Will Type For Food


Sunday, March 29, 2015

To ride the cushioned waves

Going to bed. This, I think it is safe to say, is something of which I am a fan. I have signed up to its newsletter, I have clicked 'like' on its facebook page, I often think wistfully of it during the day.

And of course, when it happens, it has its little rituals and rules, things that must be done right if I am to sleep right. For instance, there must be a certain amount of tucked-in-ness for sleep to occur in a satisfying nature; and the bed must be suitably geometrical, with the corners of the blankets square with the corner of the bed itself. This is non-negotiable: the results otherwise could include limbs falling out into the cold night air. There should be around two pillows - three strike one as being decadent, and could result in the head being propped up in awkward positions - and most importantly, a certain amount of wriggle time should be factored in before going to sleep. You surely know the deal: the body requires some wriggle before it can truly feel ready for the hard yards of sleeping it is going to do. I don't quite know why this is, but the wriggle really lets you put yourself in all the right positions before sleeping, and test them out, one by one - and sometimes test them out several times over. Of course, some times the wriggle continues for the duration of the whole night, but these are thankfully few and far between.

Sleeping, I am fond of saying, is hard work, and I am a little surprised that people don't acknowledge this truth more often. Why else do we often wake up from sleeping much more tired than when we have begun sleeping? Staying awake before sleeping - you could do that for hours, sometimes even days if need be (air travel is built on this concept); but staying awake after sleeping is much more difficult. It is not just fatigue, either: sometimes you can wake up with black eyes (what on earth...?) or toothaches, or arm-aches - not to mention the fact that you always seem to wake into those dreadful one- or two- or three-day lurgies that lay you out.

This morning I seem to have awoken to a trifecta of afflictions: a kind of scrape on my heel, a sprain in my other leg, and a bad back. I have no idea how, or why, I could have somehow procured these complaints during a protracted bout of sleeping, but it just goes back to what I was saying before: sleeping is hard work, man!

In fact, it's so difficult that I think I might have a little lie on the couch now. You may call me petal and bestow other such epithets of sympathy on me, if you wish.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Telling your yeah, nahs from your nah, yeahs

As the poet says (and he, irritatingly, has a habit of saying such things): "Yeah, nah".

But what does the poet really mean when they say, "Yeah, nah"? Are there situations in life when "Yeah, nah", actually means "Yeah, yeah"? What of the feminist claim that "No means no"? Applying the logic to the current equation, and carrying across the positive to the negative and reversing the neutron flow of the universe, not to mention vice versa, does "Yeah, nah", actually mean, "Yeah, nah", no matter what we think it's meaning might mean?

And what does this meaning mean for "Yeah, yeah", which in actuality means "No"; or "No no", which doesn't (though it doesn't mean, "Yes", either). Come to think of it, what does this mean for "Yes, yes", or the rare specimen of "Yeah, nah.... yeah" which we may still find in the wild? Is this to be a case of letting the eyes have it, or (taking it from the horse's mouth), will it be a neigh rather than a yay? Just what is the poet on, anyway? We'd ask him, but he strangely seems on leave at the moment, so we'll just have to ask the footballer instead. Let's give it a go.

Q: So, how do you think you'll go in the game on Saturday? 

A: Yeah, nah.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Straight from the horse's mouth. (Horse? What horse?)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tragedy is when you cut your finger...

"There was a young lady from Ryde", begins the fairy tale, as so many fairy tales begin...

...Who ate some green apples and died
The apples fermented
Inside the lamented
And made cider inside her inside. 

From that heartwarming tale of a successful fermentation completed in the most unlikely of circumstances, we move to a sorrowful tale of tears, trauma, and tragedy. While I was making cider today, I cut my finger. And then, proving that life has a way of finding situations that cannot get any worse, and then making them so, I cut the the other one.

When you have dried your eyes and ceased shaking at my horrifying tale, you will be happy to know I now have 4.5 litres of apple cider in my study about to start fermenting away. When that cider is ready, I shall drink it. And if I should happen to die after drinking it, I'll be sure to let you know. What else are blogs for?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


VICTORIA, MONDAY  - Labor has decided to go ahead with the controversial East West Link project, with the  entrance of the new road being built through former Premier Denis Napthine's bedroom.

"Building a gigantic fucking big road right through Denis Napthine's bedroom is a really important infrastructure project for this state," said Premier Daniel Andrew's yesterday, "And Labor will be delivering this project on time, and on budget."

In answer to questions about the possible legality of such a move, Premier Andrews replied that the East West Link would have a 'sound wall' and that an environmental impact study would be performed "or some shit like that".

The office of Victorian Liberal leader, Matthew Guy, has responded to queries that he is "happy Andrews has decided to proceed with the project". However, Guy's office has indicated the Coalition would also like to see progress on their alternative suggestion, "Building a Doncaster Rail Link with a big arse station right in the middle of Daniel Andrews dunny".

"That way, when he wanted to catch the train, he could just hop off the loo and jump on the train", offered one Coalition minister, helpfully. "Why aren't Labor considering this sensible and reasonable suggestion to help ease Victoria's traffic congestion problems?"

POLL: Which project do YOU support? 

a) Building a gigantic fucking big road through Denis Napthine's bedroom
b) Whacking a big arse station right in the middle of Daniel Andrew's dunny.

