Down the Aisle ; Shopping Correspondent.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent.

They gotta do something about these trolleys. They just aren’t designed for the male skeletal structure. You see a man pushing a shopping trolley and it looks like he is wrestling with it, like it is some strange beast..holding it at bay lest it turn on him and do some damage. Perhaps a handle more vertical, in keeping with those old “cow-horn” push-bike handlebars where a dozen-long-necks kit-bag would snugly fit, or perhaps like the ones on a trail-bike…that’s ; moto-cross bike btw.

I notice this because I see more men shopping by themselves these days..perhaps “on the ground” evidence of a rising divorce rate amongst the older generation..Grey-haired gentlemen shuffling up and down the aisles looking a little bit lost..but then, they ARE getting better at the art of shopping.

I suppose those years after retirement pushing the trolley for “the little lady” has taught them some of the basic rudiments of product purchasing…and I have witnessed several times an older couple come close to blows when the male tries to “muscle-in” on their wife’s ( I have to say ;”wifes”…the androgenous ; “partner” does not feel a snug fit for that generation) selection process. So perhaps the lessons learned from those encounters may now serve them well for their solo ventures into the wilds of the mega-market aisles.

Getting back to the fact that men now seem better at shopping than they used to..I recall the days of yore when a newly divorced man would roam the supermarket aisles like a lost elk, eyes wide for the possibility of fierce Panthers or the odd Siberian Tiger ready to spring at them from the shelves..such were the frightening array of products there..and they would traipse up and down, aisle after aisle with the only product rolling and cannonading about the trolley being some recognisable comfort food, like packet of iced vo-vo’s or that great smoko standby; ‘Arnott’s Monte-Carlo’ biscuits…a modern tragedy.

But now, I witness many men approach the shelves with an air of confidence..pick out a product, turn it around and over several times (their eyes darting this side and that to see if any nearby shoppers show doubt of their integrity) LOOK like they know what they are looking for..then chuck it in the trolley and move on. You can tell the newies to “the game” as THEIR trolley will contain many products purchased from the same aisle..and THAT aisle with the most colours and bling!…hypnotised, as I have observed in an earlier post, by the repetition of shape, colour and light…after all, how many bottles of “Kewpie” mayonnaise does a bloke need with his “Nasi Goreng” spice mix and 3 minute noodles?

And then there the “almost over it” males..I was passed by such a one confidently striding with head high, just today.. His trolley exhibited a salubrious variety of carb’s, protein, fruit and veggies suitable to brand him a consumer of a reasonable balanced diet..AND one male to another, I have to proclaim he did the gender proud for his ostentatious display of five-high stack of twin-pack pure beef pies!…”NEVER SAY DIE!”…and what with a short visit to the local pub drive-through for a slab, there goes a man with the weekly shopping damn well done and a display of all the airs and grace of true, manly independence…You can just bet HE had hairs on his chest!


Down the Aisles.

Your shopping correspondent.

“ Work 8,  *  cast off 2 sts.,  work 8 (7) Sts.;  rep.  from * 3 times more (4 in all),  cast off 2 sts., work to end. “

Now some of you may recognise the above code, and no ; it is not derived from the German “Enigma” coding machine, but just a common knitting pattern from an old magazine..what they used to call ; “A woman’s magazine” back in the old days…There used to be similar magazines for men, I believe..but with different subject matter..but they must have also contained many tricky patterns as my big brother wouldn’t let me see his as he said I was too young to “comprehend” ..yes, that’s the word he used…I remember he stalled on that word..nodded and said ; “comprehend”… I used to see my mother index-finger under similar codes in her old “ Woman’s Day” mag’s when I was a child..and to this day I still cannot work the damn things out!

But you would see many mothers carry those decorated, hollowed tubes made of cellophane and cross-stitched wool around the top and bottom with a circular lid and they contained an endless supply of the latest knitting project that could be taken into the picture theatre or where-ever and set to work…One can remember that tense moment in “The Gunfight at the OK Corral” where Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas fight it out together…the clicking of the size 12 needles poised in mid-flight at the zenith of the action . . . then to continue in softer more emotional, gentle strokes for the love scenes with Rhonda Fleming…(here : ) the most sensitive touch of Buddy Rich caressing a kettle-drum with a “brush”.. a sort of suburban domestic accompaniment along with the highs and lows of the musical score of the film.

