Saturday, December 25, 2010

#243: The Sun Is Shining

Merry Christmas to all and sundry, and as a little gift I thought I'd scan and share this flyer for all of those who visit here for classic Aussie stuff.

I doubt that many of these flyers still exist, indeed I had no idea that Tully even had a television show, but I'm not overly surprised.  By the late 1960s it seemed that the ABC were giving anyone a tv show of their own, most are long gone now, sadly enough, but some remain.  I'm not sure which category Tully fall into, as evidenced by this paragraph from the excellent Milesago site: "In June/July 1969 the band got two major breaks that brought them to the forefront of the Australian music scene. One was the commissioning of a series of six half-hour ABC-TV programs starring Tully. Called Fusions, it was the brainchild of former ABC current affairs producer Bill Munro. The series originally featured lighting design by UBU's Aggy Read, although this partnership was terminated due to budget restrictions after the first two episodes. One of Tully and Reid's collaborations for the series was a 15-minute music/image improvisation on Tully's Bicycle (although UBU News reported at the time that the ABC studio crew were less than accommodating, refusing dim the main studio lights during the filming of a strobe sequence, rendering it largely ineffective). We can only hope that the series has survived, but there is good reason to fear that it has been destroyed during the ABC 'economy drives' which resulted in vast amounts of ABC videotaped programs from that era being wantonly destroyed."

And there you have it.  I was at the ABC when one of the 'economy drives' took place, and I was handed several duped VHS videotapes of various Countdown episodes with the idea of taking them home and keeping them, thus protecting the shows from being lost forever.  In hindsight I should have taken more, but I was aware that people in Melbourne were taking takes of Countdown and storing them at Molly Meldrums house (or so the story said) for safekeeping.  Highly illegal, but then the destruction of history and culture should be even more so illegal, and frankly, if I had my time again I'd take more than one car load.  Somewhere, in a box in the carport, are those original dupes of Countdowns, but I expect that most of the shows are back with the ABC archives, although I do have the four part U2 special from 1989/1990 here somewhere and over the next few weeks as I clean up, and clean out, the carport, I hope to come across more stuff like this, and rest assured, I won't be ditching too much of it into the bins.

Until then, here's the Tully flyer, in glorious 300dpi!  Click, save and share.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#242: Police Car

Don’t let anyone fool you, women of a certain vintage only watched 21 Jump Street back in the day for the same reason that they’ll tape and watch it when it’s repeated on pay TV next year – to perve on a young Johnny Depp. If they deny this, ask them to name one other co-star, or, even better, ask them to describe a storyline. Mind you I can’t either, but I do remember one episode where I think it was either Depp or his co star Peter DeLuise, Dom’s son, was running through the snow to the sounds of R.E.M.’s Orange Crush. I do remember Dom turning up as Peter’s father in a few episodes, but that’s about it. And a black copper that was in charge of them, and a cute black girl, but that’s about it. I did enjoy it, but like most shows of the time, I’m sure I’d watch it now and just chuckle at how bad the acting is, how inane the story lines are and how insipid the sets are. Say what you want, but 21 Jump Street wasn’t as good as Hill Street Blues.

Now that was a show. I still have Mike Post’s theme music on my iPod and when anyone hears it they know straight away what it is. That’s staying power. Not many themes, without vocals, have such an effect. Damned good show that one. I’d sit awake at night just to watch repeats of it, and I remember thinking that the episode featuring Dominique Dunn as a girl suffering from domestic violence was mighty powerful indeed. What impacted upon me more though was when I learned that the bruises and scars that she wore wasn’t make-up, and that her boyfriend at the time had beaten the crap out of her before shooting to the extent that they applied make-up to reduce the effect. Later the bastard strangled her, so sad, a talent gone before her time, and the episode screened after her death..