All responses are welcome. Just place a tick beside the appropriate answer with your texta or something like that.

Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, looking all evil and Machiavellian and shit.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Food for poets #1: what to eat when you write about nothing.

As a poet, at some point you will of course have to tackle the subject of nothing, writing about the fundamental nothingness of existence, or the basic nothingness of something (or something), and what to do when that horrible event comes along that we've all been dreading and nothing much happens. Obviously it is very important for you to take this all incredibly seriously, and wear black, scowl gloomily, and sit about doing.... well, nothing. Good.

So, writing about nothing is the most important thing you can do as a poet. Basically, nothing is really something, or should I say, you should be able to make something out of nothing, or maybe writing something about nothing should make you really feel.... something. I don't know, you're a poet, I'm sure you'll be able to get round to it. Point is, writing about nothing is so incredibly urgently mindblowingly important, that you shouldn't be on an empty stomach when you start. You need to get some food into you. But what?

1. Donuts. Donuts are an excellent food to eat when writing about nothing. You need to take those donuts out of the bag, one by one, and admire their wonderful shape, their smooth curves.... and most importantly, the little empty hole of meaninglessness at their centre that makes them look like a zero. You really need to get those donuts into you, straight away, so you can have that little empty hole of meaninglessness at your centre and you can start writing about nothing. But make sure they're hot, fresh out of the fryer and dusted with cinnamon sugar! Otherwise it won't work.

This food is so important for poets that I'd go so far as to say that you should eat it every day.

2. Also good: Cheezels, Toobs, Burger Rings, and those types of breakfast cereals that have holes in them. You could even try a little DIY project at home and make pancakes with a hole in the middle, but this subject is so incredibly technical and complex that I wouldn't bother if I were you.

3. Some poets, when thinking of writing about nothing, have ventured into a Wholefoods store on false premises. Poets, never do this. This is based on a fundamental misunderstanding and in years to come dieticians will write about this as one of the short-lived food fads of the early 21st century. Sometimes you will be lucky to find even one foodstuff in these stores with a hole in it.

4. Acceptable: foods like KFC, the sort that of food that you at once compulsively eat, and and leave you wanting less.

5. Controversial, but still acceptable: foods such as crinkle cut chips. Do the crinkles actually add more to the chip, or are they actually cut out of the chip? The crinkle cut chip is therefore a fundamental study in somethingness or nothingness, or something like that.

That's all for this episode of 'Food for poets'! I hope you all have a lovely time contemplating the bleak nothingness of everything, or how to live up to the legacy of other poets and do nothing at all with the rest of your day!

Fig 1. An important food group for poets.

Fun activities to try for yourself #2,000,001

Burst loudly into a room where a philosopher is sitting doing some serious thinking about a difficult philosophical conundrum, and immediately shout, "Stop thinking so loud! I can hardly hear myself talk!"

"I think it's time I gave the car another paint job"

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Nice places to have drinks in

I like a drink or two and I have been drinking on and off for many years now. But I wonder if I would have ever got into the healthy and enervating practice of drinking if it hadn't been for pubs? I like a pub, too. They look like a nice place to do things, to drink things in, to be in. They're attractive. Sometimes when I'm in a pub I half think I'm actually there to appreciate the place rather than the drinks. And maybe I half am.

There's a couple of iconic artworks of Australian pubs out there that have stuck in my memory ever since I was a kid, such as this -
Moody's Pub, by Russell Drysdale. Now that, it seems to me, is what a good pub looks like. There are elegant windows and there is a door where a door should be, but just as importantly, it has a balcony (with tres fashionable iron lace), so you can stand upon it and take in the evening air while you converse pleasantly with your elegant and strangely elongated companions in the quiet country town. The less said about the Ettamogah Pub the better, but while we're on the subject, even it has a balcony. Do you know how hard it is to find a proper pub with a balcony still in use? Did previous mischievous patrons tip half-pints of fermented beverages onto unfortunate passers-by?

I can't actually recall the first Melbourne pub I drank in; it was one of the numerous Fitzroy backstreet pubs, perhaps the solefully-titled Marquis of Lorne on a long afternoon early in the year. If it was the Marquis, it's had several paint jobs since then, but I recall it having a pleasant dusty wooden atmosphere, like all the best pubs. It had a rickety wooden stair leading to an uninhabited second storey, and a small shabby pool room where you could retire and sit around on these voluminous couches.

Melbourne was something of a stronghold for temperance politicians - as you can see in the slightly desperate names for some of our early 20th century pubs, such as The Perseverance Hotel. Perhaps reflecting this, a lot of our early wealth from the gold rushes was spent on extravagances such as the Victoria Markets - market stalls being literally blocked in permanently to the rest of the city. Pubs and bars haven't had the same privilege, so it is reassuring to come across the occasional bar that seems to have become one with the city. Two come to mind; the Charles Dickens Tavern and the cosy Sherlock Holmes Inn, both bars where you have to walk below street level. I especially like the Sherlock Holmes Inn, with a variety of British brews on tap and cosy little ingles to cosily mingle in.

