The Roaring Forties.

An open letter of (un)apology to those who can’t read this because they’ve deleted me from their social media accounts.

I’ve often been told that I’m “that” friend.  The one that other people are given a heads-up on before they meet me.  And it’s understandable.  There is very rarely (and by very rarely I mean that it’s on permanent hiatus) an accurate, working filter between my brain and my mouth and the high-octane offensiveness that often flies out of me into a public space makes those who know me shake their heads in dismay, grinning sheepishly at the fore-warned newbie who has just snorted straight, pure and unadulterated chalk-dust, whilst emotionally being stuck between “I can’t believe he’s done it again” or “Well, it has been at least a quarter of an hour since he called anyone a cunt, so I guess we should’ve been expecting that baby-in-a-microwave joke.”

So I would love to say I’m not entirely sure why I’m (un)apologising.  But I do, really.

Being my friend must be a difficult road to travel.  In many ways, coping with the simple act of being a friend of mine is like coping with me being dead; it’s not a problem for me (because I’m totally ignorant) but a problem for everyone around me.  (On a side-note, a Viking funeral, please with everyone wearing black and crying – sadness or joy – your choice.)

As a result, I feel quite sad that so many of these friends of mine have taken sides; whether that be for or against.  The taking of sides means, quite unfortunately, that some fucker has to lose.  That’s what taking sides means!  Someone wins.  Someone loses.  And I hate to consider the fact that a friend has chosen me at the expense of someone else or, as is more likely the case, decided that the long walk with me has gone on for long enough.

Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of the same crime – defriending for some unspeakable crime against me or mine – but at least they were given the choice in each situation (“Listen, fucker.  Steal another one of my Vita-Weats, and we’re done!”) instead of this sudden, conspicuous silence.

As I push into middle-age and face an uninspiring (ie. non-existent) familial future, it should have become apparent that I’m not going to learn from my mistakes, evolve or transcend to a higher state or, failing either of these, become a more mature human being.  So where is the acceptance and tolerance and those whispered comments of Don’t worry about him.  He’s harmless.  And “cunting-fuck-cunt-bag” is a term of endearment.  Quite loveable, really, when you get down to it that fucking retarded idiots (like me) need from their friends?

I applaud those who continue to walk the road, covered as it is with fowl [sic.] language, bad puns and all the other ways I must push so many buttons on such a regular timetable.  And I give a standing ovation to those who manage to slam a hand across my mouth as they hear the set-up to some hideous version of one or another of my dead baby jokes, whispering words of advice in my ear along the lines of Dude!  The Minister for Child Services doesn’t want to hear that one!  These are the acts of love and for them  I am eternally grateful.  I appreciate the simple truth that someone has been doing some fucking thinking because, quite clearly, I have not.

I have Islamaphobes, Hanson Voters, God-botherers and Trump Supporters among my friends.  I may not be proud of their politics, but their political beliefs are their business so who gives a flying fuck about whether or not I’m proud?  We discuss, argue and rant and rave at each other.  I call them right-wing, fascist, baby-killers while they declare me a bleeding-heart leftie.  And we’re both right – although the left wing does appear to have the better insults to hurl than the right.  It is the acceptance of – or tolerance of – or lack thereof – these differences that define us.

Clive James tells a wonderful story about two Australian boys that left Sydney (or Melbourne?  I forget.  Who fucking cares?) by ship, shared a cabin all the way to southern Europe, travelled overland together and then parted company at the Spanish border to fight on separate sides of the Spanish Civil War.  I can’t give you any closure on that anecdote beyond me stating the mother-fucking obvious – people with differing opinions and on different sides of the fence can still meet in the middle.

There is no problem that men and women of honour and intelligence cannot resolve without resorting to violence.  Or bullying.  Or exclusion.  Or, surely, a need to apologise to a friend who became my friend not despite the fact that I’m a cunt, but because of it.

And, sure, there are people who can tell the difference between professional and private lives (I’m not one of them, but I hear those fuck-hats exist) and maybe my 12 Boobs Of Christmas celebration was a bit too much for those who are easily accessed by their clients on social media but they’re also the same people who know the difference between unfollowing and unfriending.  And maybe, just maybe, I miss those friends sometimes…

 

PS. How on earth did I manage to write 800-odd words and only mention boobs once?  My mistake…

Reports they wish they could write…

[Editor’s note: This blog is still one of my most satisfying.  However, I took it down a few years ago at the request of a teacher friend.  Aren’t I nice?  Well, anyway, turns out that person is a total cunt and so I’ve re-posted.  Ladies and gentlemen, for your enjoyment (and possibly for the second time) I present…]

 

Recently, I went to the 21st birthday of a nephew of mine. Well, he wasn’t really a nephew but I don’t really pay attention to the bizarre machinations of my extended family. He was probably my sister’s former boyfriend’s flatmate’s bastard child, but that’s not important to the story right now. What is significant is that this poor child had his school reports on display for all to giggle at. And, having glanced through them, it made me think that teachers these days are bound by chains of bureaucracy and edubabble, meaning that any statement that a teacher could relay to a parent is hidden by bastardly, weasely phrases that merely exist because teachers are not allowed to tell their students’ parents that they are responsible for giving birth to some demon-spawn little cunt who is bound to become a kitten-torturing thug, professional rapist or a Corporate Accountant.

 

So, I figured, that if teachers were really allowed to write what they really wanted in reports, they would sound something like these…

 

Student A has achieved virtually no progress in Remedial English this year. He has demonstrated a level of disrespect to the subject, his classmates and his education that could only be described as gross. He has not submitted assessment. He did not attend his half yearly examination. His attendance is, at best, sporadic and, quite frankly, we prefer it when he is not in class. He is loud and obnoxious and argumentative, impacting severely upon his own education and the education of those around him. He barely has the skills to become a decent English student. His likelihood of becoming a decent human is even less so. Although, with effort, he may become a decent amoeba.