Cop shows are always good value when you’re bored out of your skull in the middle of the night, but sadly we don’t see any of the classic Aussie cop shows anymore. No repeats of Homicide or Matlock. No Cop Shop, with Gil ‘Stuttering Bastard’ Tucker. “Oh no Senior Sergeant,” Gil would say, “you can’t kick him in the balls here. There’s a c-c-camera over there. T-t-t-take him into the cells.” No Division 4 or Bluey. An entire generation of people want to know just what the hell VKC meant in Matlock, usually uttered by Paul Cronin as he went paddock bashing on his Honda. So sad, but we do have Bargearse on DVD, and that’s better than nothing I guess.

What always impressed me with cop shows of the 1970s and 1980s is that there was an instant difference between locally produced shows and the American counterparts. If a bad guy tried to escape in say Starsky & Hutch, then they’d steal a muscle car and be chased by Hutch’s Gran Torinio through the streets of New York, or wherever. Shit, even Dennis Weaver had a horse to run people over with in McLeod. In the Aussie shows, it was Paul Cronin hurtling his Honda 350 Four down a country road after some wanker in a clapped out Torana who’d usually lose it on a corner and hit a fence, or Lucky Grills would puff and wheeze down a street before having a heart attack*.  Gerard Kennedy would chase someone down a series of back alleys before slamming them face first into a corrugated iron fence hissing “You bastard!”, upon which someone like Michael Pate or Bud Tingwell would pop up to slap the handcuffs on and deliver a speech to Kennedy about being too rough.  Generally this was usually after Kennedy or Mike ‘Handsome’ Preston had bashed the crap out of the bad guy. “By Christ Frank, you can’t do that to him!” they’d say, but this was more than likely after Frank Banner had punched someone low in the guts a good eight to ten times. Bit late there, Bud, but better late than never. American shows had proper fake blood, Aussie cop shows took some of the shortest cuts you’d ever see – a liberal splash of tomato sauce sufficed, turning most bad guys into a giant chip with their biggest threat coming from a few seagulls nearby. If someone got hit by a car then they’d throw a meat pie at their head, combined with the sauce it looked gory from a certain angle. You can try that one at home if you want. Create your own car accident victim with a Balfours and half a bottle of Heinz Big Red. Just so you know, they’d create fake spew out of tins of Vegetable soup or, when pushed, a chewed up pastie mixed with lemonade, a combination that’d make most people spew anyway. Now that’s low budget.

"Put it away Bluey."
American shows had James Garner with a big gun firing blanks and stunt men with squibs that looked like they’d been shot. Aussie shows used cap guns. I kid you not; I remember watching an old episode of Division 4 where you saw them load the bloody guns with caps. The Americans would leap into the air upon being shot, scream and hit the ground, lifeless. Aussie would merely grab their chest or, if they were being funny, their groins, smash a satchel of sauce and say, “Bloody hell Bluey, what are ya doin’? Ya shot me mate!” They’d collapse, but still be breathing, hours after they were pronounced dead. Indeed morgue scenes are great – Quincy would have people cut open on the slab, Frank Banner would be hitting his corpse just out of shot to prevent it from laughing too much at the dialogue. Americans would leap off buildings and run over roofs, Aussies would scramble over back fences, run past some old bag putting out the washing and then jump onto a shed, off which they’d promptly fall down and be crippled for life. Poor criminals, I was jumping off my own shed from the age of 10 without doing myself any harm.