My favoured watering hole is the Dan O'Connell Hotel, not so much for my drinking habit, or my architecture habit, but for my slightly less reputable poetry habit. When I first started going there it was a solidly Carlton and Guinness pub, with one weird cider on tap (actually, it was probably Bulmers). It had a nice bar along the middle of the room and comfortable big red chairs, with a painting of their namesake on the wall. The chairs have, alas, since been refurbished, and the bar has been relocated allowing for free movement between the pool room and the main room, but the painting has stayed. It's an Irish pub but has never, thank heavens, succumbed to the full horror of green paint, four leaf clover images, and - *shudder* - backpackers. In fact they do have a four leaf clover stainglass above a door behind the bar, but it looks oddly incongruous with the rest of the surroundings and, consequently, is rather charming. And just look at their lovely turret, the fancy font with which they announce their name, and the - what do you call that sort of decoration? I'll guess I'll just go with 'decoration' - above the name.

I have also noticed a peculiar characteristic when sitting within this pub and drinking and admiring its noble edifices. Though situated on the corner of the quiet Canning Street and the noisy Alexandra Parade, the noise of the Parade never seems to irritate you while you listen to the poetry or the music or the bubbles in the beer singing their own soft melodious song. Perhaps it is just the magic of the building. Or the drinking. Or possibly soundproof lining on the windows and doors, though I'm going with the magic. It is a wholly lovely place to have a drink in.

Here ends my succession of ponderings about nice looking Melbourne pubs. Perhaps one of these days I could organise a little tour to admire the architecture of many Melbourne pubs in one day. And perhaps have a drink in them to admire their architecture more. It could be called a pub.... a pub.... give me a second, I'm sure a good name will come to me....

Thursday, February 26, 2015

All the egg jokes the universe has ever made

This is a blog post the purpose of which is to use all the possible egg jokes in the universe. Once all these egg jokes have been made for once and for all, it is hoped we will be able to move on, to become involved in other fruitful and fulfilling activities, to forgive, and to forget.

For reference purposes, here is an egg.

It would be no eggsageration to say that this is an eggslempary eggsample of an egg. It doesn't matter whether you show this egg to your eggs-wife or your eggs-husband, all will agree it is simply an eggstrodinary egg. You may think I am just egging you on, but the yolk is on you. You can save that one for the albumen, for, after all, just how many yolks is it possible for someone to crack? It's all-white if you're a pavlova or just frankly discustard with the eggstenuating circumstances I have eggsaustively listed here, for omelette you get away with whatever you want to say now, because I officially declare these egg jokes ova. You can search all the way through your leggsicon for related egg-corns or whatever, but I'd be surprised if you could eggstend the yolk much further. Though, good Cod, I suppose you could roe out to really deep waters, but if you could make omelette out of caviar, that would be a real beat up, and we'd all end up with egg all over our face. Though now that I come to think of it, a positive Googolpleggs of words now occurs to me, so I might be some time....

To be continued....

Pleasing things

Round baskets.

Spotty animals. All spotty animals in general, but especially irregularly spotted animals as it is fun to look at them and try and guess where the next spot will be. If you are with friends, you could make a game of it.

An open window with a cat sitting on the sill.

Going for a walk in a nice area and passing by a street which you could decide to walk down. Even if you do not, the little glimpse of this street is soothing to the eye and remains as a future possibility for exploration.

A summer day when it is cool enough for you to wear a jumper, or lie in bed in the morning with a blanket on.

Wearing socks on the couch.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hereby offering my services to farm out slogans for community radio

"Welcome to community radio! The station for the whole community to ignore!"
"It's got the word 'community' in it!"
"Something something something something vibrant something something something!"
"Help! We're trapped in your radio! Let us out!

Monday, February 23, 2015


"An invasive species", says Wikipedia, "is a plant or animal that is not native to a specific location (an Introduced species); and has a tendency to spread, which is believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy and/or human health." So when we're talking about weeds, it's a plant that's everywhere you don't want it to be, taking up all the space for every plant that you want to be there. Basically, all the best plants are weeds here in Victoria. Dandelions are weeds. Apples, hilariously, are weeds. Fennel is a weed - at the shops the other day to buy some fish I saw fennel sprouting up out of the pavement, causing me to have visions of plucking fresh fennel to go with the fresh fish that I was going to get - though, as it turned out, the shop was all out of fish. Nettle is a weed, St John's Wort is a weed, blackberry, delicious blackberry is a weed of national significance, and horehound is a weed too.

I've been searching a lot for horehound lately, with very little success: posts on this forum and that forum asking if anyone had some in their backyard, searches on the Weeds databases on government websites, and so on. Horehound, as it turns out, is an invasive weed that is actually quite difficult to find - except, I suppose, if you don't want to find it. Perhaps a better definition of 'weed' in this case would be 'a plant that's everywhere you don't want it to be unless you want it to be'. Yes, well, I'll keep working on that one.

You might ask, at this point, why did I want this plant to be anywhere anyway? Yes, well, good question. You see, horehound is a brewing herb, a good base bittering component for ales. It's in the mint family, so on top of that bittering you'll get a minty, almost desserty flavour out of it - very well-suited for the darker ales. They used to make lollies from it (the weed, I mean, not the ale). I picked up some from an Organics store in Bright last year which I now suppose must have been shipped in at preposterous cost from an exotic locale far removed from these fair shores, which, considering it's a weed that can go invasive here in Australia, does seem rather eccentric.

