“Isn’t it rich?” … “Isn’t it queer?”
I could weep for humanity … I could just f#cking … weep for them … for us. If you were to look at it objectively, you’d have to agree that most of the advancements made for the betterment of society, have been made not on the successes, but on the back of failures of experience. Hence, perhaps, the old adage: “Experience is the best teacher”. The absurdity reaching great heights, surely, in this current LNP cabal of idiots and fools.
I was down the Central Market a couple of weeks ago and while my paramour was buying veggies at the Chinese stall there, I was perusing the posters on a board advertising live theatre, bands and such, and I was most amused by this one poster announcing a farewell tour by a “tribute singer”. There was a comic/tragic air to the poster announcing that the Elvis impersonator was doing his … his “farewell tour” … also a touch of absurdity, considering that the performing artist, having talent enough to impersonate, but not quite enough to create his own original show, has nonetheless accumulated enough of a fan base to announce his own farewell tour … A “farewell tour” of a farewell tour.. And I am reminded of that wonderful ABC satire; “The Librarian” where the librarian’s partner is mocked for his tribute band ”Oils ain’t Oils “ … And then just below this announcement is another poster of a tribute act by three blokes impersonating “Great voices of Pop” (or some such) … what is it with all this nostalgic impersonation?
Are we so run out of originality that impersonation is all the go? Our politics, our relationships, our love and affection … or is even that now a shallow impersonation of what it once really was? Has that essence of deepest affection and loyalty become more a convenience of companionship … temporary and carnal? Which of us would really suffer, or even die for another person that we say we love? Yet our greatest literature passed down from time immemorial is bleeding with examples of the supreme sacrifice for; “Le don de l’amour” (always sounds better in French) … or is this just another example of a hunger for a lost sentiment?
“What has brought this on?” you may ask . It was in a conversation about science and I had this theory about how life-forms were spread about the universe … pretty big stuff … I thought, but it seems my “theory” was not only unoriginal, it had been first prognosed by a Greek bloke named Anaxagoras back in circa 500BC. F#ck! … Now that is a bit late coming on set! But you see … what I concluded now, was thought of back two and a half thousand years ago … so one has to conclude that the human thought pattern of logic and reason was the same then as it is now: There is nothing new under the sun. And this is where we as a species have become so tragic … a farce! … If clarity of thought was so prevalent in the earliest days of civilisation and so many calculations done and achieved back so long ago, what have we been doing since then? F#ckin’ asleep on the job … that’s what! Christ! … We got idiots spruiking stupid political shit, climate denial shit, social compatibility denial, capital, civil, international and anything else that is divisive and conflicting FFS! … Where oh effing where is the originality of thought? … Why do we have these great big f#ckin’ universities when we are only turning out “tribute education”?
Another “great big idea” I had, only to have that also ruthlessly quashed, was the theory that an organic life-form (us!) can only develop so far, in a physical sense, before it reaches “max-evolution capacity” and then self-destructs by imploding within itself or by becoming too overbearing on its environment and destroys all around it and therefore … But it seems this too has not only been thought of a long time ago, it even has a name … I forget that now … but hey … it just goes to show..there’s nothing new under the sun … no siree, Bob! So I suppose the only thing one can do is to try to be personally original … it was something many of us in the seventies strove to achieve … hence all those weird clothes and flairs … I mean. Who in their right mind would wear heavy, brocaded strides in summer in Oz? You’d have to be nuts. But talk about nuts … here, helvitnyi, a little escape for you:
It’s funny, you know; the image of adults one has as a child, compared to the actual reality known by the adults of the time around you. Mrs Hancock used to cut our hair when we were children … the four of us; from the oldest brother (about 10 yrs), down including to my sister, then myself (the youngest about five yrs). We would be marched down across the railway-line by the eldest (“hup-two three four”), each clutching a bob (one shilling) in our sweaty little hands to get that one generic haircut for which Mrs Hancock was infamous: “The Basso” … about once every couple of months, it seemed, most of the kids in the district would sport a Mrs Hancock “special”. And we’d be lined up on the railway station going to school, looking like a lot of miniature “Moes” (as in The Three Stooges) waiting for the train … girls included! I wonder that some social science person didn’t do a study on “Demographic by haircut” kind of thing for those days. Truth be known, I believe most barbers – like most architects – have one basic style … and everything else is a derivative there-off.
The image I had of Mrs Hancock as a child was of this frumpy old lady, dressed in ‘lop-sided’ cardigan and dress, living in this dreary old fibro house, with creepy shadows and dull lighting … she would sit us in an old stuffed, armless chair next to one of those “side tables” of dark timber and curved legs and armed with scissors, a smelly fag and the endless glass of water, she would attack our tangled locks with all the tactics of “Tojo in a Zero” coming out of the sun! The fag-end would send an endless swirl of smoke past her wincing eye … she’d take a gulp of water, vice-clasp our head unceremoniously with her left hand and her right hand would start with the then continuous ”snipsnipsnipsnip … snipping” as she dove into the job, to come out the other side in an undisturbed arc, the arm ascending upward to hover above our heads somewhere “sit still, child!” … mechanically, continuously, snipsnipsnipsnip snipping! One sat in a horror of anticipation for the next “strafing” (and you know, I can’t stand being “dive-bombed” by mozzies to this day … I don’t mind so much the bite … it’s the hovering, whirring, buzzing that drives me crazy). Her house was the last one on that side of the road … behind the train station … I think it was called “Cygnet Terrace” before it was pushed through and became “The Cove Road” … a cold wind would cut down through the barren gullies there in winter.
But it wasn’t till years later, when I first started going to the pub as an older youth, that I realized that the “glass of water” always at her beck, was gin and tonic. Yes, poor old Mrs Hancock was a gin-soak … and, going by her familiarity with her fellows in the front bar of The Seacliff Hotel, where a cluster of “oldies” were mangling that Englebert Humperdinck (I mean; really?) song “Please release me” … Christ … it’s tragic … I could just weep; she was an old hand at the game. I suppose that is why her front parlour where she “scalped“ us kids always had the curtains drawn … but, you know … my mother would have heard of that. But then again, many in that “fringe district” where we lived were escapees from reality … my old man bought there because it was cheap land … not now though! It was at the end of the railway line … hang on, that’s not quite true … there was one more stop … ”Hallett Cove” … but that place only got two or three trains a day then and it was the refuge of bankrupts, hermits and criminals. I got to meet quite a few in later years, so can confirm the statement!
Back to the mistaken image of adults one has as a child … I remember also being taken into the front-bar of the Brighton Hotel by my dad as a very young boy … he having a beer and me a raspberry … and this man bending down to me and saying in a beery voice ”hello, little fellah..what’s your name … eh? Eh?” And I got real scared, but my dad was just smiling … I couldn’t then understand why he didn’t chase the ugly man away! Poor old bastard was just another drunk saying hello to a kid … but then … I was a sensitive child! … Still am!