And it is much the same for those coded ingredients that one sees highlighted as a “SUPER ADDITIVE” on some products…like : “Now containing OMEGA 3!..FOR EXTRA VITALITY!!”…that sort of thing…and then you have something called the “Glycemic index” followed by a number that could or could not be “GREAT!!” ..and there is the ‘Glycemic Load” as well..there are others..One need not look far down the aisles to find them..secret ingredients or new “super-foods” just overflowing with coded letters and numbers that just ooze health and vitality..where once, the only coded label was the “V8 Tomato Juice” amongst the other juice bottles..The same sort of things can be found in “off-the-shelf” medicines in any chemist creates an air of cynical shopping experience I can tell you!

Talk about another sight that one is seeing much more of these days down the aisles..and that is the altering dress-code for the young, sartorial conscious men..

Have you, like myself, noticed the shocking new fashion for the post hipster era of young males in the socks department?…ghastly, multi-coloured things displayed by “flagging” trousers above the ankles!..or else those ankle-socks (I refuse to use the American spelling of : sox )that female tennis players use…or even worse…now brace yourselves fellow shoppers…: NO SOCKS!!…Can there be a more indecent sight than a male wearing patent-leather shoes and NO SOCKS ??…it grates on the psyche almost as much as the finger-nail down the blackboard!…one feels violated!

But one has to admit that the idea of one set fashion, be it cultural or couture, is not applicable these days of stretch lycra and trakky-daxs . put the two together and you got a Kardashian arse on a twiggy frame…not a pleasant sight for any male that still harbours any vestige of youthful memories of Annette Funicello or Gidget goes West!…how’s the song go?..; something about ;”. . . that which is lost upon the way…”…or something like that..and then there’s those loud, super bright glasses that hipsters and even some “just past middle-age” people like to wear..perhaps to draw attention to themselves..I know you can’t see anything else BUT those things when they are talking to you..some couples have matching pairs..sort of a “Kath and Kel” thing I it a “metro-man” thing or just “unisex”…dunno…

Oh well..until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off..

(Ps; don’t forget to grab those saucepan coupons!)…


Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report.

I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend ; ‘Natasha’s’ Pomegranate and chocolate cake mix. I have it on good authority , one ;Lorna Roesler , who upon noticing the above product under my inquiring scrutiny, solemnly informed me ;” That is a nice one, that is…made it for my grand-daughter’s christening party…was appreciated all ‘round”…and she tapped the box and nodded her approval…and went on her way to turn the corner by the San Remo spaghetti stand.

Now I wouldn’t want you to think I dwell too long at the cake mix is only a convenience stop while the OH. peruses the John West tuna tins ..always searching out, like the alchemists of old ; the philosophers stone..that elusive ; “Tuna with brine” tin..they don’t seem to make them anymore..she scorns the w/tomato, peppers or other condiments and will grudgingly accept the tuna w/ springwater substitute…the cake shelf is just there over the aisle..and I have to say ; I AM intrigued by those gorgeous pictures of the perfect cakes on the packet…as much as some perverts are attracted by those perfect legs on the panty-hose packets or the stunning blondes on the home-perm packs…I linger very little at any of the above..I want you to trust me on that!

But I have to say, I have seen several middle-aged shoppers handle those packs of food-wrap sealed meat trays with a fondness beyond mere purchase curiosity…I see them rub their thumb over the taut film of wrap covering the ‘lamb loin chops’ so it “squeals” and “chatters” with tantalizing intensity..almost comparable to a squeal of delight!…maybe THAT is the attraction..and then , having stretched the tension out, they move, thinking no-one is noticing their apparent interest, to the next……..but watching..I am always watching…I am watching you all !!

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off.





The party is over.

As a baby-boomer heading at breakneck speed toward my seventieth birthday (though still 3yrs away) I have just recently come to the heartbreaking conclusion that it is all over for me. No!..not life, but “the party”..the metaphorical party that sustained me for these last forty years on a roller-coaster of self-sustaining optimism so familiar to our generation.

