Power to the People

Australia has a federal election this Saturday, 18th May. Like elsewhere in the world, people are disillusioned with their governments and the whole political process. There is distrust in the politicians, and unfortunately, in many cases this is justified. There is also apathy and cynicism when wealthy corporations and individuals, and biased media, appear to have the power to influence the outcome of elections.

But, the only way democracy can be hijacked, is if we let it. In Australia, voting is compulsory, many other countries are envious of this aspect of our democracy. Every vote counts, even donkey votes count. We get the government we deserve. I implore all Australians to get informed about the policies on offer and vote accordingly.

Don’t be swayed by the apathy, and the cynicism, and the bullshit, that is epitomised by the often heard remark, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, they’re all the same.”

I love election day. And below is the playlist I’ll have booming on my back deck as I wait for Antony Green on the ABC to call the result.

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Bring a plate

christmas-pigs-in-blankets

Not sure what to take to the Federal Election Party you’ve been invited to on May 18?

These might work:

Mini Pork Barrels – great treat for those in marginal seats

Don Chips – an all-time favourite to keep the bastards honest

Some Greens – you know they’re good for you

Raw onions – popular in Warringah

Cold Democracy Sausage – pork, lamb, beef, chicken, kangaroo and tofu all minced together with so much garlic and chili you won’t have clue what your eating.

Free Trade Gluten Free Locovarian Vegan Nibblies – don’t worry if no one eats them, the chooks might give ‘em a shot the next morning

Halal Raspberry Tart – available exclusively from the fish and chip shop in Ipswich, just ask for Pauline

Bowl of Mixed Nuts – pick up some at Fraser Anning’s next rally.

Mashed Potato Head – Skin Dutton, Boil Dutton, Mash Dutton, hopefully this dish will be gone by 7pm AEST election night.

Cheese and Frackers – they’re a gas, gas, gas, all proceeds go to buying back puddle water from the Cayman Islands

Pigs in Blankets – Michaelia Cash is screaming about these

Little Boys – favourites of Family First and the Christian Democrats

Chicken Wings – left and right wings on separate plates please.

Frankingfurters – absolutely super!

Joshy Boy’s New Clothes

Three days ago there was a Treasurer so exceedingly fond of a surplus that he backed his whole career on a shiny new budget. He cared nothing about the impending climate catastrophe, the unemployed, or the expensive and empty detention centre on the tropical island named after the holy one’s day of birth. He only cared about the optics of a surplus. He had a graph for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other person in charge of the budget, “The Treasurer’s consulting with the poor and needy,” here in the land of continuous economic growth they say, “Joshy’s in the fitting room with Scotty, the boss.”

In the capital where he counted all the money, life was an allowance fuelled rort. Every day hungry corporate overlords came to Canberra, and among them one day came two swindlers, one from the IPA, the other from the Minerals Council. They let it be known they could fashion a budget from the most magnificent lies imaginable. Not only were their lies made from the finest white patriarchal fibre, but a budget woven of this mendacious fabric had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was deemed unfit for financial assistance. These leaners would be far too uncouth and undeserving to appreciate the wonders of an invisible budget, the swindlers boasted.

You know the rest of the story.

Bring on the election Scomo. We see right through you and your naked neo-liberal chummy boys.

The Problem with Writing Advice

Sometimes, I fantasise about becoming a world famous author and being interviewed on television, or radio, or, more likely these days, on a podcast! Woopty-do, eh? Of course, in the interview I would be asked if I had any advice for writers. It would be a great opportunity to debunk the stock standard rules for writing such as:

write everyday,

read everything,

show don’t tell,

and,

write what you know.

I would especially like to rapaciously ravage and eternally eradicate the slavish scorn for adverbs. I have no issues with abundant alliteration.

How smug I could be – arrogantly suggesting there are no rules for writing fiction. So, I thought about it a bit. What advice would I give?