 

Student B is achieving minimal progress in English this year. His faith and belief in himself is far superior to his actual ability. He lacks focus in the classroom. His assessment work lacks any degree of real preparation or insight or understanding. His examination results are, in a word, fucking awful. Yet still he persists in his belief that he is god’s gift to, well, fucking everything. Student B will need to vastly improve his attitude, stop distracting his peers and put down his fucking phone if he wishes to achieve any level of success in his senior years.

 

Student C is a weird and creepy kid who sits at the back of my Maths classroom. Have you ever seen that film “Children of the Corn”? That’s him. He freaks me out a little. If I threw a bin at his head it would bounce of him like a jellybean.

 

Student D is achieving satisfactory progress in English so far this year. He demonstrates a great sensitivity to the world around him and has an understanding which is far beyond his written ability. In other words, your child is showing, verbally, that he has a maturity beyond his years with only the fundamental skills of a drunk sloth on a Rohypnol binge with which to express them. How frustrating that must be for the poor boy! He knows what the fuck he is talking about, but he can’t tell us that he knows what he knows he knows. What a godawful fuck up our education system is.

 

Student E is a student I have never seen in my classroom. You ever heard that song by Smokie about Alice?

 

Here’s the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsrfovOPcjk

 

Just replace the word “Alice” with your daughter’s name.

 

Student F is achieving very minimal progress in Senior Drama. He is clearly undertaking his studies (and I use the word in its loosest possible way) in Senior Drama because he has neither the skill nor intelligence to take Cleaning The Ashtray 101. He does not like an audience. He does not like performing. He will do whatever he can to get out of any such task. He does not follow instructions, either on stage or in the classroom. His written work is weak, although, to be fair, most of his written work has been plagiarised. He has no understanding of the deeper complexities of the subject and has no desire to learn. In many regards, Student F is a waste of carbon particles. On that note, the universe called and they want their carbon particles back.

 

Student G is an entertaining cushion who turns up to Drama occasionally. He does not contribute. He does not participate. He just lies around on the floor grunting infrequently, reminding most of us of a contented hippopotamus. His attendance is poor. His commitment to the subject is weak. His written work is worse than his performance work and his performance work is fucking atrocious.

 

Student H is achieving fairly minimal progress in Ancient History. His research work is pretty bad. His written critical analysis work is worse. His content knowledge base is so terrible that I need to invent a new word to describe it. He is learning little and making little effort to improve. Unfortunately, Student H could, if he put his mind to it, be merely awful, but he lacks the testicular fortitude to do what the subject requires of him. I look forward to having my hair cut by him for many years to come.

 

Student I is achieving minimal progress in Senior Dance. The only thing that surpasses his gargantuan degree of self-confidence and arrogance is his complete ignorance of, and incompetence with, the dancer’s craft. He does not follow instruction, either in the classroom or on stage. His performances are weak. In many regards, I would find it easier to train a hamster in a SCUBA suit to Olympic-standard Synchronised Swimming than educate your child to perform a simple box step. His toxic attitude permeates through the classroom like a BHP oil spill, poisoning all it touches.

 

Having taught your eldest son, Student J, and his four younger brothers, and his two younger sisters, for the past year, it has come to my attention that you, as parents, need to stop breeding. It is my firm recommendation that you choose one or two of your favourites and take the remainder out to the dam behind the barn of your cult’s commune and hold them all under until the bubbles stop. You may then wish to consider some form of chemical castration so that you will stop inflicting the world with your offspring. For god’s sake, woman, it’s a vagina, not a clown car.

 

Student K has achieved well beyond my worst expectations this year. Although your child is some freak-of-nature man-mountain that blots out the sun, cracks pavements and needs to duck and turn sideways to get in the classroom door, it seems that your gods put all their Play-Dough into the size of your child’s neck and paid very little attention to anything above that. Not only is your child dumber than a truck full of bricks, but he is ugly as well. A truly, truly ugly child that sucks all the beauty and intelligence out of my classroom like some sort of weird, fucked-up black hole.

 

Student L has an uncanny similarity to a Leprechaun in origin and existence. Rumours have spread far and wide of such a mythical creature however all attempts to locate this being have ended in failure and a considerable waste of funds. The irony is that he should be sharing his little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, not squandering it on coke and pot or whatever else the little fucker is doing instead of attending class.

 

The presence of your child, Student M, in my classroom is like fingernails down the blackboard of my soul. Sometimes I swear I can hear the rusty, poorly greased gears turning inside your child’s brain when he attempts to engage in any form of multisyllabic cogitation. Recently, I watched your son turn blue because he has stopped breathing as a result of his brain shutting down in order to undertake the difficult process of telling me what a “noun” is.

 

I have vivid, messed-up nightmares about your twin daughters like those freak show, fucked up bitches from The Shining. To be honest, I really can’t tell the difference between Student N and Student O and I respectfully ask your permission to tattoo some distinguishing mark upon their foreheads. May I suggest 666 – the Number of the Beast and 668 – the Neighbour of the Beast. Nevertheless, on the odd occasion that these two retards turn up to my classroom, the average IQ in the room drops by at least 50 points and a chill ghoulish wind blows across my spirit from some dark ethereal plain and I swear I can hear the howling of wolves.

 

Your daughter, Student P, is an active participant in class. She has an opinion (a tunnel-visioned, pin-headed opinion) on everything which only serves to highlight her bigoted, small-minded, uneducated, petty and prejudiced home environment. The little motor-mouth doesn’t shut up. Lately, during one nonsensical diatribe of hers, I found myself drifting off and daydreaming about how much I would love to rip your child’s arm off and beat her to death with the sticky end.