Anyway, finally, we found a source of the allegedly-invasive horehound yesterday. A few posts on the Permaculture forum on Facebook and we found a wonderful permacultural-minded soul who had a few back paddocks full of the stuff. On presenting ourselves in aforementioned paddock yesterday afternoon, we did indeed find this dreaded weed, quietly marauding its way over acres of land, with a bunch of cows standing about apparently ignorant of the dire situation they were in, and a peppercorn tree in a similar state of denial. Who knows what would have happened to us if we hadn't picked the horehound we needed, stuffed it in bags, and went on our way? Probably nothing, which is what is all the more scary about it.

There's not really much to tell in this story - it's really another one of my endless anecdotes that never goes anywhere and takes a long time about it as well - but this is why this morning found me binding up sheaves of horehound and hanging it up in the shed to dry out. 

Hey, it was either the weed or me, man.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Critic speak

The poems are full of fine moments of attention and crystalline, lucid images and overall the poems work to discover value and meaning in the world.
Crikey, I thought when I first read this, who talks like this? I mean, people have a go at poets for not using ordinary language (and we don't) but this slip - from a judge - sounds to me like it's coming from another world. I mean, if you're reading a book of poetry, could you imagine someone coming up to you in the street and asking, "Are the poems full of fine moments of attention?" "I'm looking for something with images that are crystalline, but also lucid". Huh?

Critic speak I've called it, because obviously, critics do it too; it's something critics and judges do in common - apply their critical faculties to a work of art and then describe it evaluatively. This isn't a particularly bad example - questions about just what 'fine moments of attention' are (is the attention 'refined', or are the moments of attention just 'fine', ie, good)? You see the same tics in music or art gallery reviews or whatever - the problem is simple, and hard: how to convey something of the experience of a work of art without, you know, actually reproducing the work of art? You can't, obviously, though you can try, which is why critics and judges tumble over themselves to produce language which tries to be both descriptive and coolly analytical, all at once.

Just this morning Dr Cat spotted the following phrase critically applied: "achingly gritty". Not so much mixed metaphor as mixed cliche - though at least it has more spring in its step than "grittily achy", or whatever. Mind you, once I was watching one of those ABC list programs where readers vote on their top ten favourite whatevers and the host - in this case Myf Warhurst - attempted to find the adequate critic speak for each of the books (okay, it was books). The top book was one of those predictable bestsellers, and Warhurst described it as "A guilty pleasure which we can all read without guilt". Um, okay then...though personally, I rather like the sound of the phrase, "A guilty pleasure which we can all read without delight", and I feel certain there are plenty of books this can be applied to accurately.

It might be fun to ask these sort of questions of critics at critics festivals, or wherever it is that they all hang out, though: "the book you're reading - is it achingly gritty?" "Does it cast a coruscating eye over the post-industrial subjectivity we are imbricated in, or is it more a lazy summer afternoon read that we should all make time for?" "Do you give it four stars, or is that the television guide?" Go on! Try it yourself! Let me know how you go! I'll just be right here waiting for you to report back.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Poem for over-interpreting

Poem for over-interpreting
She was healthy and wealthy and fair beyond words,
He was handsome and witty and tall
Together they went for a night on the town
And did absolutely nothing at all.

Poem for over-interpreting #2
They talked about Shakespeare and poems and cats
She thought him to be quite refined
As they stood all alone in the library stacks
And - wipe that image from your mind.

Poem for over-interpreting #3
He said that he couldn't.
She said that he might.
She thought that he wouldn't.
He said "it's not right".

So he ordered the fair-trade Latte instead. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

From the Romance of the Weed


And yt came to passe that BARON VON HARLOT and SQUIRE TIM did essay forth up ye mountain in search of further heroic exploits and noble deeds. For there, they heard tell, lived a puissant LORD who had come into these parts from landes afar, and brought all the villages to meek subjection and cowardly abasement.
And yt was passing strange, for, some of the people did say he was a cruel and fell tyrant, who did wreak devastation and waste upon ye face of ye land; but, contrary, did some of ye people say, he was a kind and generous Lord, with gifts of bounty and plenty, and many fared from afar to marveil at his great richnesse of heart and plentiful spirit.
And for some of ye year, he did make his presence known thorough ye land, with sundry messengers and knights; but, for many months, he did keep withinne his demesnes, and whether he slept, or was sicke, they wot not.
So, ye BARON said to TIM, let us see this puissant Lord for ourself, and, God wot, some good may come of yt.
The Baron's hands staineth vermillion with the blood of 
our enemy

Ye day was fair when they set out on their journey, and there were but few welkins, and TIM did say, My Lady doth wear her blue mantle right well this day, and ye BARON said, who is this lady thou talkst of? And ye sun was high in ye sky and they began to pant and weary and wish for a drink to slake their thirst, for their provisions were but few.
And presently, they came to a mountain pass, and right by that pass there stood a fearsome GIANT, bearing a sword in arm outstretched, so that they did think ye way was barred. But then ye giant did say,
Step under or over, do what ye wille,
Yet I will stand here guarding stille. 
 So, after much debate, they walked under ye arm of ye giant, who for his part moved not from his spot. And so they fared forth up the mountain.
Ye road was but bare and worn, and presently did it give way to a rough pass. But on either side of ye pass did stand two GIANTS with fearsome visage, both larger than ye giant before them. And they did hold their swords before them, pointing unto ye ground, and say,
Further travel, if ye dare
Into my MASTER'S lands to fare.
Then with much trepidation did ye BARON and TIM venture forward, stepping gently over ye swords, and yet ye giants moved not. And so they fared on up ye mountain.

