Death of a Scenester Issue 1: Covers

Page 1

is an imprint of tuesday press

tuesday press

First published in 2010 by death of a scenester, an imprint of Tuesday Press Š death of a scenester and Tuesday Press This zournal is copyright. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (for example, a fair dealing for the purposes of study, research, criticism or review), no part of this zournal may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission. All inquiries should be made to the publisher at Disclaimer The material in this publication is of the nature of general comment only. Some pieces may contain material only suitable for adults.

tuesday press

publishing writing with a real voice On a cold winters evening in 2009 a phone call was made. It was a response to many things: a reaction, a rejection and an identification of a unique opportunity. It sought to respond to the rise of online forums where, it seems, everyone is a ‘writer’, ‘artist’ or ‘musician’. It reacted against the notion that the loudest member of society should be listened to. It didn’t want to be swept away by the waves of convergence, majority rules opinions, rushed writings and heartless creativity. It wanted death of a scenester. ‘Covers’ is the first issue of the new incarnation of death of a scenester. Its aim is to encourage the alternative underground to keep its originality alive while trying to work with, rather than against, issues of change and uncertainty in our post-convergent society. It is a way of nourishing local, creative people and keeping the unique music/arts community of Melbourne alive and well. Our vulnerable music/arts community has already been dealt a severe blow in 2010, with new liquor licensing laws resulting in the closure of The Tote Hotel. Without places like the Tote — the mainstay of Melbourne rock ‘n’ roll — people will slowly lose the essential support networks they need to achieve their creative aspirations. The Tote protest on Sunday 17 January was a heartwarming sight. It revived faith in Melbourne’s music community and showed that our passion is for the music, not violence. Live music venues, record stores and bookshops help build our creative industries. They encourage people to watch amazing live musicians, to be inspired, to sit around and talk about ideas, to start a band, to write, to tell stories and to meet people that can change lives. Without this community we’d all be stuck, huddled around the idiot box, staring blankly at the screen. Or perhaps we’d go to work on Monday, excited to reveal how we spent the entire weekend at IKEA buying a couch. Since that cold winter’s evening in 2009 death of a scenester has taken on a life of its own. Fortnightly meetings around the kitchen table, fuelled by cheese, wine and dhal, promoted discussions about everything from writing, editing, marketing, promotion, zines, journals, zournals to music, society, politics, technology and the future. The success of the DOAS bakesale, which raised over $500 to go towards printing, and the mind-blowing support that people have shown for the publication has allowed death of a scenester to evolve as the organic, independent & creative zournal you see. The four of us would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has continually supported the production of this publication. Special thanks go to those who helped out at the bakesale, sponsors and advertisers in this issue, Nick Treweek for his amazing warehouse, Rachael for everything filmy, Matt and Jon from Bar Open for their incredible generosity, all of the contributors to this issue and to Paper Planes, The Bakelite Age and Spun Rivals for rockin’ the launch party! Enjoy. Katie, Ali, Shal & Meg DOAS xxxx


about the contributors . . .

CATE FUREY p.9 Cate Furey is a graphic designer based in Melbourne who wishes that she could play the accordion like Astor Piazolla. Instead, she just has his CDs. She has never encountered actual dinosaurs in an office context, but does wonder about the fine layer of dust that can accrue on some of the people she meets. TRISTEN HARRIS p.10 Living in Melbourne after growing up in Perth, Tristen Harris has been broadcasting on community radio on and off for the last 15 years. He often gets paid money to play records to drunk people with varying degrees of success. Working in video shops and record stores both in Australia and London has given him a level of cynicism and snobbishness that he is not particularly proud of, but secretly relishes. He also cooks a mean fucking batch of nachos. RIJN COLLINS p.16 Rijn Collins is a Melbourne writer with a background in linguistics, a future in Berlin, and a collection of little red notebooks to scribble in. Her work has been published in Going Down Swinging, Eclecticism, Notata, OneEighthVulture, The Age, and in anthologies by Paroxysm Press and Clouds of Magellan Press. Her work has been performed on Radio National and she was a guest panellist at the 2009 Emerging Writers’ Festival. She’s currently working on a novel, which will no doubt mean acquiring more little red notebooks.


RAUL SANCHEZ I JORGE p.18 Raul Sanchez was born in Valencia (Spain) and moved to Australia when he was six. He is a Melbourne-based musician who has kept a diary of jottings, thoughts and hallucinations from his travels for almost 20 years. TALITHA WALKLATE p.24 I like using words and bits and pieces of found objects. Scratching holes in my fingers, sand in my toes, following cobwebs from beginning to end, sitting on a horses back. Trying to understand, palming your change, forgetting important days and reminding you when you do, too. Hugs, to put words together... Hugs, wondering, spending time with you, you spending time with me. Trying to catch my dogs’ smile and losing time; then getting really cranky when I realise I have lost it. My name is, Talitha. LUCY WATSON p.28 Lucy Watson once wrote a story about a wolf who died at the end. Her teacher read it out to the class, and cried when she got to the ending. Ever since, Lucy has always known she would end up writing. Somewhere along the way she got into comedy, penned several Melbourne Comedy Festival shows, stand-up, sitcom pilots and Fringe plays. She has also written for The Age gig guide, and Postcards magazine. She currently lives in London, performs stand-up comedy and writes for a few online blogs and publications. PETER THADDEUS HANNAGAN p.32 Peter Thaddeus Hannagan is a general consultant with a jelly-bean habit. THE CAPTAIN p.36 Devastatingly handsome, staggeringly brilliant and incomparably talented, The Captain scrounges for the scraps of understanding that fall from the insatiable mouth of the tragedy that is living. A unique thinker and average pool player, his spare time is divided between reading, drinking, staring and writing his own bio.


JO NATION AND EGG p.38 egg draws with the intention to provoke conversation. In this sense, egg claims not to be an artist, but a “facilitator of dialogue”. The idea, is that through the drawings, people will be compelled to share their thoughts and perhaps “a moment” that hopefully, no matter how brief, will create a basis for something bigger... Most days egg masquerades as an Engineer based in Auckland. Jo Nation is better known as a composer than a poet. In fact, Jo denies being a poet at all, referring to her writing as “text” or “words”, which form a structure for her compositions. Her text is characterised by musical qualities, quirk, fantasy and unusual characters. Jo is based in Melbourne, works in publishing by day and writes music by night. The pair met as misfits in an economics class at Adelaide University in 2005. Living in entirely different countries, Jo Nation and egg have decided to collaborate for the first time for DOAS. KATIE SCOTT p.40 & 64 Katie Scott is first and foremost a musician. She moved to Melbourne to make music in 2005 and currently plays in Howl at the Moon and solo as Ladie Dee/ Descamps. After many years of imagining, her hope of getting a zine off the ground is finally being realised in death of a scenester. Her future aspirations include continuing to make music – recording and playing it in front of other people, to continue publishing peoples writing in aforementioned zine and to carry on writing herself. She is a dreamer learning to push herself a bit and make things happen in real life. CHRIS CHINCHILLA p.44 Chris Chinchilla likes telling the world what he thinks and hitting things that go ‘boom’ ( THOMAHAWK MERRYWEATHER p.48 Thomahawk Merryweather is a man with a wealth of words, stealthy in the kitchen with a knife and in life is better company than brandy on a cold day and is an even better friend. He was published in the inaugural zine issue of death of a scenester and represents part of our extended Australasian contingent having moved from New Zealand to Sydney a few short years ago. 6

RODNEY TODD p.51 Rodney Todd was born the year punk broke in 1977. Since then he has been playing in bands, doing stand-up comedy, writing little stories and emailing people. He likes to eat Chinese pancakes and dumplings in summer and Laksas in winter. DERUN REVOC p.52 Derun Revoc is a guinea pig farmer and vegetable garden enthusiast, who hopes one day to live as a hermit in a coastal shack. He also has a penchant for single-malt Islay whiskys. ALI E p.54 ali e is thinking about getting her future told, but she is indecisive so who knows what will happen with that idea. Music, books and the ocean has pretty much been her life up until this point in time. KIMBERLY OPIE p.56 Kimberley Opie hails from Melbourne and is not a suspect for any crimes but should nevertheless be approached with caution. CHRISTINE ELLEM p.66 Christine writes a lot, but procrastinates more. When she is not working for a journal, teaching uni students or writing her PhD in Sociology about the history of utopian ideas, she can be found reading poorly-written sci-fi from the 1880s or trying to figure out why people ever thought racial purity and eugenics could be good ideas! Sometimes, you see that on her face. Why not buy her a beer to perk her up? NICK LIVINGSTON p.70 Nick Livingston has studied linguistics, ethnomusicology and music composition. He has contributed to soundtracks for film, television and theatre as well as gigging regularly around Melbourne. He has directed and produced a number of plays through his production company The Fabricated Theatre Ensemble, and is also a qualified Doctor of Chinese Medicine, specialising in acupuncture and remedial massage. And he’s not a bad cook, too, ladies! Note: contributors have been chucked into the typesetting of this publication in a random order. 7

