Balthazar is the second volume in Lawrence Durrell’s : “Alexandria Quartet”.. The exclamation mark is mine.

When I first read Durrell’s quartet a long time ago, I remember Balthazar being the most intriguing of all .. the reading of it left me with a feeling of sensuous delight in the language so astutely manipulated and managed .. For language as a written experience is,in my opinion one of the greatest and most acclaimed achievements of the arts of humanity .. and while painting as art is devilishly skilled, it is still a copy of many natural surroundings, likewise music is imitation of nature’s beasts and birds .. wind and storm and song the cry of an estranged soul familiar in tone and pitch to a rising tumult of mild zephyr to wild wind.

But to take an alphabet of letters that are assembled into accepted words and then to arrange those unfamiliar nouns, adjectives and verbs into sentences of not just legible script, but to frame them in descriptive design that can capture the sound and imagination of a reader to direct them down a road toward adventure, horror, love and desire demonstrates the dexterity of pure mental discipline to build, word by word, paragraph by paragraph that mood picture that we would wish to describe.
I have written many articles and stories .. some of which have appeared on this blog. Loving the fluidity of the written word, I find delight in just the sounds made in the pronunciation of those words .. I always have from a long, long time ago .. Some names of places have caught and held my awe in the wonder of place names .. :
Where is Samarkand?
Is it cry of bird strangely,
Or is it man?
And Byzantium?
A pealing of great bells, where
The name; Pliny, is but a tinkle.
And Jerusalem, Jerusalem … syrup,
As sticky as a bruised sugar fig.
Dar-Es-Salaam … a command?
If so, then consider its neighbour;
Like the last whispered word
From an unsettling dream ….
…………. Zanzibar! ……….

So it came as a surprise to me a week or so ago when a young refugee, Samad Abdul, posted his story on this blog
Where he opened with this sentence .. : “ That’s such a moment of blessing when you are with your best friend but that’s such a horrible moment when friends get separated forever.”

And which brought a cavalcade of accusation and degradation upon the spirit of his plea and the generic hopes of so many desperate peoples wanting a feeling of that “moment of blessing”.. The disgrace that was inflicted upon that young man’s story through nothing more that I can see than a envy of his desire for a dreamt of future whereas those who would deny him are trapped in a mire of mediocrity and drudgery unforgiving but materially secure .. no longer do they seek , having become satisfied with such mediocrity, they are quick to condemn those who still hunger for life’s promises.

In the novel; Balthazar, the search for truth demands confronting some rather unsavoury imagery and realities..this demands an unflinching courage to stare at and stare down such in the face of sometimes social adversary. As the paragraph below says.. ; From the Marquis de Sade’s story of Justine :

“Yes, we insist upon these details, you veil them with a decency which removes all their edge of horror; there remains only what is useful to whoever wishes to become familiar with man;….Inhabited by absurd fears, they only discuss the puerilities with which every fool is familiar and dare not, by turning a bold hand to the human heart, offer its gigantic idiosyncrasies to our view.”

Backing up the young refugee’s article, I posted a story of another refugee from another time just last week : “Saying Goodbye to Ferrucchio”.. It also was in reality a love story .. A love story between the travails and sorrows of humanity that can come together in adversity and tragedy. We love as humans, we embrace as lovers, it is the continuity of life itself that neither work, duty or politics can stop .. So it was a kind of weird moment when I read of many twitterers demanding of the “Barnaby Affair” that we please make it so that ; “It is about the rorting, not the rooting!” .. weird … as if such salacious dollops of metaphorical body-fluids could be overlooked for the everyday garden variety of possible rorting behaviour.

And it was this hypocrisy where the story of the young refugee was met with accusations of misleading, deceit, possible lying and being requested to “prove” his legitimacy of persecution … and yet, in the Barnaby affair, we get the demand that we not ask about his private behaviour or life and do not inquire or require him to explain his tangled relationships … ”Leave his private life out of this!” we are admonished .. yet demand the most intricate details of the life of a refugee, any refugee from the time of their first fears of danger to how, what, when, where and why they fled their homeland .. and not ANY subsequent explanation by myself or others who had witnessed or experienced such fears could or would be accepted by these criothans of the self-elected “truth police” who in the face of so much detailed explanation stubbornly refused to shift ground.