Still Aussie shows did have advantages. Angie Dickinson never did it for me like Paula Duncan and Lynda Stoner or anyone really from Cop Shop, with the exception of the guy who played JJ, John Orcsik, Gil Tucker, or any of the males. The Aussie shows were, amazingly, steeped in a sense of reality. In the American shows the cops always had proper food, drank coffee and always had time to stop to eat, and only went to fancy nightclubs and picked up good looking models. Aussie coppers ate pies and chips and necked Chiko Rolls and Dim Sims like gannets.  They also drank copious amounts of fizzy drink and black coffee. Before shift would be finished they’d all be down at the front bar of a pub, knocking back pints like prohibition was about to be brought back in and eating more peanuts than a pack of hungry elephants. The girls would drink midis of shandies – still, you have to wonder what their cars would have smelt like after a week of pies, Dim Sims, black coffee and beer. They could have just as easily gassed the crims as locked them up. Americans were slim, athletic and muscular, Aussies had beer guts that’d put Donger to shame, which did make them look real. No super cars here, just a pack of idiots tooling around in shitbox HQ Holden’s and the occasional clapped out XP Falcon. In short the Aussie cops on screen acted much like Aussie cops off-screen. They’d say things like, “Mate, if you root my bird one more time, I’ll bloody do ya!” They got drunk on shift and verballed people. They bashed crims. They fought each other. They drove like maniacs. Americans never got that sense of realism until Hill Street Blues, when they began to use people who looked like, well, normal people, and not Robert Redford.

"That's for being shit in Skippy mate!"
 Ahhhh, someone bring back those classic Hector Crawford shows and let’s see some action. Before it’s too late…


*Resulting in one of the funniest scenes in Australian cop show history. This actually happened on screen. Grills, as Bluey, began to chase a villain down a crowded street in Sydney only to fall over. The villain looks back, stops and runs back to Bluey, lying on the ground groaning and writhing. “Jesus Bluey, are you alright mate?” he asks. Bluey turns, well, blue and gargles, upon which the crook says, “Bloody hell! Quick, someone call an ambulance, I think Bluey’s having a heart attack!” Going on the reactions of the people on the street – remember, in their quest for ‘realism’ Aussie cop shows never used extras, they shot on the streets using real people (it was also a lot cheaper) - I’ve often wondered if this was scripted, or if Grills – a known devourer of beer, Dim Sims, Chiko Rolls and chips both off and off screen - was really having his own heart attack. Either way it made for some amusing television and showed that Bluey was a comedy before it was morphed into Bargearse.  Still until we watched Bargearse we never realised just how many times Bluey actually dropped his guts on the actual show, or how many Chiko Rolls he ate.

"Run Bluey, his cap gun is loaded and the Valiant isn't quite there!"
Sex symbols, '70s style!

Woggo gives evidence.

I'm off to get a shit load of dim sims and a bucket of soy sauce!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

#241: I Love You Love Me Love

Every so often you find a book that is just so chilling and disturbing that you wonder if you should even admit to seeing it, let alone owning and reading it. Or, in this case, skimming through it. This is one such book, the Australian Paedophile and Sex Offenders Index.

I heard about this book a few years ago and had wondered about its contents ever since. I then kept an eye out for a copy, and although I’d see it in bookstores from time to time, the price was generally a bit prohibitive, and nobody would ever allow it to be displayed on the shelves – for obvious reasons – thus a casual browse was always out of the question. I expect that a copy resides in the State Library, but I’m buggered if I was going to walk in and request a copy to look at.

So what is it about this book that is disturbing? For a start it doesn’t have graphic images, nor does it have graphic details of abuse – quite the opposite. It’s a very dry volume, detailing the names, locations and information of people who have faced court and been found guilty of sex offences, with an emphasis on child sexual abuse. That’s it. The author has scoured court documents and listed what they did, where they did it and when. From there you make your own judgements, and, frankly, none of those judgements are going to be kind. The more evil people have the photos, including one of a happy person, photographed after he was prettied up by his young cousin, who he later raped down the track.

That’s what’s disturbing. Photos of people in normal situations who, if you knew what they had done, or what they were thinking of doing, you’d happily slaughter without a second look. But you don’t know, because they look so bloody normal. Generally people with these thoughts are the same as anyone else, appearance wise, which explains why abuse is so widespread and unreported. It explains priests, doctors, lawyers and family members, because the predators are everywhere, another aspect that makes this book so uncomfortable to read – the occupations are listed. School teachers, doctors, sports coaches, police officers, they’re all here and more. Basically anyone that holds a position of trust and authority should be questioned.