After the breakaway from the confining social and domestic clutches of our parent’s generation with the revolution of the sixties and seventies, freedom..true freedom from suffocating social mores and mind-numbing employment was at last within our reach..We were the pioneers of a punk-generation! Now, all those who are setting the pace with this new style social direction and political aspiration I cannot seem to “connect” with or admire that greatly..and all those I did have great respect for are either now dead, dying or out of the game..I feel like the passenger left on the station and the train has departed. And I just don’t know if I give a f#ck!

The sad realisation of my plight first came home to roost a while back, when I gifted to my son, who was trying his hand at amateur DJ-ing, my complete vinyl collection of Lp’s….this collection was a honed down ambrosia of the gods of music of my generation..yes..from The Who “Live at Leeds” to “Zappa/Zoot Allures”….the whole box and dice of every memory of drunken orgy and piss-up to dope-smoked amnesia of the seventies and beyond..encased in that collection was the ghost of many wild parties, boozey card nights and general Sunday laid-back idylls..of beer from the keg sprayed walls to nefarious smoke-infused curtains and collars..and after receiving this holy grail of my wasted (in every sense of the word) youth, he later informed me in disappointed tone that his girlfriend’s dad had almost exactly the same records..except HIS were in mint condition, having taped the record after purchase and used the tape for listening and put the Lp.’s Into cold-storage….WTF!!?

I reflected on this piece of proffered good sense information while the opening bars of Mott The Hoople’s  “The Moon Upstairs” from their “Brain Capers” album suddenly sprung to mind and that night with “the mob” of us lined up in front of the decibel warping speakers and “air guitaring” the complete riot in a Southern Comfort drunken bliss…; ”…we ain’t bleeding you, we’re feeding you…but you’re too fuckin’ slow…”     and then we’d get serious and put on Floyd’s …”Ummagumma” for a bit of intellectual discourse on Marx and communism!…But the thing that really hurt, was not so much that the girl’s father was of that middle-class anal-retentive professional type who knew the price of everything etc.etc., but that it was obvious that my son seemed to agree with his action. I could see the gilded threat of “common sense” creeping into his psyche..always a very dangerous thing in the developing mind of the young.

Yes..the party was over. Gen Y is not inclined to follow their Baby-boomer parents stumbling gait, neither down the hard-left political road, nor in personal revolution against the corporate work ethic. Theirs is more career orientated, more “market driven”, more style and consumerism, so there was little room for prolonged partying to oblivion. Not that we couldn’t do our job then at the same time..but there was more room for “forgiveness” after a particularly hard weekend..workmates more willing to “cover” for the necessary human foible of having a good time..and there was always the “sickie” when a particularly extreme case of “industrial diarrhoea” overcame one.

And let’s face least to always gave me the shits..I hated it..and all that social responsibility crap that surrounded it..every effing day off to work, come home fall asleep then back to the job next morning..bloody mind-numbing slavery…moored, like so many similar craft, in a marina of lost souls..I would see the tradesmen come to work on the train dressed in clothes suitable for public display, only to don work overalls from their locker in the factory change-room to attend their work-benches and to do the reverse each night to make their way home on the public transport, day in day out. I couldn’t stand such pointless discipline.. especially after it became obvious to our generation that the whole capital-based economy was nothing but a big fat con-job.. bullshit from start to finish, and we were expected to go along with the con..but be on the receiving end!…pisss orrff!

So I left it behind, hopefully for it to rot in its own stench and decay..but I see now it has been resurrected and is enjoying another moment in the sun..AND , apparently being feasted as the “saviour” of a new economy…a technology driven economy of automation and sterile efficiency ; ”meet the new boss…”..So I have been railing against what I saw then and what I still see as the dehumanising of personal ambition and type-casting of personality..bunging square pegs into round holes. God..I hate the lot of it!..and then to see those gormless dupes in this gormless govt’ talking their set pieces like a theatrical dummy on one of those kiddies shows from the sixties, do you remember that act ; “Chris and Terry (Terry was the dummy)” on the Channel Niners?..ah!..that Chris chappy was the one ought to have hooked up with Glenys O’Brien..NOT Ernie Sigley…Shit!.. I feel like starting a one person revolution.