‘Truth is what most contradicts itself in time.’ Said Lawrence Durrell .. I would add that “the telling of a truth gives strength and power to an argument, whereas a lie weakens the most legitimate claim”.

I’ll leave the last words in their sensual beauty to Mr. Durrell .. :

“ Profligacy and sentimentality … killing love by taking things easy … sleeping out a chagrin … This was Alexandria, the unconsciously poetical mother-city exemplified in the names and faces which made up her history.”

“Any concentration of the will displaces life and gives it bias in motion. Reality, he believed, was always trying to copy the imagination of man, from which it derived.”

But it is the blind, merciless cruelty that I find most offensive and disgusting, particularly from such whose greatest woe in life would be in equivalence to that which is lost by the refugee to the suffering of a mild toothache!


“Strong in the arms…”

There seems to be a kind of continuity in this latest mainstream media (MSM) “Sgt Schultz” plea over the Barnaby Joyce whole kit ‘n’ caboodle when they say in a plaintive squeal; “I know nuffink!” … which, considering social media’s eye-rolling acceptance of THAT reality, they suddenly now seem to be all over the situation like a nasty little beetroot rash on some-ones sweet little gash … with the Murdoch press as usual right in there tight as a “Vaseline’d” suppository! THEY know their place.

But this is not the first time we have seen this sudden mad “dash down the home straight” by the MSM to apply damage control on an out of THEIR control story that has been chased up, investigated by and followed through on social media. This latest grim scrimmage was first investigated (in my attention) by “Independent Australia” before the New England by-election, with an “on-site” attempt to discover who was the person driving Barnaby’s election ute around yelling out the grissly details of Barnaby’s indiscretions. Evidently also the social media group “True Crimes Weekly” can claim first dibs on the breaking of the story … and there it goes.

I am interested in just how long this situation by the MSM to deliberately avoid covering stories that could be embarrassing to the LNP has been going on. How deep does this MSM “stroll into Aphasia” go? Sure, there are places in the news areas where it is neither decent nor to the national interests to go, but then we have that moment (to name ONE!) back in 2016 when the ex Tech’ reporter for the ABC, Nick Ross, came out on Reddit with some revealing details of political interference by the LNP government to block what could be damaging reporting on the NBN. (See here on Google: The Nick Ross Tapes on Reddit?).

But we can go further back than that to when the board of the ABC was being stacked with Murdoch and LNP people … when Turnbull was communications minister under Tony Abbott, there was deliberate intention to undermine the ABC’s independence by infiltrating right-wing sympathisers into the heart of the National Broadcaster. (See Malcolm Turnbull distances himself from decision to appoint Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown to roles overseeing ABC and SBS board posts).

Back when Mark Scott was manager of the ABC, I recall that there was much discussion on the old “Café Whispers” blog about the outrage of anti/Labor bias that was being displayed on the ABC at the time … particularly by the news programs. We remember when Chris Uhlmann took over the political reporting on the 7.30 report .. From Wikipedia:

“In 2008, Uhlmann switched to television, and was political editor for The 7.30 Report, ABC News and ABC News 24. In December 2010, he was appointed as co-host of the ABC Television current affairs program, “7.30”. In 2012, the show was revamped again, with Uhlmann returning to the political editor role, and Leigh Sales hosting the program.

In 2013, Uhlmann stepped down as 7.30’s political editor. He announced that he would be working on a documentary about the Rudd and Gillard Governments for the ABC.”

And we all remember how THAT went … where Julia Gillard herself decided it was safer to go on the program to at least try to make the story as close to the truth as possible. THAT is how bad the reputation of the political reporting at the ABC had become and I still am doubtful as to why the relatively unknown and untested Uhlmann got the gig of news “anchor-man” over the much more experienced Michael Brissenden after Kerry O’Brien retired … until NOW!

