24 October 2015


From a new book by DBC Pierre , Lights Out in Wonderland. Too bleak for facebook, which I try to keep positive and for 'sharing nice things'. But man, this nails perfectly some other views I share of humanity. 

I can see too clearly the dark motions of humans in action, and find these predatory and false. [. . ] All I needed to know about human dealings I could've learnt watching nine-year-olds in a playground. Like any monkey we merely vie for each other's mental handles in order to gain invisible control. After this, the process called maturity is simply one of disguise, community life simply an opportunity to learn that God dislikes the poor.

Love, touted as a principal reason to live is just a Velcro of mental detriments which find an antagonist and stick to it. Love is a calcification of spirit. Love is an invitation to death, not life and it's flutters in the heart are as much the knell of an ending as the rattle in a corpse's throat.

magnificent, black hearted basterd your are, DBC. 

16 July 2015

Dear Nick and Susie Cave

Dear Nick Cave

I am sure no words can add even a drop of solace to what you are going through.  The relationship between artist and audience is a strange one in our modern world. You have been a constant companion to me, since I turned 17. Only just a some precious months longer than the age of your own son, Arthur, who was lost just this week. I will be 40 in a few months.

Knowing some of my own contemporaries with artist's souls, I get it, I figure you are likely driven to create, to tell stories, not necessarily through ego but through a core part of your being. To make sense of the world, to join the dots, and to reflect it back to itself in a mirror. Showing the cracks and the misery as well as the joy and fire and anger and delight.

You are an artist with a place in  the the home of probably millions. Today I cried real tears for you, for Susy, for your other sons.

Yes, I have been a fan, since I saw you play in 1992, and a fan is not  friend. Of course. But also true, you have been a friend to me. You have given me permission to cry. You have also given me an outlet for  the wildness and the yell inside that demands an outlet from time to time, for the solitary sadness and introspection times that come into every life.

I don't have a child.  I don't know what it is to lose one.  I think I will always be a little sad that I didn't experience that part of life that takes your own existence and makes it connected to an other's.

But from the years of stories and songs I have just a small window into your feelings. Standing  beside all the word's artist and storytellers you can take them,  share them with the rest of us and help us know that our experiences are alike. You have lived, loved, lost and also shared.

This week your experience must be primal and horrible. I wish there was some way I could give back some hundredth of what you've given me over the years. But I can't.  

All I can say is sorry.


31 January 2015

Humans of New York: Reality has a known left-wing bias

Heard of Human's of New York?  It's a great website, I check it nearly daily for spoonfuls of information about total strangers on the opposite side of the planet.  Each post is just a street portrait and a single quote from that person.

I like to think it reminds me of infinite human diversity, how everyone has their struggles no matter their age, gender, race, child-having status, professions, housing status etc. It helps with perspective. And I need frequent reminding. And often times that's easier than connecting with one's real flesh-and-blood friends.

Brandon Stanton, the photographer, has about 8 million followers on social media. This month (January, 2015) he launched a fund-raiser for a school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He calls it "under-served" - I think that means high crime, low income.

The fundraiser started when Stanton visited the school after meeting a kid on the street who spoke about his principal, saying "she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”  Mrs Lopez, it turns out, is on a mission to help her school kids care about their future and keep them out of jail.

She conceived the fund raiser together with the photographer (who is familiar with the power of the crowd and has done this a few times before). They aimed for a fund to send classes on a field trip to Harvard, for three years, because students often can't afford to ever leave their own area. And to show them alternative futures and that they can belong anywhere.

They shot for $100,000 and a couple of days ago passed a million bucksThey've got enough for 10 years of trips plus some student scholarships.

Bloody genius.

Simple - if you show people an obvious situation of disparity in resources and a simple, easy way to redress it, it's obvious. They go for it. This one is such an obvious way to also re-balance opportunity. It's clear these children are trapped by the genetic accident of where they are born and are fundamentally unequal to kids born in other areas, with different expectations, wealth and support networks.

Over 35,000 people gave around $20-$50 to this school, and now ten years' worth of classes will get to go see the most prestigious Uni in USA. Inferring, that if your $20 can send a kid to look at a different possible future then there's a chance they can enter that future, too. That's a very cheap way to address equality of opportunity.  Of millions of readers, a solid proportion will say, yes, I'll chip in.  That's what this post title is about - I still reckon plenty of humans just fundamentally get fairness. It's pre-programmed and doesn't even need explanation. Reality has a left-wing bias. (Quote: Stephen Colbert)

Internet is beautiful when it does this - provides the network infrastructure for small payments, combined with immediacy and storytelling. Stanton's achievement in creating his own personal nation of followers, taps into the power of many. Same as unionism, public health and public schools.

Why then, can't we ever seem to understand or embrace the basics of income tax?

Looks like there's over 68,000 elementary schools in USA. Brandon can't visit them all in several lifetimes. All provide a service to kids who haven't got much money behind them. All could do with extra-curricular activities, and even just good teachers, up to date facilities and support/ mentoring/ counseling for outside the curriculum.

Who picks the ones that are most deserving? Why should that be something that pops up at random due to the skills and connections of one talented individual? Who maps where the lowest income areas in the country are? 

Bureacracy does. Paid for by tax. With process. They are not dirty words. Australian commentator and former public servant Greg Jericho wrote a great piece this week titled:

Here's the crux:
Australia’s income tax system is a progressive one. We pay higher rates of taxation the more we earn. There are five tax brackets:
$0 - $18,200 – 0%
$18,201 - $37,000 – 19%
$37,001 - $80,000 – 32.5%
$80,001 - $180,000 – 37%
$180,001 + – 45%
A distribution system so that those with all the opportunities can share some of their rewards for the genetic lottery of where they were born, with those with fewer opportunities thanks to where they were born.

So, yeah. Tax. It's like a million heart warming  internet fundraisers. Every day of the year.

And congratulations Brownville, you guys are fab.  Image c) Stanton/HONY: