NIDA’S Triumph: Bone and Kelly’s Osama The Hero

Osama The Hero is as good as any play I have seen in sixty-five years and I urge all who can to see it at 8 tonight or tomorrow or Friday, or at 2.30 today or Friday.

Set in a housing estate, it shows us the dreaming of the unskilled, the unlettered and the underemployed in a time formed by 9/11, a time of unfocussed rage when anyone who looks different might be a terrorist. Gary, a brown-skinned schoolboy, is chosen by some neighbours who have had their garages burnt out for capture and questioning, and we see what happens to him.

His dreaming is of gaining repute by pleasing somebody, somehow, anyone. Like Frank in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, he seems a bit daft, and socially and mentally desperate. He does a school project in praise of Osama Bin Laden and his ignorant neighbours, one of whom likes to watch a beheading on the internet, come after him. Their only territory, their personal kingdoms, their garages, have been torched, and they know, they truly know, who did it, whatever the evidence; and he like Bin Laden in his compound is killed for it, though evidence is lacking that he had anything to do with it.

Dennis Kelly, the playwright, grew up in a London housing estate in the 1980s, a time when envy conspired with helplessness to produce the soccer-hooligan mobs which trashed England’s good name worldwide. And we see in this play, full of violent solutions to nameless frustrations, how this came to pass.

The trouble with being poor is that not much happens to you, and whatever does happen to you becomes your theology. Francis was made to behead his dog because it attacked his sister, by a stern father whose memory he still reveres. Louise remembersthat same father bashing up a pervert who molested her. These, not ski-ing holidays, are the memories they have. Mandy and Mark have retreated into a fantasy that they are television stars, she a fashion designer, she a celebrity chef, after their baby dies for want of a second kidney, Mandy being thirty years younger than Mark, who seduced her when she was a teenager in, yes, his garage, his private kingdom, and she will not let him touch her now, any more, though he begs to, over and over.

Capitalism makes killers of us all, discuss, because only by territorial conquest can we affirm ourselves and soothe our pride, if we are not born to territory, like the aristocracy, and we must murder, maim and pillage till we get it. Or, like John Fowles’ Collector, kidnap and rape till we find somebody, anybody, who loves us back.

The performances are all of Oscar standard, and the actors, Devon Currie, Nicholas Hiatt, Vanessa Cole, Lauren Pegus and Matthew Pearce, show us the raw, beating heart of our times. Lots of laughs are involved, and a verbal technique one would call ‘Pinteresque’ were it not so much better used than in the early, ominous, grimier work of that overpraised wanker. Here we have Pinter plus actual politics, actual social analysis, plus a national dreaming, a global nightmare made plain.

NIDA is to be praised for it, and the director, Nicolas Bone, flown out to do it, especially commended for his majestic, Shakespearian realisation (like the eye-gouging scene in Lear) of the nightmare we all of us are in, and our civilisation may die of.

Especial acclaim is due to the set and costumes designer, Georgia Hopkins, who has given us a mental, interior, burnt-out world of claustrophobia, sorrow and revenge.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Going away so wont get to see it. Ive seen a common theme in a number of settings eg. gaol. Without Art & Culture, peculiar mainly to human primates, we revert to other base primate attributes of Heirarchy, Territory, Materialism and Sex.

  2. Man is in a hiatus of conquest.

    No more press gangs, but no more adventures to unchartered shores, you can google anywhere, yes, watch a beheading, or a good old machine-gunning from above, ‘real’ flesh and blood from the comfort of your living room - an ancient mariner with a lap top. It is no longer a matter of climbing Everest but whether you can do it naked, hopping backwards on one foot, whilst recovering from cancer on black bag chemotherapy. The surgeon saved my life, but what was the ‘life’ he saved?

    To quote Gerard Oosterman when recently commenting on vandalism: “More likely the progeny of zinc alum suburbia. Bored shitless. Miles of sameness, dreariness beyond belief. What to do? Get drunk or sneak away and start a fire, anything for relief.

    Can you imagine this add in the employment pages:

    Wanted, persons willing to colonise the outer galaxy. No special skills required other than a spirit of adventure. No guarantees of a safe return to earth.

    How many would apply? Well that’s not the point. That the ‘lid’ is removed is the central issue. The kids of zinc alum suburbia? Start a garage band? Get a menial job? Jump on a sailing ship without a union ticket? Umm, no, those days are over. Jump on a leaky boat as a refugee - to where - a wall to wall carpet? Perhaps just stay home and slug it out - we may have the comforts - but we don’t have the real answer. Planking?

    I’m afraid we are going to have to put up with it. Or reenact The Somme, or Nagasaki, or the bubonic plague as an art form.

    Until that first spaceship takes off the world is just going to get smaller and smaller, and less diverse, an inbred monoculture - especially if we continue to waste all our resources mindlessly creating THE GREEDY PIG, as we are now actively doing - our current offering to evolution that is just pure Ground Hog. I now own the world but my orgasm is getting weaker.