Markes of friendes

Now, high above ye fair town of BRIGHTENING, did they come to a castle ypight in Stately Gardens, most plenteously endight with every good thing of Goddes creation.
But bespread over the garden grounds were one hundred and one fearsome GIANTS, each one large than ye other.
And some did carry sword or sabre, and some did carry mace, and some did darrain themselves with javelin or spear, or prepare for wrestling, in armour bespread all over with spikes, and all did roar defiance, crying
If our MASTER you would see,
Why then, SIR, you must pass by me. 
 And they did wail and snarl and gnash their teeth most terribly, but, being giants, did move but slowly, so ye BARON and TIM did draw their swords and hope to come to ye castle still. And as they pressed onward thorough the garden, lo, did this giant press on one side, and ye other press on ye other side, and this giant in spiked armour did lay hold of TIM's hand, and then three more enclosed in around them, emprisoning them in a wall of spears and of swords, but still, by dextrous manoeuvre, did they escape, and come to the castle gate.
And, behold, yt did open for them, and as yt did open, as one did ye giants fall back. And there in ye castle was a fair table, well bespread with all manner of sweetmeats, and fine red wine, and fruit of every description, and amidst it all stood LORD BLACK, laughing with arms outspread.
And he did welcome them in, and ply them with many welcome refreshments and giftes for their own Lorde.
And they stayed that nighte and many nightes after at LORD BLACK'S castle, passing ye hours in song and poetry and in ye making of witty jestes and hearty catches and rondelays.

Our puissant foe.

Sunday, February 01, 2015


Have been having some field days yesterday and today with the Baron and the Baron Mother, in Bright and Beechworth and surrounds. Speaking of field days, Freud would have a few himself if he heard half of the Freudian slips made, or maybe he wouldn't, because the Freudian slips aren't slips at all, they're all deliberate and unabashed and loud and clear. Allow me to present a small sample:

"Oh, look, naked ladies!"
"Another naked lady!"
"There's some naked ladies!"
"Naked lady, naked lady, naked lady!"
"Nice naked ladies in that front garden".
"Perhaps we should have some naked ladies on our nature strip".

The naked lady, as I'm sure you're all aware, is a flower, though that doesn't stop all of the sentences above sounding like the lubricious exclamations of a person with autism in a brothel. The last sentence sounds particularly lascivious, creating an image of sportive nymphs performing exercises from dawn 'til dusk upon the lawn. Oh, and walking up the hill today, the following dialogue occurred:

BARON: "Look, those naked ladies are hiding under some bushes."
TIM: "Now you're just doing it on purpose."

Is there such a thing, then, as a reverse Freudian slip, where a person uses a perfectly lewd phrase and actually means something completely innocent, like 'gardening' or 'doing a lovely bit of embroidery'? Because maybe that's what's happening here?

Va va va voom....

In conclusion, NAKED. LADIES.

(If that doesn't get the salubrious gardening types visiting this blog, then I don't know what will.)

"Look, naked ladies outside the church!" 
"Hey, there's a lot of naked ladies in this town!"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Who needs Simon Schama?

Let's face it, there's nothing the BBC likes better than to send bespectacled history boffins out into the fields to stomp around in the mud, to frown portentously while wading through a mire, to intone solemnly while sloshing through a bog, and generally have a lovely time splashing and splattering their way through millennia of British history. Cut from a shot of the historian looking brooding and intense about something important to a shady murky camera shot of someone in a bad costume waving a sword or a parchment or an old greasy pair of undies about and then back to the historian shaking their head at the sad and sorry irony of it all, and that's a wrap, ladies and gentlemen.

It's all great fun and quite harmless, and if the British didn't occasionally release their historians out into the wild then who knows what would happen to them? They'd probably get all sorry for themselves, sitting in their little boxes and looking in a brooding and intense manner at a wall, or something like that.

But what about the non-historians? What about the rest of us who did arts degrees in one obscure subject or another, and now spend our time shaking our head at the sad and solemn ironies of the decline in fortunes of the Lydian mode, or intoning solemnly about the state of semiotics pre-Ferdinand Saussure to no-one in particular? Why isn't there a television network ready to release the experts in the Theodosian code or the Freudian/Lacanian interpretation of Christopher Marlowe's later plays into the wild, to wallow in galoshes through the slough of some bog, to utter grand soliloquies about some confusing philosophy or another? For, it must be admitted, even though no-one watching the television would have the faintest idea of what these people are talking about, no-one knows what televisual historians are talking about most of the time anyway. Who honestly remembers anymore details from Simon Schama's History of Britain than the fact that a) it had a title b) it was about Britain and c) it involved some dude called Simon Schama?

I think it would all be quite grand. What better setting for postmodernist philosophical thought than a pile of sludge? What other visual metaphor of the state of thinking in the modern humanities than a gigantic dirty swamp? We're on to something here, I think, by sending these professors of quibbles and obfuscantism out into the bogs and the moors. Sure, they are shy creatures and may be a little timid at first in front of the cameras - but with a little encouragement, and perhaps a scone here or there, they could become quite healthy.

