A very brief bitter history.

It seems to be that the more dire world events become, the more we need our bread and circuses to give us some emotional and psychological relief. Back in the days of ye olde yore, unless an army marched into the village, the only dire events were an occasional fire, a sweep of the plague or an unexpected death. The village fool was all the “escapism” people needed. Then, with the advent of newspapers and wirelesses, people gradually became aware of what was happening in the whole county, then the counties next to them and then, the nation as a whole. As a result, theatre attendances tripled, the ballet was invented and people started writing “romances” and printing them off to sell for a penny. Then, we began to hear more about disasters and wars outside of our own nations. It was easy to discard a lot of them as: that’ll sort those ruddy foreigners out. But, occasionally one of our own citizens were involved, or it affected our economy, or we sent soldiers to “help sort those ruddy foreigners out” and then it impacted our lives. We stopped painting pictures of domestic animals and idyllic rural scenes and began to dabble in dark city street-scapes and battle scenes. With the invention of film, then television and, eventually, computers – which morphed into “the internet” – suddenly we became aware of everyone else’s angst. We get blow by blow descriptions and photographic evidence of terrible things. When the Twin Towers came down, we all saw it happen, over and over again. We see earthquake victims staggering around in the dust and rubble. We see police shooting rioters. We get photos of missing children plastered everywhere. (This is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because it may help to find the child. But it’s bad because it tells us that our children aren’t safe.) We see emaciated people staggering through the desert looking for food and water. We see the mistreatment of animals and mankind’s inhumanity to mankind. We don’t just hear that women are stoned to death for insignificant things, we now see (in colour) photographs or film of these things. We see the inhumane treatment of people seeking asylum (a safe haven) under the guise of “protecting our borders”. We not only see and hear, but we join in the global vilification of a young man who became famous too young and who is surrounded by sycophantic idiots. No wonder films are mass produced. Cinema complexes even have “gold” sections with recliner chairs, drinky-poos and snacks. All the better to forget what’s really happening. The Olympics (both winter and summer) have changed from a nice little athletic meet to a multi-million dollar business with television stations fighting for the right to host them. Thousands flock to see a bunch of cars race around and around and around a track that leads nowhere. Most of the audience are hoping for a “good smash-up” because “that’s what it’s all about”. We are constantly bombarded by information that tells us we’re all going to heck in a handbasket. How do we deal with it? We put our fingers in our ears and sing, “la la la laaaa.” Oh, some of us try to make a difference. Some of us are standing with our fingers in the dam wall, yelling, “The flood’s coming!” But, deep down we have a gnawing feeling that it’s not doing much good. So, if we didn’t have our bread and circuses we’d probably all go insane with the grinding hopelessness of the human condition. THEREFORE let’s be a little more supportive of the creative community who help us escape. Especially, let’s be supportive of those artists/writers/musicians/designers who help us escape yet, at the same time, remind us that the real world is still out there and it badly needs a giant bandaid. That’s what I’ve tried to do in my little ebook: Beast-speaker. (Available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iTunes and Kobo. See the links on this blog.) PS: A message to all the people who have registered with this site. None of you ever post a comment, apart from trying to sell something. Perhaps you could make a gesture of goodwill and purchase a copy. It’s only...

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Heroes.