    Houston we have a problem. We are bored shitless. Boredom is the modern plague and it is killing millions. God just can’t do it for us anymore.

    Houston: Sorry, we can’t oblige, the fossil fuels and minerals were required for the Indolent Age, we have nothing left to build with, we are officially stuck on earth, enjoy your soylent green.

    • Wow! Great post.

    • Try as I might, (I know millions embrace suburbia), but I will never be able to kiss fondly a sheet of zinc colour-bond, prostrate myself on a pebblecrete curved driveway or have sex with a leaf-blower.
      I know, I know; it is a personal choice, but those early memories after arrival in 1956 clouded so much ever since. It dates back to my teen years and we did not have that choice.
      Even so, most southern Europeans either started a farm or lived in the inner city places. I don’t think they ever took to those outer suburbs as much as the Dutch, German, Polish did.
      I could be wrong. It was a long time ago.
      Even so, when we were hopelessly lost last week in the outer suburbs of Brisbane through a silly GPS adventure, it came back in waves.
      A listless boy was sitting on a discarded car tyre, the rattle of a lawnmower with a man in a singlet staring at us. Yes, it all came back.

  3. Al Berzins, I was thinking the same thing after reading Bob’s review.

    One can do art out of anything, anywhere, with surprisingly little money. Although, one could ask, is this why artists are impoverished most of the time?

    Hard to climb out of holes, or the quick sand or bogs of life.

    Schizophrenic acquaintance rang, railing about all his woes. His mind was jammed full of crap and surly anger. It was all about “heirarchy, territory, materialism and sex” as you say.

    Tried to talk some sense in to him, but in end I simply said “go do some art!”.

    • Some years ago, when the NZ artist, the late Sam Hotere, suggested that art could be just a sheet of corrugated iron, the more interestingly weathered the better, well he kind of slid the skids under the local (plastic) arts business. He ratified Duchamp, in a latent, South Pacific kind of way.

      When the shouting stops, when the roar, the tirade of human opinion draws to a close, will the last human alive stare down at the pavement, and on seeing the weathered patterns of mans’ frenetic activity, cry out “Eureka”.

      Art is all around. You don’t need a cent. You can take part, or you can shy away. The government has no authority over it, despite its body language to the contrary. All the world’s a stage - you have a part whether you like it or not. Don’t be conned.

      Better watch out for the skin deep.

      • Only for those with something to say Chris.

        Even with Duchamp’s example in hand I doubt very much that many who profess to operate within his schema have much clue as to the questions his work raises or the historical implications.
        What was his comment on the expressionism of his time?
        What were the operative paradoxes?
        What of Nietzsche’s rhetorical interventions?

        It was my experience that, for the most part, 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd year students had no concept of these sorts of questions and remained firmly rooted to the strict, and often sterile, consideration of “material”.
        Uniqueness or originality or even the fundamental “simply having something to say” was lost before the insidiously pestilent discussions on charcoal hardness, steel treatments, or paint viscosity.

        To me it was a mark of “absence”.
        To me it was an unfamiliarity with the cardinal question of “representation”.

        Mies once said “one doesn’t invent a new architecture every Monday morning”.
        Those that should have been listening were not.
        The lure of the expressionist fiction, the “I”, proved too strong.

        • Master/slave cluster

          You’re something of an operative paradox yourself, Fedallah.

          • Great name: and with it
            you too,
            are not far behind.

            maps, process, activation, geometries and fragments, folds and surfaces, voids, tactics, simultaneity, abstraction, body, chaos, diagram, position – composition – disposition, field, action, figure, subject, object, ground, synthetical, diachronic, reflection, trope, logic, vocabulary, loop, information, scale, appropriation, archaeology, mobility, virtuality, dynamic, articulation, open, receptive and responsive topographies.

            There you go Master/slave cluster – the tale
            and the telling of it.

            But what’s in a name, right?


            • A gift for your name.




              Fripp “1987”

              “1988” is not available on youtube. That’s unfortunate because it’s my favourite piece and I would have liked for you to hear it. It is similar to the others certainly, but something else is there.


            • I knew it. The hints abounded, the RPA, the interests, the stylistic syntax.

              Whoever Master/slave cluster is the metamorphosis of, s/he called your own correctly, Fedallah.

              Jedallah, Fudd, Judd, wtf? Why is it that we do this?

              I knew it. I feel as though I’ve been had, along the lines of ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’

              An operative paradox, indeed.

              Hey Nick, how about third time lucky? I think you’d enjoy it.

              • Canguro,I must be slipping,my suspicions were not even raised.Maybe it’s because I liked Judd, I was not on alert…

                Now Canguro, are you Master/slave/cluster ?

                I have to say Fedallah is pretty ‘masterly’.

                • Helvi, same as you, I have only ever posted on these pages under the one name, ‘canguro’, spanish for kangaroo, the nickname bestowed by a Colombian whore I slept with. The complete nick was canguro flaco, … the skinny kangaroo.

                  So no, I’m not Master/slave cluster. Canguro’s the nick, Grant’s the given I go by in the real world.

