An Introduction to Roman Law; Barry Nicholas).

Go for it: Discuss …

Walking wide awake into a fantasy world

Many of you would remember an extraordinary film from the early seventies. At a time when the lives of the Baby Boomers was reaching the explosive years of their twenties … LSD, cannabis, other illicit drugs and good ol’ reliable booze had reached epidemic proportions among the itinerant youthful population … WE … were the “sons and daughters that were beyond your command” … of the Bob Dylan song. Into this world of lived freedom of thought fell several films of what could be described as “The Fantastical Genre” … Films like “Zabriski Point” (official trailer), with the accompanying music of Floyd (“Careful with that axe, Eugene …”), The Grateful Dead, Patti Page: (The Tennessee Waltz), The Stones and others. Then there were the Fellini films; “Satyricon”, “Cassanova”, “Roma”, all played out in voluptuous settings and peopled by the most bizarre characters in a fantastical dialogue.

And also there was this:

“A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick , based on Anthony Burgess’s1962 novel of the same name. It employs disturbing, violent images to comment on psychiatry , juvenile delinquency, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian near-future Britain.

Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the central character, is a charismatic, antisocial delinquent whose interests include classical music (especially Beethoven), committing rape, and what is termed “ultra-violence”. He leads a small gang of thugs, Pete, Georgie, and Dim, whom he calls his droogs. The film chronicles the horrific crime spree of his gang, his capture, and attempted rehabilitation via an experimental psychological conditioning technique by the Minister of the Interior, named Ludovico. Alex narrates most of the film in Nadsat, a fractured adolescent slang composed of Slavic (especially Russian), English, and Cockney rhyming slang.

The soundtrack to a clockwork orange features mostly classical music selections and Moog synthesizer compositions by Wendy Carlos. The artwork for the poster of A Clockwork Orange was created by Philip Castle with the layout by designer Bill Gold.” (Wikipedia).

A most visually assaulting on the senses experience for those times … and even for today (though somewhat dated in production), it can be a strange fruit. Here is the original trailer.

And here, Thamesmead South Housing Estate where Alex knocks his rebellious droogs into the lake in a sudden surprise attack.

But these trips into the fantastical world of make-believe were tempered in those times by the hard reality of having to get to work on the Monday morning in at least some sort of state fit for the job … a level of expectation sometimes way above the possible! … So they resided in the mind’s eye still as little more than a visual experience.

Now, in this post-modern, super-sized world of CVR (cinematic virtual reality), anything seems possible … fantasy becomes “reality”… and the world of the everyday melds very quickly on the screen to a world of illusion with seamless ease: “Unlike traditional VR (virtual reality), CVR limits the level of control users have within the environment to choosing viewpoints rather than interacting with the world itself. This means that CVR production arguably represents a new type of filmmaking.” … (Journal of Media Practice). The film maker now has the control of how the viewer will interpret the film … no longer through attachment with lived experience, but through psychological infiltration and interpretation.

Social Media; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all allow us to create our own identities. If we don’t want to be seen as one person, we “construct” another identity … We attach pseudonyms and “Gravitars” more in keeping of what we want others to see us as … and perhaps as we want to see ourselves … we have moved a little bit closer to the abyss of lost souls. We seek out the camouflage that hides our real person and from behind these ‘hides”, we take pot-shots at whatever riles and annoys our perceived notions of the world.

Also at play has been the falsifying of history in regards to Australian settlement … a confected illusion replete with heroes and villains, the righteous civilisers and the barbaric natives … in any land, any colonising situation … This illusion of reality in history is no better manipulated than the “ANZAC myth” … played upon the heart-strings of jingoism with the deft touch of a master propagandist … all that is needed is another Leni Riefenstahl to complete the picture. The national history has been one long lie that is now fast unravelling at the same pace (coincidentally?) as a false reality of CVR film (can it be called “film” anymore?) is becoming such an integral part of our everyday entertainment. The online streaming availability of these visual creations filter into our living rooms nearly every day, as do the online “games” and click-bait sensuality. Our eyes have become a direct link to our wallets … the cost of digital technology a necessity budgeted into household “outgoings”.

There is more than a danger of us walking wide awake into a fantasy world. I think we are already in it! We see many lash out on Twitter and other social media against these or that “harridans” and “whores” … ”pr#cks” and “a#seholes”, unrestrained by any form of decency and modesty … indeed, there are those of unbridled nature who go even further and call on past atrocities of the most repressive regimes, the likes of Joe Stalin and use them as examples for a “deserved treatment” for a favoured victim of their animosity … We have truly crossed into the fantastic when such dire reprisals become imaginatively possible!

I suspect a point has been reached where the social cost of realisation of witnessing ultra-violence on screen that has all the reality-like structures conjured up with CVR imagery, IS leading the first-world down a rabbit-hole to fantasy so much more dangerous than anything that original first-tripper; Alice ever went down:

“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here.”

Essay: The Joy of Walking …

I’m beginning to think we; collectively are losing the plot …Time to chill out a tad …

Essay: There’s a Whole World Out There! or The Joy Of Walking.

I now have no car. That statement in itself may require an explanation in these self-commuting times. But no … too tangled and tiresome a story, sufficient to state that the reason reaches back into the mists of time to when I once committed myself with a vow of: “I will”. And speaking of another thing that has ended, I feel I can state quite categorically (as an observant walker) and declare it official that the daisy bush has replaced the geranium as the stalwart mainstay of verdant flowering flora in the suburban front garden! The long-lashed cheeky button flower of the daisy, has edged the precocious petals of the geranium off centre-stage. I suppose in this age of “go-get-‘em” attitude and “in-your-face” aggressiveness the battling geranium could hardly match the many blossomed, fast growing daisy-bush might … is now right!

I notice these small things on my walks into the town where I live. Hybrid roses too have muscled-in on a place next to the footpath, all bright and starry-eyed like the budding stars they are, their many-hued blooms huge and alluring to the passer-by although I myself, religiously adhering to the adage: “Always take time to smell the flowers”, find little delight in discovering so scant a scent in such wonderful blossoms … and I feel a little cheated, like false advertising that encourages false expectations, for surely, if there is any flower that looks delicious enough to kiss, it is the rose … and like any kiss, a fellah needs to take away with him an exotic, lingering scent of delight to caress and steel him against all the crassness of the outside world and … but I think I have made my disappointment plain … the hybrid rose, without its scent is, to this man at least, as a woman without mystery!

It is Summer where I live and the fruit trees are bearing wonderfully! None more so than the cherry-plums along the railway track that I cut across on my way into town. For some reason these delicious trees are shunned by the public and much of the fruit is left to fall and rot on the ground. Bearing no such animosity to this sweet harvest, I make feast on their berries! … These, and plums galore accompany the walker on his journey and I make note the fruit of the nectarine tree leaning precariously over the corrugated iron fence of “Such and Such Ltd … motor repairs” is deepening its crimson blush and fattening itself up for the pickings not long now!

A Serbian I once worked with told me of the struggle against hunger in his youth after the 2nd WW, and how he made it his business to note when every fruit tree, every vine in every back-yard or lot in his village was ready to be raided! such are the necessities of survival … In Australia where we take such things for granted, it is one more joy to be embraced on my walks.

Another thing I have noticed, although it has fallen out of fashion with the onset of “Estate Housing” is the front fence. The front fence is one of the last and lasting expressions of individuality in a world of shrinking imaginations.

In Australia, indeed, the world! … the front fence like certain hobbies, was open slather to any fetish of taste or tastelessness. I have seen them constructed of everything from shells to bits of ironmongery and even bones … “TAKE THAT!” was the creed for some of the monstrosities separating the incumbent from the innocents in the outside world … From bits of off-cut wood to animal bones and noduled limestone rocks! and what was the flower that inevitably graced these icons and filled the gaps in the masonry? … The geranium! Alas, it is gone now, as is that generation of front fence builders that, although predictable in all other mannerisms pertaining to suburban life, could be counted upon to equal or maliciously out do the neighbour in design or complexity the Bastille like structure of the front fence and gone also, is the geranium … alas, alas!

Windmills, simple in structure were a regular feature of front gardens, but these too have been replaced by more complex: “paddling duck” or “rowing men” and even by mass produced “cupid” bird-baths. Some of the more bombastic citizens plant spread-winged eagles gargoyled on top of gate-pillars which gaze threateningly down on the walker as he moves past. I remember seeing a young woman innocently walk past a live wedge-tailed eagle perched on a fence at eye level next to the footpath. Obviously a pet of the house there … I was watching from a train at a station. As the woman drew abreast of the bird, she turned her head toward it (there is an impish spirit that provokes these actions!). I presume she didn’t expect to see such a large creature a foot or so from her face, the sudden leap to the centre of the road was Olympian to say the least! and when her knees buckled under her, I thought she was going down for prayers on the bitumen! but no, she as swiftly regained her composure and with only a few deft pats of adjustments to her bobbed hair, promptly moved on … against such nerves of steel, the male of the species has no chance … though to this day I don’t know if it was the bird that screeched or the woman.

I keep a small box at home in which I place all the “treasures” gleaned from the roads when I walk. There are shiny (I prefer them to be shiny!) bolts and hose-clamps, a squash-ball, a mobile phone, spanners and other miscellaneous objects, some unidentifiable but interesting … what few coins I find I spend.

The gutters and the shrubs are receptacles for all the detritus of mankind. Bits and pieces that fall off cars end up scarred and scraped into the kerbside gutters. Drink containers and waste paper end up stuffed, like bodies up chimneys in Poe’s: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, into any nook or kicked under bushes. At nesting time any excess chicks forced or pushed out of nests end up little mounds of fluff on the footpath or flattened on the roads. I can’t help but feel pity for these helpless chicks. who don’t even get a start in life before it is brutally taken from them. But then, what animal in the wild ( even domestic) does not meet with a violent end? Though once, when a flock of starlings flew over me, I saw one fall, for no apparent reason, out of the flock almost to my feet, dead as a doornail … heart attack? old age? who knows, but it was only once that I saw that.

Walking can be very educational, peaceful and fulfilling. One’s thoughts fall into the rhythm of the step and rare is the worry or problem that cannot be resolved in oneself in the space of a good long walk. The relaxing contrasts of sunlight and shade, water sprinkler and breeze, the chlorophyll’d odour of fresh-cut lawn near the lake, the idle paddling of the ducks mixed with the joyful cries of children at play lend a certain visceral ambience to the atmosphere of the clinging world around us that we call life!

Ah! The joy of walking …

A turning of the page

Thankfully, not all of the radical left has been sleepwalking through history. We have to be grateful that those heavy-hitters like Marx/Engels, Lenin, Mao Zedong and their many comrades and fellow travelers have taken what those of privileged background considered their sole right of ownership, and delivered to the world a different political outlook and possibility.

Those scholars and revolutionaries were students of history, both contemporary and ancient and within those tomes of archived wisdom and hard lessons they could filter out, like a calculating alchemist, that which was the objective lesson to be scrutinised and salubriously applied, and what was the most destructive exemplar to be avoided like poison … They weighed one period of history against the other and studied that and those which could be called a “perennial truth”; a truism that could be applied down through any age, any culture … as familiar to ancient and modern, as commonly felt in pain and pleasure by any peoples … as grist to all as jealousy and love or fire and water … yet used in many differing applications by all and the generic knowledge among any nation which has learned to value and scorn the solid truth of what gold is to iron pyrites.

