Wednesday, April 15, 2015

'What do you call a woman...' From Billie Jean to Jolene, Esme Patterson gives voice to the women of popular songs

Well, my Daily Carlo project, whereby I blog every single day, has been going absolutely brilliantly, with blog posts every single day since the end of February, if the only days that we've had since the end of February have been March 2, March 17 and March 20.

So as long as we exclude a few rare exceptions/overwhelming majority of days, I've been totally solid.... and who the fuck am I kidding? I have failed you all, loyal readers. I am so sorry! I promised you daily posts and have utter failed to deliver. I feel terrible and take full responsibility for my failure.

And I know I've let you down terribly and have no right whatsoever to ask for your forgiveness... but please, PLEASE, PLEASE! I beg you, beloved readers, please give me ONE MORE chance! I promise I'll change! I PROMISE! I LOVE YOU! Please don't go... please... I'm quite lonely...

My point is, I know how important I am in your lives, delivering, as I do, the far-from-latest, hardly up-to-date news in obscure folk or country or Tom Waits-related areas of popular music, but in a totally inconsistent and random fashion. It's wrong to deny you this, I can see that now.

But at least I do know a key rule of blogging is be short, sharp and to the point, and also that I refuse to follow the rules. So starting with that rambling introduction, I will, eventually, via a strange ranting detour, get to my point: which is to highlight Esme Patterson's Woman to Woman album dedicated to giving voice to the female characters in popular music.


Esme Patterson.

From an angry Billie Jean, to an indifferent Jolene, to an Eleanor Rigby who is actually perfectly happy with her life alone, Patterson has written songs that allow the women written about by others, to tell their side of the story.

Sick of such women characters being reduced to one-dimensional props for others to comment on, Patterson has responded with a series of "answer" songs where they sing back.

I first came across Patterson as a result of her work co-writing and co-singing several tracks on the latest album by Texas country singer Shakey Graves, most notably on Dearly Departed. (I had the sheer pleasure of seeing Shakey live in Sydney last month when he opened for the unspeakably glorious country husband-and-wife duo Shovels and Rope.)





'You and I both know that the house is haunted...' Shakey Graves with Esme Patterson.


Among other things, the Colorado-based Patterson is known as a leading figure in the very unfortunately-named "folk'n'roll" scene. Yeah "folk'n'roll", I cringe just to see that phrase even written.

So before I even get to the songs in question... what the fuck is with the insistence on the world to impose ever more ridiculous labels onto popular music??? Among other things, I have described Patterson, Shakey and Shovels and Rope as all country acts, and deliberately, even though they are all more likely to be called "folk'n'roll", "Americana" or "alt.country", in no particular order, and why???

And why the fuck do I even want to *keep living* in a world where all the fucking decent country music acts are syphoned off into stupid and offensive labels like "alt. country" or "Americana" just to pander to the prejudices of ignorant people who hear "country" and think of rednecks in stupid hats who, when they are not called "Garth Brooks" are singing songs with titles like "Achy Breaky Heart" ... I mean FUCK!!!

It drives me insane. The stuff they call "alt. country" is just fucking country! The utterly ridiculous over-produced saccharine shit that comes out of the Nashville establishment should be called "alt.country"! It sure as hell has nothing to do with the real, living country music tradition and none of these empty, commercialised over-produced labels or stations would dream these days of ever releasing of playing anything as haunting or raw as country legend Hank Williams' "Alone And Forsaken".




'Alone and forsaken by fate and by man...' Makes Ian Curtis sound like Julie Andrews singing 'These Are a Few of My Favourite Things'.


But NO!!! No we live in a world were people need fucking Hollywood to produce a fucking biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix fucking TELL THEM it is OK to like an act as brilliant and cool as Johnny Cash!



'I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down ...' We live in a world so fucked an entire generation needs Hollywood to tell them it is OK to listen to someone as cool Johnny Cash! And people wonder why I despair!



Where do people think rock music came from??? From a melding of all these popular music genres, a melding of country, blues, folk and jazz into a new whole... the earliest forms of what is considered rock'n'roll, by the likes of Elvis Presley of Bill Haley, were called "rockabilly" -- in other words, it was considered, and in fact was, largely country music played fast!

