Sunday, June 28, 2020

Apropos of nothing

Not relating to anything at all.

Brave Hippolyta fought a statue,
Brave Hippolyta joined the fray,
In her eyes a righteous fire,
In her hands a can of spray,
Bravely fought a large stone object,
And then she bravely ran away.
Brave, brave, brave Hippolyta, 
Brave Hippolyta ran away. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Things got pretty rowdy at the Trades Hall in 1620

Union Chants of the 17th Century 

What's outrageous?
Death's dark wages!
What's disgusting?
Unchaste lusting!
What's outrageous?
Death's dark wages!
What's disgusting?
Unchaste lusting!


One! Two! Three! Four!
What are we all fighting for?
Five! Six! Seven! Eight!
Satan's power to subjugate!


Hey hey! Ho ho!
Lewd wassailing's got to go!
Hey hey! Ho ho!
Lewd wassailing's got to go!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The new adventures of Abbott and Costello in Quarantine Land

SCENE: A small city apartment. BUD ABBOTT is busy standing on a small step ladder hanging a row of hand-folded Japanese lanterns across the room when LOU COSTELLO bursts in through the door. 

COSTELLO: (Shouting) Hey, Abbott!

ABBOTT: (Does a sudden startle, almost causing the whole row of paper lanterns to collapse) Do you gotta make me jump like that, Lou? It's taken me ages to make this house look nice, and you bust in here and the whole place is gonna collapse!

COSTELLO: I'm sorry, Bud, I'm sorry.... it's just chaos out there! Absolute chaos!

ABBOTT: What, people are breaching the quarantine conditions already? Don't they know they could catch this new flu?

COSTELLO: No! Worse! Nobody out there at all! I could hardly find my way home! I.... I don't think I'm ready to go on my own to the candy store, Bud! I get lost without my mama!

ABBOTT: All right, all right, that's fine, just help me up with these, would you?

COSTELLO: Hey, sure.... (climbs up step ladder beside ABBOTT and begins helping him hang the lanterns up) Say.... why do we got to hang these things up, anyway?

ABBOTT: Why? Why, we're celebrating, Lou!

COSTELLO: Cele.... celery.... celerious.... cerebellum....  Sybil Shep..... what?

ABBOTT: Celebrate, have a party, you know?

COSTELLO: Oh, a party! Why?

ABBOTT: My COVID test results came back, Lou! I'm negative.

COSTELLO: WHAT? Are you positive?

ABBOTT: No, I'm negative.

COSTELLO: You're absolutely positive about that?

ABBOTT: Yeah yeah, I'm absolutely positive that I'm negative!

COSTELLO: What? You're positive or you're negative?

ABBOTT: I'm negative!

COSTELLO: Yeah yeah Bud, you're always very negative.

ABBOTT: Say, now you're getting it!

COSTELLO: Getting it? I'm not getting it! No way am I getting it! No sirree Bob, you stay away from me if you've got it!

ABBOTT: Well, I don't! I'm negative!

COSTELLO: Yeah yeah, that's what I always tells ya, you're so negative, don't do this Lou, don't do that, you don't let me do anything!

ABBOTT: What, are you some kind of.... (hits COSTELLO round the head).... I'm negative. For COVID.

COSTELLO: I KNOW you're negative, Bud, but you gotta tell me, or I won't understand.... does ya got it or does ya not got it?


COSTELLO: All right, all right, no need to shout in my face! (They continue hanging up the lanterns) Say, ah, Bud, I forgot to tell you, while I was out I went to see the doctor too. He gave me this letter. (Takes out of his pocket) Your test results for Corona have returned, and we regret to inform you that you have tested positive. (Beams) See? Isn't that right? I always told you I was a positive person!

ABBOTT: (Jumps, falls of ladder) (Looks at COSTELLO aghast) 

COSTELLO: Say, why are you looking at me like that, Bud?

ABBOTT: Oh, that's just the absolute limit! Now you've got it, I've definitely got it too!

COSTELLO: That's it, Bud, that's the way to be positive!

ABBOTT: Come here! (Pulls COSTELLO off ladder, who grabs line of paper lanterns to help him stay up, somehow manages to pull down the ceiling with the lanterns) 

COSTELLO: (Wailing, as ABBOTT beats him about the head, and the ceiling continues to fall about them) What did I do, Bud, what did I do!


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mothers Day Poem 2020

O mummy O mummy 
O thank you O mummy
For you just were the best when I burst from your chest and infested the rest through the eyeballs no less
O mummy - 

O mummy O mummy
O thank you O mummy 
Now the land is possessed unto your dark behest and will perform your request until the detestable Ul'Qhon manifests and ingests half the humans* before sending the rest to slave in the mines - 
O mummy. 


*With a light lemon zest.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

An announcement: this year, due to long-service leave, the Easter Bunny will be replaced by Frank The Evil Bunny From Donnie Darko

Well, due to much-anticipated long-service leave, the Easter Bunny won't be on duty this year, but don't worry kids! The fun will still continue! Because this year, Frank The Evil Bunny From Donnie Darko will be filling in!

Frank with friends!

Frank The Evil Bunny From Donnie Darko (who prefers to be just known by his first name, Frank) has plenty of previous job experience including Appearing in Donnie's Hallucinations, Showing Donnie Where The Gun Is, and Leading Donnie to Certain Death, and is looking forward to his new role, which will involve mostly Giving Eggs To Children. 