Picture it now: a windy heath, a grey sky, a shadow looms on the horizon. And then a grizzled and cantankerous voice growls out: "I'm Judith Butler: and I'm here to talk about the prehistory of the subject and its role in modern gender binaries....."

And CUT!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This is just to say...

This afternoon Beatrice the cat did a really whopping turd. An absolute stinker. The capacity of these small, rather attractive creatures to produce such gigantic piles of excrement never ceases to amaze me. "Little messages" is the quaint euphemism Mum uses for cat and dog poo. Well, this one wasn't so much a little message as a positive essay, with fully developed argument and points and an elegantly restated thesis in the conclusion to round things off nicely. I think I can still smell the toxoplasmosis in the air even now.

Beatrice, take a bow. In years to come, poets shall write of this poo and where they were when it happened. Eaux, the memories!

Okay, that's all I wanted to say.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Your ABC and the dreaded Cucumber Sandwiches Brigade

I've been listening to a lot of ABC Classic FM lately. (Though perhaps 'listening' is the wrong word; no single word seems to encompass the rich diapason of experience that is 'turning on the radio to perhaps listen to a piece or two, and then forgetting about it, and then doing other things and remembering the radio is on, and then not bothering to turn it off).

Anyway, each radio station has their own presentation style, as I learnt to my frequent annoyance during my seven and a bit years at the place of old employ. Some stations have as few presenters as possible, and will probably replace their existing staff with digital voices as soon as the artifical voice technology is up to scratch (thus making the experience of listening to them indistinguishable from the experience of dialing up a multinational company and being put on hold for three hours). Some stations have the newsreader read a few cursory announcements about road accidents, and such, over a persistent 'doof doof doof' beat, which can't be good for the anxiety levels of those listening to it. At the ABC's sister station, Triple J, the newsreaders persistently and insistently colloquialise the normal newsreading style - abbreviating every word they can, throwing in lazy youth culture phrases, so: "The Prime Minister's said he's not cool with that" - in a manner that is more irritatingly formal than any old-school BBC-style newsreader. In short, each have their own ways of infuriating the listener (if they are actually listening, and they may not be - see my first parenthesis, above).

But ABC Classic FM would have to be the most bizarre of them all. Announcements are made in the manner of regretful sighs and languid coos; orchestral harpists are given the afternoon shows and when they speak they actually sound like harps. (Walter Pater said "All art aspires to the condition of music" but this is ridiculous.) I remember there was actually one point when they started playing bird song in the morning; could the point where they discover whale song actually be far off? Occasionally they have an 'ABC is your emergency services broadcaster' announcement, and when they do this they have lovely piano arpeggios over soothing homophonies: I know it would be wrong for them to try out the Lance-Corporal Jack Jones' line "Don't panic! DON'T PANIC!", but honestly, this way they make imminent catastrophe sound like a garden party.

I suppose at some point in the distant past, some ABC Classic FM programmer made the fatal decision that this is what the station would all be about: niceness, somnolence, calm, the aural equivalent of cucumber sandwiches and Pimms. Which, you know, isn't that bad a thing, but when it comes to a musical tradition that contains duellists, murderers, and revolutionaries, doesn't seem entirely appropriate.

So I suppose that means I should turn the radio off then.... and I will.... in a bit....

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Onomatopeia I have used or invented in the past few weeks

Wingle wangle
gedonk gedonk
bekadonk bekadonk bekadokkily donk

UPDATE! - Pop quiz (that probably nobody will answer at all). Can you guess what any of these sounds refer to? (No prizes or anything. I mean, just for the sake of general merriment and stuff).

How it all works

The 1 per cent report to the alpha male.
The alpha male answers to the lizard people.
The lizard people network with the Illuminati.
The Illuminati are secretly run by the bourgeois middle classes.
The bourgeois middle classes are in the grip of Big Tobacco.
Big Tobacco is in cahoots with Big Oil.
Big Oil is run by the Omega Man.
(Charlton Heston, not Will Smith).
The Omega Man is controlled by the Patriarchy.
But the Patriarchy have just had their season cut short by the Fox Network.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Naughty Amish

The topic of the Amish came up in conversation (and why wouldn't it?) with the Baron last night as we toddled our way to the Coles to fetch some cat food.

"I like the idea of being Amish", said the Baron.
"Well, you get to have your own horse."
"You'd need to buy the horse first," I objected.
"True," mused the Baron. "We'll have to become rich. Let's get rich and then we can be Amish!"
"Hm," I said.
"And then we could compost the garden with horse poo", finished the Baron.

But by the time we'd got the cat food and were on our way home again I'd rather come round to the idea. This was because we'd just discovered the concept of 'naughty Amish', which is what I think I'd end up being.
 Here's how I imagine it goes. Regular Amish go about looking all serious and eating bread and doing farming and stuff. Meanwhile, Naughty Amish hide pencils in their beards, and snap one another's braces in a roguish manner. Regular Amish practice frowning and harrumphing (pretty essential life skills, I'll have you know). Naughty Amish, meanwhile, tie pom-poms to their horse's tails, and make castles out of their mashed potatoes. Regular Amish spend time selecting the most stern bonnets and sombre black fedoras they can find. Naughty Amish while away the hours racing cheeses down the hill and juggling bread rolls.

