Cut To The Credits

It’s finally finished, the Mid-Course exams that have plagued me like Russian tourists plague the children of the Nile are over. I apprehensively started Modern History, moved on to the dynamo of stress which was Advanced History and then relaxed dramatically for a one hour story about internally machinations in a socialist UK for Extension 1. The angst meter dipped up briefly for German, before finally coming through to French, which was passed with a sense of confidence and a relieved smile with thanks to a certain blogger.
Five days, five exams, and now before me, like the open sea, three weeks of free, stressless time. What shall I do with this time? That is a question that will need answering in the near future, and I’m inviting suggestions from all you guys out there, because I’m stumped.

But the post about that particular dilemma is several days in the future. For this is the part of the movie where we fade out, and cut slowly to the credits, several marching lines of black text, overlain with some ancient classic. Cue cultural cringe!

Procrastination

Like that mythical yet unknown teenager so long ago, procrastination will be the death of me. I’m addicted to it. I can’t stop. Invades my every waking moment. Every time I get home, every time I’m alone with nothing to do, I begin. I hold nothing sacred, I think about nothing else. I have a problem.

I Can't Be Bothered

The Mid-Course Exams for Year 12 are rearing their ugly head like neatly categorised toothed dolphins. You may not think that’s ugly, but imagine dolphins with teeth for a second, and like the British Empire in Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar series, I’m sure you’ll come around to my way of thinking. The Mid-Courses are here on Monday and I’ve got to study. I’ve got to write two practice exams at least, one for English and one for History, and added to that complete the backlog of German work that I’ve been neglecting via correspondence. To be fair I have excuses to rationalise my behaviour.

I don’t feel to well. I have a headache. My throat’s sore. What she said really hurt me and I need some time to recover. I feel fat! Leave me alone!

But really. Essays are harder to write than a blog post or a story. You need evidence. You need to read two texts, comb them for quotes and specific stylistic features and shiz, formulate them into structured and orderly paragraphs (Topic, Example, Explanation), then arrange those paragraphs in a way that misdirects the hapless marker into thinking you have some grasp of logic, and can think coherently. It’s nearly impossible. I prefer to go back to my work writing a post-apocalyptic surrealist stream of consciousness romp through the British Orient.

And as for the German homework. I’ve explained the unique mindbending features of the German language on another post. Besides, I have to log into some internet site and listen to RP accented folks speak to me for half an hour to complete the required task. That comes under my definition of cruel and unusual torture. Lol jokz. Love you guys xox.

So instead of making a productive use of a beautiful Saturday morning, here I am. On the computer, switching back and forth, birdlike between a ten year old strategy game and the twisted gaudy wonders of the internet. I am procrastinating. This infection, this disease infects my life like the spread of neoliberalism across the Western world after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t be bothered going for a run. Homework is left in a tattered pile within my schoolbag. And I’m feeling the effects.

Like a conscientious Russian housewife, my taught athletic frame is collecting flab in strategic places. I’m falling behind in certain subjects, and every day I put off my required tasks to listen to eighties music and sleep. I know of course where this will all lead. I’ll be unhealthy, stupid and hopeless, crying naked in my bedroom, listening to an Adele, album with a cardboard cask of wine in my hands, surrounded by stray cats.

But I know how to stop this! How to take control of my life! I just need to get stuck in! Je fais m’y mettre! I need to get up early and stop watching reruns of Torchwood! (I’ll have to get my daily dose of homoerotic violence somewhere else instead) I need to start an exercise routine! Run to Buladelah and back with twenty kilo weights on each arm! I need to dive into my schoolwork with joy and panache! That’s it! Routine! Order! I will become the master of my own existence via the divine force of free will!

In a minute.

The English Language Is A Sandwich

The English language. I’m writing it. You’re reading it. Unless you’re a godless foreigner, plotting down the downfall of the Western world beneath a deep system of caves and an elaborate moustache, you probably use it as your primary tool to interpret the world around you, but how often have you considered it’s character?

Like old cats, galapagos tortoises and boats, languages have a distinct character, a uniqueness that sets them apart from all the other unique languages. Yiddish for instance, was formed in the shtetls, the segregated urbanised communities of the Ashkenazi Jews, and therefore, while lacking many words to extensively describe nature, it’s packed full of words to describe social situations and phenomena to the minutests detail. It’s here we get words like “shmuck”, “chutzpah”, “klutz” and my perennial favourite “meshuggeneh”. Click here for there meanings and more Yiddish hijinks.