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The five greatest cover versions of all time

TristEn Harris

They’re the derided son of music. The red-headed stepchild if you will. Depending on whom you talk to, the cover version is either seen as the easy way out, or the lazy way out. I don’t want to alarm my fellow snobs out there, but a well thought out cover version can, if correctly executed, be its own artistic entity. Sure, across the land on any night of the week there will be a half-arsed band playing in an RSL or suburban tavern whose entire set will be made out of Kings of Leon, Empire of the Sun and Powderfinger tracks. And they deserve all the scorn we can muster. Hell, in my day there was a band called Alanis Chili Jam who made a couple of grand a night playing the Triple J hits of the time … in fact there was an even more popular act called


The J Babies who would sometimes reel in $5000 for a gig when the only artistic choice they had to make was which colour vest to wear that night. Or, if their undercut needed re-doing. This is the difference between art and entertainment. Music may be an art form to some, but nothing more than cheap entertainment to others. The line between the two is often blurred, and getting into an argument with someone over this distinction can be very satisfying. But I am more concerned with those artists who roll the dice, take someone else’s tune and turn it into their own special beast. It’s a difficult one to pull off, and although many try, pop history is littered with the musical equivalent of an air-ball. Because, for every All Along the Watchtower, there is an American Pie. Time and time again, it proves that although we’re all just super happy that you took the time to print out the guitar tab and learn the lyrics in the ad breaks, we’d rather you don’t bother and just leave it to the professionals. So here is, in my humble opinion, the five greatest cover versions of all time. 1. Mark Kozelek – Bad Boy Boogie. (orig. AC/DC) The man behind Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon proves once again that no one does a cover quite like him. Using the lyrics as a jumping-off point, he eschews the music itself and lays the words down on a bed of his own gentle, spidery guitar, forming a haunting song of yearning that would make even the biggest ute-owner cry into his iced coffee. Kozelek regards Bon Scott as a poet, and re-interpreted a whole album’s worth of tracks, an exercise he repeated for Modest Mouse a few years later. 2. Les Thugs – Moon Over Marin (orig. Dead Kennedys) Before you ask, yes. They are French. And quite heavy. But not in the way that you’d expect from their name. To celebrate the 100th release on his 11

label, Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra asked some of his favourite acts to do whatever they pleased with the DK’s back catalogue. There are some nuggets of gold in the final collection, but nothing shines like Les Thugs’ take on Moon Over Marin. Basically a wall of guitars with monotone vocals, and the foot on the gas. To think, sometimes if you get one punk band covering another punk band, something goes amiss in the chemistry and the result is a song that would make Kevin Shields piss his pants. 3. Alice Donut – Helter Skelter (orig. The Beatles) Another band that was signed to Jello Biafra’s label Alternative Tentacles, Alice Donut’s main reason for being born, seemed basically to gobble whatever hallucinogenics they could get their hands on. Oh, and seemingly to pick up where The Butthole Surfers left off when they decided to tame it down and please all the college kids with Electric Larry Land (seriously, they were once a bad-ass insanely great band). Every now and then, Alice Donut would try their hand at classic rock standards, but skewing them way off to the side. Their take on Billy Joel’s ‘Only the Good Die Young’ borders on unlistenable, but they really hit their stride when the put down the microphone and let the trombone do the vocals. Their version of ‘War Pigs’ is fucking brilliant, but when they tackle the Fab Four’s ‘Helter Skelter’ the trombone never sounded so vital. 4. The Raincoats – Lola (orig. The Kinks) Original post-punk girl outfit The Raincoats are one of those wonderful bands that sound like they’re not even trying, but you know that deep down a lot of thought has gone into what they do. By far their most memorable track isn’t one of their own, but a tumbling, jolting take on The Kinks’ ode to a tranny. Never mind that they’re still singing from a male point of view, the jarring thing about this song is that, at several times throughout, you


get the feeling that its falling apart so badly and you’re waiting for them to give up, altogether. But then, miraculously, it all falls back into line and everything is alright, forever. 5. John Darnielle – The Sign (orig. Ace of Base) Words cannot describe my utter hatred of the original version of this song. Not just this song, but every single euro-pop monstrosity that came before or after it. I don’t care how ‘ironic’ it is to listen to it now. I lived through this nightmare the first time and I’ll be damned if I’m going to acknowledge it as something worthwhile. This is what makes John Darnielle’s version so incredible. He starts it off very quietly, and everyone in the room goes ‘Oh, cute, I remember this song! It really sucks, how funny that he’s playing it! I hope he stops soon.’ Which, over the course of the next few minutes becomes, ‘This is the most life-affirming song I have ever fucking heard. You know, I think I’ll marry that song and I’ll never be sad or pessimistic again.’


bless Rijn Collins


Blindur er bóklaus maður Blind is a man without books ‘Takk takk.’ ‘Bless.’ I take my coffee to a quiet corner and curl up, yawning. Half a dozen people are scattered around the cafe, and I wonder why we’re all up before dawn. It’s not my natural schedule and I’m frowning at inappropriate things; cubes of glossy sugar in the cracked red bowl, an elderly man with sad knowing eyes gazing out the window, a song on the radio. I know it. I know I know it. The melody is so familiar, but the lyrics are in Icelandic. I can get by with basic ‘thanks’ and ‘goodbye’ – the strangely lyrical ‘bless’ – but anything more is beyond me. I’m a linguist, but it’s 6am, my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet, and it’s minus fifteen degrees here in Reykjavik. I listen to the tune and try to identify it, pinning down lines and letting others trail through my fingers. I watch the snow shine in the light spilling through the café blinds, then crack the spine of my phrasebook and dive back into the language of the Vikings. I’ve never known a land more obsessed with books. Maybe it’s the long icy winters, where twenty-four hour darkness sends people huddling indoors 15

to bend their heads over pages, but at 100 per cent literacy they buy more books than any other nation. And lord, do they love to write. When my guidebook drily informs me ‘They say one day there’ll be a statue erected in Reykjavik in honour of the lone Icelander never to write a poem’, my laughter makes me choke on the toxic Black Death Schnapps I’ve been swilling to keep warm in the freezing Arctic night. I’m hooked on phrasebooks; treasure troves of the ridiculous and perplexing lines editors predict you might need. My Swedish book teaches me the ominous ‘You will be shot at dawn’ – perfect for that winter skiing holiday – while this phrasebook finds it necessary to teach me the enigmatic line ‘My ducks don’t like that kind of behaviour.’ It’s my third day in Reykjavik, and I haven’t managed to work it into conversation yet. But I’m solitary at the best of times and here, in this land of isolation at the end of the Earth, my words are few and far between. Though used to solo travel, I’d been wary of arriving on a midnight flight from Berlin and travelling across the country by myself in the early hours. I’d called my hotel to ask their advice, and was met with utter confusion by the receptionist. ‘I don’t understand – why wouldn’t it be safe?’ ‘Well, it’ll be the middle of the night, and I’m a woman travelling alone. Is that recommended?’ Silence. ‘I don’t know what you mean. What could possibly happen to you?’ When I read that Iceland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, give or take a night of drunken puffin baiting or two, it made more sense. When I then read that Icelandic police were so thrown by a recent murder they had to ask for back up from Germany, I understood completely. The midnight bus ride into town was spent in comfort and silence, gazing at the strange lunar landscape in peace. 16

I walk all day here, my army boots sliding on ice. I have to blow on my frozen hands before I can work a pen or a camera, the cold so fierce my chest hurts just drawing breath. Reykjavik surprises me, a riot of tattoo parlours and strip joints, their primary colours splashed against snow, and advertisements in beautiful Icelandic characters spilling from vintage clothing stores and vegan cafés. I eat Skyr each morning for breakfast, a type of curdled yoghurt, and find a tiny restaurant on the docks where I break chunks of black bread into lobster soup so fresh I can still see the nets on the wharf. I take a night tour to chase the aurora borealis, and tumble out of the bus at 3am with dozens of other travellers to stand with necks craned, gazing in amazement at the glowing green lights snaking across the sky. The underground springs are heated by volcanic activity and when I stand still, sometimes I can feel them under my feet, pounding away like pagan drums deep in the belly of the earth. The water cascading from my shower brings with it the heady whiff of sulphur from underground, and I keep sniffing my hair to see if it’s lingered. The colour palette keeps me hypnotised; pale snow on black lava fields, under a bright blue winter sky. I’ve never known a land like it. I throw my phrasebook into my bag and head for the door, preparing myself for the blast of icy air. I love the crunch of snow under my feet, and watch my breath cloud in front of my face. I turn down Snorrabraut to the harbour, and head straight for the Sólfarið sculpture on the water’s edge. A modern interpretation of a Viking skip, its skeletal outline is where I watch dawn break each morning, shivering and spellbound as the first rays creep over the snow. I watch the rosy glow slowly turn the ice golden and amber, and realise the song from the café is still caught in my head. Sitting cross legged by the harbour, I hum to an Icelandic cover version of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and watch the most beautiful sunrise of my life.



Eihei-ji is a functioning Zen Buddhist temple-monastery established in 1244 by Dogen. It is now one of two influential centres of Zen in the world – it is very beautiful and peaceful amid forests of cedars, in a remote district of Japan’s central island, Honshu. You can go there and even stay there if you pre-arrange it one month in advance, Zen costs Yen! I wrote the following after my visit there in May 2009.


*** Here, I am. In my underwear, tired, excited, alone. In my small businesshotel room in Fukui, a city on the south-west coast of Honshu in Japan. The diminutive window looks down onto a square that’s in front of the train station, where lights from the passing cars, buildings and flashing neon signs are reflected on the wet pavement. The sheer curtains insinuate a tortuous sensuality, I play with the material between my fingers, listening to the swooshing tyres of the passing cars and the bell from the station. My life keeps coming back to me in fragments, like a chaotic jigsaw. I realise that you don't forget anything; you simply need the right stimulus to remember. I take my 270ml ‘one-cup ozeki jumbo’ jar of cheap sake out of the fridge and have my first nip, a healthy mouthful: OooH yeaH! Pure fire-water. Straight down my spine, it lights a blue-flame down there, where it all happens. So, I am up in the hills in the rain, deep in a cedar and pine forested ravine, green and lush on both sides. Walking uphill, along a road with not a soul in sight, driven by a mad urge to burn, to fuckin’ drain this madness away through physical exercise, I‘m alive, god damn it!! It’s raining and it’s hot, I take off my waterproof parker, what’s it matter? I'm soaked all over in sweat and rain. I walk on, looking for a sign, something. All the way I am thinking 19

about it, this trip, the pain in my back, my life up until now, the bands, last year scorched into my brain, the strain and stress, my regrets, hopes, fears. My dear friends back home, my family, you. What am I doing here? Alone in Japanese back-woods? Where am I going? Isn't this amazing? I am sweating like mad, wet, it runs into my eyes, stinging like hot tears. The road curves around for a little while and I reach the bottom of a massive concrete dam that towers above me, and somehow it all ties together and curdles in my brain. No matter how much Zen, yoga, aerobics or self-help you practice, drugs you take, people you screw, songs you write, money you make, books you read, you can't stop the universe from churning on, and on, yes, and the forest is my temple, the vast desert and swirling ocean, the dirt and shit and cum is where I come from, no Buddha or Christ-Mohammed will ever change anything like that. It's no defeat, it’s a big fuckin’ glowing YES!! I look up and see the grey sky and the warm rain coming down, soft and gentle, I see the thick, strong dam and imagine the trees down at the bottom, when they flooded the valley, the trees, deep under water, black and twisted, motionless and dark, still standing, slowly rotting into dust, and slowly, ever so slowly washing down into the sea. And so I head down and back along the road, one step at a time. Ahh, my friends, the salty pickled cherries and another sip of the sake, swirling in my head, I open the chips, too. In front of me there is a mirror and I can see my bearded self, standing in that amorous drizzle, wet, steaming and smelling soaked pine needles in the afternoon. As I am walking past the mossy graveyard and its haunted stones, I spot a narrow path carved into the side of the mountain, steep and littered with black rocks. It disappears into the dense all-green forest above a white falling cascade. So I head up this path, but I hesitate. Should I? I kind of know what is up there, and what is in store for me, a long hard slog and maybe a shrine or two, so what? But I also know that once I start I gotta see the end, fuck it! I head up slowly, climbing the muddy, windy, twisted trail. 20

Over mangled roots, everything is wet, alive, the light changes once I enter the numinous emerald shade of the trees. I've got all my magazines and porno-movie pamphlets that I collected back in Ikebukuro (Tokyo) sprawled out before me, pages ripped out and pasted around the walls, eyes, bare breasts, dirty smiles, faces frozen in orgasmic delight, pixelated insinuations, mounds of flesh, stuck on the edges of the mirror, on lamps and wedged behind the air-con controller, that is on the wall next to the trouser press. I take my sweet time. The sake courses through my veins, hallucinations, imaginings, a kaleidoscope of sexual vistas. I've got the TV on too, with the volume off and the lamps down low, my cock is half hard, swelling with anticipation, I play with it, just the way I like it, lazily, half cut. She is a nurse, a fast dream, a student, a teacher, an artist, elemental, a loving mum, a bored senator, a librarian, my protean lover. She likes to watch her best friend suck my dick, how does she do it? As samurais storm the castle and the taste of pickled cherries drips and mixes with nipples and vague promises, the distant twinkle of a glockenspiel swirls amongst ripe vulvas. She has a vigorous and round bum that looks good framed by tacky red garter belts. My balls slap the fake leather of the chair as I tug off, the sound makes me smile. A nude woman on all fours, the Universe in creation. I unwrap her purple kimono like a Sunday chocolate, her smile is my hello to you, cherry blossoms sprayed with lust, carnal angel of the onsen. Bad teeth and perfect pussy, bare me your ancient face and cheap jewellery, genitals entwined in vegetation. Dress up as a doughnut girl, weave your naked body to my naked thirst, like an innocent Japanese garden whore, pure and perverted; I imagine all the dirty pleasings of a good wife. I finger my arsehole, throbbing through the temple gates, her voice is borrowed by the Kami, water whispers cherished similes. I spit on my fingers and rub it gently on my heart-beating knob, pink as a rose petal.


She laps it up, with the very same lips that tell her mother goodbye. The shinkansen flies into the station, conceal to reveal, bare-naked lives floating through fluoro-light banality, reveal to conceal. It is our nudity that gives us a face. I pump my hard-on through my fist. The tension builds behind my neck. My muscles tighten. I am peeling back the covers, pulling back the layers. Let this sweet thing fly, amongst the beds of irises and azaleas, atop shimmering iridescent bodies. I imagine all the young monks getting hardons as a troupe of naked Zen-bitches runs through the monastery grounds, spurting white satoris in their cotton koans, what are you afraid of? To be immolated with desire? I crack a beer, exploring the parallels between bondage and Zen, performance art, eastern cooking, draw a graph, a pie chart, burst like wasabi, fresh and clean explosion. I sit on the toilet seat which is heated, my left index finger on the smooth button that controls the warm jet of water. I sit sipping beer and admire the young Asian tied up with red lace. I play with myself so I can tell this story. Imagine a small business hotel room that is hidden behind a secret passageway underneath tatami mats in a forest – it is raining and there’s a train station just outside the window. You are far away, and the ecstasy comes to you from far away, way back from the place where you came from, hidden in the spark and the joy of a single zero. I tie you up in black leather, I take another step up the green mountain, naked, writing this in fluoro eternity. The cold chain-collar leads me up the muddy, leafy trail, up past the first shrine and the wet cedars and firs. Where, behind old glass and cock sucking, I spot golden Shinto red lips, like flowers bursting into existence. I caress your mud and crab walk, plant my cock into your arse that is the rice paddy of religion and make the sexual mudra of the thumb and littlefinger. All my life I’ve been walking to get here, a day at a time. So I am wanking atop of the mountain, smell the wet earth odour of warm rain. Walking in


the toilet, nipples brown and hard, body strong and taut, unwrap me! Show me your creative sexual muscle. I clutch my hot meat-shaft, tingles shooting up my spine as the girl in the pink leopard-print leotards gets drilled. Snap, snap it changes. I'm a bit drunk for this but I like the hard work, don’t leave a grain of rice in my bowl. So the last wooden staircase is left, like a huge narrow escalator that has been turned off, up it goes into the grey sky and the green forever. She bends over with her Japanese mother hairdo that drives me mad and licks my arsehole, stick my ‘I’ into the bag. My tired legs trembling from the climb, sweat mingles with rain. I reach the top. The canopy opens up and I see the last wooden shrine between her smooth legs, skin wrinkled where it is worn, life is life, is living it. The mirror flashes back, you see yourself (again). The wooden Shinto shrine stands quiet in a small clearing amongst the green pube forest. I look down and see Eihei-ji nestled in Mother Nature that I am fucking in the hotel toilet that is coming in the mirror, that is reaching back and pulling out my lungs in a shower of sparks and pleasure. And so I grab a stone and as I come I say, ‘Here is a gift I brought’ and place it on the polished ledge of the shrine, making a small mound, ‘please take care of my friends and me, for I am your servant, and I will run for thee as long as you burn for me’. To the mother of all things, lady of the wood, spraying my seed to the wind and as I walk back I push the spray button on the toilet and it warmly licks my butt-hole, crashing through ecstasies, out of the corner of my eye I spot a serow, hopping in the bushes. I see her and she looks back, and we exchange the sign that is the bow of all sentient beings. I sit on the toilet with cum on my hand and she is forever there, her body the world on which I walk.