“It is true that the history of past centuries ought to be the instructress
of the present; but not in the vulgar sense, as if one could simply
by turning over the leaves discover the conjunctures of the present
in the records of the past, and collect from these the symptoms
for a political diagnosis and the specifics for a prescription;
it is instructive only so far as the observation of older forms
of culture reveals the organic conditions of civilization generally–
the fundamental forces everywhere alike, and the manner of their
combination everywhere different–and leads and encourages men,
not to unreflecting imitation, but to independent reproduction.” (Mommsen; History of Rome, ch 11, bk 5).

So only in a general sense we can claim that “History repeats”. But in an “organic” sense, we can clearly see the familiarity of behaviours, the continuity and habits … Jealousy remains a constant … as does hate and greed and covetous desire … and many more … there is a constant in so many things human.

(On the ancient royal Celt clan families of Gaul).
“These great families combined in their hands financial, warlike, and political ascendancy.
They monopolized the leases of the profitable rights of the state.
They compelled the free commons, who were oppressed by the burden
of taxation, to borrow from them, and to surrender their freedom
first de facto as debtors, then de jure as bondmen. They developed
the system of retainers, that is, the privilege of the nobility
to surround themselves with a number of hired mounted servants–
the –“ambacti”- as they were called (mercenaries)–and thereby to form a state within the state; and, resting on the support of these troops
of their own, they defied the legal authorities and the common levy
and practically broke up the commonwealth.” (Mommen; History of Rome; bk 5 ch 7).

What have we been missing in these lessons complete from history? … Is it example? … no! … there are legion of those … Is it precedence of situation matched to current conditions … no! … the base behaviours are similar, the organic nature the same … Is it an unwillingness to confront the inevitable on the chance that it just may not happen? … “it will be different this time … ” THAT, I believe is the uncertainty that restrains the action. The chance, the possibility that perhaps … perhaps things WILL be different this time around … the corporate memory lost, the battered person syndrome, history forgotten … But Mao didn’t forget, nor Marx or Lenin … The history was there, in bold archival print, recorded in ghastly blood, in cruel reality … all the characters played out again and again in life and theatre, in brutal abuse or florid, Shakespearean tongue. Again and again the people are beaten, flogged and robbed and still we come back for more … EXACTLY like the battered woman, hoping, trusting, that things this time will be different …

Bad news, fellow travelers … they could get worse … and just how bad can these things get? Go back and read “Outsider’s ”Italian Resistance” pieces and see. Go back and read those many expose’s about indigenous massacres and carnage and see … go back and read of the fall of Rome … Go to Google and conjure up any amount of images of Roman villas … Google up the luxury and the silks and vases and marble halls and palaces … there could NOT BE MORE luxury to get … witness even now , after two thousand years, the remnants in the capital or Pompeii, the voluptuous pleasures and think not that this we have here and now cannot be wasted just like Raqqa in Syria today … nothing but a shell and despair … and just imagine the chaos and ruin of millions of lives and joke no more that to study history was “as driving with your eyes constantly in the rear view mirror”. To NOT study the lessons of the past is to be driving blind.

We must make it a habit to keep the histories of our past as close to us as we keep our life lessons. They must be learned and memorised NOT as a scholarly text to be rote repeated, but rather as the whispers of a close friend’s advice to be heeded. For time will come when a decision between hope and despair may have to be made and woe betide the making of the wrong choice through lack of precedent knowledge.

Consider these three examples below:

“Lucius Aelius Sejanus (June 3, 20 BC – October 18, AD 31), commonly known as Sejanus was an ambitious soldier, friend and confidant of the Roman Emperor Tiberius . An equestrian (upper middle-class) by birth, Sejanus rose to power as prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, of which he was commander from AD 14 until his death in AD 31.
While the Praetorian Guard was formally established under Emperor Augustus, Sejanus introduced a number of reforms which saw the unit evolve beyond a mere bodyguard, into a powerful and influential branch of the government involved in public security, civil administration and ultimately political intercession; these changes would have a lasting impact on the course of the Principate.” (Wikipedia).

Peter Craig Dutton (born 18 November 1970) is an Australian politician who has been a Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives representing the Division of Dickson, Qld. Dutton was the Minister for Health and also Sport from 18 September 2013 and Minister for Immigration and Border protection from 21 December 2014 in the Abbott Government.. In July 2017, he was named Minister for Home Affairs and officially appointed by the Governor-General on 20 December 2017 to lead the Department of Home Affairs, a newly created portfolio giving him oversight of ASIO, the AFP and Border Force.
In 1988, when Dutton was 18 years old he joined the Young Liberals (Aust’) and became the Policy Vice-Chair of the Bayside Young Liberals the following year. In the same year he ran unsuccessfully as the Liberal candidate against Labor MP Tom Burns in the eastern Brisbane state seat of Lytton. In 1990 Dutton became Chair of the Bayside Young Liberals. (Wikipedia).

The road to aspirational desire and achievement in the two above characters is similar … Both came from middle-class backgrounds and both desired power … absolute power … Dutton is yet to try to grasp that supreme baton of ruler, Sejanus made a reckless lunge for it and paid the supreme price … This age and country does not execute … physically … those who try to usurp power through devious advantage … but it does condemn them to a kind of soft purgatory … The portrayal of Sejanus in Robert Grave’s “I, Claudius” … is a decent collation of events that led to his final, swift fall … and possibly not a moment too soon!

Dutton is no life and death gambler of the cut of the personally violent Sejanus, no … HE gets the departments and the minions employed by his authority to do the dirty business … HE keeps his own hands off the blood-soaked bodies while he gloats of their fate, Dutton has not the overt courage of a risky Sejanus, but he has all the viciousness! … and worse … Dutton has the coward’s sniveling temperament.

Dutton WILL try for the supreme power, but unless those ticks and leeches that are the current crop of LNP caucus can sink any lower in both their own estimates and the general public’s, Dutton should not get the job … and hopefully in the next election, this odious person will once again be relegated to public sight and mob payment for what he has done in our name.

We cannot afford to go into the next phase of this century with our eyes shut against the confronting lessons of history. It is there for us to see … the habits formed when weak leadership does not pick up on signs and behaviours that give clear intent of actions. The current Prime Minister has such a lack of political judgment so difficult to believe that it is mind-numbing to watch him walk this nation into the jaws of destruction when there is so much wealth of opportunity for social justice … The film below gives us a chance to see constructed the step by step path to disaster … the posts of “Outsider” shows us the real-life results of those fumbling steps …

“1900” is a 1976 Italian epic historical film directed by Bernado Bertolucci Set in Bertolucci’s ancestral region of Emilia, the film chronicles the lives and friendship of two men – the landowning Alfredo Berlinghieri (Robert De Niro) and the peasant Olmo Dalcò (Gerard Depardieu) – as they witness and participate in the political conflicts between fascism and communism that took place in Italy in the first half of the 20th century.

Born on the day of the death of renowned composer Guiseppi Verdi— 27 January 1901 — Alfredo Berlinghieri and Olmo Dalcò come from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Alfredo is from a family of landowners led by his populist grandfather (also called Alfredo), while Olmo is an illegitimate peasant. Olmo’s grandfather, Leo, is the foreman and peasants’ strong man who verbally and spiritually carries out a duel of wits with the elder Alfredo … However, Alfredo’s father has hired Attila Mellanchini (played so lasciviously by a drooling Donald Sutherland) as his foreman. Taken with fascism, Attila eventually incorporates his new belief system in his dealings with the Berlinghieri workers; he treats them cruelly and later cages them in the Berlinghieri compound and accuses them of treason against fascist Italy. Several are killed by Attila himself. As the new padrone (master) of the plantation, Alfredo does little to challenge or halt Attila’s actions.

“Lights! … Camera! … Action!!“ … Let the history repeat.

A Simple Love Affair

Let me tell you a story for this Sund’y afternoon … take a break from the political mill-stone and let your dove of delight fly free! …

Years ago I was “doing a reno’” for this Greek bloke who was managing the job for his daughter … who was the owner of the house. She was as the lovely “Anna” described in the story below. She would come around to the job every few days and talk to the old man about design and so on … I never spoke to her and only saw her from a distance … she always wore a jacket thrown over her shoulders in the Greek tradition, so I didn’t know she was a thalidomide child.

“Is your daughter married?“ I once asked him.

“No!! … she never marry!” he replied with a twist of his face. I was puzzled.

“What do you mean; never?” I persisted.

‘What? … You not see? … no arm, no marry”

“What do you mean: ‘no arm’?” I queried him.

“She have no arm … just a stump … her mother she once take that pill … tha … tha …”. I twigged.


“Yes! … that’s it … and she have no arm … so, no arm no marry … ”

Of course, I have created a fantasy around that moment, that reality … and I have moved the story to the mallee, to another time and place … Why not? … I too desire a better ending than what the sour cynicism of that old man offered. Why should there not be a simple love affair, set in a mallee town with two young people? Let us create our own “reality” … if only for one moment, one afternoon! And even as the some may attest; that only 1% of people are interested … so effing what!? Let it be just that 1%, for that small number is powerful enough to move heaven and Earth to a better place in the heart of humanity even against the greater odds of the indolent 99%!

Dammit all! … what people have we become that we succumb to such beasts and barbarians that would not only steal our possessions, our ambitions, but would come back to steal our dreams! … we should all end up as those killers we saw happily re-enacting their brutality on the news last night! … and if we are but the 1% standing, with nothing to arm us against the cynical mob save our humble imagination .. I tell you this; as far as I am concerned: THEY SHALL NOT PASS!

So … let us imagine …

A Simple Love Affair

When Anna fell in love it was not without a good deal of caution. You see: Anna was a thalidomide child and though she had grown to a beautiful woman, her left arm, stunted just below the elbow with two stumpy fingers threw a “check” on any chance of an out-going personality. So when Anna fell in love with Harry, it was a long, cautious apprenticeship.

Anna worked in partnership with her cousin; Bella, running a small general store in a country town out in the mallee. They named the business: “Annabellas” and it was a good business, an honest business well run that reflected the determination of the proprietors.

Anna was twenty- eight years old, of medium height with a slim face and long black hair down to the middle of her back. Let no-one doubt that old truth that a woman’s hair is her crowning glory! Anna was a fiercely independent woman and held no truck with self- pity, yet, there was that natural reserve that sets aside those with physical disabilities, that je ne sais quoi (that certain something), of the spirit that brackets their behaviour, a caution in manner and speech that is sometimes sadly lacking in other, less impaired specimens of “Humanus Grossness!” However, in matters physical, Anna never failed to pull her weight, and was always ready with a quick witticism if her stunted limb failed her. Yet, she never developed a long term relationship with any boy from the district. Oh, she was not the type to lament this reality, nor did she overcompensate her disadvantage with lasciviousness! She just had a well-balanced perspective of the situation and the close-knit societies of country towns seem to lock the young into behaviour systems that exclude, in the majority, any dabbling in relationships away from the physical and physiological norm. Not that this is a fault, for a country town is born of the earth and survives from the earth and therefore any deviation from the “pure state” (however illusory that is) of natural wholeness is, if not condemned; shunned. To put it simply, as old Smith once remarked with a worldly shrug: “No arm … no marry.”

