16 Oct

You were hardcore, you made me hard. How many people could I say that to with a straight face? With no laughter in my eyes? Listen and you can hear a chant that comes of a counterpoint between the descending strings and the marching horns. Marching ever forward to the same place all of us are going. Piano points, daggers from the heart. A wailing guitar. Why is it: this song, that song encapsulates all your fears and desires? All your dreams?

This is the eye of the storm. We are living, have been born, have lived our whole short little lives in the eye of history’s storm. Bad weather ahead.

Just before, my skid row hipster cigarette-and-coffee routine. A bench at the markets. Paper cups everywhere, discarded food. Monkeys pushing monkeys out the way, saying sorry when they’re so obviously not. On the sidewalk: one of those earnest clipboard-equipped bots spruiking world change, just a small amount dedicated from your bank account once a month. Well it’s better than spruiking the great new phone deal, the new nightclub, paintball. The new Royal-Kona mit schlag with whipped cream in a paper cup with a logo developed by Saachi and Saachi, DMG, StrongCopy UK. Rampant consumerist bullshit rada rada rada. But how else do you create a society rich enough to give a small but significant section of monthly earnings to change the world? Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the Fred Hollows Institute, Salvation Army; they’re all multinational corporations too, y’all. It’s the nature of the beast, it’s the beast in nature. No choice.

Well, there’s the United Nations, that’s not a corporation that’s a… That’s a… What the fuck is the UN anyway? It ain’t the government. It’s a place where governments meet. A meeting of governments. How many billions go into this facilitation of co-operative discourse per year? Do you know who pays the lion’s share of it? Japan and the United States. Europeans. Everyone else pays the other 25%.

So there’s this guy spruiking world change. Not doing very well. He’s shy. He can’t meet the eyes of strangers. Can’t break into their day with the insincere warmth of the professional salesbot. He’s just standing there, feeling awkward, feeling lost. I check out the clipboard. There’s a factoid in Helvetica bold about orphans in the east of Congo.

child soldier

I’m drinking my ordinary flatwhite (beans from Columbia), smoking my Champion Ruby from the yellow packet, cursing myself for my continued and absurd slavery to the grey man’s poison, looking at the kid trying to change the world and having a bad time of it. The weather’s fickle. The West Wind won’t give up and the sky reserves the right to punctuate this with random blasts of ice water. Of course I feel like talking to him and of course I’m not going to. I did the monthly dedication some time ago (Greenpeace) but I canceled for a bunch of reasons I won’t go into. Never again.

Besides this year, next year too, I have to wear a tight belt: take the come up and re-invest it again. But still I should’ve talked to him. Should I have talked to him? Could I have given him some little encouragement? Would my final ‘no’ scramble all that? Or would he harden his resolve? Capture some passing bot, already long ago given to the Apparatus, get ’em to divert some cash from their perpetual self-indulgence in aid of stopping this.

What will stop men who do that?

m16 rifles

The United Nations tries. We hear about their failures but not their success. The United Nations ain’t the government. The US started the whole thing, play host to it. And even they treat the UN and international ‘law’ as more like guidelines when it suits ’em. Who votes for those people who speak for the nations. Who are they?


Poor little Congo. Diamonds and gold, copper, cobalt – columbite–tantalite essential to technology that makes this form of communication possible. This tiny country in Africa has US $24 000 000 000 000 in the ground and their profit on’t’s such that the kids play soccer with this:


Who’s to blame? Do ‘our’ mining companies – Rio Tinto, BHP Biliton – bear responsibility? Is it just that Congo’s a bullshit country that can’t get it’s shit together? Do the NGO’s, does the United Nations merely make things worse. Are they ineffective? Corrupt?

Outside for another hit of caffeine/nicotine, drugs stripped of their ritual elegance, I forget my lighter and I ask a wary woman for hers. She’s expecting to be hit up for change, for a survey. She’s sick of people wanting things from her. But I only want a light and she’s grateful she doesn’t have to give too much, saves her the callousing that comes of saying no. She lights my cigarette and I wonder if she doesn’t hand me the thing because she thinks I’m going to steal it. We smile at each other, do the near-miss eye contact thing.

Nearby there’s a kid who busks a bit. He’s got the headphone mike, the electronic piano, the car battery juicing the whole thing up. He sings straight sentimental schlock. Strictly the kind of Mogadon musak designed for car stereos at rush hour: calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean. Sedatives for the fat-arsed and dumb. The busker’s real, genuine. He’s wearing a lumberjack shirt, t-shirt combo so you know it. It’s not phony. It’s completely authentic. He really loves this crap.

Why wouldn’t he? It’s the virus in the culture; the soundtrack to a billion lives that have never known tragedy or joy. Does he dream of being a star? Maybe making Australian Idol Australia’s Got Talent.

He could be like Guy Richie.


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