Written by Raul Sanchez i Jorge, 2009. 23

my weakness I would love to be the one who would travel the ocean for you, travel to other lands for you Travel your milky white skin, follow your hands like paths to exotic lands and find the kind of love that I can play with the kind of love that I will destroy & reveal And I doubt myself, can I stay in one place for you. Take root and nourish this soil, stretch branches towards the sky season to turn to blue. For will I be afraid that you will find my weakness my desire to destroy & reveal And if you climb into me you may feel battered and torn Even though in my calm this is far beyond the storm you may not want, you may not desire I will reveal to you my weakness and quell my desire to destroy & reveal So will I then jump overboard and dive into the depths of you, will I for you find the courage to steal my cold & lonely desire wrap your warm words around my neck like kind hands & stifle this desire to reveal & destroy my weakness


leaves leaves brush our eyes curling away from the bed I stretch, wishing to be free of the tangle

we fight regret you turn away

I follow the pattern of freckles across your back touches of sun your trunk blocks the light

your mouth, words falling as leaves of ancient rituals performed again and again I dance around you and my toes touch the embers

scald into submission tripping over the roots, I bruise my knees I water the tree with tears.


birds inside my chest I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know how it happens I went looking for a friend and I found the rain again I tried to learn your language and I fell asleep to your voice if I have a choice I will float away. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know how it happens I fell in love again I scratch holes in my fingers to drain the sorrow in my heart rage shrieks and flaps, she wants out of her pen now I am looking at my wings and I am falling again I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know how it happens I fell in love again Hit the box with your hammer, release the birds inside my chest release them with your song, I can’t feed them anymore I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know how it happens I fell in love again Bury me ‘neath the burden, fold me in your arms I am looking at my song bird, I am looking at the wind Oh how I miss you, oh how I miss you Again


swallowing flowers To expose myself to you I tenderly peel each rib & slowly open the cage You can see my heart But I can’t feel it How funny that might be? Scratch my palms there's blood on my hands How funny that might be? Through your eyes I swallow flowers & disdain the spring showers choosing then to bathe in you How funny that might be? can you tend the soil inside of me until all has been revealed? How lovely that might be ~PJ & BPB~


They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover

Lucy Watson

They say this mostly so that children learn to look past the exterior of others, and see the real person inside. And so they don’t pour their Big M’s all over the unfortunate kid whose hippy parents make him wear one of those mohair jumpers that should only ever be found on the sales rack at Ishka, or wrapped around the iron deficient frame of the chick with the dreads at the vegan cafe. Not that I’m judging. Ok, I am. But that’s because no matter how often we’re told not to, we all judge books by their cover. 28

Even in the most literal sense; books, and their covers. How often have you decided not to buy a book because the cover is poxy? Or gone fossicking around the shelves at Readings, trying to find the original cover of a book after the release of the “movie” version. Because the only thing lamer than reading a book after they turned it into a film, is reading the version with the movie poster plastered all over the cover. It’s almost unfair though, isn’t it? An author spends months, or even years working on the inside of a book – you know, the important bit, with the words. They put all that effort into researching, writing, endlessly editing, and then along comes the publisher, and puts some cheesy, generic cover on the front. The publishers would say that the cover helps the book sell, but if I’m honest, most of the time I buy a book in spite of the cover, not because of it! You see, unfortunately in the harsh light of the train, it doesn’t matter what’s inside the cover of my book. As I stand, check-by-jowl with my other commuters, on the train, or tram, reading my book, I do feel a little judged. And not just because the spine of my book is pressed up against someone’s armpit. I feel judged because all the other passengers can see the cheesy cover. I can’t help wondering what the cute, beardy professor type is thinking of me, or the cool, alternative chick who is pawing a well-leafed copy of Dorian Gray. Are they judging me? Ok, so this probably wouldn’t matter if I was reading something like Palahniuk or Murakami, which would instantly denote me as cool, and literary. As much as I’d like to say I’d be reading something which could be classed as literature, it would be a lie. The shameful truth is that I’m most likely reading trashy historical fiction. Or occasionally to spice things up I’ll sometimes dabble in a little bit of chick-lit – the term, of course, for any book which is deemed to have a female audience, regardless of content. It would be fair to say, though, that across the board, these books have terrible covers.


For some reason I have not yet been able to fathom, it seems that anything written for a female audience ends up with some cover that looks like a fashion shoot for “Ye Olde Vogue”. Or if the story is contemporary, the cover will have an obligatory vase of pastel flowers sitting on the window sill of a beach house. Of course, none of the book will even be set in a beach house. It’s basically just trying to say, ‘You produce estrogen – read this’. I don’t understand why this is, either. Woman aren’t all delicate, mindless morons, drawn to books with dresses and flowers on the cover. And sometimes these books can be quite good. They can be well written, and fun, and be just the thing to take you away from a painful commute. You don’t have to dredge through layers of verbosity, and abstract meaning. You just read the books and disappear into the world of the characters. The only thing is, when I read them on the train I can’t quite stop that feeling of shame. Worrying about how I appear frivolous and moronic. ‘That’s it.’ I decide. ‘When I finish this book I am going to try and read Dickens again. Yes, I decide, this time I will get more than five chapters into Oliver Twist!’ Of course, I never do. All too often the books people read, the films they watch, or even the music they listen to is taken as some kind of illustration of their intellectual value. And while I agree, reading New Weekly might not denote you as a rocket scientist, I think it’s fair to say that occasionally we just want to numb our minds with a bit of fun trash before all the hard stuff starts again. After all, life is serious enough. Is there really something wrong with entertainment for its own sake? If only Borders sold “faux literary” covers for books. Leather sleeves which could easily be slipped over the latest Phillipa Gregory, which say in big, gold, embossed letters War and Peace. So while you were really reading about the romantic exploits of ladies in the court of Henry VIII, everyone on the train would think you were dredging through Tolstoy’s epic about the Napoleanic invasion of Russia. I mean obviously Tolstoy is going to give you a lot more lit-cred. 30

Or perhaps we should all just be ourselves, and read what we like. I mean, just because someone is reading Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard doesn’t mean they build model spaceships, or belong to a strange cult-like religion. Just because someone is reading Catcher in the Rye, doesn’t mean they fancy themselves as a rogue loner, or identify themselves with Kurt Cobain in any way. Just because someone has read all the Dan Brown novels doesn’t mean they’re a moron. Sure, all these things may be very likely, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Right?

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have a friend – let’s call him Jez – who I often like to blame things on and use as an excuse for the dumb things I do. I have known him since I was very young, as have my parents, and now pretty much all my friends know him, too. My friends in particular know of his looseness: looseness in his behaviour in general, and looseness with the truth more specifically. So a long time ago it occurred to me that mentioning his involvement in something was a perfect way to add credibility to a cover story. These stories are usually believable given his past exploits, and even if people question the stories, they won’t believe his denials because he is renowned for his lies. So there was the time I fell in the river, drunk, then got really cold and went home and hung all my clothes on the line and went to bed. ‘Oh, I was


at a party and Jez pushed me in the pool,’ I told my Mum when she asked about the clothes on the line the next day. Mum said something like, ‘Oh, that Jez,’ and I agreed. Then another night I was drunk and tried to jump over a fence, but I tripped and fell and fractured my elbow. I said I had been wrestling with Jez. ‘That Jez, he doesn’t know his own strength,’ said my Mum. ‘Yes, he’s very rough,’ said I. Another time, I went to visit some friends who lived in one of those big old terrace houses with a balcony out the front, a massive hole in the lounge room floor, and two TVs stacked on top of each other so you could watch sport and porn at the same time. The guys who lived there had recently taken to jumping off the balcony with a mattress, with the aim of landing on a big tree in the front yard. Good, clean fun by all accounts, and it seemed to me that it was something I should try. The mattress was a convenient safety measure, but it also presented a minor challenge, because once you held it up in front of your face, you couldn’t see what you were doing. So when I jumped off, I basically missed the tree. The mattress was some help, I suppose, but I still winded myself more badly than I had ever done, and I was making horrendous wheezing noises once I could actually breathe again. I went home with a pretty sore back, and it was even sorer the next day. Clearly there was something wrong, but I was a student in those days, and the prospect of visiting and paying for a physiotherapist or whoever fixes backs was pretty unappealing. I decided the best option was to visit my parents and see if they might pay for the treatment. Obviously they wanted to know what I had done to my back, so I said, ‘I was kicking the footy with Jez and he tried to take a big mark over me and kicked me really hard in


