Friday, February 20, 2015


I remember when I was a boy
Sitting on Santa’s lap
And he asked me, “What do you want?”
And I didn’t ask for a Transformer
And I didn’t ask for a football
And I didn’t ask for my parents to stop using me as a pawn in their increasingly violent passive-aggressive power struggles
I asked for FREEDOM
Freedom, and nothing more

And Santa smiled at me in wonder
For never before had he seen a two-metre tall four-year-old
And it was that day, sitting on Santa’s lap, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the Flinders Street toilets in peak hour
That I realised that Santa truly was real
As real as hope
And as real as love
As real as that jolly old homeless man who every Christmas dressed in a red suit for our amusement
And offered me a shiny new coin if I would only accompany him to his secret bone palace deep in a nearby cornfield, where he had a special surprise for me

And though I never got to see that palace, because I was late for my weekly parental shame session, I still saw what he was getting at
That strange, cheerful old man, with his gummy smile, his twinkling eyes, and his voluminous trousers
He taught me a lesson that to this day pounds in my head incessantly like a great, wise, intrusive drum

That lesson is
The freedom to follow your own path, to chase your dreams
To walk blissfully and unsuspectingly into a cornfield if that truly is what you want from life
The freedom to lay on a riverbank, looking up at the stars, counting them, night after night, continously losing count and starting over again in a frenzy of self-destructively obsessive behaviour, gradually eating away at your own mental health until inevitably you begin cutting yourself and become convinced that your wife is the reincarnation of the Egyptian god of death
Because freedom cannot come with conditions
If you want to defend my freedom to pluck tulips from a field and arrange them attractively on a piece of corkboard
Surely I must likewise defend your freedom to hack mercilessly at your wife with a Phillips-head screwdriver and throw her into the river, all the while gazing up at the stars and bellowing “Stop looking at me” at the top of your lungs
That’s freedom. It is non-negotiable.

Not non-negotiable like Israel’s policy on new settlements
Not non-negotiable like an ultimatum from a lover who tells you, it’s me or the zebra
Not non-negotiable like a cheque you wrote to the Church of Scientology while under the influence of powerful muscle relaxants

No, freedom is non-negotiable like…the dew on a newborn baby’s face
And sure, you can say, what does that mean?
You can say, how does one negotiate dew?
You can say, why are you rubbing that baby’s face on the grass
The point is that freedom is like a baby’s face: innocent, and unscarred
And yet it can be ugly, and objectionable, and sometimes you want to punch it
But you can’t defeat freedom by punching it
Which is how it differs from a baby’s face
Because you can definitely defeat a baby’s face by punching it
It’s really, really, easy.

But I’m not here to talk about babies
Or the myriad practical benefits of punching them
I’m here to talk about freedom
And a wise man – I think it was Daryl Braithwaite- once said, if you love something, set it free

And I knew what he meant

For I loved someone once
She was a beautiful, mad, wild thing
When we made love it was like…two crazed bison trying to get out of a hedge maze:
Intense, and violent, and easier with a map
And I loved her as I have loved only 4 or 5 other women, tops

But I let her go
I said, I must let you have your freedom, for I love you. Go. Be happy.
And she said no. I will stay
And I said, I cannot live with myself knowing I am keeping such a free spirit caged in a prison of expectation and routine. Go. Live your life.
And she said no. I want to stay.
And I said, I am NOT a jailer! Go now, for both our sakes, and with my blessing
And she said please, let me stay by your side, for I have a crippling gambling addiction and am unemployable
And I said, honestly I would be more comfortable if you just left. Frankly if I’d known you were living in my garage for the last six months I would have done this much much earlier.

So she left. Not without tears, and not without regrets, and not without a tense police sieges, but she left

And yes, it can be heard, being alone, when I pass her on the street, warming herself by a burning stack of unsold Big Issues
But I know I gave her her freedom, because I loved her that much

And nobody ever said freedom would be easy
Freedom isn’t like putting on a pair of pants, or swallowing a bee
It’s not that simple
Freedom is more like losing your virginity to Bert Newton: it hurts like hell and you may need carpet shampoo afterwards

But we don’t WANT freedom to be easy!
We chase freedom because it is hard!
Because we know we must fight
We know we must struggle
And we know it will be worth it
When we stand up strong and proud and throw off our chains!
When we clench our trembling fingers into the fist of freedom
And punch the baby of tyranny square in its adorable face
When we cry to the heavens, we are FREE

We don’t need your rules, or your conformity, or your manners, or your social mores, or your basic level of human respect

We’re heading for a better world, a world of liberty and choice, a world of magic and wonder, a world of mysterious cornfields and terrifying flashbacks

We’re riding on to the new world, riding on to freedom

The time has come people!
Jump on board the freedom train, and let me drive you to Happiness Station
Hold on tight, because we’re making no stops, and the driver is dangerously unqualified!

Toot toot!

Kurt Cobain


My Life is an Album and You're the Track I Always Skip


Kurt, I Love Your Mind, But Could You Keep It Off The Walls?


I Woke Up In Seattle With Nirvana in my Pants, and Pearl Jam All Over My Face

My father was a complex man. Part gentle family man, part hideously disfigured Viennese whore, he would drink, and gamble, and stage illegal dachshund races through the streets of our town. When I was born, he christened me Captain Romeo Della Vaginaface to win a bet.

But for all his faults, he was a good man. And if there was one thing he loved, it was Bangkok ladyboys. And if there was another thing he loved, it was Nirvana.