"I really look forward to bringing my experiences to the new role and invigorating it with new life," says Frank. 


Tuesday, April 07, 2020


- Isonation: national quarantine.

- Isostation: the place you choose to be isolated.

- Isocation: attempting to treat your isolation as a holiday.

- Isostration: increasing frustration at being caught up in isolation.

- Isoccasion: attempting to distract yourself from the isostration at your isostation by having a big fancy event. At home. By yourself. Geeze, man, at least put on some fancier underpants!


- Isoblation: giving in and oblating yourself to the household Gods you discover while in isolation.

The sayings of the socially distanced

You scratch my back, I'll bloody deck ya.

You're going on my toilet roll of honour!

Let's join together in staying apart!

That's so wonderful, I could kiss you - in full HAZMAT gear.

Remember, a bird flu in the hand is worth two in the bush!

I'll have my people speak to your people. Over Zoom. In full body condoms.

Why don't you come over to my place sometime when I'm out and never coming home?

Two's company, three's FUCKING ILLEGAL.

How nice to see your good self.... isolating.

There's a couple of kangaroos loose in your top paddock, and they're breaching all social gathering protocols, WTF, I'm calling the cops now.

Taking a trip to the Great Indoors!

It's been taken out of my hands. With frequent use of an approved soap-based sanitiser.

Girl, this is the night when two become one - while maintaining a 1.5 metres social distance between ourselves at all times.

That's straight from the bat, into the pangolin!

Saturday, April 04, 2020

An invitation to a reading


There will be a dead poetry reading on Tuesday night in the rubble of the old theatre. Whether you’re a corpse, a few shreds of bone, or still in the act of decomposing, this reading is for you! The night will be deadstreamed at time of performance to the whole graveyard, for anyone, who, for reasons of nescience, putrescence, or just general decay, are unable to attend. But, after all, if you haven’t been to a dead reading, have you truly died at all?

PLUS: Prizes for any reader brave enough to die on stage for the first time!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Country art galleries

A piece of music - something by Ross Edwards, probably his Dawn Mantras - came on the radio last night that suddenly reminded me of all the country art galleries I must have been in. I grew up in a country town, and what you seem to do growing up in country towns, mostly, is visit other country towns. Mum being Mum, with an interest in all things cultural, in all those country towns, we ended up in country town art galleries.

What strange places they were! Often built on money from the time of the Hawke or Keating governments, their architecture was completely out of place with the rest of the town. And they were absolutely nothing like the more homely arts and crafts centres in such towns, where you might go to a local art fair and see paintings of trees, or buy a few bottles of jam, or pass by some plates which look like they wouldn't be out of place in Dame Edna's crockery collection, or cartoons from a local artist, or to see furniture made out of odd bits of lacquered-up redgum. Walking into a country art gallery was an entirely different experience; instead of that cosy clutter you got a bizarre minimalism: a sparse white wall with a tiny abstract work in the middle. A huge room with an installation or a projection at one end and a seat in the middle. Not a seat you'd want to sit in, with a back or anything like that - why don't art gallery seats ever have backs? Just this black leather affair. Who decided this was the look to have in a country town, where the aesthetic is mostly chintz and crockery that rattles and doilies everywhere*?

And there'd be art gallery attendants who seem to come with the art gallery. (They must have! They'd look out of place if they ever ventured out into the town). One often got the impression they were installed in place with the art gallery. They'd sit around behind desks looking all wispy and important and listen to, well, pieces by Ross Edwards.

As for the art - it was mostly landscapes. This was doubly weird: looking at them, you had the experience of standing in a building in a landscape looking at paintings about that same landscape, the only thing being the painting never actually looked like the landscape it was supposed to be about. In those galleries the paintings never looked like the things they were about. In country arts and craft galleries, people painted trees and horses because they wanted their paintings to be about trees and horses. In the country art galleries, if there was ever a picture of a tree or a horse it was probably supposed to represent the disjointed experience of artificial modern living and its disconnect from nature or the repressive effect of the colonialist patriarchy on the Indigenous mythos. Sometimes I don't think the artists were even sure what they wanted their paintings to be about, which did rather lead one to the suspicion that it mightn't have been about anything interesting at all.

That Ross Edwards piece, then, bought it all to mind. For some reason a particular image came to mind of the first floor in a two storey art gallery, with me wandering around looking at the - mostly incomprehensible - abstracts. Where could it have been? Wagga? Griffith? Mildura? Dubbo? And then, I suppose, we all walked out into the heat of the day and drove through hours of yellow grass fields until we got home. That is the Ross Edwards epoch in Australian cultural history, really - that whole courageous attempt by composers to write a music perfectly in tune with these landscapes. It combined didgeridoo and choir in a new agey way, unfolded in a slow, reverential fashion, represented peculiarities of the Australian environment in ways which I had not thought possible.
I have to confess it annoyed me a lot.

And yet, you know what? Earlier last night another Ross Edwards piece had come on: A flight of sunbirds. Two pianos, simple and playable music. It filled the whole room in just the way that music should. Charming and reverential, in all the right ways and places. Not the sort of music you'd get in an art gallery, at all.

I'm not sure what I wanted to say about all this but, just like an abstract artist, I suppose I have anyway. So I'd better end it there.

*I do like a nice doily.
Email: timhtrain - at -

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