Like all genres of popular music, country incorporates a wide variety of acts and influences, spawned all kinds of sub genres and has intermixed and melded with many other genres... It includes stuff that ranges widely from the horrific to the glorious... as all genres in popular music do.

Because more than anything, it is just one form of popular music, and the lines between one form and another are inevitably blurred. The line between country and blues is blurry, as it is with other forms of folk and what became known as rock. Because they are all variations on the same thing, the same chords and chord structures, the same verse/chorus/verse forms...

Country music, like other forms of folk (of which country is one), has a particular emphasis on story-telling, on using songs as vehicles to create characters and give them life, to use the stories to capture universal emotions and paint scenes the listener can relate to and empathise with, that can humanise the listener's own emotions and struggles... Which you might thing is an especially glorious thing to do...,

But obviously you'd be wrong, because everyone knows country is UNCOOL, country is crap, country is for inbred right-wing redneck white trash... and this despite the sheer brilliant, often groundbreaking and hugely influential quality of great country acts like Hank Williams or Patsy Cline or Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Guy Clarke, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Emily Lou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Alison Kraus, Gillian Welch, Neko Case, Gurf Morlix, Blaze Foley, Todd Snider, Corb Lund, Hayes Carll... and so many more.

BUT NO. Just turn your back on that! Not cool enough! Hollywood hasn't told you that you are allowed to like it! SPIT ON IT!!! REFER TO IT ONLY IRONICALLY AT BEST AND MOST OF ALL LAUGH AT IT AND MOCK!!!!

But I digress...

Answer songs. What Esme Patterson is doing is not new, by the way. Those who, based on ridiculous stereotypes and prejudices, might imagine that the most country music has had to say on the matter of gender is Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man",  would not know about Kitty Wells awesome "answer" song to a track by Hank Williams.

The song, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honkey Tonk Angels", was released in 1952, a full 16 years before "Stand By Your Man". In it Wells answers Williams' "Wild Side of Life", which was about women being led "astray" by the "wild side of life" and becoming "honky tonk angels" -- also known as "women drinking in bars".

Taking the same tune, "It Wasn't God" responded by putting the blame for men being unfaithful entirely ... on men themselves.



It's a shame that all the blame is on us women
It's not true that only you men feel the same
From the start most every heart that's ever broken
Was because there always was a man to blame

Following in this tradition, Esme Patterson takes well-known songs by a range of (mostly but not exclusively) male artists about women and writes a response by the woman in question. It is, as she explains in a Vice.com interview, a creative and intellectual exercise -- it is a challenge to write in their voices to "humanize these characters".

This means the songs are not intended as attacks on the originals, as such -- you don't have to disown Dolly Parton and her classic "Jolene", for instance, to appreciate the witty, irreverent response Patterson has written for Jolene, whose attitude to the man Parton loves is, after all, unrecorded.

It also means that Patterson is not suggesting this is the only possible response by these characters... just the ones she has written.

Asked by Vice.com how she felt about others considered the album to be a feminist work, Patterson responded:

I welcome that. It’s a noble word to be associated with. I took on this project mostly as a personal journey in songwriting, and didn’t have any big plans with where it could go. But I certainly identify as a feminist, and I’m happy to have the work that I do give strength to that cause.

The highlight is the angry, up-tempo guitar-driven response Patterson has Billie Jean gives the character Michael Jackson adopts in his famous track. In response to the singer's insistence that Billie Jean "is not my lover" just "a girl who thinks that I am the one, but the kid is not my son", Patterson has Billie Jean spitting back: "What do you call a women when she's lying in your bed?"




'What makes a lover from a woman that you've had?'


"Never Chase A Man" is a close second, with Patterson's Jolene telling Parton that her man is a sexist creep who's "always leaning in", and, bluntly: "Your man don't mean a thing to me."




'Men should be chasing you, never chase a man.' Patterson has Jolene give Dolly Parton some advice on how to treat men.