See what I mean? There must be some naughty Amish out there, and I think I'd fit right in. Any openings available in the Amish community, do you know? After all, I've got the beard and the fedora....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I blame everything

We all need something to blame, and I blame particularly the permissive society, the declining morals of today's youth, the social effects of communism, global warming, Tony Abbott, the Labor Party, the second Banana in Bananas in Pyjamas and poor education in our public schools. I blame them for everything all the time, obviously, but I especially blame them for my current obsession, an online game allowing me to slot columns and rows of brightly coloured rectangles into other columns and rows of brightly coloured rectangles until I have run out of columns and rows of brightly coloured rectangles to use. This game, a highly intellectual exercise with columns and rows of brightly coloured rectangles, is called Columns, and I'm sure you'll all want to play it now. My response to that is: don't! Don't! For the love of all that is good and holy, don't!

But anyway, at certain points during my stimulating endeavours to slot columns and rows of brightly coloured rectangles in with other columns and rows of brightly coloured rectangles, it is true, I start to wonder just what the fuck I am doing with my life and couldn't I be fucking doing something more productive instead? And there is great truth in this asseveration, as I acknowledge to myself while deliberating that I will do something else shortly - just after I finish the next game. Of course, "Tomorrow never comes", as the old saw goes, and it is curious that "the next game" is just as elusive.

Soon there will be nothing but columns. Just as in the past I had the experience of playing - well, overplaying - Tetris, another infuriatingly pointless game which never seems to end, and going to bed afterwards with images of Tetris blocks still slotting together in my head. Well, it's the same with these blinking columns. Every time I close my eyes, there they are. Sometimes they're there, too, when I keep my eyes open. Soon the world will be nothing but columns, columns, columns, everywhere, brightly coloured rectangles slotting in with other brightly coloured rectangles and I'll think, ooh, if I just press the left arrow button then....

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Save me! Save me!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Second helping

Same subject as before....

On that extra second
I thought that I needed a second
To do all the things that I thought
I could do if I just had a second
But the second's a second too short.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

In a second

The year of 2015 will be one second longer, with the Paris Observatory announcing a leap second will be added on June 30 when clocks will read 11:59:60pm.

ABC - Leap second to make June 30, 2015, a longer day, Paris Observatory announces

Thank heavens at last we have that extra second that people have always been talking about. "I'll get round to it in a second", they say. "I'll do that in a second," they say. "Wait a second," they say, only to, on all three occasions, be distracted in a second from the thing they said they were going to do in a second, and so when another second has passed, forgotten completely that two seconds ago they said they were going to do things in a second.

In order to make people further appreciate this extra second, I have introduced

WillTypeForFood leap second saving policy

Here's how it works. By laying the extra second you receive at the end of June, and saving it up till the end of July, instead of getting 30 days and one second, you will get 31 days and one second, much more time to get around to using that precious, valuable, extra second that adds so much to all our lives.

Don't thank me. Thank the Paris Observatory, those hard working individuals who toiled away for so long to produce this extra second to benefit all our lives.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Am I only screaming?

I fell off the True Blood bandwagon sometime ago - what with the 'Sookie loves Bill.... no wait, she doesn't.... no wait, she loves Eric... no wait, she loves both....' there seemed little point continuing. It had a brilliant first season, an okay second season, but by the third season it seemed to be becoming more or less indifferent, with the characters blending into one another (in a series of increasingly creative, or at least hot and sweaty ways).

The Baron's enthusiasm for this televisual phenomenon remains undimmed, however, so while I slouch around this hot house in this hot weather looking for more icecream to eat, she reclines in leisurely fashion, en couchant, with the computer in front of her working her way stoically through another episode. I haven't really seen what's going on: but I've certainly heard. In this way I think I've inadvertently worked out what the secret of the show's success is: screaming and heavy breathing.

That's about it, really. Combined with the occasional spot of naked flesh, soft lighting and shadows, I think we've almost got the entirety of seasons 1-7, right there.

In a way it's a triumph of minimalist art, the way a little (PANT-PANT-PANT-PANT) here and some (ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHGLGGHGLGHGHGLIYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*) there can be creatively combined to bring meaning and timbre and elegance to such a simple storyline. As an added filigree, with a very little actorial effort, a bloodcurdling scream in the middle of battle can easily shade into a sexy panting in the boudoir as Eric gets hot and heavy with Sookie/Jason/Pam/whoever.

Way back when I actually watched the show (about one and a half years ago, actually) I wrote a poetic summary of the first season. For some reason I can't find it on my blog (though I'm pretty sure I did put it up there). So I'm going to put it up now:
A poetic summary of season one of True Blood

Bill loves Sookie.
Sookie loves Bill.
Puppy dogs and vampires -

*I think that's the right way to spell it. Or did I have one too many Es**?
**As they said back at the raves in the 1990s.

Friday, January 02, 2015

ABC considers releasing an adult version of a much-loved classic

Say hello to Bananas. No Pajamas - designed to appeal to nudists and naturists across this nation.

"Are you thinking what I am, B1?" "I think I am, B2! It's pole-dancing time!"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nothing much

This one's from my latest Christmassy-sort of zine, Badger's Dozen mark whatever.  Nothing much to see in the relative non-event of the New Year.

Nothing much

This year, achieving nothing much,
Though having aimed at little more,
Next year, I’ll try a little less,
Although I’ve done the same before -

With half-formed plans and half-formed schemes
That I’ve already half-forgot
Of nothing big with no-one much
And dreams of earning not-a-lot.