the back. Now it’s really, really sore’. They were sympathetic and paid for the physiotherapist, which was excellent. It turned out I had put some vertebrae out or something. ‘Oh Jez, that rascal,’ I think my Mum said. Now you might think that this is all a bit rough on Jez, and that I am putting him in a bad light with these kinds of stories. You might think all kinds of nonsense. So let me tell you a little more about him to put it all into perspective, and make me look a bit better. Jez’s lies are legion. He once told me that a mutual friend had a younger brother who died of electrocution after wetting the bed with the electric blanket on. This was a well crafted story, because he told me not to bring it up with the mutual friend because he was very sensitive about it, and then when I finally did bring it up, the mutual friend was in on the story and said that it was true, and pretended to be quite upset about it. Jez has also: • Told his cousin that he kept a bag of his own shit in the freezer (plausible, but not true); • Told me that a female acquaintance was a dominatrix (plausible once again, but embarrassingly for me, also untrue); • Told people that his Dad invented the bobby pin and mirrored sunglasses (less plausible and still untrue); • Told me that he had a sister (absolutely preposterous). He is also fond of telling a story that he will attribute to anyone who is nearby when he tells it. He has often told complete strangers and new girlfriends of mine alike that I am the person in this story. The story goes that he once got home to his house late at night to find one of his mates in the kitchen, with an ice cream bucket on his head, and ice cream covering the floor. Allegedly the bloke had his pants down, had an erection and was rubbing 34

his arse in the ice cream. I know this story is not entirely true, but I am also pretty sure that it was actually Jez who performed the basic elements of the story. I am also fairly certain that it was in fact duck fat (which had been kept in an ice cream bucket in the freezer) and not ice cream that he smeared on the floor. If by any chance you still sympathise with Jez, then relax. Despite my efforts, I have found that sometimes he just can’t be blamed for the silly things I have done. One morning, years ago, I got home to my parents’ place pretty drunk, and really hungry like you sometimes get when you’re pretty drunk. So I ate a salad bowl full of rice bubbles and milk and went to bed. About half an hour later I woke up feeling terrible, and had to quickly open the window and vomit up the salad bowl of rice bubbles. A couple of days later my Dad asked me if I had vomited out my window recently. This was a reasonable question and it put me in a tricky situation. Jez hadn’t been by in a while, and I don’t think he eats rice bubbles anyway, so I was out of luck with my usual excuses. Instead I responded with the next best excuse I could think of: ‘No, it wasn’t me.’ *Postscript: When I showed this story to Jez to get his feedback, he said: ‘All these lies are lies, honestly.’

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Life between drinks: tales of a part-time alcoholic

by The Captain 36 3 6

He looked at the pieces of silver… the insignificant results which reward the ambitious courage and toil of mankind whose day is short on this earth of evil.

– Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent

I dream about answers. About one concrete, correct thought that I could possibly stand on and then leap off. But even in dreams I’m held down. The trick of consciousness is to give us self-awareness but only up to point; after that it becomes self-deception. The alarm goes off and I drag myself upright. A sliver of sunlight pierces the room from the tiny slit between blind and window frame and, from this particular angle, illuminates the thousand pieces of floating nothing moving in and out of this small, momentarily revealed space. I can discern no pattern or design to their movement. No direction they’re going and no clue about why or from where they could have originated. They’re just there, each tiny, weightless particle, blowing on the small, temporary ripple of disruption in atmosphere my stirring has caused, existing only in this thin shaft of light, only as my eye catches them at the right angle, at the right time. Conrad was right about one thing; there is something arbitrary about this life. Still, some days are harder than others. I pull the covers back over my head and am thankful for the darkness.


We Are Fathers


Illustration by egg

Text by Jo





Opaque tea and a cold kiss of the apple and I breathe in the wet air at the outdoor setting. White-painted cast iron, looking delicate and antique, but drags like a dead beast across the ground when you try to shift it. Shit. Ashes on my feet. Silent and grey like a disintegrated feather. I smudge it away with my other foot and wipe both feet, both sides, awkwardly on the dewy grass. You’ve been missing for four-and-a-half days. Approximately 108 hours. I imagine you, lying in a creek, bloated and drained of all human colour. I imagine you, haemorrhaging in a gutter in a ghost town somewhere, where no one hears your calls. I imagine you, flying from a cliff above the sea with sorrowful thoughts, your last, sorry to the end. I imagined the worst and immediately, as soon as I went to bed alone. Down the gully creek On black blood platelets


Black rings down the drainpipe To the black walnut grove I open that book and take a look with a quiet query in the secret chambers in my heart, a soft, skipping arrhythmia as I forget to breathe … looking for a sign of something, I do not know what. I turn pages sticky with old glue, looking for that clue, but frustrated with blankness, I put it aside. It is crumbling now, too, that book. Like the ashes. I feel deadened. Numb. Heavy. Translucent. I stare dumbly at the flecks of leaf floating on the surface before I imbibe. It’s a warmth that bleeds down the throat. Do you feel me wondering? I am full of questions for you. They are pecking at me like Hitchcockian birds, frightening me and making me crazy. My head is composing a letter to you, years down the track, when you’re still gone. I imagine the worst. Begging you to come back … willing it. But curious about the life beyond it. Beyond disaster. Before disaster


even. I am despairing at my own curiosity with this, always. It stares me in the face every day and I fight it. A ghastly, haunted reflection. All at the same time I am lonely for your company, lusting myself into a knot for your body, breaking myself in to pieces with hopeless anger at your disappearance. So hotly blinding a contrast my hate and love for you in this horrible moment. Disparate. Desparate to see you. Why is the golden time gone? Things slip away like a ship to the bottom of the sea. I imagine heaven as scuba diving to the wreckage, to forever recall, reimagine the past happinesses, though they are now covered with coral and silt, with fishes moving quickly through it all like busy waiters in a big Parisian café. Joy abounds and we float in the ocean, surveying all that pretty wreckage below. I blacken my finger tips with apple ash before I pluck that green granny from the table and bring it to my lips for another go round. Numb it. Blunt it out. Soften the edges and dream it away. Fight through the panic when it rises and just go…run to that place that you’ll never get to, even when sleep comes. Did my darkness frighten you? Oh god…more questions. Squash it down now.


Down the gully creek On black blood platelets Black rings down the drainpipe To the black walnut grove Dark skies make the earth look greener And broken boughs Stretch down to woo us Weeping, cold tears dripping In to age old knots Rainwater rushes like a wall towards me Clay falls like towers, like a city earthquaked Hoist myself in a supplejack swing, Trembling, sing this song to bring you home


Covers of the future

Covers of the

future a muso’s guide to online cover art

chris chinchilla

I'm old enough to remember the great laments aired when vinyl started to die it’s still ensuing slow death. How would musicians and their artists continue to shrink their exquisite works of art down from a whopping 12” to XX CD inlays? Well, unsurprisingly they coped, they managed, they learnt new tricks and still created a mixed bag of wondrous masterpieces and piles of crap. There have been some classic album covers that I feel wouldn't have


even worked on vinyl. Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’ is one example, pop out the CD holder and you find a wealth of extra art lurking beneath the surface. Not forgetting cardboard covers, flexipacks and a wealth of DIY efforts that were simplified by the smaller size of a CD. CD bodies themselves also offer an extra surface for artwork that previously never existed, not to mention those more adventurous musicians who add bonus material through the extended CD format. Fast forward twenty years and we’re going through the same debate and unnecessary laments again. As physical music releases are starting to die a slow and painful death, artists and musicians are once more wondering what will happen to their ever important artwork. Let’s face it, on shelves and even virtual shelves, it is often artwork that tempts the casual browser to buy your product and not one of the thousands of other options surrounding it, artwork is needed to grab peoples attention and draw them in. Perhaps a couple of years ago when the vast majority of music downloads were illegal, either ripped from borrowed CD’s or found lurking on file sharing networks, artwork would tend to become separated from the music and most wouldn’t care about it. Now with increased disc space to cope with megabytes of artwork files, and most crucially, portable music players with larger colour screens, digital music artwork is experiencing a rapid and overdue renaissance and has by no means killed the need for artwork. However as far as I can see, there are a few challenges and potentials with this new and exciting medium. The main challenge is how to cope with artwork that could be viewed in glorious full-size colour, potentially even larger than 12” vinyl on some fancy 27” computer screen, but also make it clear and recognisable at something as small as 64 × 64 pixels. Complex and intricate artwork could


no longer be suitable in all digital situations, with clear and concise artwork the flavour of the day. One feature that digital artwork offers that has not previously been possible is the ability to attach images to individual tracks instead of the album as a whole. With each track potentially having it’s own artwork, this opens up a wealth of interesting creative ideas, reinforcing the refocussing that downloadable music has already created, from albums to tracks. There are a lot of people out there who love liner notes, spending time perusing lyrics, studying production notes and the bunches of random photos generally found filling up CD booklets. There are others who couldn’t give two stuffs about what guitars the band played and what sunglasses they were wearing whilst touring Japan, considering the booklet an annoying waste of paper that wont let you close the jewell case properly. Thankfully, a lot of musicians who have embraced digital downloads are already providing links to optional liner notes and with the advent of new technologies such as iTunes LP (ironic title), it could be that artists can choose to charge a little extra if fans want to buy album-related material or not. For budding musicians who are keen to jump on the next bandwagon before the music industry hijacks it, how does one go about attaching digital artwork to your music? Well, thankfully it requires no extra tools or hours than those already employed in making traditional artwork: in fact even less as you don't have to worry about printing it any more. Once artwork has been created in your favourite image editor (further support the legal open source revolution by using GIMP) it’s generally a case of pasting or attaching the image files (dependent on what you use to create your music files) to the information window on your tracks, i.e. the same place where you enter artist and track names.


