Election Time Down Under
We are being feted by well oiled political machinations and their laser like focus on what really turns us on at the Ballot Box.
And how we are spoilt for choice in the Senate, a supposedly purposeful and august hangout for movers and shakers who will decide what's in our best interests.
And to reinforce the illusion of choice we get to complete a ballot paper that is just over 1 meter long (39 inches)! Welcome to 21st century, not.
Here are some of the fringe sects vying for control of the country and my best guess at what constitutes their manifesto's:
(southern cross tattoo sporting xenophobic white folk who's ancestors arrived on boats and therefore don't know that black folk were here first?)
(assassins of highway signs, especially the ones that have silouhettes of kangaroos - rumoured to be a sub-branch of the NRA?)
Australian Motoring Enthusiasts
(fast, sleek and simple - ban slow ugly cars?)
(harnessing nano-science and DNA cloning to bring road kill back to life to reclaim their sovereignty?)
Help End Marijuana Prohibition
(crusading hippies promoting free organic gardening classes, mood swings, de-motivation and schizophrenia )
Katter's Australian Party
(crusading blokes with big hats promoting elocution classes for slow talking mumblers, like myself?)
Democratic Labour Party
(like unlike the undemocratic one?)
(like unlike their US brethren?)
(promoting an end the segregation of my Church and your State?)
(skate crew rumoured to be funded by the Independent Truck company, who wish to remove those annoying metal bump things preventing a good skate grind in public places?)
Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party
(a bunch of blokes who can't fit a shed in their town houses who'll finally resolve the diurnal question once and for all - "is fishing a lifestyle?"?)
(some sort of singing crew specialising in three part harmony, RnB, hip hop, blues country fusion as a means of uniting the country?)
(sharing their love of flags with Union Jacks on them - think coins, stamps, billboards, Aussie flags on every car will be mandatory?)
Australian Protectionist Party
(sharing their love of Aussie machinery?)
(all singles and orphans will be deported?)
(free lung transplants - rumoured to be aligned with the HEMP crew?)
Secular Party of Australia
(tax all cults and churches to the max and promote any theory of evolution except the Garden of Eden?)
(probably the most party like party - where thinking hipsters hang when not shopping for cool?)
(more grass, green veges, no meat - rumoured to be aligned with the HEMP crew, too?)
Stop The Greens
(MEAT, more meat, more palm oil, more trans-fats, more ugly mine effluent, more Fukushima's - rumoured to be a front for the International Nihilists?)
(bunch of farmers who think Coal Seam Gas is fracked - bad gas asses?)
Palmer United Party
(no alignment with Mrs Palmer or the sex party - more Titanic than titan?)
(as the Surf Industry knows so well, sex still sells - rumoured to be aligned with Family First in a bid to rid the country of non-reproducing singles?)
ohhhh there's so many more non-partying political parties, but I've lost the urge to analyse. I'm afraid I've failed my civic duty. . . Let's face it, what the election really boils down to is:
Australian Labor Party versus Liberal National Party of Queensland
(a bunch of conservatives pretending to be in touch with the working poor, while denying that they are puppets of Big International Corporations versus a bunch of conservatives with old money and plus old skool ties to Big International Corporations?)
Hughie parks the old car west facing the surf and grabs his leather bound Petri and hand held light meter. He knows its f8 and 1/125 second but checks anyway. He's been disciplined by poverty, the War and life on the sea. He takes a shot of the line up at The Point and one of the family leaning against the wire fence above the cliff. It will be a few months before he finishes the roll of 36 and sends it off to the Kodak lab in Melbourne. Money's tight. 1970, the family's last holiday together . The oldest boy could soon be off to Vietnam, if his number comes up. Long haired hippies with bell bottom jeans and bare feet are everywhere. Hughie can smell smoke but it's nothing like his MacBarrens Navy Cut pipe tobacco.
I was cleaning up the brine cave the other day when I spied my old diary from 1987. The hand writing was terrible (nothing has changed) and the fluoro felt tip ink had faded, but I could make out a series of scratchie entries:August 2 "Surf's back. Small glass. Letter from Loz!" and September 7"No swell. Warm. Spring blooms everywhere"
But the one that caught my eye was 9 September 1987, "New surfboard. $450 Freefluid. No surf."
And that's it above, shot the arvo I picked it up.
I've always been a morning g person. There's something about getting out of bed before the sun that does it for me. Maybe because part of me is from the bush and no matter where I am in the world I rise before the sun and revel in what I call Bird hour.
It doesn't really go for an hour. Most times about 30 minutes and then it fades out with the night as the sun gets out of bed and gets to work giving us free light and life.
My mothers family are from the bush, a long way west of here, where the Thompson River runs (when its not The Dry Season). so maybe that's why I enjoy the various tunes of the Aussie birds all singing at the same time in their different pitches. It reconnects me with that country. I can shut my eyes and pretend I'm out at Jundah under a huge crisp starry sky with a slight glow in the east.
I've just spent the last hour before this wintery dawn listening to various versions of the Rolling Stones song Gimme Shelter, which is my favourite song of all time. Yep OF ALL TIME.
OK, I actually do listen to new stuff to find something better. Music is a BIG part of my experience of this bizarre phenomenon called LIFE.
But right now, that old nugget from 44 years ago is The One in my biased opinion. There's live versions by the Stones and all manner of guest vocalists from Lady Gaga and Fergie to the awesome Lisa Fischer, but they are no match for Merry Clayton the original backup singer.
This was a tune of it's era - more Altamont than Woodstock, as The Singer once said:
"Well, it's a very rough, very violent era,
Violence on the screens, pillage and burning.
And Vietnam was not war as we knew it in the conventional sense..."
Finally, there's a new documentary that shines a light on the critical role back up singers play and making a tune into something huge. They never got much recognition or cash, but they were the glassers who tied the whole package together.Gimme Shelter is a wonderfully crafted tune - a great riff, evocative lyrics but it's the back-up singer that makes it. Sorry boys.