 

Watching your child, Student Q, attempting to complete the most basic of mathematical computations gives me faith that there are a variety of specialised Gentlemen’s Clubs that offer a variety of employment opportunities in order to cater to girls of your daughter’s limited intelligence. However, as your daughter appears, against all zoological probability, to look like the bastard child of a grizzly bear that had been raped by a cane toad, I worry for her future.

 

Your son, Student S, is achieving remarkable success in my subject. He demonstrates a sense of commitment and focus far beyond the scope of his peers and is, comparatively, really fucking smart. Nevertheless, before you start to think that I’m about to blow so much sunshine up your son’s ass that you may be under the impression that there is a small solar system revolving around up there, I feel it necessary to point out two things to you: 1. I said comparatively and 2. your child is the token Asian kid surrounded by fucktard red-necks that were kicked out of Alabama Special School for The Super Fucking Special for being too stupid.

 

Student T is achieving very minimal success in my subject. I have come to the conclusion that your son is only studying Food Technologies because he’s a fat cunt set to expand his fat cuntiness for some sort of fat cunt award. In fact, Student T is so fat he [insert generic dumb-ass, fat-cunt joke here] and unless he is able to lose some weight he will continue to be unable to actually touch the kitchen bench. On a related issue, I’m a little curious as to how long it has been since he has seen his own penis without the use of a mirror.

 

Student U is achieving very minimal success in my subject. His attendance is impressive but I am quite convinced that he is not understanding the work. Like many other students in recent years, your child made his subject choice based on the sky-rocketing popularity of the TV Show Breaking Bad. That’s fair enough. My numbers in Senior Chemistry have seen a large increase as a result and we made a very impressive batch of A-Grade meth for the school Open Day. However, it only leads me to ask the question why Student U has chosen Senior Biology.

 

Student V is, unfortunately, the worst music student I have ever taught. He doesn’t understand musical notation. He can’t tell the difference between a string instrument and a reed instrument. I have heard a cat walk across a piano, or someone drop a drum-kit down the stairs, with more talent than your child has been able to demonstrate. The world would be a better place if we were able to staple your child to a ceiling fan and use him as a weird, anatomically correct pinata.

 

Student W is not big enough, pretty enough or intelligent enough to have a chip that big on his shoulder. He is categorically the most arrogant, self-involved ego-maniac I have ever met. It is an insult to all members of the animal kingdom that he continues to breathe the oxygen that could be used for more worthwhile endeavours. Nevertheless, his idiotic, mouth-breathing attempts at basic construction work means that he is generally more entertaining than a sack full of wet cats – he struggles to put together a simple, 12-piece Lego kit and should not be involved in the complicated blow-torch related designs that he is presently working on.

 

I have a variety of problems with your child, Student X. In truth, my list of concerns is so long I am trying to come to terms with whether or not you would like them listed alphabetically, chronologically or thematically. In a recent spelling test, as a joke, I told the class not to forget the silent QZ7 at the end of the word. Admittedly, half the class did spell cat as CATQZ7. Your child was, however, the only child to misspell QZ7.

 

Student Y is working well at a Year 6 level in English. Although this does seem laudable, it is important to remember that your child turned 17 earlier this year and I can only thank whichever divine beings that exist that the fucker is not my child. Unfortunately, I have been forced to give your child a passing grade in order to buy his silence after the useless sack of protoplasm caught me getting my cock sucked by the Headmistress in the Shakespeare book-room. (Totally worth it, by the way.)

 

Student Z is categorically the dumbest shitbag I have ever met.

Nimbin 2017 MardiGrass: When Tourists Travel Too Far To Get Stoned.

As this is my first real MardiGrass, I have decided to take an unusual approach to what I normally do when faced with something new and potentially confronting – I have adopted an aloof, superior attitude to the entire world around me and am simply watching what the fuck is going on whilst silently judging everyone and everything and just bursting with silent self-righteous indignation and Eton-esque condescending contempt.  So, as a clearly, neutral and un-bias spectator, I haven’t actually engaged in anything so far at MardiGrass.  And while I sit here, waiting for the 2pm Protest March down the street of Nimbin (I’m guessing that it is going to be a really, motherfucking short parade unless they turn down Nimbin’s only other street and then return from whence they came), I can take the time to reflect upon what has been my first ever Protestival.  (It’s not quite a protest, nor entirely a festival, but instead some fucked up, deranged and probably very very stoned bastard hybrid of the two; with twice the number of drug-addled penguins than both but half as much fun as either.)

And it’s not as if there aren’t any activities that I could have participated in.

To begin with, I’m really bummed I missed the stoned chess competition.  But they do drug test to make sure that all participants have a similar handicap and this may have had other, significant repercussions.  And could you imagine trying to cheat a positive drug-test result?  It would be a worse deception than the Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team.  Still, drunk chess sounds a bit like a more cerebral (and, fortunately, less energetic) version of Drunk Football?  Heard of this?  Totally hilariously irresponsible.  Check it out here.  And let me know if you want to start up a league.  And the fact that the Stoned Chess “winner” would have been decided “…by dusk…” after endless rounds of unorthodox chess organised by guys who giggled into their beards a lot was a little too airy-fairy for me.  So my absence from that particular event was, after much careful consideration, a conscientious one.

Plus I forgot it was on.

And I wasn’t too excited by the Pot Olympics, either.  There seemed to be a lot of carrying and lifting and other allegedly symbolic statements about how fit a hemp farmer needs to be.  And although that symbolism was nearly lost on many of the bleary-eyed, fuck-that-shit-man super-mega-stoned, it wasn’t lost on me!  And Bill Hicks would’ve cried.  Surely, he would.  These competitive events at Nimbin’s annual marijuana rally have certainly gone downhill since their origins.  I remember when the Joint-Rolling event was actually judged by three totally fucked up, but totally venerable dudes that actually smoked afore mentioned joints, after critiquing structure, style and speed, before awarding medals.  (It’s always been of some pride to me that I was first taught how to roll a joint by a Gold Medal winner in this event, back when the Pot Olympics really meant something; like real pot.)