              • Get with the program, Canguro! Nick has been on the blog from day one, a tick before me. He has had many incarnations, but always entertaining and challenging.


                • The program being….. what, exactly?

                  So, Nick was G.J. Cole prior to Fedallah, and Fed before Judd, and we all turn a collective blind eye to the game being played, including that of being played for fools?

                  That we indulge ourselves in inherently rhetorical frippery while dancing with shadows and illusions?
                  Engagement with chimera as an adult pastime?

                  Go for it Doug. Enjoy the program, but it’s not one I want to subscribe to.

        • You know Judd, when I was about four years old in Nelson, NZ, I remember seeing my first ’round’ car. My older and brother I took off up the footpath chasing it, yelling (in English) “A round one, a round one.”

          When Duchamp visited an aircraft assembly plant early in the 20th century he just couldn’t get over the shape of the wooden propellers, they were art, ready made if you will. This was well before his famous ‘urinal’ that was never actually sighted - by anyone.

          Are you reading me Judd?

          • Chris, I’m reading you.

            Pointing to a “thing” NOW, almost 100 after Duchamp pointed to a ‘thing”, and calling it art is not good enough.
            To remain ignorant of history or theory or purpose or meaning or influence or dialectic is not to be free of them; it is to remain bound by them, thus subjecting the world to an endless carousel of dead, blank, sterile “art”.

            Without the conversation, the argument, with history, you got nothing.

            Like I said earlier – you got to have something to say if you want to “make” art.
            Even the “found” object.

            • Judd, obviously ‘will’ is involved in the making of something. Even a thought.

              But this ‘need to explain’, is critical to us humans, although I once saw a ‘bowerbird row’ in the NT, after a major military exercise in the area. Like a street of second hand shops, opposing, one specialised in foil, one in grey plastic (drink container tops) one in green, one in brown objects, naturally aesthetic, (other than the squeezed-out, small silver-coloured tinea cream tubes) - all army colours, a miniature surplus city, seen from above.

              So we’re all doing it, the whole of nature is jiving, but for how long? That is the question most asked these days.

              I guess it’s what takes your attention?

              This ‘need to explain’ dovetails into your ‘narration’ theory right? A rock has a soul - why not?

              • “need to explain” – Well yes, that too.
                The “need to be in dialogue” would be more accurate, more primary.

                Again Chris; communication is everything – to remain immersed in the currents of history; to engage with and be guided by one’s predecessors, and to engage with, and offer gifts to one’s descendants.
                And to remain, always, always, critically sensitive to the specific questions posed.

                The Tale Chris, it’s my duty to be its Teller.
                As it is yours and every other “artistic creator” here.

                To step outside this fold, this endless chain of language, is to embrace a pluralism or perspectivism without either radicality, meaning, or critique.
                These positions would be unacceptable in my view.
                So, to the question: Is everything art?
                I would say, no.

          • Art involves some degree of intent. A bower bird may set out items in its bower to attract a female, but its intent is not art; it has a different thought in mind. Perhaps similarly, one may say a photograph of a naked woman may indeed be art, but it may also be pornography and intended to be so. There is a huge industry with just that intent; few of them think they produce “art” though under a wide definition it qualifies.

            A piece of corrugated iron may well be art, if it is consciously placed, or even if the beholder sees it as such.

            I don’t think anyone can be definitive as to what is “art”, and even if you want to try others may not agree.

            How long is a piece of string?

            • How big is your package?

              Now I’ve set Bru Mi loose. Serve you right collar bright.

              • Why do you reply so to my serious posts seeking engagement?

                • Well, without endlessly going around the prickly pear - the art of plumage - bonfire of the vanities - curiously, we, one ‘natural’ product in particular, struggle with this - to be natural - what makes us gasp at the colours of a parrot’s wing also makes us gasp at (and value) a Pollock - I’ve discussed this before.
                  Is Blue Poles plumage - of course - wonderfully so. Freud had a grip of this, the deeper, more instinctual reasons for why things are. Well he made ground.

                  How many centuries do you think it will take before our instincts/sensibilities are genuinely restored, that is if we save the planet at all? Why do we disrespect our Mum so much?

                  I cannot be who I am because of the First World War etc, I can still hear the cannons rumbling, a fractal in the chaos, the flash of a bird’s wing, take it when you get it, however it arrives, wherever -you know the score - we are the war children, shellshocked survivors, now fully wired witnesses to the Greedy Pig, the overture to more war, control, and Mum’s constant, endless raping…

                  Munch? The cry?
                  Relevant today?

                  Live for the flash of colour, be aware. That crack of light through the roof, Anthem, Leonard Cohen.

                  Art? I’m going for a walk, too long on the computer…

                • Well, I may have put it in an unusual way, but a piece of string is as long as needs be.

                  That was my answer, I gave it a go.

                  And therefore the enigma related to ‘art’ is relative to the size of your argument. If you have no argument, or ‘narrative’ as Judd favours, then the string theory is not relevant at all.