Harry was of the district, once. His family sold up and moved away many years before and now he had moved back to take over the local garage, for Harry was a mechanic. Harry was thirty-three years old when he moved back to the district. He was tallish, well-built (for a mechanic!) with short fuzzy hair and a fixed smile on a generally happy face. Harry had no chip on his shoulder (no axe to grind!) and a healthy disposition. Just the person to run a garage in a small country town! Why sneer? he created neither moon nor sun, nor shook fist at others fortune, yet, Harry suffered that most disabling of conditions: He was shy! Oh, he could slam the gearbox of any tractor onto the block of the engine, with appropriate epithets and wiping of greasy hands and shout to a farmer across the road:

”She’ll be right this ‘arvo, Clem’,” … but, stand him in front of a pretty woman and he’d fumble about like a cow in a mud-hole. So consequently, one rarely saw Harry outside of overalls and armed with a spanner … except for the annual football club ball (you don’t like football? … tough, millions do!).

Harry’s garage was three doors down from “Annabellas”, consequently there was frequent conversation concerning pies or pasties or pieces of string between Anna and Harry. One of these centered around the aforementioned Ball ..

“Getting close now.” Harry said in an offhand way.

“Yes” Anna checked the list of groceries. Harry shifted foot, like a horse resting.

“Who are you going with, Harry?” this threw him a little as he was about to ask Anna the same question.

“Huh,oh! … well, myself I ‘spose … you got someone?” a slight inflection of voice.

“Yes … ”(drop of mouth from Harry) ”My father”. (Mouth picks up again). Anna ticks the last entry on the shopping list and looks up expectantly.

“Oh, … right.”

Harry fumbles in his top pocket and withdraws some money. He counts out carefully on the counter saying as he does so;

“Well I was wondering if you’d care to go with me?” Anna raised her eyebrows, the merest flicker of a warm smile at the edge of her mouth.

“Hmm, … but what about dad?”

“Oh, … he’d come too,” Harry quickly replied, lest there be insurmountable opposition. His eyes appealed.

“Well … ” and here the usual reserve stalled her, but this time she relented. “I’ll ask dad if he doesn’t mind … ”

“And you’ll come if it’s ok with him?” Harry persisted unusually but fearfully.

Anna thought, then looked at Harry closely.

“Yes,” she said. Harry seemed to lose a frightful burden just then, for he suddenly straightened up and smiled.

“Right-oh! … ” he quipped confidently, ”I’ll … I’ll catch you later”. and he left the store … he suddenly returned sheepishly to take his groceries. He gathered them up as if they were a clutch of puppies, smiled, and quickly retreated to his greasy nirvana.

Well, the night out at the ball went smoothly, as neither Anna nor Harry were wild ragers and would rather dance than drink. So consequently there were other social events that they escorted each other to, for Anna would invite Harry as much as vice-versa and so it became accepted that Harry and Anna would be matched on invitations ipso-facto, so do small communities naturally react.

No more than a stage of evolution I suppose (but you knew this was going to happen; shy man meets beautiful, flawed lady, they fall in love, get married etc, etc and so forth!). But there was one hindering factor in this quaint affair of the heart: the thalidomide arm … the flaw! … ah! … as a flaw in a diamond will deflect the light so does a flaw in a human disturb the smooth natural flow of emotions. Why even an embrace would draw attention to Anna’s stump arm , she; the embarrassed frustration of not being able to rub a caressing hand over Harry’s shoulders without adjusting her position, he ;the knowing of this frustration in Anna and the clumsy overcompensation on his part, the actions of dismissal of the offending limb! Yet that limb was her, or a part of her, as much as a leg or nose or breast! She knew it, he knew it but still the dammed thing would obtrude, out of all proportion into their consciousness. But then again, neither of them could or would broach such a delicate subject, such are the halting secrets of the heart: “will I? should I?” and so neither is done.

I’ll have to mention that long before Anna had met Harry, she became aware of this nagging feeling and once even, had seen a doctor in the city with a view to amputation of the offending limb, reasoning that it would be easier to explain away an injury than be eternally on show as a “freak”. Fortunately, (for she was strong willed) this idea, born on the wings of youthful despair, was soon cast aside as ridiculous and childish. And she grew stronger for it. Oh! that us with body complete could draw on such fortitude, when even a slight ailment of body or soul sends us into paroxysms of complaints. Oh frail souls! Oh weak heart!

So into the summer months under a vacant sky rafting on a sea of mallee bush did they continue with their courting, a gentle affair with neither tryst nor jealousy but as two labourers with a common goal they met, socialised and parted. And one day Harry “popped” the question. And Anna accepted and indeed, why shouldn’t she? … She desired children, a home to raise them in … but do I feel a little raising of hackles in you at this servile “acceptance” of a “woman’s lot”? Should she rebel at this “Patriarchal” social construction? ahh! … permit me a smile … and I ask you : do you really believe the world and all in it waits with bated breath for miraculous revelations from those that would have us stride with determination down this or that corrected path? … I once waited … and so I now smile … Yes. Anna accepted, yet there was one unsolved dilemma left in the air and she meant to speak to Harry about it soon.

Saterdee arvo, ahh! is there a more pleasant occupation than being young and alive in the summer with work behind you on a sunny Saterdee afternoon in the country? … Harry thought not as he stood wiping his greasy hands with a shaggy, greasy cloth outside his garage. A smile on his dial, a song in his heart and whom should he spot walking up the pavement toward him? …

“Anna!” he called with glee. ”Where’re you off to with such a pretty bouquet? … not another secret love I hope?” and he laughed. And gosh, didn’t she look pretty … her warming smile above the multi hued bouquet.

“It’s for mother’s grave actually,” she said. Harry gulped at his over exuberant gaffe!

“Oh dear, pardon me,” he gasped. Anna smiled now.

“Don’t be silly, she’s been dead fifteen years now,” and she fussed with the arranging of the flowers ”I’m going out to her memorial now, … you want to come?”

“Say no more.” And off they went.They had hardly driven a hundred yards when Harry suddenly ducked his head below the dashboard.

“What are you doing?” frowned Anna. “Just keep going it’s Noela Maletz! I said I’d have her car fixed this arvo!”

“What, are you afraid of her?”

“Dammit, the whole town’s afraid of her.”

“Whatever for? she’s a lovely lady … she just knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to say it.” Harry raised his eyes to glance backwards out of the car.

“Well, if she saw me driving around instead of fixing her car, she’d want my guts for garters! I’d lend her my car, ‘cept it’s out of action.”

“Your car! … it’s the worst bomb in town!”

“Oh yeah … an’ I bet your cupboards are empty!” they were both silent for a moment then burst into simultaneous laughter.

“The carpenters house is falling down around his ears! … Anna cried … ”And the cobbler has holes in his shoes! … Harry laughed … ” And the tailor has the arse hangin’ out of his trousers! They both choked in fits of laughter … ”Ahhahah … but it’s true!” cried Anna.

The car pulled up at the cemetery gates, Anna jumped out, Harry made to follow.

“Wait there, just be a minute.”

“But I thought you wanted me to come?”

“To her memorial. yes, this is her grave. We’ll go there next, I’ll be right back.”

It seemed a mystery to Harry, “Graves … memorials … same thing.” Anna returned in a moment and they started going again.

“I just had to replace the flowers.”

“So where is the memorial?”

“On the farm, dad made it just after mum died, it is rather unusual … we’ll be there in a little while.”

The family farm was ten kilometers out of town on a side road. After the black ribbon of bitumen, turning off onto the dirt road was like turning into a photograph:

“And I mark how the green of the trees,
Matches the blue vault of the sky … ”

The low stunted mallee trees leaned in from the shoulder of the road, the fronds of slim leaves dipping over the limestone gravel. Blackened twists of discarded bark and twigs littered around the knuckled boles and roots. Here and there among fallen trees, rabbit warrens displayed their sprays of fresh diggings white and musty between tangles and hummocks and if the eye is quick enough, a flash of cheeky tail can be spotted sporting behind tussocks of native grass, or even a round-glassy eye spying unblinkingly for any sign of danger, then a quick “thump-thump!” signal to other rabbits and scurry down the safety of a burrow and br’er rabbit says cheerio for the daylight hours!

Anna drove off into a track with a gate in the fence, entering the paddock, she drove alongside the fence till she reached another gate, though much smaller than the first, like a front gate to a house, there was a carefully manicured path with white limestones edging it, that led on a gentle slope toward a grotto-like cavern at the bottom of a basin in the surrounding land. Anna led them to this singular spot, for Harry had never heard of it before. They stood at the lip of the soak, green kikuyu grass spilled out from the sunken pit, it was circular, about thirty feet in diameter and the front sloped down to a pool of cool, clear water mirrored under an overhanging lip of limestone six foot above the pool. To one side of the pond, in a well tended, circle of earth, was the most beautiful flowering yellow rose-bush Harry had ever seen! He stood at the lip, gazing around at the scene.

“How long has this been here?” he asked amazed.

“As long as I can remember, Mum and Dad used to bring us here in the hot weather and we’d wade in the pool. After Mum died, Dad and us kids made it into a sort of memorial … she liked the place so much … ”The oasis” she called it. Dad also pumps water out for the stock in the dry weather. It never seems to run dry.”

“And the rose?” Harry asked.

“I planted that … a yellow rose for incorruption … she liked yellow.”

“It’s a lovely place … so peaceful.” Harry spoke dreamily … Anna took out a pair of clippers and went toward the rose.

“Come … ” she called. “Help me cut some roses.”

So they stood, she cutting, he taking the blooms. With her stumpy arm Anna deftly moved the prickly stems out of the way, her long, dark tresses falling this way and that over the blossoms so sparkling yellow in the sunlight. Now and then a petal would dislodge and fall spiraling to the earth, so silent was it there you could almost hear- the petals touch the soil.

“Harry?” Anna spoke as she concentrated.


“What do you think of my arm?” she didn’t look at him as she asked, she was listening to the tone in his voice. Harry hesitated … he knew what she meant and was delving into his emotions .

“Your arm … ” He repeated almost to himself. “I … I think it’s unfortunate but I don’t feel put off by it.” it was a start.

“It’s a burden, Harry, always has been, always will be, strange how sometimes it feels like it isn’t a part of me, so different, when I wake sometimes I look to see if it was just a dream.”

“Does it make a difference to our relationship?” he asked.

“In its clumsy intrusion, you know that … yes … more later perhaps than now, when our company grows familiar and little things come between us.”

Harry didn’t answer, but shrugged his shoulders. Anna stood facing him and placed her hand on his shoulder,

“Harry, we are about to be married … to perhaps have children … from there it’s a long road ahead … ”

“I … I’m sure we can do as good as other people in their marriages.” Harry gently replied. Anna turned slowly to one side to stare at the rose.

“I worry, Harry, that any children we may have will not also be affected.”

“It’s not passed on, I believe.”

“You believe, but who knows!” Anna’s emotions engulfed her and she dropped her head crying. “Who knows, Harry … it killed my mother, the responsibility she felt for it … if … if I bore children that were in some way deformed … ”

“Oh I’d hardly call … ”Harry interrupted.

“Yes!” Anna persisted “deformed, for that’s what it is Harry, not correctly formed … deformed … and I would indeed blame myself for … for … ” and she turned her tear-stained face to him ..

“Oh, Harry, If ever there was a time to back away from your commitment, it is now! … I wouldn’t hold it against you … but marry me not with naivety, nor … for gods’ sake … pity!” and she turned to him with a steady challenging gaze. Harry reached for her stump-arm and deliberately took it in his hands, she automatically went to pull it away but he held it tight and though she could have withdrawn it, a stronger force held her.