So the Stoned Yoga first thing this morning appeared to be a fun and easy activity for me to participate in at my first MardiGrass, whilst simultaneously giving me a perfectly legitimate perving opportunity to make up for missing the topless lesbians yesterday.  All I’ve done so far this MardiGrass is wandered the street by night, giggled at the sights of night time Nimbin and been giggled at in return, and made to feel guilty about the bacon on my BLT.   I have seen the police hand out an official caution, watched a slightly more official arrest and joined in with the FTP crowd when they booed the police for refusing to participate in the annual Hemp Rope Tug of Peace.

And before you start boo-ing me for boo-ing them can I just point out I was only boo-ing so as to not stand out among the boo-ers and be accused of being one of the boo-ees.  So I booed.  Just not too loudly, you know.  Because I’m not really one of the FTP crowd.  Sure, I may call them the po-po behind their backs, but only in an endearing, friendly fashion, not, and I want to make this quite clear, not in a Fuck you, Mr Po-Po – I haven’t had a cunt all night drinkstable kind of way, more of the Australia sentiment of I-fucking-love-you-you-cunt-fucking-cunt.

And I have a number of reasons for faking my FTP-edness that move beyond mere conformity and social awkwardness.

#1.  If I were ever to be hit on (flirty – not truncheon-y) by a female cop, you better believe I’ll be making jokes about handcuffs and coming quietly.cops 2

#2.  The cops have a fucking difficult job to do in very trying circumstances and they have invariably done so because they have made the same moral and honourable decision to defend the law that the Great Unwashed have made to break it.  I once heard an average policeman’s shift being described as 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror.  Fuck that.

#3.  Who do you think were the first fucking people I called when my house had been broken in, or some cuntard had crashed into my car or that time I made found that dead body?  That’s right.  Mr-and-Ms-Fuckin’ Po-Po.  And in each scenario they arrived promptly with flashing lights and friendly demeanours.cops 1

And #4.  Most of them are probably sneaking a few quick bongs themselves whilst hoping that the pink, winged elephants are gone by the time they need to return to the station.  (Failing that, is a lift too much to ask, Mr Hallucination?  If you’re going to persist in existing you could at least be useful and oh my god is the bitumen melting backwards off the road, man?)

So it was tremendously disappointing to see (or, rather, not see) the local constabulary participate in this year’s tug. Or not participate.  Sorry, I got myself mixed up back there and now have no idea whether or not I’ve created unnecessary double-negative ambiguity.  Fuck it.  Doesn’t matter.  Apparently, the coppers lost last year’s tug and if there’s anything that really shows how the War on Drugs is being lost on all fronts, it’s when a bunch of physically fit, police officers – otherwise noted for being highly visible and identifiable representatives of what is perceived to be an unjust legal system that stops a bunch of stoned hippies from making further irrational decisions based around cultivation and consumption – nothing like the police losing a tug of war – er – peace – to a bunch of fucking useless, stoned hippies who probably didn’t even realise what event they were participating in but couldn’t possibly have been any more articulate in their description of how the rope was turning into a dragon and trying to eat the half oz. quietly nestling in their four-day-old underwear.

Although, that statement could be viewed as a little unfair.  Some of them might not be wearing underwear at all.

Right.

Where was I?

Got totally distracted and lost my train of thought round about the same time “topless lesbians” appeared in the text and I realised it needed an accompanying picture.  And now it appears that I carried on writing for another few hundred words.

Hmmm… I wonder if it was any good?

Oh!  That’s right.  Stoned Yoga.

So as Sunday morning dawned its dawniness all over the dawn, I was surprisingly excited about the upcoming Stoned yoga or, as people call it here in Nimbin, yoga.  Apparently, it’s the latest craze for advanced healthiness as prescribed by those who dropped out of a Fine Arts degree.  It appears that the loss of co-ordination, balance and, most importanty, the final remaining shreds of both dignity and motivation that are all noticeably absent amongst pot smokers are more than adequately compensated for by the relaxed state of mind and the illusion of mildly improved levels flexibility and dexterity and therefore, obviously, it is only logical to be getting thoroughly stoned just prior to participating in a group activity that focussed quite considerably on things like co-ordination and balance (like yoga, for example) and a little bit less on how much that cloud looks like a rabbit holding a stick of dynamite, you know?  Oh yes, indeed.  I’m enthused.  This Stoned yoga shit seems like the shit.

Anyhoo… long story short – I was late and missed the class.  And I think that is the real MardiGrass experience.  That and the hope that there’ll be more topless lesbians along in a bit.

 

Judged: As Seen On CCTV

cctvI often struggle when appraising or giving a critical analysis of the work of my friends.  Especially if said work is in the field (and it is a very large field, filled with numerous cows and such and such) of the arts.  It is a field in which I do have some professional expertise – as opposed to every other field in which I’m simply an expert.  Or undiscovered genius.  Or whatever.  I find the act of critiquing the work of my friends an arduous experience, as many of them, like many human beings around the world, have not developed beyond a six-year-old’s inability to distinguish between the person and the person’s work / behaviour / achievements / smoking hot mother.  A criticism of their work, therefore, is viewed as a criticism of themselves.  And it continues to amaze me that my friends think this way – surely if I wanted to criticise them I would’ve done it by now.  Or at least have been much less circumspect.

In other words, if I hate your fucking gay ass poetry it doesn’t mean I think you’re a cunt.

And vice versa.