With this latest mea culpa by the MSM that it didn’t want to delve into politicians private affairs (read: “Jeesus effing Keerist! How will we get out of reporting THIS LNP balls-up?) even when that politician was running for re-election after fumbling his citizenship status that only came out after an inquiry to the NZ Labor Party by an Australian Labor person … and then the whole series of collusion, obfuscation, cover-ups and distractions and even some accusations of fraudulent activities I mean tell us something we have NOT been covering for more than a year on social media and we have every right to ask:


It is now as obvious as a pimple on the point of a nose that the MSM in ALL sectors, in ALL cases involving the LNP, in ALL dimensions, has been operation as both protector and propagator of the conservative political parties in Australia.

We expected no better from the gormless commercial sector, where men in tu-tus macarena-dancing and Kochie and co are the highest level of serious reporting. But we do expect better from OUR ABC. And one is inclined to ask: With the employment crossover from the commercial media groups like Fairfax and Murdoch and co. to secure employment at the ABC, are we to also get the “contact infection” inherent like any virus from so many frivolous staff? Is the National Broadcaster now to be inundated with the idle-chatter connections between these “once-was” and their still in-situ brain-farts at the commercial media platforms?

We can see with the “Gormless Guthrie” syndrome that absolute chaos reigns where once was reliable quality and her brag of The ABC now only costing 4cents per day is accepted less as “frugal housekeeping” than as proof of a “miserly, penny-pinching, starvation budget of cutting out the heart of a once magnificent enterprise” !


And this is the universal fault with the Right-wing side of politics … all they know is; force of arms, force of opinion, force of policy, pressure and force, nothing more … no conversation, no conciliation, no admission of fault or guilt … just force of strength … hence the title at the start of this piece from a book of short stories by Eric Knight: “Sam Small Flies Again” … “Strong in the arms”.

“A Yorkshireman born
And a Yorkshireman bred,
Strong in the arms
And weak in the yead!”

But where that above ditty has: Yorkshireman, Read: Right-wing F#ck-wit!

A new year’s resolve..

As we venture into this new year, we enter the next phase of the LNP. Government’s plan to reverse the social order of our nation. We make no mistake to see the intention of right-wing ideology is not to appease, but to conquer and control economic, social and political policy direction of our country by the use of extreme measures that it has been carefully putting in place for the last year. Not for fear of terrorism were such centralized powers for search , monitor and police legislated … after all, how many acts of terrorism have we ever suffered in this country to justify such complete control over our actions? And even if there were, would we not rise above such an situation with the stoicism and courage that many nations do when confronted with any such act? .. after all, Australia is not so puny as a corporation born from one family’s twisted fortune. No, the right-wing has but one great fear .. : that it will lose control of the mechanisms that gain it both power and profit … after all, it was only for profit that Murdoch moved to put the LNP. in power in the first place..that much is obvious.

The first six months of this year will be an “attack period”. Attacks on our social welfare system, attacks on social media criticism, attacks on the environment and political discourse. Perhaps too..attacks on even our persons. The appointment of Peter Dutton to lead these attacks has been premeditated by “warming him up “ with his unrelenting, cold-hearted cruelty on asylum seekers. The gross hypocrisy of his claim of being cruel to be kind, by saving thousands from a watery grave, is exposed by the treatment AFTER ARRIVAL of those refugees he claims to have “saved from drowning” .. as if they must now be taught a lesson for NOT drowning! No, the lessons of “Precise targeting” learned from “experimenting” with asylum seekers, ie; identifying and denouncing the “economic refugees” , the “no longer in danger” peoples and or “ how far to persecute and prosecute before strategic retreat from absolute cruelty” tactics, will stand in good stead the master of the fates of any or all on some sort of welfare … after all, according to IPA. Philosophy .. ; ”They’re nearly ALL malingerers of some sort .. even those on an old-age pension .. who, if they had any gumption at all, would have in their working life put away enough to fund their own retirement … just like Gina or Rupert or Twiggy!” Rest assured, Dutto’ has plans .. oh yes! .. he has plans … for us.