German is guttural and good for heavy metal. It also likes to add bits of words on to other words to make highly confusing lengthy composites. Scholars often suggest this as one of the key reasons for their success in the Second World War. A good example of this would be “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” or “Beef labelling supervision duty assignment law”. To German’s credit it’s is also filled with useful philosophical and psychological terms such as “angst”, “schadenfreude” and “zeitgeist”. Perhaps we can hypothesise that the mental stresses and rigours Germans must feel, due to their day to day dealings with unreasonable compound words such as Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, have forced their language, like a guttural, atavistic teenager, to become more inward looking and existential. Man. Here’s a vulgar showtune that sums it up quite well.

Russian is longwinded, forcing people to use abbreviations to get by, like “Komsomol”, or alternatively “Vsesoyuzny Leninsky Kommunistichesky Soyuz Molodyozhi” The Soviet era Communist Youth League. The Irish, convinced that then they can get by on half the language those damned Saxons use, get by with just thirteen letters, which they form into interesting (read frustrating) combinations. “Mbh” for example equals the letter ‘v’. The Chinese and Vietnamese have a tonal system, which can change an entire sentence’s meaning depending on what mood you’re in. The Slovaks have over a dozen suffixes. The Japanese have several parallel language systems that depend on the social status of the speaker and the spoken too. And taking the coup de grace, to excuse my French, The Yagan language of Tierra Del Fuego has the word “Mamihlapinatapei”, a beautiful expression meaning “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start”. And no. I won’t even attempt to pronounce it.

Then what is the character of the English language? Good question imaginary ballgirl. Well, perhaps the most distinctive feature of English is the fact that it steals stuff. Like pubic hair, every language has loanwords, but the history of English is important here. Perhaps the fact, and here I go again indecently massaging conjecture, that early England’s habit of getting invaded by foreigners every couple of years set it up for a special sort of versatility. A shamwow style absorption ability. The video below only adds to my point.

Afterwards of course it became the literary vehicle of the best form of Imperialism, and has now through Uncle Sam and his diabolical superweapon, the internet, transitioned to become the language of globalisation. Excellent theory aside, there is no doubting that England is the unsuccessful sex tourist of linguistics, picking up a disturbingly large variety of exotic and undeniably useful words and phrases. We stole shampoo and pyjamas off the Indians, chocolate and tortillas off the Mexicans, robots off the Czechs and cheques off the French, but by George the wine quaffing papists deserved it. Huzzah! For the versatility, and the ease in which English adopts new phrases has made it the perfect vehicle for evil contemporary Yankee corporate Imperialism. English wins free market style. Through pure competition… and the fact that it has the patronage of the world’s major military and economic superpower and a monopoly over the internet and commerce.

English is also highly logical. It’s a popular folk tale that English is one of the hardest languages to learn, and it’s got about as much truth behind it as Rapunzel, and a couple of the Brothers Grimm’s more dark and anti-Semitic classics. The kernel of truth lies in that due to a lack of an early regulating body, when print media was first birthed from Satan’s burning tubes, the spelling of our language is erratic and nonsensical. This of course is a blinding condemnation of capitalism. The French set up the Acadamie Francaise to purify their tongue, and the Germans were collectively devising a set of guidelines regarding correct orthography before they brought down the Roman Empire.

Germans Fight Romans Homoerotically

It Is Said The Battle of Teutoberg Forest Stemmed From The Roman Emperor's Public Disdain For The Runic Alphabet

Apart from that minor blip English is logical in grammar and structure. A key part in the simplicity of our grammatical system is the fact that we don’t have genders. Unlike many languages, including those diabolical French again, English doesn’t assign genders to every noun. We don’t inexplicably designate a table masculine and a newspaper feminine, we don’t have six gender dependant articles and we don’t modify our word endings with snazzy little suffixes to confuse the wits out of our enemies. Indeed, we may surmise that the English is the perfect language for feminism. Did not the first outbreaks of Feminism take root and grow in the Anglosphere? Did not Germaine Greer pen her seminal work, the Female Eunuch, in English? Did not women first gain the vote in New Zealand? Is it not too audacious to surmise that English’s egalitarian nature lead to these very social changes in the first place? That the way a society talks about and to a group, often affects the way we treat them?

So indeed, in timely dramatic and perfect synthesis, is not the English language’s character now simple? It is versatile, it is logical, simple, and virulent. Like a perfect disease, like the Borg it incorporates the unique and useful features of every foreign laguage it encounters and embeds them into itself while inexorably wearing down all opposition. It is the very embodiment of a succesful Empire. But within itself it is more or less egalitarian. It has little place for honorifics, and those it has are hardly grafted into the very substance of the language like Japanese. Like the perfect man it’s chin is covered in a fine coat of masculine stubble, and it refuses to genderise nouns. It is therefore the perfect handmaiden for feminism.

Therefore to personify English would to be describe it as a sandwich. And yes. Sandwiches are people too.