                  What string?

            • Art is not simply self expression. It is a means of communication. There is a language of art.

              Rare artists are naturally gifted “linguists” but for most it must evolve; through practise and engagement with the notions of art, not just the physicality of material, ready made or not.

              DQ is right about intent. Art therapy is not art. Though it can rarely be elevated to that state through innate talent and rigorous self investigation. A truly insane (disordered) person cannot make art. It requires reason.
              Similarly, community art is not “art”. The primary intention is to build self worth and a sense of community it is not to make art- that is the by product.

              Picasso is an interesting study. Though he was a brilliant conventional
              draftsman, it was his engagement with the theory of artistic practice that led him to authentic innovation.

              I have seen technically brilliant work that is bad art. And technically humble work that is great art. The concept is all. Conception, to conceive of something outside of ourselves- it’s not for the birds.
              Art doesn’t just exist for the practitioner. It must engage the spectator, the culture, the artworld.
              The ontology of art is fascinating!

              • Hmmmmm, after reading your post several times the best that i could come up with was this:

                “You go too far Marlowe.”

                “Oh, those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he’s walking out of your bedroom.”


              • Excellent, K.bites. Though we can of course appreciate the beauty of nature, the wonder of a peacock’s wing or the beauty of a sunset, such a thing is not ‘art’.

                It requires man’s intervention : intent or will is required.

  4. My schema too divorced from didactic, moral or utilitarian function? It can be critiqued as Eurocentric too.
    And what of unintentional art? Where does that exist? Is
    there a stream of consciousness, a common well that we draw from without even knowing?

    Somewhere between Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre there is an answer. :grin:

    • Master/slave cluster

      • good post Master/slave cluster. Didn’t know about that bloke, thanks…

        • …hard to believe really, but better late than…

        • Master/slave cluster

          At the end, when he was dying in hospital, he gave a young man who lived in the building the key to his apartment - in order to collect some necessaries.

          No-one else had ever been in there and no-one else had ever looked at what he had been doing in there.

          The young man returned to the hospital: “I saw your paintings, Henry. They’re beautiful”.

          Later on the young man said it was like an electric current ran through Darger. He was shocked all the way through. And then he seemed to relax. He turned to the young man, smiled, and said:

          “Too late now.”

          • “Too late now.” I can only presume he was talking about his recognition as an artist, but then he did everything in his power to thwart that recognition taking place. So really his comment was something of a taunt? - like, “gotcha (to society), it’s done.”

            To stretch the analogy a little further, and probably aptly in Darger’s case - I was speaking to a knowledgeable old lady, (a minister’s wife) some years ago, and she said the true translation of Christ’s “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” is actually, “It is done!” - implying that ‘his’ crucifixion was premeditated, and, I daresay, is something that puts Judas’ motives more into the realms of a fellow conspirator, than a betrayer?

            The Vivian girls could not afford the spotlight, their adventures would have ceased with the ensuing calamitous, disruptive recognition, but was such a recognition possible in his life. Well, like Christ, his death sealed it. “Too late now.” It is done.

            Henry Darger was a true artist - all the way to the end, no recognition curve. No distraction. Extraordinary.

            Once again mate, thanks for the link, I did come across another primitive artist many years ago - the eccentric miner/recluse, H Wilson-Green, who died penniless in his tin hut on the old Echunga goldfields in SA, surrounded by his artistic adventures in “Kukuanaland”. (sculpting, painting, writing) If you are interested I can elaborate - I have mentioned him on this blog before, albeit briefly.

            He was brilliant too. But I think Darger takes the cake.

            • Master/slave cluster

              I would very much like to hear more about your encounter with Wilson-Green

              • H Wilson-Green is something of an enigma, however here are the scant details I have gleaned.

                My first ‘sighting’ of HWG was in a junk shop in Victor Harbor (1982) SA. A small oil painting in the shop window - a cat, sitting on a chair. The painting was a small jewell of light among a rather drab display. As the shop was not open I went back on another occasion and discovered, to my astonishment, half a dozen others, less prominently displayed. The elderly lady who owned the shop told me that she had gone to a clearing sale (deceased estate) at a small corrugated iron hut located on the old Echunga gold mines, at Jupiter Creek and that she had another seventy or so works back at her house. So far the works on display had attracted little interest but I knew, as soon as I laid eyes on them, that I was looking at a an important primitive artist. I bought what I could afford at the time, a couple of works for around thirty dollars each, however I convinced the woman to let me see the other works back at her house. All of HWG’s works were small and mostly oil on cardboard. The colours were superb and the subject matter ranged from Lilly Marlene waiting by the barrack square, comets in the night sky, rural scenes of the Echunga area, mining paintings of deep shaft orientation with Rembrandt style lighting, a portrait of Rosaleen Norton as a cat with multiple breasts, two steam trains waiting in Kukuanaland junction, The Capitol (Kukuanaland) a painting in which HWG represented building by books standing on end, pot lids etc, two figures standing in front of the State Library, Jerusalem style night paintings of mosques etc (like Istanbul). A veritable carnival of ideas, all brilliantly painted, including villages in England, portraits of his mother etc, etc. One of the factors was that on the back of every work was typed and pasted a small story about the work, with catalogue numbers, suggesting a significant (greater) body of work - presumably out there somewhere. I finished up with a few more works and invited in other artist friends - who also purchased, I think about 60 or so works all up, I still have ‘access’ to many of them to this day. I was given his home-made paint box, oil tubes intact, leather hinges, and the piece de resistance, two metal ‘steam’ trains (purchased) made up from a variety of scraps, fully working (electric) stationary models of two famous English steam locomotives, one, on memory, The Evening Star. They are still owned by a friend, a back one and a green one. I was also given, for my assist in facilitating the sales, an original copy of Christmas Humphreys’ (Oxfordian) first book on Zen, covered in a DC3 flying manual dust jacket. According to the shopkeeper only two people turned up at the clearing sale so the auctioneer arranged one person to make an offer on the artworks and the other the books, of which there were many, apparently. I wish I was there.