You can read Patterson's own explanation for what motivated her and what she was trying to achieve in a column she wrote for The Guardian:
It all started when I was in a hotel room in Spearfish, South Dakota, learning to play Loretta by Townes Van Zandt. I looked the words up and was copying them to my journal, and realised I was really reading the words for the first time ... 
Among other things, Van Zandt says of Loretta that she “loves me like I want her to”. Reading that line in that moment, I had a revelation. What if Loretta could tell her side of the story, what would she say? How would the story change? What does she want? 
That night, I gave up learning to play Townes’s tune and instead wrote a song from Loretta’s voice called Tumbleweed. Once I’d heard Loretta in this new way, I felt as if I was listening to a lot of the old music for the first time – and it inspired me to get to work. I wrote a song from the perspective of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Elvis Costello’s Alison, The Kinks’ Lola, the Beach Boys’ Caroline, the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, Bob Dylan’s Ramona, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, the Band’s Evangeline, and Leadbelly’s Irene...
I believe that our experience is the only truth we can honestly claim – and to create this album, I had to reach deeper than my own life and into the stories of these fictional women, into what makes each of these characters human ... 
The key thing I realised writing this album was that I had never really known what some of my favourite songs were about. A catchy melody or an amazing singer takes the spotlight while the story being told takes a backseat. One aim of this project was to take an in-depth look at songs about women that I had heard hundreds of times before and to finally really listen.
Woman to Woman gives a voice to female archetypes shown one-dimensionally in pop music. The record aims to transform these characters into women, to make them human.


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Daily Carlo: Senate kills Pyne's bill, Pyne kills satire. Abbott eats another raw onion. Really.

In this Daily Carlo -- my "daily blog" I do every single day and/or twice so far this month -- I tackle the big issues.

Since I last spoke to you, two days ago, the Senate killed Christopher Pyne's higher fee deregulation bill and, in turn, Christopher Pyne killed satire, you know, all part of great and never-ending cycle of life and death, and also Tony Abbott ate another raw onion as though it was an apple -- yes he did it again.



'Hehehe check out these onions! I'd sure like to sink my teeth in one of the them!' Tony Abbott meets with Onions Australia chief executive Lechelle Earl. (That is not actually a sleazy play on words, the prime minster just literally loves eating onions.)


Yes, the media is reporting that today, Abbott met with officials from Onions Australia and proceeded to happily chomp down on the raw vegetable again, with Onions Australia chief executive Lechelle Earl explaining: "He went for the raw onion first but I did convince him to try them cooked and he tucked into that rather heartily."

This raises some serious questions, coming hard and fast on the heels of Abbott's world-infamous onion- eating antics in Tasmania, which is... WHY THE FUCK DOES ABBOTT'S ADVISERS KEEP PUTTING ONIONS IN FRONT OF THE PRIME MINSTER? WHAT ARE THEY TRYING TO PROVE???

I mean, it is not, surely, part of the normal of a prime minister's weekly routine to have so many fucking onions put in front of them, tempting any freaking PM to chomp down repeatedly. What is the thinking here? 

Is this another captain's call? With his advisers and cabinet colleagues begging him, "Please Tony, today.... today go visit an *actual* apple farm and try eating something *normal* as though you are an actual *normal* human being and not a bizarre reptilian alien monster that must be confirming all those wacko conspiracy theorists who believe David Icke's mad claims that we are governed by a secret race of Lizard People... coz Tony... you look like  a Lizard Man... hell I am starting to believe David Icke... ah... I mean.... Of *course* I don't... please don't kill me, Lizard Overlord!"

Jesus Fuck well all there is for it is to play The Dubliners version of "Leaving of Liverpool" featuring the incomparible Luke Kelly.... just because. Justfucking because. Just fucking because we have to remind ourselves there is SOME good in the godforsaken world and actualy, our species has, at one time, actually achieved something of SOME FUCKING WORTH THAT DIDN'T INVOLVE ONIONS!!!







Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Daily Carlo: If you throw a hit at me I'm gonna throw it right back...

As regular readers will know, for a couple of weeks now I've been doing my "Daily Carlo" posts whereby I post on this blog every single day to ensure the Internet gets its *daily* dose of Carlo Sands!!!

It is without question a very important cause and one I remain *so* committed to I have posted *every single day* except for all the days between the last time I posted on February 28! Aside from those days, which have included every single day in the month of March except for today, March 17, I have been posting daily without fail. It is, indeed, an impressive record.