I can forgive most things in this world, hell, I’ve done most things in this world, but I cannot forgive some things. Rock spiders, I have no time for them, no matter who they are, no matter how talented they might wish to portray themselves. It’s one of the reasons why I refuse to watch anything by a celebrated movie director, and he’s only made it worse by doing what most paedophiles do, he’s spent years blaming everyone around him and never taking responsibility for his own actions. That makes me want to puke. I don’t believe in forced entry upon a person. To deprive them of their dignity and to breach trust in such a way just angers me. And to assault a child and remove their innocence? Well let’s just say I’m a massive fan of allowing people to deal with those kinds of scum in their own way. I know if it were one of my kids, I’d like a few minutes alone with the perp, but then that’s just me.

I know people who have read this book, or used it as part of their employment (professionals in certain fields) and virtually everyone of those people are more paranoid for it. I know I am. The book only had the one edition, as near as I can ascertain, but it did go into a few printings (this is the 1st edition/printing) and is as hard to come by as anything you’d want. You’ll find a copy of the Anarchists Cookbook before you’ll find this one, which is sad as it’s a book that should be accessible for all.

It’s a shame that there’s not an updated version, but as a historical document its value can’t be underestimated. If you see it then be warned, pure evil lurks within these pages, and some things, once read, cannot be unread, no matter how hard you try. What’s worse is when you flick through it and recognise a name or two…but remember, if you're a famous movie director with famous actor friends who drugs a 13 year old, gives her two bottles of champagne and then anally rapes her in a spa bath, you're not a paedophile, you're the victim.  In any other part of society you'd be rightly shunned and outcast, but in Hollywood circles, you're given an Oscar.

Such is life.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#240: Our House

You might need to click on this one to appreciate it, but frankly I expect that while this place might be damned cool in the summer, it'll be freezing in winter and I doubt that the dining area is as spacious as first claimed.

And no, I've not altered this one bit, other than to underline the obvious.

And yet, if you lived in that fridge, you might want to try the second most popular export from Nimbin.  I wonder what it tastes like...

#239 Sister Madly

I never saw Split Enz live, but I have seen them on the idiot box more than once, and what I’ve seen makes me a bit sad that I never took the plunge. But, unlike you and your mate, I did see the Mullanes and I still have the press sheet that I lifted from the gig. You may now ask, “Who? The Mullanes?”

Let me tell you about The Mullanes. Led by Neil Finn, they were his first post-Enz band, and when I saw them they had a line up of ex-Enz members Finn and drummer Paul Hester, aided by bassist Nick Seymour and guitarist Craig Hooper. Yep, I saw Crowded House before they were too crowded and before they’d bought even a small unit somewhere.

What did they play? A pile of Finn’s Split Enz tracks, along with a smattering of tracks that would eventually feature on the first Crowded House album. Were they any good? Well, yep, they were, but then with musicians of that calibre you expect that they’d be able to deliver a good set in their sleep. I enjoyed it, even if time, along with booze and other substances, have tempered the memory somewhat. But don’t think for one second that all of my memories are tempered, Transvision Vamp and Katrina & The Waves still remain two of the worst gigs I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing, and they were around the same time, so go figure. I want your love my arse, show us yer bits Wendy!!!

Since that time I've seen Neil Finn and only last year took Zee German to see Tim Finn and Iddie Raynor at the Gov for her birthday.  Loads of "Mak Schau!" was yelled that night, and righly so, and you have to admire a person who goes to a gig only to see the keyboard player.  In fact, if I don't post a photo of Eddie here then she's likely to kill me, so here ya go baby!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#238: For What It's Worth

There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear.

I am well aware that this post will see me in a lot of trouble, but silence is the equal of complacency and to remain silent about some issues is to be seen to agree with those who demand people to follow blindly and agree with their every word, so here goes.