                During the great Adelaide bushfire (1980) Jupiter Creek was razed so unfortunately I was unable to back track.

                I still own two HWG paintings (horses and riders, real people named on the back). In 1997 I exhibited his work in an exhibition (not for sale) at Second Valley SA, but other than that, not much has been done to further his cause.

                An Englishman by birth who died in Australia, I checked local graveyards but no luck. The old lady who originally purchased the works has long since passed away.


                HWG, A great Australian primitive, surely one of the best ever. His colours, eat your heart out Vincent!

      • After watching this short trailer, you want to see more, beautiful, unreal…sort of goose-pimple making…

    • I do a LOT of unintentional art darlin 1 time after reading 1 of HELVIS’s posts (I think) I chundered & came up with um…an abstract impressionist piece with a VERY strong narrative. I named it ‘Orange Poles’ bcoz of the carrots. xoxoxoxoxox

  5. Canguro,
    I’m sorry you feel that way.
    But you’re wrong; I’ve played none here for fools.
    Let’s be clear on that - none.

    I consider them friends and they have become the sole reason why I read and post on this blog.
    It used to be Bob, but no longer. It is the conversation Canguro, the exchange, the ideas, the history, the laughs, the anecdotes, the coming together of pseudonymed strangers.
    I respect it enormously and, I think, I return that honour in the substance of my posts.

    But I shouldn’t have to tell you this; not you.

    So as my friend on this blog you can ask me anything and I shall answer it.

    Ask it Grant.

  6. To flaco : I think it is not a matter of playing anyone for fools. Nick has had a habit of occasionally disagreeing rather more violently than our host can stomach. His alters have been banned, often, but he loves us so much (!) he always comes back. And let’s face it, this is the best blog we know, thanks in the first place to Bob’s excellent articles, and secondarily to we the denizens of the blog, reacting to Bob and to each other.

    Bob has often found herding these cats exhausting, and muttered about abandoning the blog. I am most glad that he has not done so.

    Returning to Nick, he and I have had violent verbal altercations quite often in the past, but it seems we have reached a new plateau of mutual understanding.

    I think I would like to meet him, and I think it would be like meeting an old friend.

    I don’t think he intends to mislead anyone who is friendly or an ally; though stirring and routing the enemy is another matter!

    • DQ, Judd adds to Bob’s blog, and if any of the more valuable commenters have used another name, another Pseudo in the past it does not matter one iota…they are still the same: an asset to the blog.

      The only ones we should be concerned about are the vindictive trolls who are here to unhinge other bloggers, to cause trouble..

      • You know what Helvi…ahh forget it.

      • “Now they’re spoonfeeding Casanova
        To get him to feel more assured
        Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
        After poisoning him with words”

        ~ Bob Dylan, approximately

        Helvi, “unhinge” is rapidly becoming a favourite word of mine. But how many here are actually hinged? And what are they hinged to? It’s still a mystery.

        • Byron, I suppose most of us here are like doors flapping in the wind, hanging off the one hinge only…
          It does not take much to unhinge us completely :)

        • I was calling The Drum Unleashed “The Drum Unhinged” for years; I don’t think it was original, and certainly not unique.

          “All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer”.


  7. Canguro, I’m waiting on your reply.

    • You know what, Fed, er, Judd?

      Apologies accepted, and let’s forget it.

      I’m watching the early morning news; the SBS Mandarin feed on the NSA snoop games with Obama sitting alongside Merkel, smiling his rat-fucking Faustian smirk whilst Mephisto’s cock throbs nine inches inside his felched backside, the Chinese military ramp up on the hardware as the potential payback point arrives where the Ribenren get to taste their own medicine, the arrest of yet another mega-corruption principal for whom scamming a cool bill isn’t enough, and so on.

      I’m living in times where the emphasis on manifesting with active conscience has receded to asymptotically diminutive proportions, and self-interest roolz, ok?