And today, well, really, I don't know that I have anything to say asides from: I FUCKING HATE PEOPLE.

I mean, I try not to let it show, as anyone who has ever had any engagement with me will attest. A more sociable and "skilled at social interaction with other humans" person you will not find on this or any other planet in the Known Universe. FACT.

But... sometimes... sometimes people are just, like, you know, really, really "people-like" and I just want to kill them and then the voices in my head start getting louder and louder till I can't even hear myself SCREAM and then A RED MIST DESCENDS AND EVERY GOES BLANK AND WHEN I COME TO THERE IS BLOOD AND BODY PARTS EVERYWHERE AND POLICE SIRENS ARE WAILING AND I NEED TO GO INTO HIDING ONCE MORE!!!

I fucking hate that.

On days like that, all you can do, should you want my advice (and why else would you be reading this blog?) is listen to God's Gift To Humanity: Shovels and Rope.

I got to see the husband-and-wife folk country rock'n'roll duo from South Carolina just two weeks ago and they were AWESOME. They were BEYOND AWESOME. They were the MOST AWESOME THING EVER SINCE THE LAST TIME I SAID SOMETHING WAS THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER EXCEPT THIS TIME I REALLY MEAN IT!!!!

Yes, when I say I hate people, I mean people WHO ARE NOT MICHAEL TRENT AND CARY ANN HEART FROM SHOVELS AND ROPE!!! COZ I LOVE THEM!!!

I love them in a maybe slightly creepily obsessive fashion that includes finding their address online then looking at images of their Johns Island, Charleston house on Google Maps ... but I am not going to post the image or link to such things here because that would be wrong and creepy and THEY ARE MINE!!! SHOVELS AND ROPE AND ME HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL AND YOU JUST STAY AWAY!!!

The best bit about seeing them was when we were like right up the front and they were like just metres away. Like five metres away. I was so close to them I could see the veins bulging on Michael's neck (I call him "Michael" because I have stood five metres from him for like an hour-and-a-half watching his veins bulge and also looked at images of his street on the Internet, so we are pretty close really.)

Actually, the best way to comprehend how I feel about them is to post their song "Tickin' Bomb", which, by the way, they played when I saw them and it was AWESOME!!!


I don’t know you, but I know of you
And from what I know I think I love you
oh oh ooh Oh!
You make me feel like I’m sitting right beside you
If we ever met it’s just no telling
What I might do
Oh oh ooh oh!

Anyway, the point I was trying to make before I got distracted by how awesome Shovels and Rope are was... that this awesome Shovels and Rope song sums up my attitude to the rest of humanity today. QUITE FUCKING WELL.



My tongue's a match and all my veins are full of gasoline
I come upon ya like a hit of methamphetamine
Eyes roll back in your head
Well I tell you right now, you better watch your back
You can talk dirty til your tongue turns black
But if you're throwin into me I'm gonna throw it right back at you

In other news, today is St Patrick's Day, the Official International Day For Pretending To Be Irish And Using That Nation's Problem With Alcohol As An Excuse To Get Really Drunk -- or as Tony Abbott likes to think of it, "a great excuse to offend an entirely new group of people".

So, to honour the day, loyal readers, here is everything I have ever posted on this Godforsaken blog that has included the tag Ireland.

And here is a great song by The Pogues about a mythical Irish hero and getting really drunk.



There's devils on each side of you
with bottles in their hands

You need one more drop of poison
and you'll dream of foreign lands


Monday, March 02, 2015

The Daily Carlo: A terrible defeat for all humanity and some inspiring life advice!!!

As all dedicated readers of this site know (hi Dad!), I am now blogging every day!

Well... except yesterday. But I couldn't blog yesterday because I respect the Sabbath. And I was hungover. And grieving.

I was grieving, as all of humanity grieved, over the terrible victory by the forces of barbarism that took place the night before when the fucking Smurf pricks of Sydney "Bling" FC beat the Western Sydney Wanderers 4-3 in an epic match.

