Monday, August 30, 2010

#206: Living It Up On The Dole

Years before the Dole Army existed you could buy books like this, and the one written by some clown who’s last name was Barbour (I think) in all good and bad book shops around the place. I once met Barbour (God, what was his first name? Neil?) when I worked as a Professional Mouse Strangler at a radio station here. Barbour (was his first name John? Nope…) used to wander in, go to the toilet and write details of how and where to buy his self-published books on the wall. He’d also leave a steaming pile in the bowl as he didn’t believe in flushing (wasted water) or, one presumes, wiping his arse (waste of paper) which was evident by the lack of paper. To amuse ourselves we’d send in a work experience person who’d generally scream at the sight of a blind mullet winking at them and saying, “How ya doin’?”

Good times indeed. Anyway, Barbour (ahhh screw his first name, he was a wanker anyway) used to live in a tent in the hills and used to argue with members of the DSS about his residential address. The DSS never believed that a tent in the middle of a paddock was a proper residential address and Barbour couldn’t see why he shouldn’t get rent assistance on a tent in the middle of a paddock, a tent which he probably stole and never paid rent on anyway. Win-win for all. Still he did write and publish a similar book to this one, and if you can find a copy then hang onto it – it’s a ripper read.

This book differs from Barbours in that it was written by an ex-DSS employee (in 1985) and where Barbour’s book showed how to rort the system without fear of consequences, this volume, equally as hilarious, makes the point that while you can rip the system off, eventually you may get caught and eventually you may face penalties. Simple as that really. Trust me though, this book is well worth reading and I expect that it’s probably a cult classic in the world of Centrelink, and if it’s not, then it should be. It’s more valid to those guys than anything else they’re reading.

And if you doubt me, just check out this sample chapter.

Dolebludging – A Taxpayer’s Guide. You won’t find it in your local bookstore, but if you are lucky enough to find a copy then hold onto it – it’s a brilliant piece of Australiana that’ll be the envy of all who see it. And yes, I do not condone ripping the system off, but I do condone the reading of this book, and laughing all the way...and sorry Dole Army, you're nowhere near the first to reveal how silly the dole office can be at times.  Hell, I know people who work there who hate the place.

As Bob Hudson once sang, "It's a full time job, everyday of the week, Living it up on the dole!"


Anonymous said...

Norm Barber. My partner and I used to get a good laugh from his self published books (one mistakenly lists a grumpy relative's address as a psychic healer) until he published a book suggesting extreme violence against public servants, and a client moved in across the road. And would stand in front of our place watching us night and day. Armed with an axe. While we were carrying a newborn.

I'd already had a run in when I was doing work experience for a certain wine and cheese Review newspaper in Adelaide, and Norm came in to politely and totally appropriately inquire as to why I hadn't printed his article. Because work experience kids often make such executive decisions.

My friends who worked for the DSS considered Sawyer little better. Their attitude to his many, many dysfunctional scams was "Try it.". ~Martin

Your Own Personal Jesus said...

My run in with Norm - and thanks for reminding me of his name - was a little more dramatic, as I once told him I'd flush his fucking head down the toilet if he ever left me a 'gift' to find again at the station. I then promised to wipe his graffiti off the walls with his face.

I've seen the psychic healer book, but am still looking for the dole book. Mind you I'd not be surprised to learn if certain Govt departments advocate violence against ole Normie himself.

Anonymous said...

Here are the ones held at public libraries.

How to become a successful derelict in Adelaide (1987)

How to have a successful nervous breakdown in Adelaide (1988)

Disappearing charity donations in Adelaide (1991)

How to become a successful healer in Adelaide (1992)

Fighting Centrelink : a small guide to help you maintain your income and to discipline Centrelink employees (2000)

The personal resume of Mr. Norm Barber of Adelaide: I hate work (2000)

The nasty side of organ transplanting : the cannibalistic nature of transplant medicine (2001, 2007)

Homeless wars (2006)

New wards of the state : outside the Social Inclusion Commission (2006)

Someone may find this a resource. ~Martin

Anonymous said...

And then there was the Today Tonight "interview" which was little more than a camera crew chasing him around the Arndale car park and the reserve at the end of the Port River canal.

Anonymous said...

I admire Norm's willingness to be a self published pauper, particularly his pursuit of unfavorable subjects. If I didn't have better things to do I'd probably do the same. However I wouldn't advertise through graffiti (I saw one of his ads in a stall at Flinders), let alone bring attention to it by refusing to flush. Which brings me to the second great thing about Norm; enjoying his work without ever having to contact him in any form. ~Martin

Anonymous said...

Just finished Peter Sawyer's 1996 opus One Man Banned. No I didn't--it's unfinishable. Poor man ended up having no less than four attempts on his life by intelligence services. Who have given up their important spy work to concentrate on people who speak about themselves in the third person, write conspiracy innuendo with all the names blacked out and show exactly why we needed the internet in the first place (to relieve the burden on self publishers). ~Martin

Dan Soya said...

To: Your own personal Jesus

It’s nice to know my father’s written works still make conversation.
You may (or may not) be interested to know he now writes technical publications for the likes of Rio Tinto and Hamersley Iron.
So his talents didn’t completely go to waste.

My farther DID NOT WRITE! “One Man Banned”
It was written about him without any consultation.
A fact that still irks him to this day.

Yours sincerely
Daniel P Sawyer