Tomorrow will see a public demonstration against the illegal incarceration of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  Right off the bat,  I'll be there.  For right or wrong, I'm a strong believer in the freedom of speech, and those who say that Wikileaks is endangering lives are forgetting that the actions, words and policies of those whose names are being revealed in these memos are the people who are truly putting people's lives at risk on a daily basis. We need freedom, we need to know the games, and the lies, that our Governments are playing and telling. We have a basic right, as people, who have elected our Governments worldwide, to know the depths of their skulduggery and antics.

In this day and age we'd never have known about anything such as Watergate as both Woodward and Bernstein would have been hounded, stalked and ultimately prosecuted for revealing 'state secrets' and thrown into the nearest jail.  Call it misdirection, call it false, call it what you want, it appears that all Assange has done was be stupid enough to fall for the oldest spy trick in the world - the classic Honey Trap.  For being strong enough not to speak out directly, but to provide a forum which allows those pulling strings to hang on their own words, he is being arrested and there are calls, from the lunatic fringe in the USA - and by lunatic fringe I am looking squarely at peanuts such as Sarah 'I can see Russia from here' Palin, Mark 'I like torture and illegally shooting people' Thiessen and pretty much anyone that works for Fox News, strong advocates for free speech that they all are.

In 1982 publication of the groundbreaking story V For Vendetta was undertaken. Author Alan Moore has appeared to have correctly predicted where the world was heading, in the same manner as George Orwell and Aldous Huxley did back in the 1940s and 1930s. Some of Moore's words ring truer now than they did back then. These are now words that I think we all should live by.  First and foremost, "People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."  If you have never read this brilliant story then you should - in the same manner as Brave New World, 1984 or Animal Farm, this book, complete with stunning images, will open your eyes in ways that you may not believe, and might find very confronting.  Forget the movie, that just scraped the surface.

"Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense." -- Alan Moore

"If you want to find someone to blame then throw a rock in the air, you're bound to hit someone guilty."  -- Bono

Our parents used the power of protest to gain some basic civil rights to let those in power know their disgust at their actions.  Our generation, and the one that has followed, has remained silent and complacent for far too long.   We need to learn the lessons that history can offer, and is through the power of the people, not by sabotage, subterfuge or via violent means, that change can be affected.  This is the time that we should all stand as one, stand together and simply say, "This is wrong, and I shan't tolerate it, nor shall I agree with it."

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore." --Paddy Chayefsky

Paranoia strikes deep:
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you’re always afraid.
You step out of line, the man come and take you away. -- Stephen Stills

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

#237: Doctor Doctor

Some books are just too funny, even unintentionally.  Don't ask me why I have a copy of Bailey & Lowe's Short Practice Of Surgery on my shelves, but if you must know then I was a Boy Scout and we were always told to 'Be Prepared'.  Mind you a few of us were fiddled as kids, but that's another story.

I first learnt about this book via the pages of Graham Chapman's A Liar's Autobiography.  Chapman, who was actually a fully qualified doctor as well as a damned funny guy, makes reference to this book and describes it as being anything but a laugh a minute, with the exception of the two images that are shown here, the first of which is described as being a 'quick giggle'.  Monty Python clearly has a lot to answer for and the levels of their perversion and subversion ran deeper than they might have thought.  Good on 'em.  From such subversion people learn to be subversive themselves and affect change from within.

And that's where true power and protest works.  Protesting on the streets really doesn't achieve a lot, you need to ingrate yourself within the system and begin to make the changes, subtle and otherwise.  To effect real change through protest then you need to follow it up with more concrete methods, such as strikes and other stop work or blocking of service.  Otherwise all you have are a few people wandering the streets, having their names noted by departments, standing in the heat listening to a lot of empty rhetoric.

Sad.  But then on the other side of the coin, we do have images like these to chuckle over, so giggle away!