That final, terrible, score came after the Wanderers -- in a stunning display of proving we have finally figured out where the fucking goals are on a football pitch -- came back from 3-0 down after about 25 minutes to equalise early in the second half, only to finally go down even though the Enemy were reduced, in the final 10 minutes, to 10 men due to what can only objectively be called their Violent Cheating Ways.

Still, we won the flare count. Easily.



Wanderers striker Kerem Bulut celebrates his second goal and many flares in a tragic 4-3 loss to the Enemy of All Humanity on Saturday night.


Now, I have accumulated a lot of wisdom over my many years. I'm pretty wise. And so, I've come to the conclusion that if I am going to blog ever day, the best thing I could do -- my service to the world -- is to start providing some serious "life advice".

You know, inspiration quotes and all of that. Life hacks. Some of the little "lessons" I have learned on what I like to call, in a sickening display of saccharine self-indulgence masquerading as heartfelt sentiment, "my journey".

So here is my first piece of life advice:

To live a healthy and fulfilling life, the secret is to never, ever, under any circumstances, leave your bedroom or talk to another human being EVER!!! NEVER DO IT!!! 
TO BE HAPPY YOU MUST NEVER ENGAGE WITH THE WORLD AT ALL!!! NOT EVEN ONLINE!!! IN FACT, IF YOU ARE READING THIS YOU HAVE ALREADY FAILED!!! YOUR LIFE IS A AN IRREDEEMABLE FAILURE!!! YOU HAVE LOST!!! YOU HAVE FAILED AS ALL BEFORE YOU AND ALL AFTER YOU WILL FAIL!!! YOU ARE NOTHING, HAVE NOTHING AND NEVER WILL BE ANYTHING!!! EVER!!! FUCK YOU, YOU USELESS PIECE OF SHIT!!!

I am hoping someone out there is keen to make this into a t-shirt or, you know, one of those "inspiring" mugs people drink their herbal tea out of or whatever.

Not inspired enough? Here is a Tom Waits song to make my basic point, but put to music!





'Cause hell is boiling over
And heaven is full
We're chained to the world
And we all gotta pull
And we're all gonna be
Just dirt in the ground...

Inspired to buy me a beer? YOU CAN!!! Via the pay pal button on the right-hand side of this blog!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Weekly Carlo: This Human Rights Commission pro-human rights bias is truly incredible

Hello loyal readers! This is day five since I began my Brave and Inspirational Internet Commitment to blog every day!

Now, rather than waste your time with a *whole new* blog post filled with *all new rambling thoughts and rants* and *attempts at jokes* and all those things you have come to hate whenever you click of one of my posts in the vain hope maybe *this* time it will actually be enjoyable, entertaining and informative, I have decided to share with you all my latest weekly "Carlo's Corner" column that I write for Green Left Weekly!!! WOOHOO!!!

And I can this weekend post The Weekly Carlo because I like to talk about myself in the third person in blog post titles as if I am important! Anyway, enough about me, here's something by me!!!


Carlo's Corner: Human Rights Commission's bias towards human rights is just unbelievable

It seems there is no end to the incredible bias facing the poor, beleaguered Tony Abbott government. 

If it isn't an ABC journalist daring to ask a government minister a question they don't like, it's the Human Rights Commission releasing a report on the plight of children in immigration detention centres that even the most impartial observer would have to admit shows a distinct and unmistakable bias in favour of respecting human rights.
 
Full article 

Yeah, I am pretty generous, I know, sharing that with you, like, for free! You can even read this other ting I wrote at the news satire site The (un)Australian yesterday called Teenager Right To Shout 'I Wish I'd Never Been Born', Climate Scientists Say. Wow! Don't thank me, just buy me a beer some time, via the Pay Pal button on the right hand side of the blog!



'When the Devil is all around, got you crawling on the ground...' Here is a BONUS random clip by South Carolina's awesome country folk duo Shovels and Rope at the Grand Ol' Opre! I AM SEEING THEM NEXT THURSDAY IN SYDNEY!!! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Daily Carlo: The facts blow 'alcohol-fuelled violence' claims away so let me buy boooze post 10pm you bastards!

Day Four of my Daily Carlo plot to blog every day and here is my fourth one! I am on fire!