So what are you waiting for? If it’s that easy, don’t just paste some shrunk-down version of your artwork that looks crappy and unintelligible into your digital releases. Sit down, think, let your creative juices flow, have some fun and work out a few novel ideas, legal music downloads have empowered musicians to easily get their music out to fans who have been surprisingly quick and accepting of the format. Don’t just make your downloadable tracks direct rips of physical releases, make them different, unique and worth paying for, give a little back, your fans deserve it.

The Basilisk Bookshop for secondhand and some antiquarian books in most fields of interest. Areas of specialisation include Literature, Art, Photography, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Philosophy and Esoterica 4 0 7 B ru n sw i c k S t re e t, F i t z r oy, V i c t o ri a 3 0 6 5 , T e l . : ( 6 1 3 ) 9 4 1 6 0 0 7 1 , Fax : ( 6 1 3 ) 9 4 1 6 0 0 7 2 , E m a i l : j o h n @ ba s i l i s k b o o k s h o p.47 com

three poems by


Thomahawk Merryweather


fin 50


Fuck, A Ninja!

KICking! YEAH!


a short thesis on...

by Derun Revoc 52


y guinea pigs eat their own poo. They are coprophagous. Isn't that gross? Apparently guinea pigs have two types of poo. One kind is full of nutrients so it gets digested again and the other kind is useless so they just leave it on the ground.

What kind of modern animal, evolved over billions of years, still eats his own poo? Silly little guinea pigs. Actually, I don’t know why there are still guinea pigs these days. Eating their own poo without getting sick is just about the best thing they can do. They’re stupid weaklings, they’re half blind, they can’t dig or jump or climb, they eat until they explode, and when threatened they either sit stone-still or run around in circles (they call it a “stampede”, i’m not convinced). Even though they breed better than rabbits, this leads them into famine – they literally eat themselves out of house and home. I can easily imagine a snake or a dog or any half-decent predator stumbling upon a group (yep a group, even their collective noun is feeble) of guinea pigs, having a great time picking them off one by one like a drunk at a bain-marie. So what survival mechanism has Mother Nature equipped them with to allow them to survive this long? I don’t know. If I traced their ancestry, or studied their genome I could probably find out. But for now, I just think they were lucky (not smart) enough to get themselves domesticated when they did. Along with humans, this is the only other species I can think of that has evolved in such a way that they can now evade the natural selection process. The strongest, smartest and fastest guinea pigs survive to procreate, but nowadays so do the fattest, stupidest and ugliest. If that’s not definitive proof that guinea pigs and humans are cousins who have evolved from a common ancestor, then I don't know what is.




by ali e

Hey you.

You know what makes us really angry? You know what really pisses us off? It’s when you go under cover and cheat! You betray us. Didn’t you know? You’re either with us or against us. There’s no room in between.

Just like

Alice Cooper and band with their hands down their pants. Or Dick Cheney threatening to shoot if you don’t buy this magazine. Or the two camels having sex for The Economist. Or Muhammad Ali pierced by bows and arrows. Or Andy Warhol drowning in a can of tomato soup. Or like The Black Crows’ pubic hair. Or like The Rolling Stones’ public toilets. Or like The Beatles’ butcher… Don’t worry, we fought with all of them…


just like ‘dem Cowboy’s and Indjuns. Oh, we had a great game of Cowboys and Indjuns back in ‘dose olden days. They didn’t know what they were doing, ‘dem darned Indjuns. We beat any God damn spirit that they had right out of them. We covered ‘em up real good with our laws and rules. And now they’re one of us. Them’s the enemy. Who’s the enemy?


You’re all the enemy. You’re like rats, vermin. We can treat you like shit and you wouldn’t know, ‘cause do you know why? ‘Cause, YOU’RE NOT HUMAN!


What a world! What a world it will be when you’re all the same as us. It’s not far now. We will all sit and watch reality TV and buy Air Jordan’s and they’ll make us fly. And every night the sky is covered in stars and darkness but no one knows, because you are all covered in the neon lights of your TVs and computers, none the wiser! And you continue developing covers and disguises for yourselves on the internet…and fake…and fade…away…like…flakes…


will be following orders from up above. JUST DO IT! It’s for the best.

Oh yes, and we have secrets. Sick, twisted, disturbing secrets. But we’ll never let you in on them. We’ll just fuck you up instead… Not like

those damn babushka dolls. They’re always hiding underneath each others’ covers, teaming together to protect the little one. They have secrets of their own. It’s a conspiracy. We don’t know what damn propaganda that little one is listening to. We need to control her, make her believe in OUR propaganda. We’ll pry and poke and cavity search if we have to. But she keeps hiding. We’ll manipulate her in the end. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.

Just like

when we told that Wendy Bacon woman to behave and conform! Oh yeah, we covered all that up real good. But it’s seeped in history…now…now…

And, alas!

To our dismay, you constantly break the rules, again and again. You keep coming back in circles with your courage and pride.

We will kill

if we have to and turn you into bloody zombies… We’re not scared of you… We keep telling you not to break the rules. We can make your covers rise and converge until the piece of string loses its original end. And then where does it begin? You’ll be just a lost piece of string getting pulled along. And then we can see your cover and judge it just how we want to. We know all of your guises. You’re not original, you’re transparent…


manipulated all the others just like the wave that curls over and covers your head. And when you make us mad and confused, we become destructive. You’ll never win, we’ll always cover you up. Dont ever forget that.


by Kimberly Opie



The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of vinyl as cover. A select set of applications of vinyl as cover were analysed, taking into account where applicable, the variety of permutations available in the constitution of a vinyl. Several case studies were analysed including the use of a vinyl as cover from adverse weather, indecent exposure, sanitary applications and of one’s identity (for either avoiding or monitoring a subject). While this study is based mainly on theory, it is hoped that the applications analysed are applicable to real world situations. In some cases the availability of situations where testing could be performed were not available, and at times it was not safe or advisable to perform rigorous field testing. 2.

Dataset overview

Vinyl in the context of this study is defined as a piece of polyvinyl chloride pressed with modulated spiral grooves. The grooves generate an analogue sound-storage medium often also referred to as a gramophone record. Permutations in size and 56

packaging were assessed in this study. The uncommon constitution of a vinyl of shellac-composition was not assessed.



Figure 1 – Molecular composition of polyvinyl chloride The shape of a vinyl is circular, as defined by π multiplied by the radius squared. When defining the size of a vinyl a reference to its diameter is used. Typical sizes of a vinyl are 12 inches (30 centimetres), 10 inches (25 centimetres) and 7 inches (17.5 centimetres). A hole exists in the centre of this disc for the purposes of fixing it’s position on a gramophone or pre-amplifier device. Packaging for this circular disc comes in several forms and combinations. The permutations of interest are outlined as: Size •12 inches •7 inches


Sleeve •Paper •Clear plastic

Cover •Cardboard •Plastic •Metal


This study has been performed in an attempt to cover the main applications of vinyl cover. It was not believed that all applications could be analysed in this study in a timely manner. As such, further research may be required in this area. 3.1.

Adverse weather

In order to best serve the main geography of this zournal, the focus of this case study was limited to the Melbourne Catchment Management Authority (CMA) region (see Figure 1). Simple exploration of climatic data for your local region may provide you with enough to establish the likelihood and applicable applications of vinyl cover. For this study, current climatic conditions and future climatic conditions were assessed.


Figure 2 – Study site. Melbourne is located in the state of Victoria in Australia. 3.1.1. Climatic conditions The following includes an analysis of the general weather conditions over the past 100 years (1908 to 2009). Initially it was expected that an analysis of the last decade would be representative enough, however, drought and the affects of el-Niùa make the likelihood of the prior decade (1998 to 2009) being representative as unreasonable. Over the last 100 years an average of 648 millimetres of rainfall occurred over an average of 150.5 days annually (see Figure 3). Data available for thunder days (1990 to 1999) suggests an average of 10 thunder days occur in Melbourne annually, normally distributed across the months (see Figure 4). Scenarios modelling changes to climate generally predict an increase in rain over a decreased number of days.