Here’s one shot at it:

  1. Have fun – you’re alone, you’re free to write whatever you like, why suffer?

  2. Be bold – it’s not called creative writing for a joke.

  3. Be prolific – most of your stories will be crap, a few will be gems, do the maths.

Now, here’s the problem. Since formulating these rules, they have become a mantra that swims around in my early morning writing head.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Om.

Consequently, writing has become a gloomy chore, my sentences are pastel, and the output is drier than the mouth of the Murray.

I ditch my three rules.

Advice to self:

Don’t fantasise about becoming famous and being interviewed and thinking that you have anything wise to say to anyone about writing – just write.


Here is a picture of my bedside table. These books have to be returned to the library tomorrow – proof you can’t read everything!

Bedside table

My Random Short Story Generator

Aldi have been discounting their leftover Christmas stock, have you noticed? It’s almost impossible now to walk past all those unusual treats that you wanted to buy last December but didn’t because your trolley was already full of stock standard Yuletide fare. I’ve been caught by the Specially Selected Marzipan Rounds. It’s been hard work but I have now purchased and eaten all three varieties on offer; plum, orange and cherry.

marzipan rounds

On special at Aldi.

At night, while struggling to stay awake for season eight-episode seventy seven, I conjure up a second wind by asking Linda if she’d like a glass of milk and some chocolate. She invariably declines, and I trot out to the kitchen to treat myself with the impunity that comes from offering to share and the fact that these marzipan rounds are cheap as chips. Please note: I have already eaten chips before dinner with a beer.

You may be wondering if I am as big as the side of a bus?

Answer: not yet.

Anyway, the point of this small rant is that I used the box from my last pack of night time choccy treats to create a Random Short Story Generator. 

How does it work?

I have a file in my computer called “Story Ideas.doc”. In the main, it’s a list of story titles that I have compiled over several years. [I must acknowledge Ray Bradbury, as he wrote about something like this in his book, “Zen in the Art of Writing”.] I trimmed the list down a bit, printed it out and cut out each title. These were then folded up and placed inside the box.

When I get up in the morning, I lucky dip a title, and off I go.

rssg.jpg

The Random Short Story Generator ready for action on my desk.

Just a few of the titles available for selection:

Op Shopping Across the Universe

I Think It’s Bush Week

Onions Frying at Sunset

Little Lunch at Oxymoron High

Junkies Love Dolphins and Red Indians

Meet Me at the Charcoal Chicken Shop

Two Goon Bay

Milton Rowe

Dog Martin

True Fiction – the Podcast

Do Not Reply to This Text

What a Good Year for the Nectarines

Grandma Rhetorical

Look at Those Idiots

Wonder what I’ll pick tomorrow?

Saturday, 26th January, 2019 (4.43am)

It’s Australia Day, Woopty Doo!

I don’t think I have one iota of patriotism or national pride. On a collective level, I am pretty much disgusted with the ignorance, fear and conservatism displayed by the members of this down under society. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fantastic people in this country, enough to keep me from getting too angry or depressed. But what the fuck!

Primarily, look at who we voted into federal parliament recently, not once but twice – the Liberal National Party for fuck’s sake. The second time we voted them in, after Tony Abbott was deposed, was the most disappointing. One common observation at the time was how Australia has a tradition of not voting the incumbent government out after only one term. Oh dear!

There are calls to change the date of Australia Day. The first peoples of this country call Australia Day, Invasion Day. And so it bloody well is. Today should be a day of mourning. England invaded and illegally and immorally took possession. We can’t change that, but what a poor date to celebrate our so called great nation.

But what is worse than the 26th of January being the date for the celebration, is the total lack of will by the government, and a significant number of the electorate, to do anything at all for the first peoples of this country. After over 200 years of persecution and neglect we still do not have a treaty, and it doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight. I don’t have pride in this nation, I have shame.

The recent attempt by the first peoples to connect and reconcile with the nation the invaders named Australia, as outlined in the Uluru Statement of the Heart, was summarily dismissed by the then PM, Malcolm Turnbull. His reason: it has no chance of gaining a yes vote in a referendum. That is so gutless and pathetic, but sadly possibly correct, that I want to cry.