Now WE must plan … we, in social media, must work on implementing a broad foundation platform of how to attack and render harmless the right-wing media which, as sure as sunrise , is going to try set the tempo for this second year of the govt’ agenda.

Murdoch knows he must either control or destroy the free democracy of social media .. It is starting to confidently over-ride the MSM. In both news delivery and in satire of the MSM., right-wing politicians and it’s reporters and big-shot players … Not only that, but it can now also lead in attack and parry and defence of ideals that appeal to a vast majority. Murdoch knows this ground, he has traversed it many times … the advantage we hold (at this moment) is technological advantage .. and the capability to use it. The old MSM. is hamstrung by an unwieldy “hard-copy” media machine and with it an anachronistic “see, hear, report, edit, print” timetable … social media has no such delays .. it happens, it is visualized on mobile devices or tweeted as it happens .. instant news!

THIS, is our weapon against the Murdoch juggernaut! Murdoch has only ONE power base .. ; his employees .. his journos’ .. Murdoch , himself has no capacity to report or deliver .. he has to rely solely on his employee journos’ .. take them out of the picture and he is lost .. it is the old story of the “for the want of a horse-shoe nail” .. it IS that simple.

I believe we have to invent a brand new mechanism of political involvement via social media . We cannot do this alone or in individual blogs .. we must try and involve the ALP/left-wing groups. To build a broad information volunteer base and access to a wide readership. It would perhaps be to the Labor Party’s advantage to have instant rapport with its support and to reach out to those lurking and seeking persuasion to come over from the dark side! The ALP. already has a presence on Twitter … although a sort of loose familiarity .. but it does twitter so much better than the LNP … after all social media communication is more suited to those who sympathise with social equality and those who like to reach out and “touch” each other.

We have to build chat “tag- teams”, where we have attack teams coming and going all the time to develop and push important topics along the conversation threads .. to keep certain important policies in the public eye and discussion .. not faking it, but delivering real issues to the front and centre of discussion AND having them discussed .. not letting important news or policy be blown about by too much idle chatter then getting lost in the hubbub of gossip or advertising. We need organized “tag-teams” to liaison between the parties and the boards, to attack individual MSM. Journos’ who propagandise for the LNP/ IPA./Murdoshians …. After all, we are beyond the point of “beginning”, but rather seeking to “complete” the construction of a new generation of political discourse with social media at the centre.

This year will be an attack year for the LNP. They will have to neutralise Labor’s social policies and put in place their market based options .. It will be a slash and burn year for them … Murdoch will have his creatures going flat-out in support .. His corporate future depends upon control of the media. They will probably use the Turnbull / Abbott duo in a “good cop / bad cop” set-up … However they do it, they have to have their policy in place by the end of the year so as to “butter” the voters up for the next election.

They have a plan, a strategy, we too must plan a counter attack and defence .. it must be loud, wide ranging and relentless … Like Guerilla combat, we must be able to melt back into the shadows and be ready to emerge with as much concentrated opinion that we can muster in as short a time as possible if we are to win this battle and we must be able to take it , via twitter, directly to the Floor of The House! .. : Instant outrage! … For it is a battle .. of ideology .. ; to lose is to see a century’s worth of social infrastructure and a lifetime’s achievement of environmental restructuring be wasted and destroyed. For these people know no life save the barbaric solution of rapine and looting what is not and has never been theirs to loot!

Can we do it? ………… ”Yes we can”.

An Affectation of Intellectualism.

You know, it had to come to this … this point in our conversations over the past year or so. We had to work our way here like trekkers toward the once avoidable peak .. knowing at some point there had to be a confrontation between the “tribal” and the “sophisticate” as to which of us would scale the last obstacle to gain that peak.

Well, here it is : The scholarly educated intellectual versus the life educated practical. Who is more fitted for leadership of the requirements of modern national governance?