Don’t Fear The Primaries

Instead of writing a long and thought out manifesto concerning the current state of the Labor Party, bemoaning the existence and influence of factions, the petty individualism and prideful struggles of it’s leading members, and making a number of cunning puns, I’ve decided to put a whimsical video, symbolising my reaction to political events. Enjoy.

Replace the word “reaper” with “primaries”. It makes a little more sense that way. Well not much sense really. I just wanted to link the song to current events. If you want some actual information about the Labor Party and reformation (but really?) I might write an post on it at a later date. If you need your Labor fix now, why not read this short enlightening, yet slightly outdated article in the mean time?

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.

Sydney: Part Two

Sydney Part Two:

Since Part One’s unmitigated succes, I’ve decided to continue most logically with a second part, entitled Part Two. In this detailed and well crafted essay, I’ll show you the Nightlife, Public Transport and Cemetries of Sydney, and convince you, in thirty seconds or less, to conduct a religious pilgrimage to Iran and convert to the ancient and most venerable faith of Zoroastrianism.

Nightlife

Sydney’s nightlife is famous for it’s exuberance, tenacity and excessive use of Rufalin. Much like Finland in the 1940 Winter War. Apart from Kangaroo mating and Ivan Milat, the first thing that the average person will think about when the term “Sydney nightlife” is mentioned is King’s Cross.

King’s Cross, also known as the Golden Mile, is a section of pubs, clubs and petting zoos, mostly running along Oxford Street in Sydney’s CBD. King’s Cross is famous for it’s drugs, prostitution, and bouncers recruited from various ethnic origins. A series chronicling King’s Cross in the ninties was produced that contained all three of these features in great abundance. I would say that the show contains more nudity than you can shake a stick it, but then again, I’m very good at shaking sticks.

Harry Potter's Infamous Station

In Australia's King's Cross, Platform Nine And Three Quarters Is Actually A "Massage Parlour"

I only passed briefly through King’s Cross, on a public bus, packed with half asleep, wide eyed bush kids from my Modern History class. A couple of locals gave me disdainful looks when I stood up and shouted “Hey, there’s my old house!”. My class mates either ignored me, acknowleged my statement politely, or commented on how “povo” my house looked. As a young impoverished socialist, I pointed out, I had no option but to live my life in the slums inhabited by my ancestors. But every had stopped listening by that point, so I just started playing with my phone.

Public Transport

Public transport in Sydney is slow, muggy, stinking of stale piss, cigarettes, and filled with foreigners. Also on the ferry you can get wet. The pampered decadent bourgeois of Western society might criticise these unique values and “digusting” but so is commercial radio. And starvation.

I for one like public transport in Sydney. The slowness means you have more than enough time to gawk at your fellow travellers, perhaps identifying potential serial killers, or chatting up people of indiscriminate gender (see King’s Cross). The mugginess allows a traveller to descend into a strange state of trance, where the aformentioned odors of piss and vomit enter one’s nostrils like prahna energy, changing brain wave patterns and opening previously unlocked corners of one’s mind. Several lucky folks have actually achieved Nirvana on inner city buses. The fact that they were mugged soon after did however somewhat mar the holy event. Nevermind.

Here's A Ferry

Spot The Error!

But I hyperbolise! Public transport in Sydney is actually quite nice. You get to talk to and familiarise yourself with a variety of people you might not meet in ordinary life. A lot of good stories also come from public transport. Like how Darren from PR slipped over in a pool of Ouzo flavoured vomit last year and had to get stitches. Unfortunately the wound became gangrenous. Good times.

Cemeteries.

The perfect segue between these paragraphs would involve me saying that Darren died and had to go to a cemetery. I am however above these things. The next part of my post will concern cemeteries. Those cute little showgrounds of death and melancholia. There are lots of cemeteries in Sydney, and space is limited due to the city’s large population. People are practically dying to get in…

The biggest cemetery in Sydney is Rookwood. The Rookwood necropolis is home to one million people, most of whom are dead. Rookwood has it’s own postcard, and places cost so much, that only the most elite corpses can gain entry into its hallowed dirt. This lethal combination of features that means in the event of a zombie apocalypse would be one of the worst places to be in the Southern hemispheres. That of course depends if you’re dealing with a situation in which dead bodies come to life, or one where the living are infected. If the latter is true the worst place would probably be King’s Cross, where biting people and running around groaning are so common, that depending on the time of day, the outbreak probably wouldn’t be noticed.

Overgrown Graves Shudder...