“Anna … would you think me so simple so as not to see the complications that lie ahead in our marriage? … for marriage it shall be, lest thou refuse me … and would you hold my feelings for you so lightly that you could see me casting them aside, like a discarded rag, for nothing more than this stunted limb? For if that be the measurement of grace, where does one start? Do I compare the beauty of your eyes against size of your feet?… or grace of your step to the lobe of your ear? … hearty laugh against dirty nail? … and where do I stop? .. ” He rubbed Anna’s two stumpy fingers gently “If I gaze into your eyes, do you see pity, greed, selfishness? … look now, Anna, don’t turn away, look! … you see affection … no pity, no naivety, no denial … I’m a grown man … l love you, Anna, do not misjudge me nor deny your own feelings but just say you will marry me.”

Harry raised her stump-arm to his lips, the two tiny fingernails painted red like those on her other arm, and kissed her fingers. Anna’s face contorted to one of weeping happiness and she flung her good arm about Harry’s neck and there they embraced while standing over the rose bush.

“Yes, Harry,” she murmured in his ear. ”I will marry you. Yes!”

Blogging with a “common” voice

We, of the fifth estate, seem to be caught in some sort of endless loop of outrage …. and every now and then we throw a legitimate “bomb” or two off the “train” that hits the political target … but mostly, it’s a long ride stroking our elocution egos and practising our pouting sneers! … One gets the feeling that the opposition has tuned out and dropped out … our cries of outrage have become more and more shrill.

This may be because the MSM has command of the morning clock-radio-alarm audience and the hard-copy press has control of the visual-posters outside the milk-bar / deli’/ train station that grab first impressions for the commuter’s day … we are down the information ‘food-chain’ a bit and perhaps opinions are already subconsciously formed before we have a chance to put our case across … we therefore have the added difficulty that, unlike the fourth estate who has already claimed the morning “high ground” of news and views, the fifth estate has to put across a damn good, convincing argument … in the space of a few hundred imagination capturing words … keeping in mind, the reading punter’s finger is forever hovering over the “click” button as they sip their café lattes!

I have one opinion on how we may be able to embrace a wider audience … we may have to close the distance between the everyday reader and the teller … by “the distance”, I mean the academic discourse distance. There are many good blog sites delivering solid, witty and in-depth articles over the web … but I have noticed they nearly all (the serious ones at least) “speak” with an “educated mind” … they all talk “academic savvy” … even sites like Loon Pond, though thoroughly enjoyable, still echo the cultivated grammar and the trained eloquence of a good education. There’s nothing wrong with a good education, I knew a bloke had one once, cost him a fortune … he brought it from Tassie … it’s just that many people can be either over-awed by such or fall into a habit, of which I was a long-time culprit, of deferring to those who are perceived to have one and therefore perceived to be “better informed” … (cough, cough!) … and as a consequence, with-holding much conversation that could be added to the general pool that would aid communication to a wider audience … after all, I would think we here at The AIMN are all interested in encouraging friendship (warm fuzzies to you all!).

There are many on The AIMN that could deliver their nous and stories to a wide audience, judging by the number of hits the site gets. Some may think they have nothing of great store to tell and are hesitant that they have the skills to tell it, but that is of no account … I say: “Have a go” … it doesn’t have to be an epic, just a few dozen words of general observation gleaned from one’s travels through life … as Charles Darwin observed: “It’s not so much the little things in life, but the life in little things” … it would surprise many just how much “savvy” information can be filtered from the shortest of interesting sentences, after all … look at Haiku poetry … and with the internet, it is a bottomless pit we can pour our dissertations into and it will never be full.

But it helps if those cameos of “certain moments”, even political moments, can be delivered with a “common” voice, a familiar vernacular with or without grammatical correctness. After all, some of the best storytellers I have listened to have had that foamy fleck of beer on their lips, a lack of knowledge of the double-negative rule and a resounding belch to finish up!

That last article I put up: “History from the back of a beer coaster” is a case in point … While I had done the research to back-up my broad assertions, I did not need to drag all those links and references onto the page … and that was the objective … I could just paint the picture with a broad brush and keep the “conversation” moving along at a brisk pace … the post then doesn’t become a chore to wade through … sorry, but it has come to this state that anything over 1000 words hardly gets a thorough read anymore … skimming is all the go it would seem … especially on a blog site.

The other thing that drags a blog into the mud is the old insecurity that many adopt of clinging to allegiances … the “seeking out of the oracle and the worship of the idol” … I don’t think I am giving any secret away when I say: Forget it! … no-one’s that bleedin’ smart … not now nor ever … as nature has shown … everyone and everything is expendable … so make your point and then get the hell off the stage and let some one else have a go!

There … the “Fat Lady” has sung.

History on the back of a beer coaster

Forget the links, the oft’ quoted academic tome … forget the reams of verbose railing against this or that “Authentic History” … ”Researched Paper” or PhD on the subject … I’ll give you a run-down on the course of events in both South Aust’ history and the formation of the Liberal Party on what will here be the equivalent of a beer coaster sketch … the “Pub Test” if you will … like a coupla’ mates discussing the pros and cons of a tradie-ute I am flogging to you.

Right … let’s start with why we need a new history … NOT just of SA, but the whole of Oz … It is because the victors and their lackeys in the academic circles have controlled the access to and the writing of those histories for too long and the publishers, coming from in many cases the same “breeding circle” as those types, have selected what THEY thought ought to be published … ie; a nice, white, sugary confection of “suitable for Primary education schools“ story … and in many cases a fiction story.

Here in South Australia …

Take the founding of the idea of the State … We are told – alongside portraits of a stern but proud Governor Hindmarsh – that a group of “enterprising, courageous men”, risking their lives, reputations and capital came to this “frontier of struggle and hardship” to found a colony based on “hard working individuals who wanted to advance themselves” in a free market environment … and these governors and administrators were just the people to give them that chance …

Fat chance!!

These scum … these trash who even betrayed the original Royal and Parliament decreed agreement, that have claimed naming rights to streets, avenues, towns and counties alongside their ruthless driving out of the indigenous peoples to the point of many recorded and so many more unrecorded massacres … their subterfuge in financial dealings and rapacious land-grabs of broad acres that were first at their own request, reduced in value from the stipulated; “One pound per Acre” to a more salubrious speculator’s price of twelve shillings per acre and THEN when the so called; “Special Surveys” (a polite name for an outright swindle) were “arranged” with the South Australian Commission … in effect themselves, as THEY or their agents were on the board and commission of every administration post in the colony, or had the ear of every official resident in the colony, and the “surveyed” land purchased at that knockdown price, it was immediately offered to those migrant Germans at TEN POUNDS AN ACRE! … an outrageous opportunity that had to be stopped by the British Authorities once Pastor Kavel protested on the penury it would place the settlers in.

Such opportunists are called “The Founding Fathers” of the colony … and when their wings were clipped by the arrival of a more reputable court of petty sessions and legal advocates, they immediately set to organise a lobby group to place ministers and representatives in the Legislative Council of the new Parliament to manipulate the laws on their behalf … This is when The National Defence League was born as a deformed mutation of rapacious and cruel, lying and thieving conservative political party representing those monopolies that saw great advantage in profiteering in commerce rather than loyalty to country … for while they spruiked enthusiasm for Federation, it was not solely for the good of national unity, but more for the control of shipping of commerce and profit of their enterprises.

The National Defence League recruited members with deceit and subterfuge, relying of subtle eloquence of language to sway the more gullible to back their enterprises … a fore-runner in conception to The IPA and in eventual existence to The Liberal Party.

This “party of patriot profiteers” preached the same rhetoric on taxation, the same rhetoric on minimum wages, the same rhetoric on property rights and enterprise as its most modern evolution … this most modern evocation of an age old swindle: The LNP.
On taxation, it abhorred the idea of a Land Tax that encouraged the breaking up of the huge estates of those original land-grabs by claiming that the tax was in effect a imposition on the “poor widows” the “hard-working small-farmers” and the working men of the country … The idea of a minimum wage denied the right of the employer “who created employment” of owning his choice of who and when and how many to employ and would curtail his capacity to manage his own costs … The Customs Tax between the states created a tariff that slowed the exchange of commodities between markets and disadvantaged the local producer … hence the benefits of Federation … NOT for the people en-masse, but for the profit margin that could be gained.

A profit margin that excluded ANY consideration of the native peoples … THEY were an unfortunate inclusion in the original decree of intent that had to be provoked and coerced into confrontation so that a police or military “reprimand” could put their tribes down and keep them suppressed. This was managed by driving thousands of stock deep into their hunting grounds and tribal territory, replete with wagons and drays and shepherds and their chattels. Pushing the boundaries of tolerance to such a point that confrontation was inevitable … I leave the reader to imagine the damage done when thousands of sheep and hundreds of cattle are driven through virgin territory and water places. Then when confrontation was inevitable, we see the appearance of the troopers meeting spear and waddy carrying warriors with a barrage of bullets … NOT from old powder and shot muzzle-loading muskets, but rather with the most modern breech loading Snider-Enfield or Martini-Henry rifles … a massacre!

What started out as a colony of speculative adventure of cashed-up cowboys ended up by the turn of the twentieth century as a conglomeration of venture capitalists with the same interests as capitalists the world over: “While all rivers glisten in different colours, a sewer everywhere looks the same.” … Their criminal activities worked with the same percentage profit margin expectations and with the same principle of “Private profit-Public Risk” … and don’t give me that old chestnut of it being a symptom and accepted practice of the times, as that original Decree signed off by both the British Parliament AND the King of England made specific provision and clause for certain social and humanitarian statutes that were both sworn to loyally on their “Christian faith” and then immediately abandoned!

No … it is time enough to tolerate the liars and fabricators of this false history … a fraud of monumental proportions … If we as a nation wish to stand tall and proud of what we WILL WANT to achieve in the future, we must let go of that brutal and rubbish history taught more as political propaganda than social education and damn well write anew in words of sincerity and inclusion a new dialogue with the truth of multicultural society and indigenous ownership of country EMBOSSED ONTO the document of a new constitution:


Descend into darkness …

“A fragment does not give us that continuously changing truth … ” (Anais Nin).

We now live our lives in fragments. Small moments of awareness, like a penny peep-show of old. Wisdom and knowledge in photo-ops and literary grabs of no more than a thousand words … written in a witty and evocative hand. Hinting at but not over-playing a verbose vocabulary … just enough to thoroughly suffocate the inadequate language of the uneducated while going about the task of educating the unknowing about the inner truths of subjective objectivity.

What is “truth”? … we may ask. And did not Pilate ask the same of Jesus? … or so we are told … before he cast him to the mob … So there is the difference of the times … now, the mob plays the role of a Pilate and any victim that falls into their media net of criminality or what can even be construed as such is torn apart BEFORE they are judged and THEN thrown to be intellectually eviscerated by the singular expert on visual media or blog.

It was a hot summer’s day and I might have dropped into that front-bar of that esplanade hotel for a quick refresher before lunch … you could get a good, cheap counter-lunch at some of those hotels then … I’m talking of the early seventies … There were three other blokes in the bar, sitting with their backs to the esplanade and sea … I was at the at the zenith of the “u” shaped bar so could see through the open sash windows onto the street.