      USA policies kill thousands of innocents in other countries, and apologists with no evidence of irony rush to justify with weasel words like asymmetric conflict. DoD Marangaroo munitions exercises are good, and sclerophyll forests bad. BHP good, Ok Tedi and Fly rivers, bad, very bad. Spending $1.7m on a single tuna at the Tsukiji fish market good, ocean ecologies bad, so terribly bad. Drilling for oil in the arctic or extracting Alberta tar sands good, Greenpeace bad… dangerously bad, throw them in the jail, throw away the keys. Silence them, your silence will be considered… your assent. Brothers, sisters, friends… there’s trouble, there’s trouble at the mine, trouble at the mine… drop what you’re doing, there’s trouble at the mine.

      I was talking with a tree man earlier this week, a permaculturist and restorer of landscapes. A grounded man. He helped, with his words. He said not to worry, that Gaia will resolve all in her own time. It was somewhat reassuring, and for the first time in a long time I slept well.

      Given times like this, those that exit the rooms then re-enter with new names are likely to become more common, and I salute them, for their identity is malleable enough to accomodate the necessary tweaks needed to survive. Darwin would be proud of them, yourself included. Adapt and survive… the oldest game in town, and the latest craze…

      Best, as always.

      • The name(s) you see headlining my posts is a play; an ambiguity, a carnival of light and dark, meant only for me, as “Canguro” – the skinny kangaroo – “means” only to you.

        Nomenclature of this type is usually a surface and affords no substantial proofs.
        It is more a seduction.

        And so my identity via my history and stylistics is no more malleable or confirmed than your own.

        As you confessed, you “knew it”.

        But perhaps your reading of late, distracted by life, was not as close as you would have preferred.

        And so it took Master/slave cluster to read a clue, a phrase, that in fact I had a history and that possibly, just possibly, I had a larger design on the task before me, for you to get that whiff of realisation.
        It is true; I have a history. Might I say perhaps the most confessional one here?
        And that larger design?
        That also is true. But I wait to hear the thoughts of M/s cluster before I say anything.
        I’d like him/her to think of their response as a payment of sorts for this turn of events.

        And the bait? If “operative paradox” enticed them from the shadows Canguro my hope is that “fugitive symmetries” will bring a smile to their face and the surety of good will.

        Perhaps then we will learn more and widen the scope and participate in the (transformative) possibilities of this space.
        I hope so.

        I wish some here would write more and help in that transformation, a transformation made more urgent by Bob’s increased absence.

        So it falls to us.

        Who here will write?
        And tell us of their worlds and the articles within?
        As one who has given the most in this regard I feel it fitting that I make the request.

        So, who here will write, according to their conscience and without fear or shame or judgment?


        It’s good to hear that you slept well.

        • My family are by tradition very late marriers. One Grandfather was 42 when first married, my father 33. the other grandfather was in his 30s as well. A result is that a few generations gets me back to the 1840s and 1850s when my ancestors arrived in this country. Another result is that my grandfather’s sayings go back a long way. He had a saying for almost every occasion, and trotted them out remarkably appositely, even into his 90s. My great uncle sat at the dinner table with a strap upon his lap, ready for any infraction by the likes of my father.

          “If I want you to talk I’ll rattle a chain” was a favourite, as was “If I told you that, you’d know as much as I do”

          And people shake their heads when I say “Wait until the chimney falls, and then you can say Ah Me.”

          Just a sampling; I should write a book, there are hundreds.

          One great uncle was a ship’s captain (hospital ship) in WW11, a teetotaller whose habit was to ban alcohol consumption and who would greet returning officers with a hug - to smell their breath, and chastise them accordingly if alcohol was detected.

          The ship was damaged by Japanese bombs in Darwin harbour and it would seem his quick evasive action avoided its sinking. A sober crew may have helped!

          (more to come if I get encouraged . . . :grin: )

          • Good on you Doug.
            Write as you please.
            I will read it.

            • Another great uncle was a protestant holy roller type from Scotland. Nothing strange about that, one would think.

              But he came to Australia, and preached and joined the Labor Party; was endorsed and stood for election.

              Still nothing odd, you might think. But after the 1917 Russian Revolution he read Marx and Lenin and in 1920 he announced the formation of the Communist Party of Australia.

              And remaining a Christian at the same time! I speak of course of Jock Garden. He became disillusioned with Communism and rejoined Labor; held TUC and ACTU positions for years ran radio station 2KY for the TUC and won election as Jack Lang Labor for Cook.

              He seems to have been a naughty boy in New Guinea in the 1940s . . .
              but you can’t win them all.

              As I like to say, the only difference between the millionaire businessman and the bloke in gaol is that the bloke in gaol got caught.

              And so it goes.

            • If you want more on the “Manunda” and great uncle James Garden, just use your favourite search engine.

              Strangely enough, though uncle Jock has his own article in Wikipedia, the heroic uncle Jimmy does not.

              Sic transit gloria.

          • I’m happy to read anyone’s stories. By the way my dad was forty when he married my mum who was eighteen years younger than him.