I never thought I'd make it so far! To be honest, when I launched this new Carlo-Internet initiative on Tuesday, I was far from convinced I'd still be alive by Friday, what with my "lifestyle choices" that have been described variously as "less than optimal for living a long, healthy life" and "how the fuck is he still breathing?"

But I think what has got me this far is definitely my new fitness regime. Yes, thanks to the NSW state-wide 10pm closing time for all bottle shops, I am now in better shape than ever! What with my constant sprinting the bottlo at five to 10 every fucking night!


 Reddit.com/drunkspiration captures the struggle.

But asides from possibly being the only thing stopping my body from total collapse, what possible good does this 10pm shut down do?

I mean, I don't want to repeat myself here. I have already pretty decisively exposed these lock-out/shut down laws in NSW for what they truly are: a plot to give James Packer even MORE billions via his "magically excluded from the lock-out laws" Star Casino, and now I am just waiting for the Walkley Award it shall inevitably earn me.

But still... there may been some of you out there, who just REFUSE TO LISTEN and STILL think maybe this shit is about "alcohol-fuelled violence"... which is an argument I have NEVER understood.

Like, obviously I get there is violence involving people who are drunk in our society. Christ, I know there is drunken violence. The fucking Daily Telegraph WON'T FUCKING SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

But what the violence has to do with being drunk has never been clear to me.

Because, and really this is an area in which I feel I have some expertise, I have never noticed that getting drunk leads to any particular increase in violence. Or "king hits". Or "coward punches". Or whatever the fuck the Daily Tele, whose journalists are famous for their sobriety, are banging on about now.

Like, I have been very drunk many times in many pubs. God knows how many. Over many years. I mean, I like getting drunk. And I like pubs. 

And yet I have somehow manage to refrain from king hitting a single bastard (and fuck knows I've been in pubs with many people just begging for a decent king hit) . 

In fact, I had seen no real violence at all of any note in any pub until I went to Darwin in 2013 (for a comedy gig for a refugee rights group, so you know, thanks government for torturing innocent people, otherwise I'd have never gotten the chance to see the NT!) 

While there, I ended up in some dodgy bar on what they like to call a "main road" in Darwin, drinking with Robbo, who lives up there, and Conehead, who came up for a trip.

Suddenly, at the table right behind us, these off-duty soldiers launched, with no warning, into a brawl that sent beer and chairs flying and only my rapid action in securing our table's beers prevented them joining the sea of spilt booze spreading across the bar room as bouncers rushed over to try to separate two furiously wrestling soldiers, trying to kill each other over God knows what.

Whatever it was, it was clearly not an issue easily resolved, because an hour later, as we sat out on the tables on the footpath, we could see two sides on the road squaring off, headed by the protagonists of the brawl inside the pub.

They stared each other down and shouted abuse before finally fresh kicks and punches started flying in a kinda pathetic half fight in which each side displayed its incompetent failure to actually get a kick anywhere near the other while seemingly imagining they were just like Jean-Claude Fucking Van Damme... 

And you watch that and get a sense of just how horrific it must be to be a poor fucking peasant in Afghanistan or Iraq occupied by these numbskulls, whose only form superiority is their fucking heavy weaponry.

And you know, it was hard to draw the conclusion that the problem here was they had just drunk too much. I mean, they clearly had -- but so had I!

I had just performed a fucking stand up set in a city thousands of kilometres from Sydney to about 20 people as part of an ill-advised, failed and totally well-meant attempt by these activists to "reach out" to Darwin's redneck community to explain why "blow up the boats" -- a solution advocated to me beforehand by a local -- was perhaps a bit problematic, you know from a "let's not murder innocent people" sorta perspective.

So you had better fucking BELIEVE I was drinking. And yet somehow, I managed NOT to be involved in an all-in-brawl. Maybe I just have incredible self-restraint, or maybe, I dunno, the whole "drunkenness leads to violence" thing is utter bullshit.

Turns out there is some solid evidence behind the "it's utter bullshit" view.