At that moment, a young woman clad in a “strategically shaped” yellow bikini stepped barefooted onto the hot road and, clutching an ice-cream in one hand and towel in the other, quick-steppingly made her way across to the sea. As I said, she was a young woman and a Bertie Wooster might add; “with a rather splendid profile” … and the hot surface of the road made her tapping steps enhance the perimeters of that profile .. and as I nonchalantly perved, those other three chaps, as if on some silent, invisible, stage-directed que all turned simultaneously and looked toward the young lady. And as their eyes lingered on the sight some while, one has to conclude they were of the same imagination as yours truly.

What made them turn in unison? … What made their eyes linger on the vision? … What is it about the female form that creates a certain kind of silent hunger in the heterosexual male? … a lust for life!: “Perfume of embraces all him assailed, with hungered flesh obscurely, he mutely craved to adore.” … Thank you, Mr. James Joyce … couldn’ve said it better meself!

Of course, I won’t try to answer those questions … I suspect most men of my generation (and any other ) already know them anyway. Sufficient to answer for myself in that time of youth, lusting after the sublime feminine form. The object of sexual desire. But that was then. Back in those long lost years of “wasted youth” etc, etc … Now, I have to admit a certain lack of enthusiasm toward the erotic or even the exquisite female form.
Something lost upon the way, perhaps? … I don’t think so … A woman in her early forties recently remarked to me that she noticed that “one doesn’t see … (and here she paused to choose the correct word) … sexy looking people much anymore.” … She didn’t mean saucily-dressed or whatever, she meant as in that attractive manner … that je ne sais quoi of style and form that some people seemed to have in spades.

I recall my first sighting in film of Catherine Deneuve, a “love at first sight” moment … in a movie experience type way … now there was a woman who visually oozed that confident feminine quality that was both sensual strength and vulnerable beauty at the one time … a type of woman one felt like showing both heroic example and adoring servility at the one moment. The Leonard Cohen; “I’m your man” kind of thing … “… with hungered flesh obscurely … “

I myself am a viewer these days of those so-called “Scandi-noir” films where often there is a smattering of nudity and sexual activity … but strangely (perhaps it is my age), even though there is accompanying sultry music and mood photography to fit the moment, I find the scenes cold and clinical … almost brutal and the bodies harsh and brittle … certainly not attractive as the girl in the yellow bikini from my young years … and indeed, I confess to sometimes wincing my eyes shut at just that strategic moment of coitus abruptus. These present day displays of the body-naked is more like a display of the “body-corporate”! … and one is left with the cold, clinical feeling of a surgical examination rather than the warm inner-glow of unsettling desire … one senses the silent glare from unseen eyes by the society examiner of sexual morals of; “don’t you even dare think … !” … What has gone wrong?

Sexual sensuality has morphed into sexual depravity, lustful desire has morphed into lascivious groping … and we as a collective have become the lesser for it. Where once flirt and tease were played with all the skills of a professional erotic dancer … now, one could perhaps observe that brutality has become the new eroticism. Where once was the anticipation of a new date a thrill of elated emotion; “Will she turn up? … it’s getting a bit late, surely! … Oh wait … there … !” … is it now no more than a banal casual appointment?

The same with humour, where once, the inept clumsiness of slapstick and the guffawing of a gross double entendre sufficed for many an evening’s entertainment, those now dated situation comedies have been replaced … NOT with equally juvenile but more sophisticated humour, but it would seem with more a vicious glee in making mockery of another’s unfortunate situation … like the many humiliating situations and events on clips on Twitter or YouTube … an up-dated media event like the sadistic “Funniest Home Videos” shows … We no longer laugh at situations, but more now at the hapless victims of a situation … Where once a professional comedian would play a rehearsed part of a gormless dupe, we now have smart-phones candidly recording every mishap and misadventure by any citizen just going about their business to be displayed to the entire world! We no longer hunger for just a touch from a desired person, but seem to need to totally control the entire relationship …

I see the steady walk toward authoritarianism as the motivating principle of these debased and bullying behaviours, where so many people, used to following persons of exemplar, those regular paths of guidance in life choices are being fed wrong choices , wrong possibilities and in accepting so readily these immoral and unethical social “norms”, we are being herded onto a path that only leads toward a descent into darkness.

Persuasion … (the language of sedition)

Mr. Hogarth spoke: “He would honestly and fairly put the objects of the league before them, and in so doing he would speak out fearlessly and conscientiously, and at the close of the address would be most happy to answer any question. No matter what sort of organization was formed it was absolutely necessary that if it wished to stand a test it must be built on the ground of justice, and start out on fair lines. The (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) was not as represented by many writers to the press who put forth issues contrary to facts. The objects of the league are not suited to any particular party- Its objects are to help the working men as much as possible. He was pleased that man has the freedom of speech so that he can get on a public platform and discuss the various political questions of the day.”

The above address could be from any number of interviews of late with any member of the LNP govt’. The familiarity of language, the tone and expression are all too familiar in today’s right-wing political rhetoric … but in truth it was from a fore-runner of the Liberal Party setting out the objectives of a new political party in 1893. “The Burra Record, Wed. 8th Feb 1893: An address to a gathering at The Burra Institute explaining the objectives of The National Defence League”.

The National Defence League went on to place members (all the usual suspects!) in the Legislative Council (the SA. Upper House) … then went on to rename itself to the Australasian National League then to merge with the Liberal and Democratic Union and the Farmers and Producers Political Union to become the Liberal Union. The NDL stood for ‘the preservation of law, order and property’ and was opposed to ‘all undue class influence in Parliament’ … The current Liberal Party of South Australia claims on their website that their party had its origin under the NDL.

Those smooth, dulcet tones of persuasion that flow like a certain kind of syrup from the elocuted lips of the highly educated upper middle-class … The carefully enunciated sentences that are both persuasive by their cunning use of an inherent truth layered on top of deliberate intent to deceive, betray a training in vocal semantics that can only come from an institution that holds the value of such Machiavellian double-speak close to their vulgar hearts. Institutions well established in the practice of training their charges in the use of such tactics as rhetorical contortionism and suggestive honesty.

Here is some more from the same times … It makes for VERY interesting example reading about the language tactics used by the conservative class in trying to persuade the masses.

From the South Australian Chronicle 24/March 1894:


Mr. Hogarth, the National Defence League lecturer, was announced to lecture at the Woodside Institute on Tuesday evening on ‘The coming conflict and some proposed systems of taxation.’ The weather was wet, and at 10 minutes past 8 o’clock there were only five persons present besides Mr. Hogarth. At that time, however, about a dozen or fifteen local land reformers appeared, accompanied by Mr. C. Proud, of Adelaide, who attended at their invitation.

Mr. Hogarth did not finish his lecture until after 10 o’clock, but he had a good and patient hearing. He said he wished he could infuse into the landowners of the colony the enthusiasm displayed by the single taxers and land reformers ; or, failing that, he wished he could awaken them to the danger that threatened of having much more severe land taxation. He did not believe the single tax would come as the single tax, but he did believe that there was a great probability of something of the kind taking place through the gradual increase of the land tax. The National Defence League and the large landowners would not object to Id.(one penny in the pound value) land tax if the other side would guarantee that that was all they wanted, but they knew too well it was only the thin end of the wedge of what, in his opinion, amounted to confiscation.

He regarded the land tax as a tax on industry, and said if the wedge were pressed home it would ruin the poor farmers and the insurance societies, which had most of their funds invested in land values.

Mr. Proud severely criticised several of the statements of Mr. Hogarth, and especially the systematic way in which he and other National Defence Leaguers overlooked the relief that would be given to the landless and poorer landowners on the remission of customs duties which would take place as the land tax was increased.

They always talked about the poor farmer and the poor gardener and the poor widow paying the increased land tax, when as a matter of fact they knew that a mere handful of 703 land taxpayers, including the South Australian Company as one, would pay more than half the land tax for the whole colony, while of course nine-tenths of the whole people would benefit from the reduced Customs duties. As he knew the lecturer would fight shy of facts and figures and keep in the realm of generalities, he had looked up the holdings and values in that district — the hundred of Onkaparinga. There were 78,280 acres in the hundred, valued by the Government assessors in 1893 at £312, 03S. At Id. in the pound therefore this whole hundred would not pay one-twentieth part as much land tax as the City of Adelaide alone. In fact it would pay less than three acres in King William-street, Adelaide. The townships of Hahndorf, Lobethal, and Woodside, in the hundred of Onkaparinga would only pay £81 a year, or less than 50 ft. frontage in the best part of King William-street, and yet Mr. Hogarth had bad the hardihood to talk of the increased land tax pressing on the landowners in that, and other country districts.

The population of the district council of Onkaparinga was 703 adult males. Assuming that they held the land values in the hundred of Onkaparinga at Id. in the pound they would pay £1 13s. 9d. per annum land tax, while the South Australian Company for land held in that same hundred would pay £113. Did the meeting think Mr. Hogarth and the Defence League were fighting for the adult resident’s 33s. 9d. or the South – Australian Company’s £113? (Applause.) Then, again, the adult residents had families for the most part and used dutiable goods. As Customs duties were removed they would be benefited — most of them to a far greater extent than the added land tax — while the South Australian Company, being an absentee (landlord), would save nothing from the removal of Customs duties. Indeed that one absentee company on all its lands in South Australia would have to pay about £4,458 a year land tax at Id. in the £, and the 703 large landowners would pay on the average over £100 a year each. It was principally to save these large land monopolists that the National Defence League was working and that Mr. Hogarth was lecturing, but he was glad to notice that the country people as well as the city workers were at length seeing the real bearings of the question and going steadily onwards towards increased taxation of land values and decreased Customs duties.

The debate was conducted on very friendly terms throughout. Votes of thanks were accorded to Mr. Hogarth on the motion of Mr. Kelly, seconded by Mr. R. P. Keddie ; while Mr. C. Dunn and Mr. H. Hart moved and seconded a vote to Mr. Proud. Both votes were carried with acclamation, and a similar compliment was paid to Mr.’ Caldwell for presiding. The attendance increased very materially when it became known in the township that a debate was being conducted, and towards the close the proceedings became quite lively and enthusiastic.”

Quite lively indeed! … But mark the language used by the conservative speaker..the deliberate obfuscation, the deliberate, deceitful “playing” of the poor and vulnerable people sympathy-card when there was not the least real sympathy for such people … and THIS in 1894! … when we see the same trick played out in 2018 with the claim for reducing taxation on the same most wealthy corporations in the chance of ‘trickle-down” politics … Where, we have to ask does this blatant and insulting mockery of truth and reason emanate from?

I’ll tell you where such language comes from … it comes from those same institutions where the most miserable individual bastards that have ever had the moxxy to waste so much oxygen of this country graduated from: Those private schools and colleges that have been parasiting off the Australian taxpayer and citizen for more years than they are worth! … Those same institutions that have taken the middle and upper-middle class brats from the grasping arms of their parents and nurtured into them the racism, the scorn, the perceived privilege and a “born to rule” bone idleness worthy of the most lascivious arseholes that ever could quote a private school motto and turn honour into horror in the space of a conjunctive!

For too many years we have let these institutions form the backbone of our educated leaders. For too many years has the Treasury of the Australian public given gross payment and unregulated charity in the form of financial grants and allowances to these most miserable of Houses of Education for none but the rich and profligate. We, the Australian people have allowed such institutions to flourish and prosper like a chancre on a healthy democracy, all the while letting them preach sedition and indeed, in some cases inculcate treason into the tender minds of their wards. Such betrayal by the higher echelons of society who benefited so well from their placements toward the trusting working classes who in turn suffered so miserably from their resulting deprivations can only be righted by the most severe censure.