            A good marriage, and the age difference only started showing when dad was in seventies…they complimented each other; two of them made a perfect one. :cool:

  8. Master/slave cluster, what say you now at this turn of events?

    • Master/slave cluster

      It is the larger design that is important.

      Although that may mislead you into thinking that the personality of the designer is important as well.

      Whereas all that really counts is whether the basic engineering has been done. Whether in fact there is a design at all, as opposed to a finally pathological compulsion. I cite as evidence Comrade Plod and Frank, the Golf Club Bore.

      The designer is finally conjectural and irrelevant.

      Does the engine work?

      • You discount personality; negate biography?
        I wouldn’t dare such an rude truncation.

        Please cite precedent, analogue, template, or even field, from whichever discipline you fancy. I would welcome the argument.

        There was a time when I erased the author from the work completely.
        So fierce was my desire to cull that the only voice I heard was that of a strict formalism.
        For too many years it was the only vocabulary I understood.

        But it took an event on an ordinary May evening in 1995 to obliterate that philosophy.

        Since that day I’ve never stopped questioning the the provisional nature of the engine and have concerned myself with the root cause of such contingencies.
        That search always, and in every instance, leads me back to biography.

        Yes, the engine works.
        But it’s an incomplete question.

        Utilitarianism, and its appeal to consequences, has yet to offer me the magical parabolas of Pollock, the delicacy and glass of Sanaa’s Kanazawa Museum,


        ….. or the memory from half a lifetime ago of that 40 year old New York heiress who taught me the pleasures of nipples, cocaine, and gin………

        “Well, I, jump and fled this fuckin’ heap on doctored wings
        My flailin’ pinions, with splints and rags and crutches
        (Damn things nearly hardly flap)

        Canker upon canker upon one million tiny punctures
        That look like long thin red ribbons
        Draped across the arms of a lil’ mortal girl
        (Like a ground plan of hell)

        Curse these smartin’ strings, these fuckin’ ruptures
        Enough, enough is enough….

        …….I wassa born and Lord shakin’
        Even then was dumped into some icy font
        Like some great stinky unclean
        From slum-chuch to slum-church, I spilt my heart
        To some fat cunt behind a screen

        Evil poppin’ eye pressed up to the opening
        He?d slide shut the lil’ perforated hatch at night my body
        Blushed to the whistle of the birch
        With a lil’ practice I soon learnt to use in on myself

        Punishment? Reward, punishment?
        Reward, well, ah tied on, perched on my bed
        I was stickin’ a needle in my arm

        Ah tied off! fuckin’ wings burst out my back
        (Like I was cuttin’ teeth)
        I took off
        (Rats in paradise! rats in paradise)
        There?s a mutiny in Heaven

        Oh Lord, I git down on my knees
        (I git down on my knees and start to pray)

        Wrapped in my mongrel wings, ah nearly freeze
        In the howlin’ wind and drivin’ rain
        (All the trash blowin’ round and round)
        From slum-heaven into town

        I take my tiny pain and rollin’ back my sleeve
        Roll Anna, roll Anna, roll Anna roll)
        I yank the drip outa my vein, utopiate! Im bailin’ out
        Utopiate, if this is Heaven ah?m bailin’ out

        My threadbare soul teems with vermin and louse
        Thoughts come like a plague to the head,in Gods house
        Mutiny in Heaven
        (Ars infectio forco dio)

        To the plank
        (Rats in paradise! rats in paradise)
        Im bailin’ out
        (Hail hypuss dermio vita rex)
        Hole inna ghetto! hole inna ghetto
        (Scabio murem per sanctum, dio, dio, dio)’.


        So, Master/slave cluster,
        have you decided yet?

  9. 1. The 40-hour work week.
    2. Weekends
    3. Vacations
    4. Women’s Voting Rights
    5. The Civil Rights Act of 1964