And now we have this sickly Christmassy shit with f#ckin’ goodwill to all and sundry..the season of saccharine and syrup…

There’s something sickly about all this bon hominy and good-will to all men…or people..nah! doesn’t sound right..; “people”…there’s something un-fraternal about the word…when we really know that ; “men” means humanity collectively. But even there it’s a bit twee, isn’t it?….I mean it’s ok with the family an’ all that..but to ALL men….nah!…f#ck ‘em…they don’t deserve it!

Half the bastards have been sinking the boot in, in the last twelve months..and now it’s all “season’s greetings and a happy new year”….pissss orf!…even with the family, it’s a barely concealed pay-back situation that comes to haunt you over Christmas pressies…; You give THEM the cheese-knife and They give you the bread-knife…and later you reach for the steak-knife!!. . .

But that’s it..we’ve almost become irrelevant, save for our voting block…the party’s over, Vishnu’s juggernaut has moved on, crushing a new generation of suckers only too willing to throw themselves under the wheels of corporate capitalism..We started work at fourteen and finished at sixty five and damn if the bastards want us to carry on till seventy, while THEY now party!..Well, they can get stuffed!..and even if us boomers have cried ourselves hoarse from screaming against the machine, one can hopefully see the rising generations picking up the baton and just now starting to take their situation seriously. least I can get back to Zappa’s “Willy the Pimp”….Go; Captain Beefheart!…GO!



The Bitter-Sweet art of politics.

Let us introduce the players…” Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature.” (Hamlet; act 3 scene 2)

Politics can be benign so that it maintains the status quo, or it can be radical to provoke change.. But one thing it can never be is ignored.

“ Among the democratic chiefs, who from the time of the consulate of Caesar were recognized officially, so to speak, as the joint rulers of the commonwealth, as the governing “triumvirs,” Pompeius according to public opinion occupied decidedly the first place.  It was he who was called by the Optimates the “private dictator”; it was before him that Cicero prostrated himself in vain; against him were directed the sharpest sarcasms in the wall-placards of Bibulus, and the most envenomed arrows of the talk in the saloons of the opposition.  This was only to be expected.  According to the facts before the public Pompeius was indisputably the first general of his time; Caesar was a dexterous party-leader and party-orator,of undeniable talents, but as notoriously of unwarlike and indeed of effeminate temperament.  Such opinions had been long current;it could not be expected of the rabble of quality that it should trouble itself about the real state of things and abandon once established platitudes because of obscure feats of heroism on the Tagus.” ( Mommsen..History of Rome ch;8 Joint rule of Pompeius and Caesar)

It took a not very difficult action to rid the Triumvir (Three men) ruling Rome at that time of the least ethical of the political players..: Crassus, for his insatiable greed for both gold and fame drove him (with more than a little help from both Caesar and Pompey) into the waiting arms of the Parthian army, who despatched him accordingly, thereby ridding Rome of many held mortgagees and debtors most grateful for the above action..and leaving the two generals to hedge and manoeuvre for control of the State.

If we go to Plutarch’s Lives /Caesar, we will read an informative paragraph there ;

“ At Rome, moreover, Caesar won a great and brilliant popularity by his eloquence as an advocate, and much good will from the common people for the friendliness of his manners in intercourse with them, since he was ingratiating beyond his years.  He had also a large and gradually increasing political influence in consequence of his lavish hospitality and the general splendour of his mode of life.  At first his enemies thought this influence would quickly vanish when his expenditures ceased, and therefore suffered it to thrive among the common people;  but later on when it had become great and hard to subvert, and aimed directly at a complete revolution in the state, they perceived that no beginnings should be considered too small to be quickly made great by continuance, after contempt of them has left them unobstructed.  At all events, the man who is thought to have been the first to see beneath the surface of Caesar’s public policy and to fear it, as one might fear the smiling surface of the sea, and who comprehended  the powerful character hidden beneath his kindly and cheerful exterior, namely Cicero, said that in most of Caesar’s political plans and projects he saw a tyrannical purpose;  “On the other hand,” said he, “when I look at his hair, which is arranged with so much nicety, and see him scratching his head with one finger, I cannot think that this man would ever conceive of so great a crime as the overthrow of the Roman constitution.” This, it is true, belongs to a later period.”