Though when my age was even less,
I little thought and little knew
I’d make so little of myself
Or have so little stuff to do.

Perhaps I did more good than bad,
Although I can’t be sure as such,
I overate a little bit,
Though not so much as very much.

We’ve almost no time left in life
To say our little good and true,
So Merry Christmas, happy new year,
To you, and you, and you.

In an increasingly awkward attempt at replicating the lack of success of the joke in the previous post title (made all the more awkward by the fact that doing a blog post just for the sake of the joke in the title seems a tad unseemly anyway), I have decided to press on with my reverso blog post experiment. Just how long can a blog post title get, anyway? By now we have certainly gone past the standard length allowing this blog post to be googled, and have more commas, full stops, question marks, and parenthesis in total than we could expect in an ordinary blog post title. What other surprises can we be expected to come up with? Let's try point form! 1) This is a point. 2) This, also, is a point. 3) This is a third point, though by now the use of a point form has even less of a point than when it started. I suppose I could keep this title going on for quite a while but maybe I won't because I couldn't be

Reverso Blog Post #2: The Wrath of Kahn.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The first black white President of the United States

Following the Obama's description of experiences with casual racism (The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences), former US President Bill Clinton, frequently described as 'the first black President of the US' has opened up about his own experiences with racism.

"Oh, for sure, I've encountered casual racism", says Clinton. "For instance, back in 1991 when I was beaten mercilessly by the LA police. Hey, you may say they were just doing their job. Heck, they may not even recognise it as racism themselves! But how can we learn to move on as a society if we don't recognise this stuff for what it is?"

Clinton went on to detail similar examples from his lifetime: leading the civil rights movement before being fatally shot by a casual racist bearing a loaded microaggression, for instance, or that one time he sat on that seat of that bus even after being repeatedly asked to move just for his race, or instance.

"Nothing compared to what our forefathers experienced," says Clinton. "But it just goes to show we've got further to go as a society".

Friday, December 26, 2014

Official scientific map of the box of chocolates


1. The yucky one that no-one wants.
2. The brilliant one that someone always eats before you.
3. The mysterious one. No-one knows what the hell that thing is in the middle of it.
4. The other brilliant one that someone always eats before you.
5. They call this chocolate?
6. The only half-decent one left over that you might as well have.
7. The one the dog ate.
8, 9, 10, 11. The pathetically small ones that actually look like little turds.
12. The not very exciting one with the brand name on it.
13. The super hard one that gets stuck in your teeth.
14. The one that gets sat on by your farty uncle before disappearing down the couch.
15. The one that is actually really small under all that shiny wrapping.
16. The leftover one after everything else gets eaten. Hey, where did all the chocolates go?
17. The peppermint one.
18. The one that your wife steals.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Glorious folk traditions of the world!

Glorious folk traditions of the world no. 4671
We are fast approaching the time of year when households all over the world are said to see the arrival of Sexist Claus, a jolly fat man in a red singlet with a smear of black stubble over his face and chin. According to lore, Sexist Claus will arrive at your house unannounced in the middle of the night, take up residence on your couch, and ask for you to bring him a drink. He doesn't come bringing any gifts, because he forgot them all when he was out.

He is associated with several magic abilities: the ability to trawl sites like OKCupid or Lavalife in an increasingly desperate attempt to find a 'special someone'; the ability to do nothing at all for extended periods of time; or the ability to turn you into an object by merely looking at you. (He has collected many fine examples of statuary for his house and gardens this way).

Sexist Claus has a secret home on the moon called The Patriarchy, where he lives most of the year with his "little helpers", the local Men's Rights Association. They don't actually do anything all year, they just talk shit and leave abusive comments on other people's blogs. His carriage is pulled by 12 galloping snarks, with a troll helper seated beside him for the journey.

It is often said that if a little child denies the existence of Claus by crying "I don't believe in Sexism" thrice, a unicorn molests a fairy. Other families believe if the right charm is uttered, Clementine Ford will come galloping in on a white stallion to defend their house from the depredations of the dreadful Sexist. But his power remains undiminished, and next year he will come back stronger than ever.

Basically, he's a dick.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pacifist curses

May you die a long and peaceful death! 

May your feet be afflicted with comfortable socks!

Even your toes, yea, even unto the tips of the little outer ones, will be smiten with a pleasant all-suffusing warmth! 

May you be devastated by plague upon plague of friendly puppies!

May you never know rest until bedtime! 

May you suffer from the three-fold comfort - nice chair, nice show on telly, and a very tasty cup of coffee! 

May all your dust turn to wishes and your ashes to dreams!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Pig

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! I got you a pig! 
The pig is not yours. It's a charity pig
That I got for some people in south Vietnam.
I don't know who they are, but they run a small farm,
Or something like that, and they're terribly poor
And they've never been able to eat pig before. 
But that doesn't matter! Your present is better,
Because I got you a card and I wrote you a letter
Which I've most ostentatiously signed with my name
Thus assuaging my white middle class feelings of shame.
And speaking of presents, gee, I don't know how
But I didn't get any. 
... So I'm eating your chocolates right now.
Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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Me person. Live in world. Like stuff. Need job. Need BRAINS! (DROOLS IN THE MANNER OF ZOMBIES) Ergggggh ...