This difficulty is compounded by my own prejudice and bias that I will naturally feel towards my friends and the calibre of their work / achievements / smoking hot mothers.  It’s like a guaranteed bonus point or two credited to your work / achievement / smoking hot mother, simply for being my friend.  Oh sure, I’m much more likely to spew forth venomous abuse at those that I love but, because I love them, this is counter-balanced by the inversely proportionate likelihood that I actually mean it.

Surely such a conflict of emotions would therefore make at least one, small, rationale part of my brain say “Then don’t fucking critique it, dude,” and so I end up making banal, semi-pseudo-encouraging noises and complaining about their grammar.

But Chris Wainhouse deserves something more.

I’ve spoken of Chris Wainhouse before.  I’ve paraphrased his jokes here and here and have been a long-term fan of his work.  In fact, I knew Chris before he was famous and a household name to the people Torrens Creek.  (Don’t ask.  Don’t bother.  Just look it up.)  In fact, I feel honoured to call him my friend.  Not a best friend, obviously.  Maybe not even a very good one.  He didn’t invite me to his wedding but he balanced it out by not turning up to my 40th.  I steal his jokes and he deletes my posts on his social media.  Probably to steal my jokes.  I have no doubt that he would be much more comfortable shaving my ball-sack than I would be shaving his, but I would do a better job.  We catch up for about 20 seconds every two or three years when I take it as my sacred duty to introduce one of my friends to his comedy stylings.

We didn’t even manage to 20 seconds last night, sadly, but the mate I dragged along was not only being introduced to Chris’ comedy, but it was my mate’s first ever live comedy show.  And so it was so nice that they bonded over prison stories.

Chris Wainhouse’s latest show Judged: As Seen On CCTV is another step in his evolving humour.  He used to tell random, vicious untruths about his family (like his sister, Barry) until he realised that this was actually an untapped gold-mine and his show The Anti-Chris was created.  And the best part was that his family was so utterly dysfunctional, he didn’t actually have to make anything up – just tell the truth in an amusing fashion.  So much easier than making up jokes and shit.

And so it is with his latest show.  Chris was not on his best form last night (by his own admission) but I still love to watch him on stage.  He wasn’t as comfortable as I’ve seen him perform in the past (and he was drinking water – what the fuck was that about?) but that may have been his familiarity with his new material.  He felt uneasy with his need for his notes and, in many regards, they were an unnecessary safety-blanket.  Not that I begrudge him even that small safety blanket – fuck me – I’ve tried stand-up comedy and there’s not a lot of things that I have felt honestly defeated by, but door-to-door sales, stand-up comedy and Kaiser Soze are definitely my top three.  He was at his honest best when the rhythm was internalised.

However, Chris needed to follow a script.  Like The Anti-Chris, Judged was an exploration, an honest and sincere self-exposure – a narrative with only a comically discernible purpose..  Many comedians self-deprecate (especially the fat cunts) but Chris goes a step further.  His brutal honesty (no matter how he dresses it up) and child-like naivety combine with flawlessly interwoven jokes that explore (via his sincere shitness, fuckedness and downright cuntiness) a life that, in retrospect, can only be laughed at.  And he should.  As should we.

It’s cheaper than fucking therapy after all.

Nevertheless, I miss Chris’ signature “Yup! Yup!” and his fondness for poo jokes.

You only have one final chance to catch him in Brisbane…

chris

My Year Without Beer Pt V

I’m Done Talking About This

When I was first sat down to start writing my blog, I had planned to contribute something every Tuesday and every Friday.  It seemed like a good idea – a challenge, sure, but in the immortal words of Lisa Simpson: Duh!  A challenge I could do.  Of course, metaphorically speaking that was a boat sailing for the shipwrecked coast of Disappointment Island.  I always knew it was going to happen – I predicted it all the way back in I’m Turning 40 Next Year Pt I and Pt II.  And that was back in 2014, for fucks’ sake.  (That particular expression has been one that I have avoided in the past, simply due to a nervousness generated by the apostrophe query field – is it for the sake of one fuck or many?  Obviously I’ve decided it’s many fucks.)

My twice weekly blog became a once weekly blog which in turn became a fairly sad and infrequent thing, like a drunken, useless uncle who turns up unannounced to see the sister’s kids every blue fucking moon and expects the world to be delighted.  It became a bit of an embarrassment towards the end there.  So, with the assistance of some scary whip-cracking storm-troopers (the German NAZI kind, not the couldn’t-hit-the-side-of-a-barn-from-the-inside kind) I find myself trying to uphold the pledge of writing for an hour each day.  Obviously, it’s not going to be all blog entries, I do have other projects I’m working on, but it’s been mostly blog so far this year.

Aren’t you lucky?

Unfortunately, I seem to have been focussed on a pretty narrow theme so far this year and I’m done with it.  Almost.  It is exactly 12 months since I last touched vodka.  And I’m calling it a successful year without beer.  I’ve told most of my stories, at least most of those worth telling, I’ve reached some new readers – and aren’t they going to be disappointed as all fuck when I get back to my usual couldn’t-find-a-throughline-without-GoogleMaps – and I’ve been commended and applauded, which is always nice.

To balance the equation, however, I have been questioned on my use of accompanying pics which sensationalise and glorify drinking and have probably sent a confusing message.  How can I speak of the horror and dangers of alcoholism while at the same time showing pictures like – this

15241394_1351499341558101_5602388402298975059_n

– and this –

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– and this

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How do I answer such critics?

Simple really – it’s my fucking blog.  I like to keep things, even really fucking depressing things, a little light.  If possible.  If not possible, then insert boobs.  Like these.

And these.

Although, they do have a point.  But if I have to justify my chauvinism and misogynistic voice, then there’ll never be any writing done and all of us will get bored and wander off elsewhere.

So, to be honest, I want to take my accolades and move on from my year without beer.  Just after these last few comments.  And maybe a few more gratuitous boob photos.  Let’s see if I can condense my thoughts into something short and sweet…

…..