We can read here the intention of early planning of political revolution. Caesar was of the “Populares”, whilst Pompey of the “Optimates”..however, whilst the former was strategizing, the latter was ordering..again ; Mommsen;

“ But when Pompeius was appointed by the coalition to be rulerof the capital, he undertook a task far exceeding his powers.Pompeius understood nothing further of ruling than may be summed upin the word of; command.”

But to command as in an army, there must be seen an enemy, and since Caesar was so astute as to make himself seem ineffectual as an opponent to “Pompeius Magnus” there was for the moment no-one to attack. So Caesar moved about his subterfuges in complete sight of a hapless ruling class.

Caesar proceeded to accumulate the conquests of Gaul and would flood the capital with largesse and celebrations accurately targeted at the citizens and endeared himself to that quarter by his familiarity and endowments. One of his strategies was to flood the capital with plundered gold so as to lower its value and thereby wiping out the wealth of many of his rivals;


“He was unsparing in his outlays of money, and was thought to be purchasing a transient and short-lived fame at a great price, though in reality he was buying things of the highest value at a small price. We are told, accordingly, that before he entered upon any public office he was thirteen hundred talents in debt.  Again, being appointed curator of the Appian Way, he expended upon it vast sums of his own money; and again, during his aedileship,  he furnished three hundred and twenty pairs of gladiators, and by lavish provision besides for theatrical performances, processions, and public banquets, he washed away all memory of the ambitious efforts of his predecessors in the office. By these means he put the people in such a humour that every man of them was seeking out new offices and new honours with which to requite him.” (Plutarch’s Lives)

This application of the “Sweet art of politics” so clumsily smeared by current leaders, was so perfected by Caesar that he could claim extraordinary loyalty from both his own upper class and the pleb’ populace. So that even in the Roman Senate, it was hard to find total opposition against his machinations to gain power and the Optimates fiddled and fussed on what to do about the “Caesar problem” right up until he stepped across the Rubicon and took total control of the Italian peninsula in sixty days without bloodshed and fight..The Optimates Party , under the leadership of Pompeius having, by that general’s command fled lock stock and barrel across the Adriatic Sea to Greece, leaving the field wholly, and to Cicero at least, confusingly, to their enemy without a fight!

But I have suspicions that the strategy was thought up a long time before between Caesar and Pompey, who, we are told by Plutarch’s Lives ;

“For it was not, as most men supposed, the quarrel between Caesar and Pompey that brought on the civil wars, but rather their friendship, since they worked together for the overthrow of the aristocracy in the first place, and then, when this had been accomplished, they quarrelled with one another.”

And the tactic of removing the aristocrats from Italy was so they could be dealt with away from the sight of a nervous population…the fact that in the end Pompey was murdered in Egypt by a sycophantic Egyptian official hoping to secure favour with Caesar was more a mistake of war than intent on Caesar’s part…For Caesar was first and foremost the politician..:

“We are told that, as he was crossing the Alps and passing by a barbarian village which had very few inhabitants and was a sorry sight, his companions asked with mirth and laughter, “Can it be that here too there are ambitious strifes for office, struggles for primacy, and mutual jealousies of powerful men?”  Whereupon Caesar said to them in all seriousness, “I would rather be first here than second at Rome.”…..(Plutarch’s Lives).

Let us conclude our dissertation on the bitter-sweet art of politics with the reflection that it has all been done before, albeit in a more radical manner..for while the politics of ancient Rome used military force to pursue “realpolitik”, we in these “less violent” modern times use economics to achieve the same ends…but the “body-count” adds up to the same.

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.”

from the 1987 film “Wall Street”

And it is a formidable “tool” to use on the masses to satisfying the greed on those in the “elite class” If we were to consider the ability of political manoeuvre as an art, we have to agree that for the last 200 years or perhaps more, the “elites” have managed to use greed to create division in the majority, to make them slaves of their own materialism to the point where they become in some levels as immoral as the elite are themselves.

It all starts in how to educate, to form those that will serve them in management and in political positions and the rest will develop like a “snow ball”.