And I have to thank Roswell for the inspiration .. :
“Where at first I picked that you were stirring people, I now, however, detect a bit of angst .”

A guild of self-assessing intellectuals that hold the monopoly on learned knowledge, but is more like an Emperor with no clothes. A class that leans on its qualifications for a kind of group-think legitimacy of what to believe.

Today (6th Feb’) is my birthday…Today I reach the enviable age of 67 years. Enviable because, unlike so many of the deceased we have recently read about in the news reports, I am (touch wood) still here on this earth, in reasonable good health and my keenness for good food and wine, plus some regular sexual activity is still “hangin’ in there! .. there is nothing else in life that matters.

Right, so much for the too much information section of this piece .. let us get down to business.

Now, I could come at those I am directing this accusation at by playing hard or soft … I could give a blunt assessment or I could try to persuade .. instead I will by-pass those I accuse and pitch my case to the broader audience who will peruse this missive out of curiosity .. To them I offer this thesis.

Example: Last winter, in between spells of rain, one could observe, as many of you would have observed, those little cones of ant-activity that raised bulwarks of granule’d mullock around their individual holes to protect them from flooding .. a sort of dike embankment … dozens of them all dotted about a small meterage, exactly the same. Except .. except two holes near the perimeter of these multitude of exacting cones, where an elongated dike of approx.’ 2 inches long had been constructed around both ant-holes as protection, leaving a clear walk-way connection between for ease of communication.

Let us digress now to consider what line of “thought” must have inspired such a divergence from what must be considered “the norm” for those two ant nests to strike such a different approach. At some point, there must have been a spark of observation within the collective that concluded that an expanded wall would be more efficient than the singular cone .. At some moment the practicality of such a construct became obvious .. and the rest, as they say, is recorded on my digital camera .. but in the world of the ant, surely such a singular action must have been a momentous event … to break with tradition to engineer a completely different structure and approach to flood protection would have to be equal to Archimedes’ “Eureka!” moment .. the application of a learned practicality overruling multi-millennia of habit and dogma .. and let us not presume there was any “intellectual” debate on the subject .. ants are known for their pragmatic approach to business at hand.

But in our human universe this is not unusual. Many, many times we change procedure, habit and mind after consideration of the practicality of a thing .. We move that pot-plant from too much sun or shade to a more favourable place .. we change from driving to the city to catching public transport .. we see that a vote for one particular party has benefit over the longer term than another .. we budget, plan and execute action based on the practicalities of experience, of life .. it’s not rocket science .. ”all ideas come from without, not from within”.
Closer to our own world of experience, I was having a discussion recently about gene theory and certain lines of defect that can be seen in livestock … horses in particular.

It is recorded in the family archives that one such horse era farmer thought he would branch out into Clydesdale breeding for the local farming industry and purchased a stallion for the then princely sum of 200 guineas .. I’m talking 1930’s .. a lot of money then …Well it is also recorded in the footnotes of that same archive that the stallion was “a failure” .. and it ends there in mystery. What it “failed “at must be presumed .. and it was this which generated the conversation about genes in livestock.

“The word may have got about that it was from a defective blood-line.” I suggested.
“Probably had a recessive gene defect.” My ‘friend’ concluded.

“Yes .. probably” I agreed “..and someone .. a farmer maybe, had spotted the fault in the structure of the animal”.

“Well .. they wouldn’t know THAT … they wouldn’t have even known about recessive gene theory around these parts in those days.”

“Yes, well, maybe they didn’t know about gene theory, but by jingo, they could pick a defective blood-line of breeding stock when they saw it … those old farmers.”

“But they wouldn’t know what was causing it and it doesn’t work in a consistent manner for them to have enough experience to pick out any recessive gene problem! … ” and so on and on we went .. me in defence of ‘on the ground’ stock husbandry experience over herd-testing and proving of gene integrity science.
In the end, we had to agree to disagree on certain conclusions as THEY were not prepared to allow that long experience of animal sale-yard observation was not conclusive of a capacity to pick a recurring genetic fault in a line of stock … while I was adamant that the human eye, unscholarly as it may be in the learned knowledge of gene theory science, nether the less is very, VERY astute in picking out defects in stance, muscular build, beauty of appearance and surety of walk .. and any male of a long line of testosterone driven observation can assure you of THAT accuracy!