It would only be fair that a tribunal access which of these “honorary” circles of sedition has done the most damage to fair governance … Which House has unleashed the worst purveyors of opportunist and capitalist plunderers upon the nation, and those that are found most culpable be cut from any funding whatsoever and be made to re-pay to the Treasury all those moneys over all those years they have committed such fraud upon the Australian people?

Truly, let them be “educated” with a working-class justice most prejudice.

Das Testament

Any reading of the annals of human history, its achievements and failings, in both majestic endeavour or mean deception, will uncover the heroic alongside the cowardice of the spirit of humanity indelibly written into the texts and transcripts recorded in those annals … even an attempt to hide or disguise the facts of a moment of importance cannot be forever obscured … there is no hiding from history.

The primary sources of Roman history are well served with examples of both. Tacitus will record with both pride in deed and shame in action those annals he has written for the elucidation of posterity. His candid revelations without fear or favour can be an inspiration to those who follow and would like to record their own interpretations of their own contemporary histories, an example most encouraging. Even the everyday chattering of the Diary of Samuel Pepys gives sublime clue to the machinations of his times.

There are those moments when researching contemporary history that certain discrepancies in what one can remember being taught in primary or secondary school can be revealed … and revealing most alarmingly a betrayal of honour by those educators entrusted with the teaching of an accurate and honest history of one’s own State or region. The revelation of which can be more than a shock to the system. The lie about the Governing class of South Australia, in that it was a honest, well-meaning if a tad unknowledgeable about Indigenous peoples and affairs … that it had the best interests of the State and people at heart … that the colony was run on a tight rein by competent administrators right through till the end of the 2nd WW … well .. this was a lie … from the start to the finish … a complete fabrication carefully constructed by thieves, speilers, con-men and killers … AND all of them the most political conservatives.

These ruling conservatives, of whom many of the streets of Adelaide are named after, used their political and financial networks to corrupt and destroy the original intentions of the Letters Patent written for the British Parliament and signed off by the King of England … While there is but obscure evidence of unbridled corruption in the official documents, we can see within the signed off letters between the board members and their agents, some of them quite subversive, that there is the agenda of intent to profiteer from their favourable situation … and after all is said and done, under all the pomp and ceremony of the official documents, we see nothing but a collegiate of cowboy entrepreneurs, spivs and speculators.

The entire official history is open to capricious interpretation and in dire need of total overhaul. The activities in the latter decade of the nineteenth century and into the first decades of the twentieth century of shady political organisations like The National Defence League, ostensibly a lobby-group for the conservative conspiracy operating in a covert manner to block social policy, usurp the procedures of democratic governance and to frustrate fair taxation in the state.

As we go about the mundane and banal business of our everyday lives, we are sometimes suddenly, in the midst of any one of those everyday chores, in between those activities of boring methodology of habit, we are confronted with a moment of such sublime beauty … perhaps an intrusion of natural sights, sounds or actions … like the movement of an obscure lizard or caterpillar that attracts our eye … or the sudden syrupy call of an obscure bird nearby … the movement of a kangaroo if you are in the country or even some domestic animal that you have petted rubbing about your leg … and all of a moment, putting aside those mundane chores you are doing, to either listen or look, a door of perception can open to you … a pause to gaze through that door into an ethereal world full of distracting mystery and strange reward. A world so different to that of the everyday, that one has to hold it in abeyance so as not to be too distracted from the work at hand … a kind of pause and reset moment.

We are dreamers by nature, imaginers by desire for what can be unattainable and indeed … given a bit of thought … perhaps not really wanted … but desired all the same … a kind of sweet-sorrow … as “the bard” would have it! But the strangest thing is, that all those visions that delight us, that provoke such emotional hunger and desire in us are really no more than an exercise of gazing into that which is already in our hearts … already inside us. Such moments happen in historical research where a flash of light can suddenly illuminate a confusing jumble of historical detail and reduce to hard-core evidence that which has been in some doubt for a long time … like the below.

Letters Patent establishing the Province of South Australia 19 February 1836 (UK):

“ … Provided Always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives In Witness whereof We have caused these our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the Nineteenth day of February in the sixth year of our Reign.
By Writ of Privy Seal

In my recent research into the pioneer Germanic settlers of this region, called by some with more an eye of an acolyte’s hunger for approval than to interest of knowledge as ; ”white-bread contemporary history”, a research that has given me access to a cache of pictures and documents archived by a local historian of good research repute, I have been sifting the many pictures of schools and churches and residences of those hardy settlers … when I came upon one picture of a group of school-children in the year of 1930, varying in age from about ten years old to mid-teens. Upon first glance, they appear to be the usual mix of grinning or scowling kids under instruction to “smile for the birdy!” … and then I noticed one boy, mostly hidden behind the first row who looked different than the blond-haired Germanics, standing in the shadows there … and sure enough, upon enlargement of the frame I saw that he was an indigenous child … and going through the names so gratefully written under the pic, I see his name as ‘Mervyn Sumner” … and that is all.

Having a familiar knowledge with the surnames of many families of this region, THAT particular name did not ring any bells … I started to research through Trove and elsewhere and there he was, sadly recorded in another state (Victoria) in a police inquiry.

(The Argus/Melb Feb 4th 1936):

“Pending the receipt of further Information from the South Australian authorities it is practically certain that the half-caste aborigine youth who died on Lock Island last week and is believed to have been poisoned was Mervyn Sumner who escaped from the Edwardstown Industrial School After the Inquest was opened and adjourned two fruit-pickers who arrived during the week-end stated that they knew Sumner well. The Inquest was reopened mid one of the pickers identified the body as that of Sumner. The hearing was then again adjourned to a date to be fixed.”

(The Age/Melb 30th March 1936):

“MILDURA. The deputy coroner (Mr. H. F. Paul) concluded an inquest on Saturday into the death of a half-caste, Mervyn Sumner, who was found dead on 30th January at Lock Island, Mildura. A finding was recorded that death was due to strychnine poisoning, but there was not sufficient evidence to show how it was administered.”

(Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry):

“In 1921 a two-year-old boy was placed in State care until the age of 18 for being illegitimate. When he was 14, he absconded twice from subsidy placements and, at 15, from the Edwardstown Industrial School. He died 11 months later in Victoria in 1936. His SWIC recorded ‘died’ and the Mortality Record Book ‘sudden – poison’. No coronial files were held in South Australia because the death occurred interstate. The Inquiry obtained department files relating to the boy.

One file contained a report on absconding from the superintendent of the industrial school, which said the boy absconded in February 1935. The police were notified and a warrant issued. Eleven months later, the department received information from the police regarding an unnamed person dying from poisoning in Mildura. According to an informant, the person had given himself a different name but stated that he had come from an Adelaide orphanage.

He told the informant that he had twice previously escaped from the orphanage and that he had no intention of returning to SA until he turned 18. Fingerprints taken from the deceased matched those of someone with a different name again. A photo was then sent to the department, which identified the boy. It appears he had used at least two false names after he had absconded. A newspaper article on the file refers to the circumstances of the death. The boy had been camping on the River Murray with two other youths. He wandered on to an island and what happened next was not known, but later the boy came running from trees and collapsed, saying, ‘I am dying’. He died ‘in agony almost immediately at [the boys’ ] feet’. The article said that a swiftly acting poison caused the boy’s death. The file contained no official document s following up the circumstances of the boy ’s death.”

The above records give a lie to the Royal and Parliamentary proclamation of allowing the indigenous peoples land to be “enjoyed by such natives thereof … “The deliberate actions extant in the files of The South Australia Company, to exploit both persons and land of the new colony from the beginning to the end give testament to their culpable actions to enrich themselves and their colleagues at the expense of the labouring settlers and the indigenous peoples. These so-called Administrators were nothing … NOTHING … more than a bunch of entrepreneurial “free-enterprise” cowboys with good connections and no idea, who found an opportune moment to be in on a good thing! And when it all went pear-shaped, they manipulated the situation so as to be bailed out by the British government of the day with taxpayer money yet leaving themselves still “in situ” to profiteer on their already swindled and plundered estates … no different than these times … not the slightest difference at all.

My studies into the early and subsequent multi-culture immigrants to this country has shown a coordinated discrimination and crushing, one-culture-at-a-time, NOT necessarily by a dominant CULTURE, but certainly by a DOMINATING middle-class capital/financial system … and THAT was and IS the ONLY flag of allegiance such entrepreneurs and swindlers fly … it is their State, their Nation, their Empire, their Tyranny.

Starting with their own duped labourers, then the innocent indigenous peoples, then the Germanic peoples who migrated here in good trust to SA … with the isolation & discrimination wherever possible, using poverty as a weapon of persuasion, then, when the hardiest of them all could no longer be ignored because of their success, bringing those selected from among them with the most adaptability to a “consciousness of kind” … into the tent to control the others and so on and on with the other ethnic peoples, the Italians, Greeks, Slavic peoples, Baltics, Asian and middle-eastern … and even now as we witness these days with certain Indigenous individuals.

Each people, one ethnic group at a time … the same procedure: invite, contain, divide, reject their culture … introduce debt along with aspiration & expectation until cultural and financial control does the rest until capital/material obsession becomes the new culture … with the help of those among their own who will work with and perhaps for the masters in that “consciousness of kind” cooperation.

Until those unique cultures become a pastiche of the original … a blancmange confectionery of the real thing … one culture at a time till we are all looking and sounding like a Dutton, an Abbott or a Hanson or a Howard. We must revive our individual cultures within our multiculturalism … and THAT includes that most crushed of all the imported cultures: Those of the Scots, the Welsh, the Cornish and including the Celts … Look now how successful the Indigenous peoples are being against EXTREME oppression in holding and restoring their cultural tribes … It’s still one hell of a fight and it is one we must win!

Cultural Renaissance now!

Four principal elements of life

Earth, Air, Fire and Water … The humanist side of politics see them as spiritual elements that need to be respected even when being put to use … The corporate side of politics see them as an opportunity to capitalise upon for personal enrichment … and there is the left – right divide.

But mother nature is a strange beast, caring little for the creatures that shelter from or make use of her bounty … whether they use it judicially or waste it profusely, she is what is described as an immovable force, neither sympathetic to cruelty nor appreciative of kindness … she just is. And it goes to measure that they who will waste her resources to fulfil their own greed and treasure house is benefited as much by the same chance of luck and fortune as those who hold her gifts dear to their heart.

There is, however, a price to pay for the wanton destruction of a natural resource … Humanity, being the most guilty of this crime, has learned from so many social collapses and natural disasters that the limits of endurance of a natural system of supply can only be pushed to a certain limit before it hurts … and hurts sorely. Humanity has learned, but alas, not applied that lesson … Humanity esteems that wisdom, praises it, builds idols to it … but does not emulate it … and can there be anything more pathetic than a subordinate giving false flattery to an overseer in the hope for material reward?

Earth, Air, Fire and Water … these were the elements that those Germanic pioneers used as the axiom for their lives out here in the South Australian hinterland, and we can use their trials and tribulations as metaphorical example of that ideological divide … The basic truths that they brought from their homelands in the valleys and on the river banks of the Silesian and Pomeranian soils when they migrated with entire villages to a new land, a new horizon that would allow them the freedoms to pursue their own unique life-style and culture. There was no other truth to their lives and those basic truths were shared with and abided next to their deep Godly faith … it was life and death to them.