The Tranquil Start of a Zombie Movie. (All Royalties To Wikipedia)

In conclusion. Nightlife, Public Transport and Cemeteries form an exceedingly vital part of the belonging felt by Sydneysiders to the urban environment and aides the capitalist system to exploit the individual. Nightlife provides a healthy distraction from the specialisation of labour symptomatic to capitalism as we know, while Cemeteries, now similar to an industry, provide a place to store the remains of the system’s discarded tool and facilitate in the decisively bourgeois and subversive “grieving process”. Public transport forms the last link in this unholy trinity, providing the means to ferry the lifeless worker to both Nightlife and his meaningless occupation, and then finally to his place of eternal rest. The cemetery. Truly the only way to end this endless cycle of oppression and listless destruction is a Zombie Apocalypse, in which the undead arise to create a classless, stateless and decidely equal society. The Decaying Worker’s State.

Sydney: Part One

Sydney? Me and you need to have a talk.

That’s sounds really stupid and passe and whatnot, but it is fundamentally true. I went down to Sydney last week, (as you may have noticed from one of my previous posts, if you pay any sort of attention) and it’s left me all contemplative and melancholy. Like my first, last and probably only failed relationship, I’m filled with things I feel I need to say, questions I need to ask, and I… can’t stop thinking about you. Sydney, I may have anthropomorphised your sprawling brick and glass, dirty, urban acres into an ex-girlfriend, but please don’t be offended. My intention was not to diminsh. Besides, me and my ex get on great.

Let me just set the scene. I am, at heart, a country lad. I’ve been living in this charming parochial backwater for five years now, and while I did spend some time in the ‘big smoke’ when I was a wee lad, I was born in said parochial backwater too. My English teacher would probably ask me to relate this back to the concept of Belonging but I’ve got better things to do. Like procrastinate with both hands.

So my return to the gleaming heart of capitalism which is Sydney’s CBD was like a sort of anonymous prodigal son/messiah figure returning to his place of ascenscion. The fact that I was with two hundred of “me mates” did however dampen the sombre mood. I will go through a number of topics which hit as I traversed through the urban landscape.

George Street

I Posed One Legged On Those Stairs There

Buildings

That was the first thing I thought of. Apart from sex. There’s so many of them. A lot of them are really tall and made of glass, and some of them are odd shapes (I’m looking at you Opera House). The ramifications of these simple facts are wide ranging. When I walk through the ancient streets of old Sydney Town, down George Street where my forefather’s got pissed and traded the stockmarket in an ever repeating cycle, down Pitt Street where my relatives still toil, I am affected with a certain feeling. That folks is apathy. The whole scene is so… big that my mind just goes ‘kewl buildings’ and blocks most things out. I walk zombie like through the place, guiding my compatriots to places I hardly knew existed, while a strange undercurrent runs through the back of my head, like a leaking septic line saying “Shit..”

People

Sydney people are weird. There’s two things you need to learn about Sydney people. There’s a whole lot of them, over four million, and lots of them are foreigners of the mustachioed and non-mustachioed type.

They also can be quite rude. One thing Sydney people could learn to do is be polite. Up hear in the sparkling Great Lakes, when one person sees another on the street the common thing to say is something along the lines of the cliched, yet still extensively used ‘G’day’, or at least a curt nod. When purchasing things in the local trans-national super conglomerate of your choice country folk use manners, and sometimes even attempt to formulate highly mundane conversation. Sydney folk don’t. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that curtly nodding at everyone you meet in the street on a trip from Martin Place to Darling Harbour would probably severly damage your spinal cord. Perhaps its the fact that everyone’s suffering from the building affect.

Ethnic Map of Sydney

Admire the Wit and Artistic Skill of this Map's Maker

People (Part Two) Race

It certainly isn’t foreigners, no matter what Pauline Hanson tries to ‘exploin’ to you. Once my mum almost hit a Subcontinental woman over the head with an umbrella. The woman was neurotically cheerful about the whole situation, insisting that the whole affair was nothing, and that Jihad was totally unneccessary, banishing all of my stereotypes to the darkness of the Netherlands. Admittedly the whole Jihad question was a little stupid on my behalf, but I was younger then.

I don’t fawn over Multiculturalism like all those other neoliberal bleeding heart hipsters, mostly because I try to be an internationalist when I can, and am probably a closet Fascist, but I do value it immensely. It’s one thing I love about Sydney. An aspect of multi culturalism I don’t like is the phenonemon of ethnic ghettoes. An entire suburb overwhelmingly dominated by Lebanese, bordering one dominated by Vietnamese and then one dominated by Anglos reminds me more of Northern Ireland than a classless, raceless utopia.

But birds of a feather flock together, and although people aren’t birds, neither are ducks. I’m talking about the whole webbed feet business. Mercifully the CBD, as the hub of the entire city is actually an example of the ‘melting pot’ multiculturalism’s all about. Or is that assimilation? That’s bad. Refer to the Borg.

Here Endeth Part One…