The local media demonstrates a growing tendency to call anyone who has achieved anything reasonably notable as: a hero. So… We have: a former Olympic swimming hero; Aussie cricket heroes; snow-boarding heroes; a racing car hero; a music industry hero… It’s blinkin’ ridiculous! I find myself shouting at the television: “He’s not a hero, he’s a sportsman for crying out loud! He gets paid megabucks to be good at this.” You want a hero? What about the country fire-fighters, putting their lives on the line to save other people’s lives, homes, property and stock? Some of these fellows have been fighting a fire that’s been raging in the mid-north of our state for nearly a month, in deep gullies and what was once inaccessible bushland. And, they do it out of a sense of community and compassion for others, voluntarily. That’s right; no payment whatsoever. Some of them have died while doing it. That’s a hero, baby. We’ve just had a Victoria Cross medal awarded posthumously to the last Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan. He ran towards enemy fire, making sure he was in front in order to protect his platoon. He knew the dangers, he knew what it might cost, but he did it anyway. That’s a hero, baby. The sad thing is, the news item about the medal for “an Aussie hero” came on straight after the advert for the up-coming interview on a current affair program. “See the interview with former Olympic hero, Mr X, who is a convicted drug dealer.” That makes a mockery of the word: hero. It’s an insult to put that bloke in the same category as the deceased soldier and the living fire-fighters. ‘Hero’ is becoming meaningless. Now I know some of you are thinking: You’re just raving on because you’re a grammar tragic. There’s an element of truth in that. But, language is all about communication. The more we debase our language the less able we are to adequately communicate with others. If we don’t make an effort with how we communicate we might as well be lemurs hooting at each other across the forest. I think the media, in its attempt to stay relevant in this age of the internet, are becoming increasingly desperate to keep the interest of the smart-phone generation. As a result they are dumbing down in both language and material. Now gossip, speculation, tale-telling and libel is taking the place of genuine news. I’m a grumpy old lady, I know, but I think if there was someone who could turn the tide and bring back journalism I could respect, I’d almost be tempted to call that person: a hero. (But, I wouldn’t because that’s not the right use of the word. ­čśë...

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Books should be ‘magical’.

Life has its little disappointments. I’m not talking about the big ones like cancer, bush-fires, flood, earthquakes, heart attacks, war, terrorism and divorce. I mean the little ones: the hamburger not looking like the ones in the ads; getting caught in the wrong traffic light cycle and getting red lights all the way home… That sort of thing. For example, I’ve been taking Caltrate Plus for over two years now and, unlike the woman in the advertisement, I’m still utterly crap at playing tennis. Mind you, I was also rather pathetic at it before I started taking the supplement but there was a faint element of hope. One of the things that irritates me is when an author lets me down. A few years ago one of my sisters gave me a novel for Christmas. It was written by a well-known Aussie author, who has won awards for her work. I’d read one of her books before and had enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to this one. But, instead of the literary feast I’d expected, the experience was like chewing on cardboard. Her characters were one-dimensional and boring. I had to urge myself to care enough about the heroine (I think she was the heroine) to keep reading. Pandering to my masochistic tendencies I read it all the way through. (May my eyes forgive me.) The ending was contrived and…well…ho-hum. What a waste of time and paper. I even thought, “Some trees gave their life for this?” Usually I treasure books and keep them until the silver fish have moved in and turned them into apartment blocks. This one went into the bin. I couldn’t even bring myself to pass it on to someone else. I was so thoroughly disappointed with it that I haven’t been able to gird my loins to read anything else by said author. I expect that one day I’ll admit that we all have our off days and I’ll give her another go but it’s going to take some time yet. The thing is, I expect she’d admit that wasn’t one of her finer efforts. I suspect the publisher still took it because, with the name on the front cover, they were guaranteed to still sell and sell well. And in the meantime a new writer, trying to get a toe in the door, missed an opportunity.┬áIt’s disappointing. It’s irritating. It’s disheartening.┬á That’s my gripe for the week. What about you? Ever felt let down by a book or movie? For me, Ishtar has a permanent place in the Hall of Infamy. Up until that movie I thought it was impossible for Dustin Hoffman to do anything less than wonderful. I guess we all have our moments. I hope you have a great week. May you catch all the green lights; may the hamburgers be delicious; may you excel in your chosen sport and may every book you read be...

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No blog today (Thanks, Herman’s Hermits.)

No blog today, my brain has gone away. I only just managed to feed the Wonder Dog. No blog today, I’ve had the monthly jab, The drug has kicked in and my head’s in a fog. My stomach’s churning, my head is really pounding. I drag myself around like I’m nearly half dead. I want to lie down, I can’t be bothered typing. Whatever I’d write…you’d wish you hadn’t read. No blog today, my brain has gone away. All I’ve thought up is cynical and bad. No blog today, I apologise dear readers. It’s all about me; I’m feeling sick and sad. Seriously folks, when the drug’s swirling around inside I lose my rose-coloured glasses; the world becomes a dark and miserable place, without hope and utterly futile. I know I’ll feel better in a couple of days but until then, I’m lying low and keeping my opinions to myself. (Well, except for the Wonder Dog and the Old Boy, who allow me to rant without fear of retribution. Bless ’em.) (With apologies to Herman’s Hermits: No milk today. Yes, I’m that...

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