The well-known Scottish economist and “moral philosopher” Adam Smith was arguing “that the invisible hand of market forces would ensure that the efforts of individuals acting in pursuit of their own self-interest made society as a whole better off. In other words, judge capitalism not by the motives of the capitalists but by its fruit.”

Smith was more concerned that all the people should have their basic needs, roof over their heads, food at the table and clothes , he accepted that economic inequality was good. In another words feed them, keep them happy with the basic necessities of life and the one that  is at the top will reap the benefits.

These were the text books for the future economists and politicians back then and for sure there are now many with similar views. But now, in that last 40 years or so it has become more sophisticated, the rules and collaborators have introduced a “new tool” to exploit the materialistic greed of the masses and it is easy credit / debt.

People are not happy with what Adam Smith was thinking, that only the essentials was enough, humans want more regardless of the cost of it and they bite the bait. All the working class struggles for better conditions since the start of the industrial revolution was lost due to people mortgaging their freedom and rights for debts to satisfying they materialistic need,

AKA ; greed.

There is more, not only people lost that freedom, but also poor nations have lost their sovereign state due to actions by their governments. Regretfully the Australian people also have become victims of greed by mortgaging the power to defending their rights, to care for the poor, the sick and the one in a disadvantaged situation. Neoliberalism and consumerism have become like a tumour in society that it is expanding and diving us more into debt.

We lost the conditions that the previous union movement has achieved for us after considerable struggle, and in many cases also what previous political visionary leaders fought for. People do not recognise or respect any more what the union movement has achieved for them and are not prepared to lose one single day to defend a working condition. Furthermore unions are spoken of as bad for many, are accused of the cause of all the troubles that we have.

Factions in the what were progressive parties are now run by people that have been educated in universities that teach neoliberalism, that form future rulers to think one way only and not look for alternatives. The minority, the elite have taken over all the positions of power on public and private sections of society and those in power have been  trained to use greed as a power tool with considerable success.

If we are asking ourselves what is the solution? What will be the way to reverse this situation? I guess that we have to look overseas, look at other countries that once upon a time were also the “lucky country” that had the best working conditions and laws and lost it all. They lost it all because greed for self-gain was not controlled by those at the top and from prosperity the country went to poverty..progress to regression.

When people lose their comfort and their financial power to satisfying their materialistic greed and the bread is not at the table, rebellion is inevitable. The same tool (greed) that was used to gain power was also what brought the elite class down.

A good example of this is Uruguay, a tiny country of just over 3.5 million people that have managed to reverse the situation from prosperity, to rebellion and dictatorship and now again;  prosperity under government members that experienced  going down from working and middle class to poverty, rebellion and torture.

Education and to be aware of what has happen in other countries is the only hope for Australia to not go through the same experience that Uruguay, Chile and other Latin American countries went through.

Changing our politicians and voting for those that are progressive and put the country first and the personal need or their party for that matter last will be a good start.

To finish, I would like to quote Jose “Pepe” Mujica, the past Uruguayan president:

“A president is a high-level official who is elected to carry out a function. He is not a king, not a god. He is not the witch doctor of a tribe who knows everything. He is a civil servant. I think the ideal way of living is to live like the vast majority of people whom we attempt to serve and represent.”

We have sacrificed the old immaterial Gods, and now we are occupying the temple of the Market-God. He organizes our economy, our politics, our habits, our lives and even provides us with rates and credit cards and gives us the appearance of happiness.



Four principle elements of life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better educated, more financially secure, more than willing to bend their culture and will to a ruling class appreciative of a “doffed cap and the tugged forelock “…they are easy to find, easier to corrupt and cheaper to reward…divide and rule, a tactic as old as empires and as certain of as time itself…an image of their masters, except for their sometimes too obvious heritage and family image, as the Irish author ; James Joyce would condemn; “Like gazing in the cracked looking-glass of the servant.”

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

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

Earth, Air, Fire and Water.


The Gordian Conundrum.

You’ve all heard of the Gordian Knot controversy, where Alexander the Great, confronted with the intricate complexity of untying the Gordian Knot, did in a moment of frustration unsheathe his sword and with one blow – cut- the mythical conundrum asunder…and then spoke those fateful words…

”Consider it done”…

Of course, he cribbed the deed with brutal swiftness..and the mystery of the knot still remained…Would he have better served humanity if he had persevered over an inordinate amount of time, or did he do humanity a favour and put an end to a worthless mystery?..There are pros and cons to both sides, but somehow, the picture of a amour-clad Alexander puzzling over so simple a thing as a tied rope doesn’t serve my picture of history very well.