Figure 3 – Average annual rainfall and rain days in Melbourne 58

Figure 4 – Monthly distribution of thunder days in Melbourne 3.2.

Indecent exposure

In the state of Victoria it is an offence to commit wilful and obscene exposure. This offence is covered under the Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 19 and carries a penalty of 2 years imprisonment. The Act details the offence of obscene exposure as ‘… wilfully and obscenely expose[ing] the genital area of his or her body in, or within the view of, a public place’. In the occurrence that the length of male genitals was longer than the smallest of our vinyl test case (i.e. 7”) it was assumed that the remaining malleable portion was held along with the vinyl cover. 3.3.

Sanitary applications

There are sanitary applications to vinyl cover including covering one’s own or another’s expulsion of bodily fluid, e.g. sneezing. This application could be performed with many things, including one’s own hands, and as such these applications were not explored. Applications uniquely advantageous to vinyls were explored. The shape and material of a vinyl makes it ideal for covering an infant’s birthday cake. The transfer of viral material through human bodily fluids and in particular saliva and mucus is well known. The natural curiosity of infants and lack of knowledge in the area of hygiene makes infants remarkable disseminators of disease and bacteria. The application of a candle to a birthday cake, as is customary in many cultures, is made possible through the internal hole in the centre of the vinyl. 3.4.

Concealing one’s identity

The application of vinyl cover to one’s identity for the purposes of hiding one’s self or observing another was explored. The average size of a human limits the amount of concealment available from a vinyl. Identity of an individual is usually confirmed 59

by facial recognition. If the subject you are concealing yourself from is familiar with other features, then a vinyl is inadequate in this application. The internal hole of the vinyl provides a concealed view of something, provided that the hole is cleared. New vinyls invariably have the hole through the centre plate covered by a label. In this case, a puncture needs to be made through the label. The size of the hole introduced limitations to field of view and distance to the subject of interest. The average size of a human head is as follows: Table 1 – Bitragion breadth. The breadth of the head from the right tragion to the left (tragion is the cartilaginous notch at the front of the ear) Sample Men

(cm) (in) (cm) (in)


1st 13.1 5.2 12.5 4.3

5th 1.35 5.3 12.8 5.4

Percentile 50th 14.5 5.7 13.3 5.4

95th 15.5 6.1 14.3 5.7

99th 15.9 6.3 15.0 5.9

Table 2 – Menton to top of head. The vertical distance from the tip of the chin (menton) to the level top of the head Sample Men

(cm) (in) (cm) (in)



1st 21.2 8.4 19.8 7.8

5th 21.8 8.6 20.4 8.3

Percentile 50th 23.2 8.6 21.8 8.6

95th 24.7 9.1 23.2 9.1

99th 25.5 9.4 23.8 9.4


Results for the analysis of the applications of vinyl cover were promising, overall. Again it should be noted that rigorous field testing was not performed and that further testing should be undertaken. 4.1.

Adverse weather

Application of vinyl cover to adverse weather was effective using several test cases, not taking into account the probability of having a vinyl outdoors on a rain day. The


most successful testing was when the vinyl was held laterally overhead with one or both hands. In the case of the vinyl disc, polyvinyl chloride is very non-conductive and damage from saturation is highly unlikely. The incidence of the internal hole meant that seeping would occur in the centre of the disc. The introduction of the plastic sleeve removed this seepage. Damage occurred to cardboard covers; the degree of damage increased with length of exposure and intensity of rain. The use of a metal cover was effective through all intensities of rain. The high conductive nature of metal and perceived likelihood of fatal damage to the individual results in a reduced sample of results for this case. Although the chance of being struck by lightning is 1 in 280 000 000, subjects were not inclined to participate in testing. 4.2.

Indecent exposure

All permutations of test case vinyls were effective in providing sufficient cover for the male. Females on the other hand did not acquire sufficient coverage of the breast region with a single 7� vinyl. Either two discs or a disc and a cover were effective at covering the breast region. This, however, meant that the subject could not use their hands to use vinyl cover for the lower region of their body. Vinyl cover was only effective for females when either the upper or lower needed cover, not both. 4.3.

Sanitary applications

Vinyls were effective as cover in the birthday-cake scenario. Several limitations to this approach presented themselves. As the most practical application of cover was to place the vinyl (unpackaged) on top of the cake, any decorative frosting was damaged by doing so. The vinyl needed to be cleaned thoroughly before its application as cover. Only one candle could be placed on the cake as the size of the internal hole limited the addition of more. An undesirable amount of time was needed after the test to carefully clean the vinyl suitably enough to be played again and mitigate damage. While polyvinyl chloride is a known carcinogen, at no point in time were subjects exposed to it in a manner that would result in cancer. 4.4.

Concealing one’s identity

While it is possible to use all permutations for concealment, environmental conditions played a significant part in the effectiveness of this application of vinyl cover. See Table 3 for relative effectiveness. It seems that vinyl cover is not effective when one draws attention to themselves though the act of concealing their identity with a vinyl.


Table 3 – Relative effectiveness of vinyl cover for concealment Environment Crowded street


Empty street


Crowded public transport


Empty public transport


Sitting next to the subject on public transport In a crowded venue


In an empty venue



The observation of a subject was also effected by environmental factors. It seemed that there were more factors impacting on the effectiveness of vinyl cover than anticipated. These included viewing method and cover design (loudness). Options for the method of observation included looking over or around one side of the vinyl or looking through the internal hole of the vinyl. The design present on the packaging of the vinyl tended to influence the degree of identification from the subject. The vinyl is no longer effective as cover when one’s concealment is noticed. The most effective observation method was to use a dull covered designed vinyl and observe the subject over the top of the vinyl. While this does not totally physically conceal one’s identity, it does provide adequate cover and mitigate detection by the subject. This method proved successful for both the 7” and 12” varieties. 5.


There are many interpretations of the phase “vinyl cover”. While many of these are the object of substantial review and debate the actual physical application of vinyl cover has been neglected. Vinyl cover is effective against adverse weather, the most effective test case being one of a 12” vinyl in plastic packaging. Practically speaking, I personally would not use it in this manner. If it was raining and/or lightning was present, I would most likely cover the vinyl with myself or my clothing. The sanitary application of vinyl cover for a child’s cake is most effective when one doesn’t mind disposing of the vinyl after it has provided cover. Invariably cake icing and the chance of wax dripping on the surface are difficult to mitigate. For men, vinyl cover is effective in the case where a sleeve or more than one vinyl is available in the application of removing indecent exposure. This is given that you would probably not want to be


stationary while indecently exposed; otherwise a wall/fence could be used for one side. For women, more than one vinyl would be required and you would need more than two hands to hold the vinyls to provide the appropriate cover. It would be possible if they were stationary (as they could use a wall/fence) or only half indecently exposed. While vinyl cover is effective in concealing one’s identity, the undeniable impact of environmental factors needs to be considered. It seems that concealment at a venue is most effective. This in part is mostly due to the fact that the subject’s attention is mostly drawn to other things. Examples of this are their company, their beverage and music being played. Vinyl cover in the application of observing someone is effective in the right conditions and using the right manner of doing so. Unfortunately, removing the vinyl from the packaging to maximise concealing your identity makes you more obvious. This analysis has been performed to highlight the application of vinyl cover to real world situations and provide useful and objective analysis of this application. While I’m sure there are a great deal more applications of vinyl cover, hopefully this study encourages more analysis, review and debate in this important field.



Today I discovered that my favourite bookstore had C L O S E D. The shop where I used to enter and stare longingly up at my all time, most favourite sections (Fiction B, K, S, W and Poetry E & H), towering above me and making me giddy with excitement and delight, is now an empty, unattractive shell. No bookshelves even remain. I feel for the storekeeper. The end of an era has arrived abruptly and it is truly a sign of sad times. Paper don’t sell no more. Still, let me endorse it with some favourite findings from inside of books. Even if you don’t read a lot or well, or DISlike it, it is worth opening a book to find an inscription, a photo, a postcard, a poem. They are time capsules otherwise discarded. Left to disintergrate over time between cardboard covers. You just never know what you will find and I promise, it will make you smile. If it doesn’t, please track me down and I will give your book-foundlings a home. I mourn for the Crow’s Nest. It was my time honoured tradition to visit and purchase every time I was back in the town where my family lives. No more, no more, no more. It is not the same to buy old books on a Machine.