He knew Kurt Cobain, he loved Kurt Cobain, he carried Kurt Cobain in his womb for five months. And he always told me, a male uterus opens doors. The other thing he told was this: if you can decipher the lyrics of Nevermind, you'll never go hungry again. I never understood what he meant, until the day I saw the poster: Nevermind Essay Contest, 1st Prize a Lifetime Supply of Walnuts.

And so I went to Kurt himself, and asked him. I said Kurt, your album changed my life, but I've always wondered, was it a deliberate decision to make Track 7 so absolutely awful?

He laughed, and said, That was my proudest achievement. I had always wanted to write a song that was impossible for any poet to reinterpret in an entertaining way.

That was the night I introduced Kurt to speed. The next day I introduced him to mass, and by the end of the week he had a good working understanding of momentum. I can't help thinking if he'd pursued his passion for physics, he might still be alive today.

We sat and listened to Nevermind, and I said, Let's play a game - every time you mumble incoherently, take a shot. And he misunderstood in a rather drastic manner.

Later, as my father and I were mopping up, I asked him, What did Kurt mean, "When I was an alien"?

He said, we're all aliens sometimes. Kurt felt like an alien - he felt strange and out of place, he felt alone, he had a disproportionately large head and smooth grey skin.

We're all aliens, we're all misfits, we're all silicon-based and trying to conquer earth with our giant plasma cannons before implanting our seed in your human women. Just like Kurt.

And that's why whenever we feel down and out, lost and insecure and squirming in agony from the extra-terrestrial eggs hatching in our brains, just remember Kurt's words.

Bernie Mac

Oh Bernie Mac
I'm so sad that you're dead
I think it really is
A shame

Bernie Mac
You were quite famous
For doing various things
In the entertainment business

Oh Bernie Mac
You had a TV show
Called The Bernie Mac Show
That shows a certain lack of originality
Even though Dick can Dyke and Bill Cosby and Mary Tyler Moore did similar things
If everybody did it, TV would be a bit dull really
You wouldn't call The Shield The Michael Chiklis Show
But I suppose it's all right

It was apparently quite popular
Even though I must say
I never watched it
I saw the ads for it and thought no that really doesn't look like something I'd enjoy
Kudos on having a TV show

Oh Bernie Mac
You were in movies, like Ocean's Eleven
That was a good movie
Although to be honest you added very little to it
But still I admire you for being in it
Much as I admire Peter Sumner for his small part in Star Wars Episode IV
I don't think of Peter Sumner as being much of a movie star
But it was pretty cool he was in Star Wars
Like it's pretty cool you were in Ocean's Eleven
You're the black Peter Sumner
I can imagine you starring in Black Cluedo hosted by Black Ian MacFadyen
You would be Black Colonel Mustard
Black Andrew Daddo would be Black Professor Plum
The funny thing is everyone else would just be the original cast member with "black" in front of their names, but you'd still be Bernie Mac
It would be a way to cash in on your TV show's popularity
I suppose when I remember you, it's this unusual fantasy about you starring in a negroid version of an unsuccessful interactive Australian mystery series that I will remember most
That and the laughter

Oh Bernie Mac
You were in other movies
Like the one with Chris Rock, and the one with the baseball
I don't think many people watched them
But kudos on being in movies
It's more than most people do

Oh Bernie Mac
You also did stand-up comedy
I never saw it because it's not really my thing but I heard somebody say
It was pretty funny
I believe them, even though I expect
I wouldn't have enjoyed it that much
But I still admire you for giving it a go
If you get my drift
I don't think I need to personally enjoy your work in order to admire your achievements
Although it would help, obviously

Oh Bernie Mac
You were quite famous
Definitely more famous than Jeremy London
But probably less famous than the Pope
You fit into that particular niche really well
Kudos on that

Oh Bernie Mac
You were pretty famous and quite successful and certain people found you quite entertaining
I can't offer an opinion
One way or another
Because I had only a passing familiarity
With your career
It's a shame that you're dead
But I know that I
Will always remember you

Gravity Boots

I want a pair of gravity boots of my very own.

I don't even know what gravity boots are, but I want a pair, so that I can wear them in the street and tell people who walk by, "Look! I have gravity boots!" And they will be amazed, and fall down and weep and bang their heads on the pavement, wailing, "Truly you are a king among men, for you have gravity boots, and I do not! Where can I get some gravity boots for myself?"

And I will say, "Nowhere, for they are sold out."

And they will say, "We cannot go on, we must go home and strangle ourselves."

And I will way, "Yes, do that, for now that I have gravity boots, I have come to realise the essential meaninglessness of human existence, and I see now that suicide is a valid and reasonable response to the problems of the world. For when you possess a pair of gravity boots of your very own, you come to acquire a terrible, beautiful clarity."

And they will say, "My God you are wonderful."

And I will stride down the road in my gravity boots, and I will stop at a roadside stall, and buy some gravy to pour into my gravity boots, for truly, my gravity boots will be the kind that run on gravy, and I will set my gravity boots to "stun", and I will go hunting for foxes, for to claim their tails and collect the bounty. I will become the wealthiest, most powerful fox hunter in the nation, and the gravy will flow, thick and rich and brown, and I will laugh imperiously and invite beautiful professional tennis players into my bedroom. And all because of my gravity boots.

And then one day, I will be lying in my hammock on the lawn, reading a magazine, when a great hulking brute of a man will come up to me, and say, "Are those your gravity boots?" And I will smile quietly and say, "Yes, yes they are." And he will bend over and insert his little finger into my right ear, and kiss me lovingly on the head, and then, and only then, will things be right.

Thank God for my gravity boots.