Hunting For Witches

I could choose to blab on about Australia day, Julia Gillard’s magical slipper, and Tony Abbot’s reactionism (if that’s a word). But they all piss me off. Here’s some music, hardly fresh, but it’s been on my proverbial playlist for a while now. Bloc Party’s Hunting For Witches. It’s a great song musically with a powerful repetitive guitar motif and expertly sung. It also has a great message relating to the West’s loss of innocence, and the reaction towards terrorism. Probably used to parasite off the working class by a monolithic record company, but ach, no one’s perfect.

Those Woisterous Bankers: Westpac

Westpac are being bastards.

Firstly let me just say I am allowed to use the word bastard. I myself am a bastard, I’ve grown up in the bastard community, having been absorbed in the distinct bastard culture since birth, some of my best friends are bastards. And so I feel justified in using this word, long since used to oppress me and my kind, on any legitimate bastard I like.

Westpac certainly has earned the title. For news has filtered in that this certain perfidious bank is cutting hundreds, and possibly thousands of employees in cost cutting measures, not only this, but is forcing their redundancy-row employees to train their new subcontinental replacements. Stinge right? Lets examine this in two bite sized chunks.

Firstly, does Westpac really need to cut costs? Perhaps I’m being a little too harsh. I must admit, my ideology and a certain listless anger at the world, probably stemming from my woeful performance in the bedroom mean I’m usually less than pleased with extreme capitalism and corporations. I will however force myself to be fair. Westpac CEO defends her own salary quite smoothly bellow by not really answering the question. Further down is my video response.

Westpac has had a bad couple of years. What with the GFC, their takeover of St. George Bank, further tightening competition in the banking sector, and their getting rid of bad debts, they only raked in a measly 6.691 billion this year after the evil government taxman stole their hard earned dollars away. With such a small profit margin it’s only natural for Westpac to cut jobs for the greater good. I mean, I can barely pay for a week’s meals with that amount of money, and I don’t feast on the platters of caviar, and Ibex liver which ensure the mental precision required to run such a successful small business as their’s.

And one can only applause, I suppose, the humanity the Westpac board is displaying by giving jobs to those unwashed heathens on the subcontinent. It’s heartening to know that even though the Empire is dead, we can still use good cheap labour from the old Raj to do the jobs that Australians don’t want to do, and apparently the ones we do want to do as well. Of course Westpac probably had the interests of the worker’s at heart here. Giving them decent wages might anger their fellow citizens, provoking violent riots. Alternatively the extra cash might fatally destabilise their robust economy, provoking a global monetary apocalypse, in which Godzilla will return, breed with Mothman and overrun the world with dragons.

Secondly, and this is the part that gained most of the media attention, the whole getting sacked employees to train their new replacements is kind of stinge. Imagine it, seriously, having to regurgitate years of knowledge, spending hours with your usurper buzzing around you like a fly, asking questions and taking notes, in full knowledge that Westpac have not only pushed you off the plank. They’re making you dig your own grave… The folks apparently don’t like it so much. I can’t imagine why.

 “She has been shadowing me, sitting next to me and I have to teach her how to do my day-to-day job,” Westpac staffer of 15 years, Russell Siachico, told The Sunday Telegraph. “Basically sitting next to me like a sponge, sucking in as much information as possible. It’s devastating. I feel insulted and very low.”

The reason why this has caused so much outrage (well not that much outrage but still a tad of bother), is simple. Westpac is the second biggest bank in Australia, one of the Four “Big Banks” or “Pillars” in the Australian banking sector. The Big Four, that includes Westpac, are now all rated in the top twelve banks in the world, after the global economic implosion of 08. They’re raking in massive profits, yet still they see the need to cut costs and “restructure”. They’ve only sacked 188 people so far, but the plans include up to 2000 more according to the evil unions.

The fact is that this sort of behaviour is inevitable. We have a system and a culture here based on endless growth, on the continually maximisation of profits. The goal of all these CEO types is to achieve these ends. The downsizing and mechanisation of their work forces at the expense of jobs will be as much as modern technology allows, as much as is seen viable by the board and investors. It’s the nature of the (relatively) free market economy, it’s the nature of the beast. A ravenous, fickle, bloated beast left unshackled and untamed for far too long. The answer should be simple. Rise up, cut the food supply and fetch the collar.

To see source and read more check out these corporate puppets: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/ultimate-insult-sacked-westpac-workers-forced-to-train-indian-replacements/story-e6freuy9-1226250331599

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/rubbing-salt-into-sacked-workers-wounds/story-fn7x8me2-1226250342880

http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2012/01/22/261893-Sacked-Westpac-workers-forced-to-train-their-Indian-replacements-.html

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/down-under/australian-banks-india-outsourcing-call-centers-bangalore-global-financial-crisis

http://www.westpac.com.au/docs/pdf/aw/ic/2011_Annual_Report.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banking_in_Australia

I’m Forming A Gang!

The headline was alarmist. It’s a lot more complex and tasteful than that. Basically, I have a utopian vision for this year. It’s my New Year’s Resolution. I want to come together with my comrades here and form a glorious syndicate of awesomeness, in our ultimate year of high school. To not waste this precious time, this time of growth and youthful power, and begin already the sort of Nieztchian transformation from socially backward, kind of spindly, teenagers to supermen, warrior-poets in the tradition of Che Guevara, Conan the Barbarian and Doctor Who. Rawr. And play the songs as you read the paragraphs. It helps to create mood. Wow. This is so arthouse.

Firstly we shall become fit in terms of a physical sense and that. We shall go down to the gym centre and train in the arts of boxing and lifting heavy objects, such as shops. Hah. Combined with Taekwondo and constantly attacking each other with blunt objects, this training system will make us invincible fighting machines capable of incapacitating rabid dogs and massaging them until they feel a little better, than training them, through a positive reinforcement system, to become entirely loyal to us, whereupon we shall release them on unfortunate hipsters who’ve migrated here, like bearded bespectacled, little hat wearing geese from the freezing dystopia of Melbourne. In self-defence of course.

Apart from dog training, we shall participate in apolitical Long Marches, trekking through forests rugged and wild, across vast dunes of crystals sands and through thick fetid swamps that may or may not be haunted by the ghosts of Elvin warriors. Probably not though. We shall become one with the esoteric universality of nature, exchanging our individualities for a pantheistic group consciousness and becoming attuned to the natural rhythm and reverberation of Mother Earth. This will probably help build rock hard thighs and attract chicks.

Added to this will be a band. A post punk leftist ska fusion outfit called, the Ancient Tongues of Isis or Deadly Supermarkets Breed Discontent. We’ll play gigs and sing of deep rooted psychological angst, the inherent corruptedness of the societal order and a group of ducks that live in a little pond by Sydney University, the one right across from Broadway, and the Portuguese chicken shop.

But the two best features will be our vehicles, for that features most prominently in my vision. About a half dozen of us, riding in either a Lada Niva, or the back of a Kombi, all decked up in either suits and bow ties, or leather jackets, armed with bows and arrows and with Pendulum and Presets blaring loud over the speakers. We shall be able to take on any reactionary louts with our weapons, training and numbers, and we shall be irresistible to the opposite sex with our deadly combination of style, intelligence, masculinity, and sheer resplendent glory. Cue next song…

From there on we shall ride into eternity, myths and legends set against a melancholy sky, defining our own existences and riding out the oncoming apocalypse with panache. It may seem far-fetched, it may seem like so much smoke in front of those mirrors at carnivals that distort things and make you look humorously fat, but I’m putting this proposal to the lads tomorrow. Hopefully when I next speak the transformation will be underway.

Censorship

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon lads and ladettes. I’ve come around to the view point that the SOPA PIPA bills are potentially extremely dangerous to the internet is a functioning example of a sort of anarchic state (which is kind of interesting), place too much power in the hands of the entertainment industry and government, and has so many loopholes that piracy really won’t be effected (the censor-ship can’t stop pirates, hurr). I know you’re used to me being an entirely impartial adviser on events (straight face), but I believe I have to take a stand. By putting a small ribbon on my website.

SOPA Not So Good?

Sorry about the pun. This is nice little video with graphics and slow simple narration explaining that new SOPA-PIPA bill from an anti bill viewpoint. This debate has been all over the net recently, and typical lazy me has only just got round to learning about it now that Wikipedia’s blacked out in protest. I am still learning about it, though I found the above video very useful. Give it a squiz.

Here’s a link to the main website unless you missed the links all over the WordPress mainpage and the rest of the entire internet.

A Clockwork Orange

Witness the glorious beginning of one of my favourite films ever watched by me alone on a computer in suburban Sydney. A Clockwork Orange.

It’s dark, it’s violent, graphic and disturbing, especially so for a movie released in 1971, but while that kept a warped mind like mine interested, the things that really got me were the surrealism, dialogue and music.

The universe is awesome. Imagine what a fairly clever person in the early 1970s would imagine Britain being like in the future, then add in some quasi-post-socialist imagery and make it weird. People drink narcotic laced milk at milkbars, dress in spandex bodysuits, with rinsed hair and erotic artwork is everywhere. Refreshingly a lot of the world is still comfortably conservative, police wear the traditional uniforms, businessmen wear suits and ties, London’s still got the Thames etc. Director Stanley Kubrick hasn’t gone overboard in that regard bless him.

The way the main character, De Large, speaks is amazing. A sort of jargon, argot, slanguage thingy heavily laced with anglicised Russian words, gypsy slang, baby talk and delivered in the style of the King James Bible. For an amateur linguistic like myself it was a wet dream.

And the music! Oh, the music. The title music in the clip is utterly awesome, and the appropriately placed classical music throughout the film makes A Clockwork Orange what it is. Amazing and classic.

That’s enough from me. Don’t want to give the whole movie away. It’s not for the fainthearted, but for hardened minds disenfranchised with reality and society, nostalgic for times gone past and times never to be, and all open minded surrealist linguists, this film will definitely be a favourite. Five stars.