64 4


The Big Bad christine ellem

Before cover albums, postmodern pastiche and the retro-snarl of the hipster poseur, the Big Bad Dictator was the ultimate homage. Big Brother Big Brother. Ubiquitous. Sinister. Eyebrow-ish. Before the name was lame it was iconic. For anyone without an active TV connection for the last 10 years, perhaps it retains some of its edge as a critique of the totalitarian will to power. The grand old grand-daddy of paranoia might be a memorable icon, 66

and now pop-culture flotsam, but original? Not exactly. Lurking behind BB is a history of literary inspiration, artistic homage or, socially and politically attuned re-interpretation … he’s a cover. Darker and more twisted than the first and second versions. Imagine a Tom Waits does Cyndi Lauper doing The Cure kind-of-thing. Big Brother was a desperately penned cautionary figure, a sign of the times. Orwell believed the more brutal element of humanity was increasingly coming to dominate the story of modern states (not only the Soviet Union, as many mistakenly thought, but all modern states). Before the First and Second World Wars, H.G. Wells had enjoyed considerable literary notoriety with his sci-fi writing, suggesting that science and rational planning could help human nature to evolve, and achieve a harmonious, utopian world order. Writing in Horizon (1941), as a very public act of ridicule, Orwell depants-ed his former idol, H.G. Wells, with this analysis of modern life: He was, and still is, quite incapable of understanding that nationalism, religious bigotry and feudal loyalty are far more powerful forces than what he himself would describe as sanity. Creatures out of the Dark Ages have come marching into the present, and if they are ghosts they are at any rate ghosts which need a strong magic to slay them. The people who have shown the best understanding of Fascism are either those who have suffered under it or those who have a Fascist streak in themselves … Wells is too sane to understand the modern world.*

By the time he came to write 1984 Orwell was convinced that brutality and the pursuit of power as an end in itself stood as serious contenders for the zeitgeist, and Wells’ world of beneficent science, reasonable-ness and human unity was a laughable anachronism. 1984 was Orwell’s final word not only to Wells, but to Aldous Huxley. Mustapha Mond Aldous Huxley’s dystopia preceded Orwell’s, and helped stir him enough to respond in kind. Huxley’s vision of a World Controller in Brave New World was almost the inverse of what Orwell imagined. As early as the 1930s, well before the post-World War II consumer boom, Huxley’s big fear was with 67

the indulgence and excess of American consumerism. He was sweating on the idea that its appeal might spread and transform the whole world into a ridiculous, plastic playground for a permanently infantile human race, caught in an endless and well-orchestrated cycle of continuous gratification. Huxley’s Big Bad was the one that kept that wheel spinning, in the name of stability and happiness. Mustapha Mond, Huxley’s London-based Controller, oversaw a sex-and-soma orgy of hedonistic, ignorant bliss that kept workers happy, and the biological caste system undisturbed. Mond knew about, and enjoyed contemplating theoretical science and mathematics, philosophy, Shakespeare, the Bible and the idea of love, but valiantly kept the people safe from the disquiet of thinking about them. This drugged out, sexedup, conformism and orthodoxy was the antithesis of Huxley’s idea of real happiness, real humanity. His pseudo-hero finishes the saga by demanding the right to feel pain, to be unhappy, to experience the whole human condition. Mond, the polite, paternally benevolent dictator, was the most menacing creature Huxley could conceive. Writing from the other side of World War II, after fascism, Hitler, Stalin, Spain and the insidiousness of the British left’s blithe Soviet fellow-travelling, the imaginable horrors of the future looked very different to Orwell. He agreed with Huxley that things looked bleak for the human condition, but Mond wasn’t the right bogeyman to fear. Hence BB. Apparently, posterity agreed. The Benefactor And here is where it gets more interesting. Going back further, after Wells but before Huxley, there was another model for 1984. Orwell’s dystopia was not only a reworking/response to these others, but also a homage to a little known and hardly read Russian writer, Ygeveny Zamyatin. Huxley and Orwell got the fame for being progenitors of the modern dystopia, but it was Zamyatin, also responding to Wells’ optimism about science and technology, that penned the real original, from inside the Soviet Union.


Zamyatin’s dystopian novel We is uncannily familiar to anyone who has encountered 1984. Orwell himself admired it deeply, and promoted the little known manuscript in his journalism, writing in his letters that he hoped to write something like it, soon. We is a mathematically flavoured story of a technologically advanced hivestyle totalitarian society. The Benefactor is the omnipresent, omniscient, supreme authority of the OneState, over-seeing all functions and daily operations of the ‘We’. The component parts of this state have an alphanumeric designation and work in seamless unison. The tone of We is mechanical, matter of fact. Its components seem less fearful, less brutalised than the citizens of 1984, although OneState is not less brutal. The streets of the great city are clean, pristine. The city itself is under a great, green glass dome, sealing out the forest and all primitive nature beyond it. The rational rules. That is until D-503 and I-330 meet. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but The Benefactor is more real than Big Brother, and, unlike Mond, absolutely not beneficent. Zamyatin’s novel was aimed squarely at the Soviet regime which had disappointed his radical hopes, but not only at the Soviets. He had spent a good part of his time during the First World War working as a naval engineer in Britain. He knew Wells’ work and admired it, but like Huxley and Orwell later he wrote against Wells’ utopias, styling his dystopia as a critique of all modern societies which looked to elevate rationality, technology, stability and order as the ultimate social values. With Stalin’s grace (!) Zamyatin was spared the Gulag and died as an exile in Paris. Like Orwell later, his work was used to discredit the Soviet Union, and few grasped the general criticism he was levelling at all modern societies. But even Zamyatin’s Big Bad was not necessarily unique. Look backwards, and The Benefactor looks a lot like Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor. And as with all sci-fi, the covers go on. Look forward, and the Borg Queen looks suspiciously familiar, too. *Orwell, G. (1941) ‘Wells, Hitler and the World State’, Horizon (August), London. <http://www.orwell. ru/library/reviews/wells/english/e_whws>, accessed Jan 2010


















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by Nick Livingston Cryptic Crosswords are fun, addictive, and not so difficult once you get the hang of them. Usually clues consist of two hints – a literal meaning of the answer (be it a word or phrase), and a more lateral aspect, often with a ‘trigger’ word instructing you on what to do. For instance, if the answer to a clue is “Death of a Scenester”, examples of clues may be: O! Feces and the rest combined to make a new publication (5,2,1,9) or Passing of a prophet holds Catholic bird’s home for new publication (5,2,1,9)

In clue no.1, by combining the letters of O! Feces and the rest, we obtain the name of the publication. In clue no.2, passing is a synonym for death, of a is literal, prophet is a seer, which holds the letter C for Catholic, and a bird’s home – a nest – to obtain the word scenester. Get the idea? Quasi-intellectual folly, no? Don’t be disheartened if you’re a newcomer, I’ve made this first one relatively easy, I think. Keep in mind also, this issue’s theme is prominent within many answers. Fight senility! Enjoy! Answers will appear in the next edition. If you’re really stumped, you can contact me at and I’ll try get around to emailing you the answers. ACROSS 1. Water sport champion rides the upper layer (7) 5. State’s gin cocktail mixed for al fresco coverings (6) 9. Decapitate a monk’s head cover to find a member of parliament (3) 10. Swine’s family for leather cover (7) 11, 29 across. Councillor Bill O’Lachlan heads investigation – woven mystery ends revealing fake I.D. 12. Dour pun covers summation (5,2) 14, 23 across, 18 across. Foul theme show recreated a description of entirety (3,2,3,5) 15. Comedian’s substance for friend near backwards den (8) 18. see 14 across 20. see 29 across 21. At IRA meeting, a regal adornment (5)


22. Video without farm noises can cover one’s genitals (1.1.) 23. see 14 across 25. Relaxed in a cup of tea, sedate within (5) 27. Untidiness for a military chow down (4) 29, 20 across, 24 down. O! Savour recess, mingle and watch each others’ backs (5,3,5) 31. Violent beat covers the music charts (3) 33. General Electric heads have the French covered for happiness (4) 36. Trade open sex? I’d combine it for trips (11) 38. see 30 down 39. End of the line of French drug (5) DOWN 1. Backgrounds disappear as soup empires crumble (11)

2. Avid dancer is cuter with wig and toupee ends (9) 3. Requested a shout to cover all bases (5,6) 4. Coverage on issue covered within Age (3) 5. I bail out and head South for legal cover (6) 6. Blank time-piece for vocational responsibility (3,2,2,5) 7. Brian Eno uncovers word that means things (4) 8. Murderer relays about popular t.v. character (6) 13. Cite crap badly to make perfect (8) 16, 33 down. God shone light ironically upon ancient fool (3,3)





17. Rump sore? A sick bed (8) 19. Cut the head off lover – it’s the end! (4) 24. see 29 across 26. Cab over to hold on high (5) 28. Lose hair making shelter (4) 30. Ed barred rambunctious pirate (3,5) 32. A hint? It’s mine upturned (3) 33. see16 down 34. Behold! Carrying back – Behold! (2) 35. Send away South for French fin (3)





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