So without dragging too many examples of the practical applications of learned experience into the argument, I would rest my case on the fact that if we apply the old maxim of which came first ; the chicken or the egg .. we can solve the riddle by using our knowledge of the exoteric experience against the esoteric belief … :

“ Exoteric refers to knowledge that is outside, and independent from, a person’s experience and can be ascertained by anyone (related to common sense). … It is distinguished from internal esoteric knowledge. “Exoteric” relates to external reality as opposed to a person’s thoughts or feelings “ (Wikipedia)
… and conclude that to get the fertilised egg in the first place, at least two chooks have to have a root!

So to conclude, while it may take a hundred essays on horse handling to change one scholars mind, such a challenge could be achieved quite quickly in the field with the application of one kick up the arse!

Now .. if you want to know how the Pyramids were built or how they raised those gigantic obelisks back in ancient Egypt, send me your email address and I’ll oblige with the details .. “You’re bluffing” I hear you say .. and I tell you I learned the first from the constructing and fitting of those old “box-frame” windows and the latter from watching a cabinet-maker handle from the rack those huge sheets of MDF board … after all .. It’s not rocket science!

Australia, Religion, Politics…A Discordant Blend.

My first connection with the amalgam of religion and politics started at an early age..1956..Grade one at St. Theresa’s Catholic School. It was late summer, I know because I remember seeing the sharp black shadow of the corner of the tuck-shop building angled across the verandah just outside the class-room door…also I suffered from an incurable blight of my birthday being on the very day school returned after the summer holidays. I have to surmise from my now advanced age and experience that the door was open to let in a cross-breeze as the heat and odour from fifty odd ( that’s ‘odd’ as in generic, not psychotic…we weren’t protestants you know ! ) kiddies would be too much for even the most hardened teacher to bear.

She was a small young nun, was our teacher..Sister Mary Francis..I remember that too, because I loved her as I grew older..well, her face at least..for it was still the days of the habit…but hang on a sec…back to topic!
Late -Summer, just before noon (the shadow ; remember?), when the Principle ; ‘Mother’ Mary Margaret came into the room and said “Good morning, children”…”Good Morning–‘Mother’—Marr-grit”…(automatic chorus)….and we were soon exhorted to say a Hail-Mary to the Virgin Mary so that communism wouldn’t take over the world…we all had to scramble to kneel in the aisle between desks.

It seems to have worked.
But it never cured my hives, you know….God = mysterious ways. Though I have to wonder..; If greed and envy, those two driving forces of rampant capitalism and prime suspects in the list of the seven deadly sins, get no mention in “prayers to stop taking over the world”…and communism, a doctrine in it’s purest intent (just like religion) being a plan for equality of communities on earth , yet gets canned as being “ungodly”…What gives?

This idea that there is a whole population waiting with baited breath for some god-like revelation that will fix the economy, solve climate change, steer the nation to a more moral and ethical path (That’s the end of religion then!) and make the Liberal Party look like a reincarnation of the “Church of The Sacred Heart Chapel Choir” all singing in tune…well..: It just ain’t gonna happen, so put away the banners, the prayer-books and the excuses, there never has been and there never will be divine intervention in Australian things……ask the indigenous people!……..except in your own mind and in your private dreams…… best wishes and good luck to you on that!