Yes, ABC News ran an article headlined "Alcohol-fuelled' violence not caused by alcohol but by 'macho' culture, anthropologist Dr Anne Fox says", that states:
Amidst the introduction of one-punch laws and lock outs, the main concern has been the so-called alcohol-fuelled violence that goes with drunkenness. But one anthropologist believes it is not a result of the booze itself. 
Dr Anne Fox has specialised in the study of drinking cultures in countries around the world for the past 20 years and has been looking at Australia and New Zealand ... 
"Australians, like many other people worldwide, have a very pervasive belief that alcohol can transform your behaviour, that it's a transformative substance, that somehow there's this genie in the bottle that can make you behave a certain way," she told PM's Mark Colvin. 
"Alcohol - as all of the scientific literature shows, which we've reviewed very extensively in the report - cannot be considered a cause of violence. If it was, we'd see uniform levels of violence among all drinkers." 
Countries such as Iceland consume more alcohol than Australia but report less violence. 
"They have a stronger culture of preloading, they have 24-hour bar opening, they even have high rates of gun ownership, but in Iceland there is almost no recorded violence," she said. 
"It's simply not a violent society and they have no belief that alcohol causes violence, and therefore you really don't see any violence in Iceland."  Most of Southern Europe follows this pattern, according to Dr Fox .... 
According to Dr Fox, alcohol "cannot hijack someone's better nature and make them violent" and the term alcohol-fuelled violence is not accurate. She said the focus should be on the causes and triggers of violence itself ... 
"Your inhibitions are just social rules. Anthropologists for decades now have been finding through international cross-cultural studies that the way you behave when you're drunk is mostly the way that your culture teaches you to behave," she said. 
"You can see across the world that people behave very, very differently, despite being morphologically similar human beings and drinking the same amounts of alcohol." 
She said Australia has a macho culture. "We see that it's not so much the patterns of drinking or the levels or consumption that determine how people behave, but other features of culture that are magnified through drunkenness," she said.

YEAH!!! So fuck off with your "alcohol-fuelled violence" bullshit! And most of all... LET ME BUY SOME FUCKING TAKE-AWAY BOOZE AFTER 10PM!!! FOR GOD'S SAKE!!! 

Of course, no one could disagree that the violence used to justify these laws is terrible. There is clearly a problem in our society -- but it is cultural problem not a booze problem. the problem is the macho culture and its ever-present twin -- misogyny.

And not only is blaming alcohol for this missing the real culprit, it is way of avoiding even acknowledging the problem. And this isn't just alcohol, but drugs in general -- as the somewhat ridiculous scandal involving a whole lot of rugby league and rugby players apparently enjoying putting coke up their nostrils shows.

It really says something about the nature of our society and how fucked up our priorities are. Here we have charges and claims centred on the apparently shocking that a bunch of professional sports players enjoyed cocaine at such events as a players bucks night and a post-season booze cruise.

You might think that is something of a personal matter, at most unfortunately a legal matter due to draconian failed drug laws. But no. This threatens to tear apart an entire club, the Gold Coast Titans, and ruin the careers of more than a few players -- despite the fact that some of these players have already been involved in scandals involving far worse actions or allegations.

Rugby player and code-hopper Karmichael Hunt, at the centre of the coke scandal, faced sexual assault allegations in 2008. No dent in his career. Greg Bird, suspended by the Titans over cocaine charges, was found guilty of violently assaulting his girlfriend. His career continued.

You can rape and bash women seemingly without a worry in rugby league, but don't enjoy a recreational drug in your own spare time or you are done.

The irony is it is this kinda pathetic hypocrisy that makes drugs and alcohol so essential to fucking survive this goddamn world in the first place.

Alcohol and drugs can worsen existing problems, but I see no reason why those of us who manage to drink and not punch must be punished. We all relate to alcohol differently... the song below, by that glorious Texas country singer Hayes Carll, sums up my relationship with booze perfectly.... less violence, more pathetic failure at life.




I keep knockin over whiskeys
no ones laughin at my jokes
they got me spinnin round in circles
like a tin can in the spoke

When i left town this mornin
with a smile upon my face
ahh babe i swear i never knew
I'd end up in this place...


So. My fourth Daily Carlo. Don't thank me, just buy me a beer. Via the Pay Pal button on the right of the blog. I promise that after drinking the beer, I won't hit anyone, unless you specifically request it.





Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Daily Carlo: 'Aint it nice to be fighting on the winning side?' Syriza, Rojava, the Wanderers and SHOVELS & ROPE NEXT THURSDAY!!!

Well, holy fuck, this is Day 3 of my new Internet-Carlo Sands related initiative, the widely lauded Daily Carlo in which I pledge to blog EVERY MOTHERFUCKING DAY, and I have somehow I have made it three days out of three!

A truly remarkable milestone, and to celebrate, I thought I'd try something different. I thought I'd point out a few good things happening in the godforsaken world for a change!

Amid our seemingly inexorable descent into barbarism -- with terrifying climate news, our own fucking government torturing innocent children then seeking to destroy the woman who dare report the facts, and the fucking Smurf pricks at East Sydney Bling FC sitting a full five spots above the Western Sydney Wanderers on the A League table -- it seems humanity could sure use some cheering up.

Well, just call me Mr Cheery, coz this year has already involved some pretty impressive wins that push in the opposite direction.

Let's just start with the stunning victory of the left-wing party Syriza in Greece's January 25 elections, the first election of a radical left government in Europe since the 1930s and a decisive kick back against the austerity polices causing extreme humanitarian crisis.

Now I know what you're thinking: what the FUCK is the radical left doing wining anything?

The far left should, by rights, be on inner-city street corners with stalls people avoid or in inner-city pubs complaining about all those other leftists on the other stalls. I mean that's the left, yeah?

SO WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???



'Holy fuck! The left WON something!' Syriza supporters celebrate.


And yes, I know the Latin Americans have been doing this kinda thing, electing radical left governments and defeating elite attacks for, like, years already, but for fuck's sake, that's them! I mean, if all followed the ways of the Latinos, we'd suffer collective liver failure in a week.

But then, as if like one victory for the global left was not enough, the next fucking day the revolutionary Kurdish-led liberation forces finally decisively repelled the ISIS siege on the town of Kobane in Rojava, where a profound experiment in genuine, direct democracy has been underway!

And then, and this is without a doubt the most glorious win of all, Western Sydney Wanderers put aside their dismal A-League season to start their Asian Champions League title defence with a stunning 3-1 victory over J-League heavyweights Kashima in Japan!!!


Despite being forced to wear especially shit ugly away jerseys, the Wanderers won 3-1!!! Goal scorers Mark Bridge and Yojiro Takahagi celebrate a glorious win for all humanity!


And then, as if that isn't enough sheer glory to celebrate... brilliant country folk act from South Carolina, Shovels and Rope, are playing in Sydney NEXT FUCKING WEEK!!! ARRGGHHHHH!!!



'Four big wheels, American steel. Pouring gasoline on the killing fields' Shovels & Rope are coming!!!



'Though we've never met you've captured my heart. I love you like gunpowder loves a good spark...'



Now, yes, sure. I can already hear all the nay-sayers. Yes, I know the limts of each and every one of these victories.

Yes, the new Syriza government has already been blackmailed into accepting some serious compromises that block key chunks of its program in the short term -- though how much is debated.

And yes, despite heroically beating the fascists of ISIS, there are legitimate questions as to how long the relatively isolated revolutionary cantons of Rojava can hold out against competing pressures of the Assad dictatorship, ISIS terrorists and Western imperialists.

Plus, despite our glorious win in Japan last night, the Wanderers don't just sit last in the A-League with just eight points from 16 matches, we face the crucial derby The Enemy Of All Humanity that is Sydney FC on Saturday missing Spiranovic and Poljak due to suspnsion and Santalab and Cole due to injury, which a somewhat unnerving prospect to say the least.

Worse of all, I have it on good authority that, having played their Australian gigs, Shovels and Rope plan to leave the fucking country, rather than stay here, permantly, in my basement, playing constant gigs.

But Jesus... sometimes... well sometimes... well... to quote the classics, by which I mean to quote Shovels and Rope... aint it nice to be fighting on the winning side?




'Aint it nice to fighting on the wining side?'


It is, Shovels and Rope! It really is! And no need to thank me for bringing a bit of happiness into your otherwise pathetic and utterly depressing lives! You can just buy me a beer! Courtesy of the Pay Pal button on the right-hand of this blog! WOOHOO!!!