Their Earth was the dry, shallow Mallee soils, or the more fertile hills and shallow valleys of the Barossa Ranges … Their Air was the winds that tore through their hard-won crops and orchards … Fire was ever their watch-word that could in a moment wipe out their entire dreams and Water was such a thirst that it went either to drought or to flood .. It was these elements that they held in deep but reverent superstition, where many festivals celebrating a good harvest or lamenting hard times was a hang-over from their pagan past and revered and feared with equal passion.

But there was a contrast in ideology at work in that new colony between the objectives of the colonial administrators and the pioneer settlers. Part of a new philosophy of capitalist exploitation. The one more keen to profit from their speculation at the expense of the land (Earth) with the official doctrine of “trees don’t pay taxes”, the burning of cut-wood for energy and charcoal fuel (Air), the smelting of ores and powering of steam engines (Fire) and the last (Water), such a valuable commodity that could be measured in a price per gallon, held and levied as a commodity.

Who would win this tug-of-war between the basic necessities of life and the profit of corporations? … Of course, it was never in question … They who command the power of regulation and jurisdiction make the laws and enforce them. But the laws they made took little account of those four vital elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water that the farmers staked their survival upon and so the taxes, the interest rates and the harsh conditions of both the leases of land and the environment took their toll … So the pioneers sweated their too small parcels of land, broke their families hearts, condemned to frightful birthing moments and illness and disease, and broke their own backs in doing so and after several generations were scattered to the farther reaches of the new colonies and their leaseholds sold and resold to neighbours to increase their own acreage and the chance of financial survival in an unforgiving environment, till the pioneers finally got the hang of the soils, the knowledge of the weather patterns and the chances of fire and made a go of their estates, only to be once again reviled for their “German-ness” in the time of the Great War.

All those place-names, those familiarities that gave their new locations a feeling of “home” … hamlets and streams, the hills and forests, the valleys and the tracks … names rolled off in a German tongue now culled from the maps by a ludicrously named ”Department of Nomenclature” … to victimise those hardy farmers and tradespeople who in reality had little intention of revolution as they came to the colony to escape those same warring empires … and even had less hope of achieving any uprising even had they the inclination … But still they were held in suspicion, partly because of their close-held cultural beliefs and their singular Lutheranism … one of the very reasons they fled their homeland … and so they stood next in line to the Indigenous peoples to witness their identities erased with the stroke of a clerk’s pen and substituted for a ruling nation’s whim, a mere idiosyncrasy.

But those hardy peasants, stubbornly steeled in their beliefs by centuries of certainty, rose above mere bureaucracy, their offspring gaining more and more credibility in agricultural pursuits .. orchards, cropping, animal husbandry and wine-making until they were the major force in the adjacent valleys and flats … Their family names now a marque of distinction in the art of vigneron and fine produce. No more rejected for their origins, where once the names of “Those who Served” on local plinth and stone memorial boasted a majority of Anglo-Celtic surnames. By the time of the second world war, these Germanic families heralded the majority of servicemen and women.

Now the object of those who considered themselves “born to rule” was how to bring this rising demographic “into the tent” … into the arms of a conservative colonial ruling class, when in truth those very same “lesser aristocrats” of a lower status than those they emulated in snobbery, if not in capacity, would rather see these “foreigners” remain in a servile state and managed like their own country-folk, destroyed of their culture and native inclinations by the brutality of the British industrial revolution … robbed of their heritage by a rapacious middle-class … so they sought out those members of the community most aligned with their own ambitions … most agreeable to their own “consciousness of kind” … those later arrivals who were able to ride in on the coat-tails of their hard-working country people … ”the Men who come behind”, as Henry Lawson wrote:

“There’s a class of men (and women) who are always on their guard —
Cunning, treacherous, suspicious — feeling softly — grasping hard —
Brainy, yet without the courage to forsake the beaten track —
Cautiously they feel their way behind a bolder spirit’s back …”

Better educated, more financially secure, more than willing to bend their culture and will to a ruling class appreciative of a “doffed cap and the tugged forelock “ … they are easy to find, easier to corrupt and cheaper to reward … divide and rule, a tactic as old as empires and as certain of as time itself.

Those suitable applicants were initiated into the rituals of governance .. the conditions of rule, the bias of social superiority that would lead to the possibilities of wealth and glittering prizes. Some of these old family names were altered, letters and umlauts dropped that showed their origins as too vulgar … too close to the Earth … too close to a past of struggle and woe … These new inductees needed to be “blooded” in class warfare, with a knowledge of which side must always “win” … So from the end of that second war, we see many names that once graced the lists of “desperate needs dole”, now, in this new century, carved in the foundation stones of civic buildings and raised in toast at dinners of the Chambers of Commerce in the capital city, while their “lesser” cousins marvelled the crowds at local and national sport grounds with their dexterity with ball, bat and other skilled sports.

But their parents and their grandparents and forebears right back to the first years of the colony have their names carved into a different, more humble marble and stone … Courageous testaments cut in lonely, abandoned church-yard cemeteries … many with their still-born or short-lived children buried next to them, to keep them company into eternity and perhaps the only recognition being a short note in the obituaries of another’s old diary or the fading memory of a aged descendant, themselves still keen to test the four elements that continuously challenge those with close and honest affinity to the eternity of the land:

Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Too Much of Plenty

In an era of such discrepancy between those who have too much and the great majority who have too little, it is with a kind of disbelief that I keep on seeing the tyrannical political representatives of the former being repeatedly gaining office to inflict even greater burdens on the latter …

As the good professor would once have asked; “Why is this so?”

Of course, there are the usual reasons acceptable to statisticians of demographic favour, the reliable “rusted-ons” and a degree of persuasive propaganda through a compliant and biased mainstream media.

But in an era of known “swinging voter” power, which we have seen disrupt both Houses of Parliament in recent years, why is it that their vote and that of many mainstream political party favourite preferences shift toward what could be described as preferencing bigotry, racism and elitism in class-distinction to give greater advantage to the parties most corrupt in governance against the poor, the weak and the most vulnerable?

It is, in my estimation, a shift over the last couple of decades of a seeking for assurance by a population of well-established, even if not entirely economically secure, section of the populace; the well-heeled, the moderately comfortable or the socially at risk but having access to easy credit to maintain a false feeling of comfort and security – Australian citizen body that has over these last couple of decades snuggled itself down in a soft furnishing of an “expectation of privilege”.

But they forget that it is not so long ago, just a generation or so, that many of their parents or grandparents fought a daily battle of poverty and want against those very political forces that would have drowned them in that sea of despair while enriching, as they are doing now, the same section and grandchildren that tormented their older kin.

I have the archival records of one of those families who struggled to overcome that debilitating poverty that only the actions of the militant unions and their affiliated political representatives gave relief to so many working families.

“1983 … Business of Survival … With the Death of Richard, I must now manage alone, on one pension.

The house seems in good condition. No large account, only the small loan I had taken out, which finishes in June 1985. Must try not to take out anymore loans, to (sic) much drain on my low income.

I must try to live on produce from garden, with eggs to help out.

Try to cut down on weekly food bills, most of all on meat.

The animals take quite a lot (money) for food, reg, etc.

As the fowls are all getting old, must breed up some new hens.“

That direct quote was from an aged pensioner’s diary … sure, we know she was not going to die of hunger or homelessness. Or do we? She certainly was afraid of some vague uncertainty … and therein lies the simple truth:

“A lifetime of habit, creates a certainty of belief … a moment of uncertainty doubts a lifetime of belief.”

For that lady, her entire life was constructed around hard work. The old-age pension that Labor and the unions put in place gave her a measure of security so she could live out her final years in dignity.

But these simple demands by the most vulnerable of the population, along with a most brutal and cruel treatment of so many asylum seekers with their families coming to our shores seeking that second chance at a new life, have been swept aside in a maniacal assurance of security from fear: fear of terrorism, fear of financial devastation, fear of a different skin colour and culture even fear from the indigenous people of the very soil of our nation. In fact – from fear itself.

A fear of the loss of that expectation of privilege: Too much of Plenty.

It is an ugly revelation of a ugly country when such fear bubbles to the surface like pooled sewerage and it even has its own peculiar “smell”, the smell of that fear … and one can smell it most prevalent upon those who, while having gained their measure of financial security from dealing with and from those very subjects they most revile, are the first to demand restrictions upon and levies via wages limitations upon those very enablers of the life they have now become most accustomed to.

The machinations of the big financial houses, the merchant dealers and commodity miners, along with energy, communications and property speculators … in fact the entire middle-class and their hangers-on have used their money, media contacts and lobby group persuaders to corrupt and make degenerate an entire citizen demographic of aspirants and wannabes , even so far as to create simmering doubt in the most decent and honest citizen that now cannot, does not now want to see beyond its own pathetic insecurities to what most benefits the nation. We now have not only a cowardly nation that – going on the recorded histories of so many failed empires and States – has not only condemned itself with a continued cowardice to the same fate of those lost civilisations, it has, by its continuance of electing those representative political parties who most seek to gain riches and wealth by stamping down and using as a footstool to climb the largesse ladder those most productive to the nation … by doing this vile act, it has also relinquished its right to survive.

Its “Too Much of Plenty” will too soon become so little of nothing.

Just WHO controls the conversation (of left-wing politics)?

There was a moment, it is written, when Julius Caesar stood on the foggy far bank of the Rubicon in silence, with his formations of loyal legionnaires at his back before he whispered those fateful words; “Jacta alia est”.

I feel empowered today to whisper those same sentiments if not the actual words … for it is not with the intent to conquer a government that I am writing this piece, it is with the intent of wresting the conversation away from those who like to think they are in control of where the left-wing politics of this nation ought to be heading. For too long has the needs of the “wretched poor” of that majority of the national population … and in that bracket, whether they want to know it, accept it, or not, I include the everyday pensioner, be them aged and surviving from pillar to post pension payment or the other myriad of the poor, be they Indigenous, refugees, invalids or the working poor “other” … the so many and increasing number who have little connection to the Glam and Glitter nightly portrayed in an endless stream of inconsequential and mindless reality television fantasy … a fantasy, the ABC is keen on increasing with a new direction of portrayals of warm‘n fuzzy personal stories rather than disturbing investigative current affairs. For too long have they been tricked and maneuvered by a duplicitous middle-class.

For while the more radical side of the left-wing keep calling for intensifying the pressure on those representatives in the parliament, we see only a very cautious edging toward further left … much like a bad vaudeville act comically edging itself off stage. This is most probably governed by the frightful reality that the general population is fearful of radical anything that could jeopardise their hard-won fantasy of a plasma TV in the lounge room and that faint scent of Glen 20 in every other! Even if both the TV and the couch are “on the tick”.

With a population that was dead-weary after two world wars in the space of two generations, they were a sucker for the Menzies era of “Father Knows Best” governance … where successive Liberal governments were returned with little more effort than a false belief in the generosity that they were “The hand that giveth” … and the arm that kept the dreaded “Reds” at bay … and when the time for a more radical left-wing government was deemed necessary, the fear was portrayed that the entire nation would be sent into the red-column of bankruptcy because the government of the day “gave too much”, a handy coup d’état put paid to a continuity of “fair go” politics.