But now we have these “fanaticised” young men sacrificing their sweet youth and future potential to the dubious reward of a heavenly after-life…Yes, the Mormon Church has a lot to answer, of course do the other Abrahamic religions. I am forced to recall the dangers these impetuous youths place themselves in with the tale from one of my mates in days gone by, when he was having a face to face brawl with his wife in their housing-unit….a screaming, plate-thrower of a brawl!…He, typical male, was strategically stationed by the most convenient escape route, she ‘cunning woman’, by the ‘ammunition’, when the door-bell rang…being just there he FLUNG the door open just as the last dulcet tones of ; “Avon Calling!” faded away, to see two wide-eyed, smartly dressed young men (one with finger still attached to bell-button) standing there…you know them…: sharp-pressed white shirt, slim tie, black suit trousers, patent leather shoes so polished you could see your soul or women’s underwear..perhaps both, in the reflection!…and high summer….one studied look up, then down and to the satchel was enough…

“GE-HET FUCKED!!” was the most insalubrious greeting for these men of god. The door slammed and the young men turned away, but not before being heard to mutter in that distinctive American drawl..:”Well…mahey the lawwd have mershee on HIS soul!”..dangerous work = the work of god.

However, it is an American thing, surely, this religious-ising of politics in the West…; the vacant ecclesiastical stare, the glib reference to god….it’s certainly un-Australian..for all those childhood years of catholic indoctrination has taught me only two things ; a) to never take religion seriously, b) to always leave the Melbourne Cup sweep kitty in the hands of a nun!..

Not to say religion hasn’t penetrated ( is that the right word?) into the political life here, it’s just that in Australia, I like to believe it has followed the well-intentioned path of European Christianity via plain, run of the mill bribery and corruption..sort of like Fagan and his child army..god bless ’em…just simple down-to-earth deceit! Why, even when I was an altar boy under old Father Collins (be nice), I could see there was a degree of honest intent in the religious soul. Once, I snuck a look around the door from the altar boys’ into the priest’s vestry and there he was, with a small glass of the altar wine in hand and he gazing deeply into it, presumably looking for IT”S soul (I’ve seen the same look since, with other men, before tackling a “hair of the dog” on a Sunday morn’ at the local ), then softly consecrated it with ; “Saint Benedict , bless my soul ! ” and quaffed it in one gulp, kissed the cross on the surplice and ascended into the fray!….it was Pentecost…he must have needed it!

Tho’ surely, I can’t help but feel that if these radicalised young people were given a glimpse, a vision splendid, through the window of sage old age..they might be inclined to pass off all those incandescent actions and violence as nothing more than what seemed ; “a good idea at the time” and go a different course. Such is the impetuousness of youth, foolishness and impropriety are at their beck and call, and it can only be luck and chance that get some through the passage of youthful intensity, for there must be some truth in the “Boomer’s” cant that fitted the age like a dick-in-a-sock and served a whole generation so well…: “Make love, Not war”.

On that note I remember sitting in the Darwin Hotel one balmy ‘ 70’s afternoon with my old-time mining and travelling mate ; Bernie Bandler and talking of one childhood associate..: Louie Lewroune, a keen, gangling always opened-mouthed, toothy, spikey-haired lad with coke-bottle glasses.

“I remember us two kids, the day after Guy Fawkes night…” Bernie recounted “…we had found at the park, a sky-rocket that hadn’t been used and we fired it off and kept an eye on where it landed so we could get it back.”…a sip of beer.. “It landed behind the Caltex garage there on South Road and we ran like hell to get it…but we couldn’t find it…there was this old canvas hooded car there..a Whippet or Model ‘T’ or something with the big petrol tank behind the open back seat…it had no petrol cap and I said to Louie.. ‘ Mabey it went in the tank?’..”.. sip of beer…” I gave him a box of matches I had (all boys had matches..good scouts!) and he lit one and held it to the opening to look in…” .. The following result I will leave your knowledge to fill in, save the fact that luckily, the tank had been without cap and empty for such a long time that there was no volatile explosion but a whooshing-rush of heat and flame out of the opening that left Louie, when he looked up at Bernie in shock and surprise with his glasses falling down off his face “…he.. he looked like Al Jolson in one of those minstrel shows”…..Bernie laughed at the memory…Till I asked him what in heaven’s name made him think of doing such a stupid thing….he sipped his beer and commenced to formulate a ‘rollie’…..” Dunno…seemed like a good idea at the time.”