.

Um…

i-want27

Fuck it.  In Ancient Greece, there was a temple that was apparently the place to go for prophecies and soothsaying.  I am talking, of course, about the Oracle at Delphi – usually a young girl who sat upon a stool in a cave that was situated above a crack in the earth from which leaked sulphuric gas.  The young girl, off her fucking head, would spew forth some bizarre and incomprehensible drivel which was then “translated” by her (older and probably male) guardians.  Inscribed atop the entry to the Oracle are two very good pieces of advice:

 

  1. Know thyself.
  2. Nothing in excess.

i-want28These are the lessons I am preaching.  Your relationship with alcohol, red meat, heroin or carbon monoxide is just that; your relationship.  Making it none of anyone else’s fucking business.  If you enjoy what you’re doing and you cause no harm to another living soul, then it is your business, and your business alone.  It becomes their fucking business, though, when your fucking business starts fucking with their fucking business.  So, obey the first rule: know thyself.  And if you are over the edge because you are in violation of the second rule, then hope to hell you’ve got friends and family who want to make your fuck-ups their business.  Or if you realise yourself that you are in violation of the second rule, then I beseech thee, seek help.  Nothing is ever lost from seeking help, except maybe a little pride, but you can’t live on pride.

And so, to wrap up my year without beer, this is the penultimate diary entry.

…..

Day LX

Avoiding Triggers

We spoke a lot about drinking habits in hospital.  There were some fantastic lectures given to us on the neuro-science and the psychology of addiction; how alcohol and other similar substances impact upon the pleasure centres of our brains until, ultimately, that addictive nature takes on the same role of a totalitarian dictator.

I’ve always wondered why German Jews in the 1930s stayed in the country.  Watching the government fall under the sway of such oppression and yet choosing to hang around with the same macabre fascination that leads the rest of us to slow down at traffic accidents.  We don’t want to watch, we just can’t drag our eyes away.

I’ve just passed another mile-stone.  I didn’t notice it passing but it passed nonetheless.  There are clearly distinguishable times when addicts, after 21 days of rehabilitation, relapse.  The first such marker is generally 14 days after being discharged.  Or, in another words, the 42nd day of sobriety.  That was last week sometime.  Actually, probably about the same time I stepped up to face an horrific personal tragedy.

Triggers, for a recovering addict, are those things, people or places that spark a memory or a desire to indulge.  It could be something as simple as approaching the bottle-shop that I always stopped at on the way home, or an advertisement for alcohol on a billboard, or something as complicated as finding a previously lost stash of amphetamines or being offered a drink in a social situation where the act of drinking is part of the ritual – like weddings and birthdays and funerals.

So addicts are advised to avoid triggers or, if unable to do so, be mindfully prepared for them in advance.  I’ve been doing quite well in this regard.  I’ve been quite impressed with the fact that I’ve managed to pass bars and pubs and bottle-shops with little more than a twinge or a passing thought of a drink.  I’ve been out and socialised with old drinking buddies who, much to their own credit, have displayed  a high degree of concern; from clearing all the alcohol out of the house prior to my arrival or, at the very least, checking with me multiple times that “It’s OK?” before guiltily sparking that doobie.

And I’m doing OK.  I’ve been inconsistent with my anti-craving medication (forgetting to take my tablet some most mornings) until I realised, after failing to take my medication multiple days in a row, that I was doing fine without it.  And, sure, it has become a little more difficult to resist those urges but not impossibly so; in fact nowhere near impossible.  I’m not going to pretend it’s been easy but it hasn’t been much a challenge.

At least, it was until Fat Head disappeared last week.  [See Where The Wild Cheese Grows for that fucking awful horror story.  Fortunately, the story takes a happy, up-beat turn for the better in The Curse of Confidence and then the tragic final chapter in Silence The Piano.)  A loyal companion of over a decade simply walked out of the door and hasn’t been since.  A four-legged, feline friend has done what many cats before him have done; sequestered himself.  He’s not one to run away.  He’s not one to stray more than 20 metres from the front door.  He’s not one to be quiet about stuff either.  He enjoys his home comforts too much.  So I know he’s gone.  He’s old (had a good wicket – definitely) and he was displaying more and more symptoms of a life-long illness.  So he left to go and quietly die somewhere.

And there’s a small part of me, that little totalitarian dictator, that is jumping up and down like a parody of Kim-Jung Un, screaming “I need a drink.”  But, truth be told, I don’t.  I don’t need a drink.  I want a drink.  I really, really, really want one.

The person who left my door open, the same door through which Fat Head quietly and without pomp or ceremony left through, is dealing with a fair degree of angst and guilt.  And she’s been so apologetic – almost every conversation over the last week, regardless of the ultimate topic, has started with an apology.  And I’ve had to say, time and time again, that she needs to stop apologising.  It won’t fix or assuage her guilt and, most importantly, it won’t bring Fat Head back.

And, to be honest, neither will a drink.

My Year Without Beer Pt IV

The thing that I hated the most about my initial alcohol rehabilitation was the obligation to attend meetings.  I recently had a chat with fellow blogger loz4now who is presently dealing with the same issues of alcohol abuse that I was dealing with a year ago.  And, despite the fact that she is clearly a ferris-wheel-riding, upright coma patient (or maybe because of) she seems to enjoy the meetings as much as I hated them.

There’s a lot to admire about Alcoholics Anonymous (and the accompanying spin-offs such as Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous and Tupperware Anonymous) and they generally and genuinely seem to work.  Although, in a massive stroke of what one can perceive as monumental hypocrisy, the guy who established the 12-Step Programme was tripping when he wrote it.  Nevertheless, the programme works.  A lot of people struggle with the introduction of God in the second or third step and use this as an argument against the validity of the programme.  It’s absurd.