    6. The right of people of all colors to use schools and facilities.
    7. Public schools.
    8. Child-labor laws.
    9. The right to unionize
    10. Health care benefits
    11. National Parks
    12. National Forests
    13. Interstate Highway System
    14. GI Bill
    15. Labor Laws/Worker’s Rights
    16. Marshall Plan
    17. FDA
    18. Direct election of Senators by the people.
    19. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Workplace safety laws
    20. Social Security
    21. NASA
    22. The Office of Congressional Ethics. Created in 2008.
    23. The Internet
    24. National Weather Service
    25. Product Labeling/Truth in Advertising Laws
    26. Rural Electrification/Tennessee Valley Authority
    27. Morrill Land Grant Act
    28. Public Universities
    29. Bank Deposit Insurance
    30. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    31. Consumer Product Safety Commission
    32. Public Broadcasting/Educational Television
    33. Americans With Disabilities Act
    34. Family and Medical Leave Act
    35. Environmental Protection Agency
    36. Clean Air Act
    37. Clean Water Act
    38. USDA
    39. Public Libraries
    40. Transcontinental Railroad and the rail system in general
    41. Civilian Conservation Corps
    42. Panama Canal
    43. Hoover Dam
    44. The Federal Reserve
    45. Medicare
    46. The United States Military
    47. FBI
    48. CIA
    49. Local and state police departments
    50. Fire Departments
    51. Veterans Medical Care
    52. Food Stamps
    53. Federal Housing Administration
    54. Extending Voting Rights to 18 year olds
    55. Freedom of Speech
    56. Freedom of Religion/Separation of Church and State
    57. Right to Due Process
    58. Freedom of The Press
    59. Right to Organize and Protest
    60. Pell Grants and other financial aid to students
    61. Federal Aviation Administration/Airline safety regulations
    62. The 13th Amendment
    63. The 14th Amendment
    64. The 15th Amendment
    65. Unemployment benefits
    66. Women’s Health Services
    67. Smithsonian Institute
    68. Head Start
    69. Americorps
    70. Mine Safety And Health Administration (This has been weakened by conservatives, resulting in recent mining disasters.)
    71. Food Labeling
    72. WIC
    73. Peace Corps
    74. United Nations
    75. World Health Organization
    76. Nuclear Treaties
    77. Lincoln Tunnel
    78. Sulfur emissions cap and trade to eliminate acid rain
    79. Earned Income Tax Credit
    80. The banning of lead in consumer products
    81. National Institute of Health
    82. Garbage pickup/clean streets
    83. Banning of CFCs.
    84. Erie Canal
    85. Medicaid
    86. TARP
    87. Bail Out of the American Auto Industry
    88. Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
    89. Wildlife Protection
    90. End of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
    91. Established the basis for Universal Human Rights by writing the Declaration of Independence
    92. Miranda Rights
    93. Banning of torture
    94. The right to a proper defense in court
    95. An independent judiciary
    96. The right to vote
    97. Fair, open, and honest elections
    98. The right to bear arms (Do you really think extreme right wingers would allow anybody besides themselves to have firearms if in power?)
    99. Health care for children and pregnant women
    100. A stable and strong government established by a Constitution
    101. The founding of The United States of America
    102. The defeat of the Nazis and victory in World War II
    103. Paramedics
    104. The Brady Handgun Act
    105. The Glass-Steagall Act (It has since been repealed and we’ve been paying the price for it.)
    106. Oil industry regulations (The Gulf paid the price after conservatives tore many of these regulations down.)
    107. The Affordable Care Act which makes insurance companies more honest and fair.
    108. Woman’s Right to Choose
    109. Title IX
    110. Affirmative Action
    111. A National Currency
    112. National Science Foundation
    113. Weights and measures standards
    114. Vehicle Safety Standards
    115. NATO
    116. The income tax and power to tax in general, which have been used to pay for much of this list.
    117. 911 Emergency system
    118. Tsunami, hurricane, tornado, and earthquake warning systems
    119. Public Transportation
    120. The Freedom of Information Act
    121. Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery
    122. Antitrust legislation which prevents corporate monopolies (These laws have been savaged by conservatives, which is why corporations are getting huger and competition is disappearing leading to less jobs and high prices.)
    123. Water Treatment Centers and sewage systems
    124. The Meat Inspection Act
    125. The Pure Food And Drug Act
    126. The Bretton Woods system
    127. International Monetary Fund
    128. SEC, which regulates Wall Street. (Conservatives have weakened this regulatory body, resulting in the current recession.)
    129. National Endowment for the Arts
    130. Campaign finance laws (Conservatives have gutted these laws, leading to corporate takeovers of elections.)
    131. Federal Crop Insurance
    132. United States Housing Authority
    133. Soil Conservation
    134. School Lunch Act
    135. Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act
    136. Vaccination Assistance Act
    137. Over the course of nearly 50 years, liberals contributed greatly to the eventual end of the Cold War.
    138. The creation of counterinsurgency forces such as the Navy Seals and Green Berets.
    139. Voting Rights Act, which ended poll taxes, literacy tests, and other voter qualification tests.
    140. Civil Rights Act of 1968
    141. Job Corps
    142. Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
    143. Teacher Corps
    144. National Endowment for the Humanities
    145. Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966
    146. National Trails System Act of 1968
    147. U.S. Postal Service
    148. Title X
    149. Kept the Union together through Civil War and rebuilt the South afterwards.
    150. Modern Civilization

    It is safe to assume that if the current breed of Republicans had their way, ALL of the above list would have never happened. The fact is, the people need government. Government protects the people from the greedy power hungry hands of the wealthy, especially when liberals are in power. The corporations and extremists that own the Republicans today will always only do what is profitable to themselves, and would also get rid of most of the things on this list. So, the next time a conservative complains about all those “socialist” liberals, remind them of what liberals have accomplished. Any conservative that claims anything on this list as a conservative achievement would be a hypocrite. Conservatives would lead us back to the Dark Ages. Liberals and liberal ideals have time and time again, led the way to a brighter future for everyone.

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    Frank… U.S. or Oz change few names the principle remains the same.

    Conservatives are Neanderthals.

    No Frank… I’m a well educated, well adjusted, effing Neanderthal.

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