As the bard once wrote : “If it twere to be done, best it twere done swiftly” or wtte…

We of the left are now in this same moment..this same conundrum..we have a failing conservative government tied up in knots of its own making, that looks for all the world that it will lose the next election to Labor, but then we have that same Center-Left party that seems to be going out of its way trying to “play the game fair” where the game has now turned into a dirty free-for-all with every mother-flayer right-wing group and org’ doing its best to rob, pilfer, destroy and corrupt our parliament, bureaucracy  and nation without the governing LNP lifting a finger to stop it…save a half-hearted bluster when the crooks get uncovered..indeed .. even assisting them!…and with a MSMedia turning its shame-faced eyes as far away from the culprits as a confected union-bashing beat-up will allow.

It’s a national disgrace!

So here is the conundrum ; Do we Left-wing citizens just sit by waiting for Labor to try to win the next election, using the usual stratagems and political nous, witnessing as we have in the past the duplicitous nature of the right-wing in using ALL the MSMedia arms –the treasonous Murdochacy,  including the national broadcaster – against us..even to the point of – I fully suspect -manipulating the AEC so as to skew the election results to the Right-wing’s favour? Or do we push the Party to turn much more “Mongrel” and do the right-wing over good and proper with some equal quality hard-play?

I make no apologies here by saying I have no truck with the middle-classes of whichever party..ESPECIALLY NOT the Labor Party…to me they are a wrung-out dish-rag ensemble with a too prolix vocabulary, not enough “on-ground solutions” and never enough grunt..Too much “finishing- school” manners and not enough bad language…like a nun or priest trying to tell a dirty just doesn’t work..I want to see less “Richo” Richardson and more Dougy Cameron…less ; “Oh..can’t we be a little more polite”, and more “Sink the boot in ya mug!”..I want to see more ..MUCH MORE “Mongrel”..

That interview that Tony Windsor gave Hamish MacDonald the other day on RN. was the sort of honest political passion that we need on the Left..not done with vindictive spite, but out of outraged honour..WE of the left have seen our families and friends demeaned and outraged in the most disgraceful manner..we DON’T WANT PITY..we DON’T WANT SYMPATHY..we damn well want redress!

I remember living in Darwin just after Cyclone Tracy had destroyed the town..I was sharing a first-floor unit in a block of flats where out the back, the rear ground floor units had been severely damaged and were now occupied by squatting hippies. There were lots of dogs about in those times, so much that a squad had to cull many strays abandoned by their fleeing owners and had now gone feral. A pair of cross-bred kelpies hung about those hippies squats..a male and a bitch..always together..a friendly pair of dogs too…But I remember sitting on the back balcony one Sunday afternoon looking over the rear squats and the two dogs were there and suddenly from nowhere a stray “Pig Dog” romped in and savaged the male kelpie, sending it yelping and scurrying away so that the new dominant male proceeded then to in effect rape the bitch to his hearts content…The brutality of nature knows no bounds and is sometimes terrible to sit by and watch.

Our Nation is now that “bitch” that the right-wing “Pig-Dog” is raping to its heart’s content. There is neither judiciary, authority nor policing arm effective enough to stop them…only staunch Union Solidarity is holding them back from total brutality against the citizen body. They are attacking our country again and again from whatever quarter, whatever level, whatever position they can ..and they are being assisted by a compliant – in every agency – Main-Stream Media…No! excuses, no bluster, no “I beg your pardons”…the MSMedia is in total cahoots with this LNP rapine and plunder and we now are in the position of that same ; Alexander The Great..: Do we fiddle, fumble, delay and weep over a seeming impossibility…or do we reach for the same solution that he so effectively did?

Do we make proud those forebears who sweated, fought and created our unique multicultural Nation, or do we lay belly-up, throat exposed, like beaten dogs in our shame and disgust while a plundering Right-wing rapes our Nation?

THAT – is our conundrum!