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Speaking of boobs…

I have my own opinions on what I believe to be a higher power.  I’ve written about them in Who Is This God Person Anyway? (in which I think I may have totally forgotten to credit the genius of Douglas Adams but is nevertheless well worth the read, above and beyond my usual fantasticness and with some great boobs) and so I won’t go in to it again.  In too much detail.  The people who argue against the validity of the 12-Steps by using the, what I’ll just call “The God Argument” are clearly people who

 

  1. have never needed the programme themselves
  2. never given the concept of a higher power much brain space
  3. are completely unable to allow a little creative flexibility into their thoughts or
  4. are fuckwits

Anyway, it’s not really important anymore.  I managed to get around The God Argument with one of the suggested substitutions, namely re-labelling God as the collective unconscious, the anima mundi, The Creator or even the acronym Group Of Drunks.  That last one worked for a number of people.

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This T-shirt can be purchased at TheChivery.com  Tell them I sent you.  Check out the boobs while you’re there.

I was obliged to attend 6 meetings/week during my hospitalisation.  And I hated them.  My complaint, however, certainly wasn’t The God Argument.  My complaint, in part, was with the confession of every speaker: I’m an alcoholic.  I really struggled with this.  I refused to be defined by my problem.  There are a myriad of labels I can more readily identify with above and beyond what is, essentially, a mental illness.

 

And this is where it gets a little tricky – mental illness is still very much a taboo topic and I don’t wish to offend while I tap-dance across this quicksand of a topic – so if you’re reading this and going to be an insensitive cunt about it, can I politely request that you fuck off now – preferably via the zoo so a hippo can eat your fucking face off.  Admittedly, I normally demonstrate the sensitivity of a blind man reading Playboy In Braille in the children’s section of the local library but – I forget where I was going with this.

(Which reminds me of that great Mitch Hedberg joke: Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamus?  Alright – back to the fun.)

The stigma of mental illness is a tough one to overcome.  Society seems to struggle with the dis-ease of the mind so much more than anything else.  Got no legs?  Well society says: Fine, this life is wheelchair accessible.  Got a heart problem?  No worries, you just can’t go on the rollercoaster, dude.  You’re an introverted, depressed insomniac?  Just get over yourself, man.  That sounds about as legitimate as that “Restless Leg Syndrome.”

So I want to tell the story of Paul (not his real name.)  It’s from my Rehab Diaires.

…..

We’re asked to “check in” every morning at our first group meeting of the day.  It’s like roll-call for the dangerously mentally unstable which is, I guess, a pretty accurate description of the people I see at group every day.  We’re asked to express ourselves in a word or two to state how we are feeling.  It’s a good grounding exercise and gives the rest of the ward, patients and nurses alike, an idea as to whether or not the others are going to be sociable and chatty during the day or whether they should be left alone and, more importantly, kept away from sharp objects.

The responses are, unsurprisingly, somewhat predictable.  Good.  Content.  Optimistic.  Feeling OK.  Didn’t sleep well.  Feeling flat.  Angry.  And, initially, these were the responses I offered as well.  However, it didn’t take me too long to become hideously bored with the entire situation and, with my usual panache, decided to throw in a curve-ball or two.

“How are you feeling today?”

“Defenestrated.”

A chill filled the room as twenty pairs of uncomprehending eyes glared at me.  I had already been shouted at on more than one occasion for my verbose expression of my multisyllabic cogitation and clearly I had done it again; clearly and antagonisingly discombobulating the clientele.  I was just on the verge of patting myself on the back for confusion well caused when a small chuckle emerged from the (otherwise silent) ancient alcoholic in the corner.  Paul (not his real name) was the only person in the room who had understood the word.  Now, to be fair, I categorically had my head up my ass when I said it, and I totally expected the reaction that I got from everyone else.  I was being a superior, ego-inflated smart-ass; no doubt about it.  I didn’t expect anyone to recognise the word.  And if I was a betting man (which we’re not allowed to do in the ward, so it’s moot) I would’ve given thousand-to-one odds that it wouldn’t be Paul who got the joke.

Paul had previously (many moons ago) had a massive brain explosion and he was now seriously racking up the rehab frequent flyer points.  This is not a euphemism or colourful descriptive writing.  He was in for his 27th visit due to his dedicated, committed and, more importantly, off-the-fucking chart alcoholism.  His drinking had led to an explosive cerebral haemorrhage of fairly serious proportions (think Hiroshima meets Chernobyl at Charlie Sheen’s place) resulting in the absolute destruction of his neuron-motor skills.  He shuffles instead of walking.  His hands shake worse than those of Michael J Fox.  His eyes struggle to focus and his ability to do the complicated manipulation of lips, jaw and tongue whilst trying to hold together the sentence in his head – an act that the rest of us take for granted, at least when we’re sober – invariably means that the process is far too much effort to even bother starting the sentence.  For two key reasons: firstly, it will be too difficult to actually physically get the words out and, most tragically, he will have forgotten what he wanted to say because he’s spending all his brain power on the formation of the words.

As a result, most people think Paul is stupid.  And it’s a cruel, harsh reality of the world we look upon, and an even harsher judgement of the world behind our own eyes, but we’re all guilty of forgetting (or not even trying) to see what is beyond the superficial façade of a fellow human being.  I am ashamed to admit that I, too, was guilty of dismissing Paul as an idiot; a shambling, incoherent, quivering collection of carbon particles held mysteriously together by chance and the duct tape of angels.

And here he was – chuckling at my pseudo-edu-babble.  And despite the fact that I had used the word for some despicable sub-conscious desire to feel superior I wasn’t defeated by Paul’s delight, I was enlightened by it.  And I smiled as he chuckled.  But the chuckle became a giggle and my smile became a grin which became a laugh that we shared while the others looked on, mystified.  And the laughter continued increasing in volume until this previously inanimate human being threw back his head and positively roared his delight.  He wasn’t laughing at me for being a wanky ivory tower intellectual, although he would’ve been well entitled to do so.  And he wasn’t laughing at the group’s failure to understand.  There was no malice in his mirth, only joy.