From then on in, we, the people, have suffered a decline in living wages and standards with the following of capital’s egregious philosophy of economic rationalism where once at least we had the illusion of the hand that was “giving” was our government, now we have those corporate banking institutions in charge of the economic direction of the nation and the monetary system has become “The hand that giveth – credit” … and bankruptcies have never looked better, and white-collar crime has never been more profitable … and respectful … so respectful, in fact, that now it even appears to have the tick of government approval!

So why has it come to this?

Simple: The education of a middle-class that has been indoctrinated to believe that the only way to a civilised and functioning society is to have that class of “institutionally trained” devotees managing both the treasury and the political direction. For it is no accident that such institutions of education have been lauded and funded and held to the highest esteem of the pinnacle of learning and cultural sophistication, let alone that of intellectual and academic brilliance so that after all the glittering prizes have been distributed to them and them only, the churned-out products of these “ruling-class machines” speak the same “language”, see the same “horizons”, and hear the same “cry of needs of the people” that they perceive it is their duty to govern … after all, was it not written; “Father Knows Best”. So that even those women who graduate from such institutions may believe they are “calling the shots” of liberation from a patriarchal tyranny, they are only doing what is within what could be called a “perimeter of containment” that allows those of the middle-class to “rip-it-up” so far and then the nurtured indoctrination of “trigger comforts” pulls them back to gaze more closely and sentimentally on the treasures and possibilities accumulated by their parents and social kind and to reassess if they really want to go to that radical “bridge too far”.

So then the “soft-soaping” of their more radical vocabulary begins and quickly fades from an “we must” to a gentrified; “There ought to be some consideration toward … ” and the conversation that was entrusted by the working classes to those who had persuasive command of language and “learned” politics now becomes a light-headed whine and whinge of the bleedin’ obvious … because all that time while we of the half-educated working class deferred trust and voice to those better educated to speak on our behalf, they have instead fallen back on their social status blood-line and do not want to lose out on the better things in their life for nothing more than what they have been told is a futile fight for liberty and equality with the great, stinking, out-of-tune song singing ungrateful unwashed.

Might they now truly believe in their soul of souls is right … and that is about as far as their reach for democracy goes!

There were two incidents in Australian colonial history that could have changed the conservative direction that this nation has gone down. The first was the Eureka Stockade Uprising, the second was the insurgency of the Kelly Gang, culminating in the siege of The Glenrowan Inn … pity the night that the schoolteacher (a middle-class aspirant?) ran to warn the special troop train before it was derailed by the deliberately loosened tracks and sent plummeting down the embankment that could have created the necessary destruction of the belief of central colonial power and led to the envisioned and threatened uprising of the Irish settlers of Western Victoria. Such is Life.

But in these days of social media revolution, when the capacity for radicalising of the left has never been more possible, we still have those scared, timid voices of the trained poodles of the middle-classes whispering their “Peter Pan” ideals into the ears of the fearful “don’t be too radical … look what (we/I) … you could lose … sure, you got every reason to complain, and look! … here … I’m always here to help you complain … ” So its futile, silly letters to a minister, silly open letters to politicians, “fists in Gucci gloves” waving in the air to be followed with a tiring sigh and comforting words in the plummy-accent with fellow radical Wilderness School or Scotch College old fellows at their fav’ café or split-level house in Toorak or North Shore or the sub-equal … emulated in the lower caste suburbs by a “seen in Vogue magazine” interior decorations and the plasma in the lounge but with a/many delicately balanced credit accounts that with just one loss of income could bring the entire suburban fantasy of the house of cards tumbling down and the whole family spends Chrissy and the near future by the sea in a loaned caravan on a sad council oval with so many other homeless working people.

But don’t worry. ”They” have your interests at heart and are more than willing to give you a “voice of complaint” on a media platform they share with their fellow status authors … you are not alone … till the bailiff comes.

It is interesting in this town I live near … it has been a conservative-voting town for as long as I can ascertain … many, many years … and they swear by the Liberal Party as having the best interests for the country folk … yet it has to be the centre for the most disadvantaged and in many case most impoverished folk in the region … and the town has gone from vibrant centre to wrack, ruin and despair with most of the historical pioneer civic structures crumbling or in a sad state of disrepair to display loss of inspiration to lift themselves up … all is self-centred toward the individual and to self-preservation. They are divided … like the rest of the nation … and they are in consequence … ruled by their tormentors … and they can see no other way because they distrust any words that speak of radical politics, but go to the general store and you can ascertain their trust of dietary habits by the stacks of “preferred brand” of frozen pizza!

Why has it come to this?

Too much listening to a duplicitous educated to imbecility middle-class knowing the price of every one of their possessions and having no idea of the value of a quality of life lost by the working poor so they whisper insincere words of the possibilities of “personal achievement” rather than listen to an honest inner voice of liberation and revolution!


Got talking to Pete last Friday down the local … the subject got onto the passing of one’s parents … I s’pose because we are both old now ourselves and it comes as no longer an immediate sorrow, but rather one lived through so many years ago. And we got onto the reactions one experiences at the funeral, what with all the rellies gathered there and the friends and some strangers one doesn’t know but is informed in hushed whispers or so later on. There is that bottled-up grief, that reserve in the English tradition, especially amongst the men to not be seen to blubber or weep uncontrollably at such sad gatherings … and the language used is interesting in its sparsity of emotion …

Then Pete, took a sup on his beer, reflected a tad, wiped the beads of condensation from one streak on the glass, looked into the distance and made a motion with his pointed finger …

“But I do remember one chap I worked for, a builder in the financing / speculative line … stiff-upperlip sort of bloke … John M … old Adelaide family, that sort of thing. You couldn’t get an emotive comment from him if’n you smacked his thumb with a hammer … which I did once –  accidently – as he was holding a length of bracing for me … hopeless at physical work … all thumbs … an I hit his thumb and you know what he said? Where you or I would’ve swore blue murder, he just spun away (dropped the prop!), cried; “bother!” and stuck the thumb in his mouth for a second to comfort the pain … that’s the sort of chap he was … “old school Oxford”.

The job was winding down, the contract reaching near completion so there were only a couple of tradies finishing some final touches to the groundworks and I was there as supervisor of the job from go to whoa. That was when John turned up. He was walking the site by himself, looking like he was inspecting the finished job … not his usual occupation … he kept a distance from the physical construction, it being an almost “alien” thing to him, always dressed in a suit … usually waited for the handing over ceremony for that sort of thing … but there he was. Now .. I knew he had been to his old Mother’s funeral the day before, and I put his meandering down to a listlessness that one gets when first “orphaned” … that “you’re on your own now” feeling … so to say, but I was surprised when he sat down and joined me and Keith the plumber for smoko.

John was the project builder, a developer rather than an actual builder … not your sort of tradie evolved into builder, but a bloke from an old family with old money involved in multi-faceted projects, of which building was but one. I was his go-to man for building. I was the “knowledge-base” for that side of his investments. He would leave on-site management to me … and that included timetables, subbie hire and materials delivery scheduling. We had worked together for years, but not in a close familiar way … just a business sort of thing … that’s how it was with John … just business. So it was quite surprising when he opened the conversation with the announcement that he had just buried his mother … of course Keith (another long server) and I both knew this, but we gave our condolences kindly … and fairly, we had no gripe with the man or his family. He thanked us and then after the usual quiet on these occasions, he cleared his throat and spoke in a confiding manner … to neither of us in particular, but rather while looking at the ground somewhere between us.

“You know, it’s a funny thing, language … the expression of certain words … at certain times. I have been to the best schools and university at Oxford, where language is treated as a sacred thing … the pronunciation, the grammar, even the timing of delivery of thought or repost … how to speak and speech, you could say … I used to be in the debating team … ”

John went quiet while he reached to pick up a twig which he used to scribble on the ground by his feet.

“I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral yesterday,” he continued,” all the usual blather and history … all about the family, her work in the district and committees she was on and such like … all written there on my notes, some highlighted in yellow marker … it went over well … as I was trained to do. A solemn finish before we all made our way to the cemetery for the placing of the casket.”

John drew some hieroglyphics in the dust as he thought it out a bit. I could see all this idle chatter was taking its toll on the man … but he was on a mission to explain something to himself, I felt … we remained silent … to give him space.

He continued with a sudden exclamation:

“Dammit! You have to hold yourself together at these … these events. It doesn’t do to make a fool of oneself weeping and carrying on … one must maintain structure … dignity … after all, it wasn’t as if my mother’s passing was a sudden tragedy. No, no … it was a long tiring business for all the family … a kindly relief for all when she passed … for her most particularly, I’d say … so it was … SHOULD have been a solemn, dignified affair … the placing of the casket in the grave … except for Loretta …” John stabbed the stick into the earth.

There was a silence.

“Loretta?” Keith encouraged.

“Loretta,” John breathed.” Yes … Loretta … Italian woman, the wife of one of the nephews … lovely woman, in the Italian dark-lady of the sonnets mould … if you know what I mean. It was quite a surprise when the nephew returns from a working stint on the continent with an Italian wife … shocked … you could say … a real eyebrow raiser, the whole affair. But they settled down and had a couple of kiddies and got on with the married life routine … but dammit, she’s got that dago emotion thing in spades … weeping all over the place, at weddings and christenings and such like … so she had to almost be dragged from the grave before she threw herself in it on top of the coffin … damn display to say the least!”

And here was the long silence … here was the nub of the new “congenial John”. But here he became uncomfortable …

“You know, one HAS to hold oneself together as an example for the younger ones. It doesn’t do to put on too much display … and … and I was there beside Father O’Loughlin as he read the rites and the coffin was lowered down … certainly, I had some tears to shed … after all, she WAS my mother … but held in check for the moment … there’s a time and place … but I could hear Loretta wailing somewhere there behind me … and I thought I would give her husband a bit of a talking to after the funeral … at the wake. But as we stepped back from the grave to let the mourners file past to throw the bit of dirt onto the laid coffin, that silly Italian woman suddenly called out a word in perfect imitation of our mother’s voice … here was this woman who could only speak a kind of garbled mish-mash of Italo-English, saying in perfect enunciation that one word so familiar to all of her children and grandchildren … and by time-lapsed, especially to me.”

“You see,” John continued in a kind of self-reflection tone, “Mum was a country girl and she had an infuriating habit of “cutesying” words by adding an “ee” to the end … like “bunnee” instead of rabbit. She’d say; “Oh we’re having a couple of bunnies for dinner,” and one really infuriating one she’d say when I was a young tear-away, home from the college with a friend and we’d been ripping it up a tad at a local dance and in the morning she’d wake us with a much too cheerful:

“Come on boys up we get … I’ll make you some bacon and eggies for breaky.”

“Eggees, do you mind, “breakee”? It used to SO infuriate me … and here we were at the final lap so to speak of the funeral, and I had held myself together so well and then that weeping Italian woman has to drop that bombshell that took me by complete surprise and … and … well … ” John threw the twig over his shoulder … “I lost it … I just lost it. Loretta just halted right next to me, looked directly at me in a flood of tears then to the coffin in the grave and wept out a string of indecipherable Italian mish-mash to finish with that one damn softly spoken parting word mother always called to us with a twinkle of her fingers as we left her home:


That silly, silly muck-up of a perfectly good, common language English word; “Cheeriozy! Cheeriozy!” Loretta wailed out and I just lost it and I wept and wept … and I still can’t get over it … and I don’t know why.”

Then John abruptly stood up, turned around and left … without another word, but we could see the tears …

Of course, neither Keith nor I ever mentioned it again.

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