Joy.  The joy found in a simple (albeit wanky) word. 

From across the room, I saw that those dull, glazed eyes were filled with a shining light and, as I watched the tears of honest joy spill down his cheeks, he and I shared A Moment.  It was gone almost as quickly as it had arrived but it certainly warranted the capital letters; it was definitely A Moment.

i-need-a-drinkFor in that micro-second, deep within, I saw the soul of the man that was.  And the soul of the man that still is… behind the paint-faded fence and the rusted gate, behind the over-grown, unkempt lawn, beyond the leaves gathering on the porch and the unsecured shutters that are banging in the wind, and beyond the door that is hanging off its hinges and behind those broken windows…  Within this run-down, decimated house that is nothing more than a shell and is a target for stones thrown by the neighbourhood kids, a house that is testimony to destruction and neglect, a true and genuine man still lives… and still laughs.

My Year Without Beer Pt III

I think the most impressive thing about my year without beer is how different the event looks depending upon where I viewed it from.  A year ago, I was preparing for rehab and was honestly struggling with the idea of 28 days without alcohol, never mind the whole 365.  OK – the pedants out there will be very willing and eager to point out that:

a. it hasn’t even been a whole year yet

b. I’ve already started drinking beer again and

d. what happened to c?

To which I respond, in my usual, light-hearted and whimsical way:

a. fuck you

b.stop messing with my flow and

c. Oh.  There it is.

hot-chicks-drinking-3What the fuck was I talking about?

Oh yeah.  Drinking and shit.

I don’t have an excuse for being an unpleasant cunt in the mornings anymore.  And I wasn’t a party drinker.  I would do my drinking alone, at home or in the car.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to avoid those triggers?  For the past five years or so I’ve been a daily drinker.  It was getting pretty bad there for a stage when I had a shot glass in my car for those occasions when the traffic was a bit slow and snarly and shit and I had had a tough day at work.  I was hiding, or at least thought I was hiding, my drinking from others but people have a nasty tendency to notice shit like that.  And then say really mean and hurtful fucking things like “We love you” and “We’re worried about you” and other comments which were clearly just designed to wound.  The world’s most together woman, someone I greatly admire for her ability to do whatever the fuck she decides to do and the truly enviable ability to cope with fucking anything with a smile and a pragmatic comment, a woman I’ve never seen do anything but smile, wiped away a tear at this point.  Fucking emotional blackmail, I tell you!  Admittedly, I did try to curb my drinking once or twice after important people sat me down and had “a chat” but those attempts never lasted long.  Some crisis, real or imagined, would turn up and I would buy another bottle of vodka.

I remember being quite proud after a meeting with my psychiatrist (compulsory fun for all patients) when I was told that I was clearly a high functioning alcoholic.  Yay!  High functioning!  I grasped onto those words “highly functional” in much the same way a super-retarded, crayon-eating, steering-wheel-licking child grabs a participation trophy.  Totally missing the fucking point, of course.  I should’ve had my doubts about this particular shrink when he decided that my drinking was genetic after I told him that my grand-father (the only person in my family – both sides – who ever had any kind of fondness for the bottle) came back from WWII and slowly drank himself to death 50 years later.  Now, I’m no psychiatrist, but my grand-father’s problem certainly sounds environmental (look at the fucking picture – that’s where my grand-father spent WWII – shooting for the squadron that flew the most sorties and suffered the highest casualty rate of any other allied airborne squadron) and my drinking was certainly environmental (we had a reception bell on the kitchen table to indicate that shots were being poured and that all household members should attend immediately) so wouldn’t the more obvious conclusion be that both of these drinkers were responding to environmental stimuli rather than leaping to genetics?

rear-charlie

That’s a machine-gunner’s turret hanging off the back of a bomber.  Any rear charlie must’ve been pissing in his boots.  And, according to my grand-father, he was.

Fuck it.  Who cares?  The point is, if I have one, may be that my grand-father’s problem was probably marginally more legitimate than mine.

I don’t care for most of my family that much, but I would like to have that conversation with my grand-father.

Anyhoo…

hot-chicks-drinking-1After a year (shut up shut up) of sobriety, I’m amazed at how easily I can distinguish the effect alcohol now has on my system.  It’s been liberating telling people that I don’t drink – some try to curb their excesses in support, some try and drink my share instead.  Who am I to judge?  Well, I’m a judgemental bastard, so I guess that’s who.  I’m also tremendously amused these days by the drunk antics of those around me.  Although, sometimes it goes beyond amusing and into the realm of hilarious before passing through those comic cumulus clouds into the harsh glare of downright disturbing and distressing.  A few weeks ago, I had the exact same conversation with a drunk friend of mine three times in one night.  He then called me a few days later so we could have the same conversation again.

Was I ever that bad?  I shudder to think so.  I mean, I was never, to my knowledge, a black-out drinker but there’s the nasty catch – how would I know?  Sure, I have had nights out where there’s been a need for the collective hive memory to be a necessity when piecing together the antics of the prior 24 hours, but I met a guy in rehab who used to get hammered and then punch on with his mates and the only memory they would have would be the bruises and broken ribs and the chipped teeth before the “let’s do it again next weekend” followed by the mandatory man-hug.  I met another guy who used to drive huge 22-wheelers between Sydney and Melbourne and he was drinking three litres of vodka a day.  He told me that the white line fever certainly didn’t help those blackout periods.

So, in the long run, seeking help was the smartest thing I could’ve done.  I was coerced into rehab, but I went willingly.  And I got some fucking wicked stories from it, too.

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