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!!! 

The truth is, we all relate to alcohol differently... and 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!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Daily Carlo: Science developing a 'sober up' pill? WHAT THE FUCK? WE PAY GOOD MONEY TO GET DRUNK!!!

Well this is Day 2 of my latest Internet-Carlo Sands related innovation -- the Daily Carlo, whereby I blog at least once a day  -- and it has already been a runaway success! In the sense that this is Day 2 and I have managed a second post, which is really pretty amazing.

In today's Daily Carlo, however, I bring some terrible news: The Murdoch press is reporting science is working on developing a "sobriety pill" that could "prevent serious levels of intoxication".

What the FUCK, SCIENTISTS? What THE FUCK are you doing??? Why the HELL do you think we get drunk if NOT to eradicate, at least temporarily, the terrible scourge of sobriety?

WE GET DRUNK TO GET SOME FUCKING PEACE AND DROWN OUT THE GODDAMN HELLHOLE KNOWN AS "THE WORLD"!!!  AND YOU WANT TO RE-IMPOSE IT ON US WITH A FUCKING PILL???



We LOVE being seriously intoxicated!



Jesus. It is not cheap, you know, getting drunk, Not these days. Booze prices are through the fucking roof, and they insist on making it as difficult as possible to actually consume, what with their fucking "lock out" laws and NSW-wide 10pm closing time for all bottle shops.

Jesus fuck, given all the effort we have to go just to achieve "serious levels of intoxication", you'd think you'd get some respect for effort. But no. No respect. It is shameful.

"Oh but things like the lock out laws are there because they care about alcohol-related violence and alcohol abuse and they really care for our health," I hear you suggest over your fucking alcohol-free mocktail, which just goes to how a lack of alcohol rots the brain.

Because what with all the fucking health care cuts and privatising public health this government is launching, the idea these pricks "care about our well-being" is a more ridiculous joke than Andrew Bolt's claims that "sickening ABC bias" is "destroying Tony Abbott".

No, what they really care for, and this really could not be clearer, is helping billionaire James Packer to make as much fucking cold hard cash as possible, and if he can make it in socially destructive gambling industry, bled from ordinary people in an outright shakedown, then all the better.

AND GUESS WHAT? The *key* winner of the lock-out laws in New South Wales is.... The Star Casino owned by James Packer!!! WOW WHO COULD POSSIBLY HAVE FUCKING GUESSED???

Last August, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote:

[T]he Star has been a major beneficiary of the NSW government's liquor reforms. The laws, in effect since February, prohibit patrons entering pubs and clubs in Kings Cross and the CBD after 1.30am and stop bars serving drinks after 3am. The lockout zone ends at Darling Harbour, which makes the Star exempt. 
"We couldn't get in anywhere else so this is our last place to come and go," said 18-year-old Melissa Abarca. She and three friends, all from Wollongong, aren't here to gamble, though they concede they're likely to have a flutter. 
None of the group has been to the Star before and they are visibly relieved when informed it contains a nightclub where they can dance. "We would have liked to get in to an actual club but we're here now."
This kinda shit, where our lives are play things for the super-rich, is precisely why we fucking get drunk! They are putting all these resources into how to sober us up and not into the important things, like how to solve climate change or building a time machine to go back decades and shoot Kyle Sandilands parents... and then they wonder why our desire for "serious levels of intoxication" only fucking grows! 


And quick...


I just hope that this is a classic Murdoch media beat-up, like that one about how the murder of three Muslims in North Carolina by an Islamophobic bigot was just about "a parking dispute" or that Miranda Devine is a "journalist".

I mean, Jesus fuck.

And yes, sure, heavy drinking and drunkeness comes with consequences.We know that. But we are not just consenting adults capable of employing free will, we also forgive alcohol because we love alcohol. As gypsy punks Gogol Bordello explain so well in their love letter to booze below.





Am sorry some of us given you bad name
Yeah, oh yeah, 'cause without you, nothing is the same
Yeah, oh yeah, I miss you so every time we breakup
Just to hit a higher note every time we makeup
 
And you know that I'll pick up every time you call
Just to thank you one more time
Alcohol, alcohol...

That is another Daily Carlo. Don't thank me, just buy me a beer courtesy of the paypal function on the right-hand side of the blog. Please. Just thinking about that goddamn sober pill makes me thirsty.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Daily Carlo: 50 years ago... on Malcolm X and goon bags

Anyone could tell you the world is in pretty bad shape. The latest climate science is horrific, global inequality and poverty keeps rising and the Western Sydney Wanderers are languishing at the bottom of the A-League ladder with just eight points from 16 games.

So I figured something had to be done and I had a long hard think about what the world truly needed right now. And I concluded: more Carlo Sands on the internet! OMFG! OF COURSE!

But then I thought, how I am going to give the world more Carlo Sands on the internet? And it struck me! I HAVE A BLOG! I may almost never use it, BUT I HAVE ONE!!! THE SOLUTION TO THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS IS AT HAND!!! I WILL BLOG *EVERY DAY*!!!

And so I hereby launch my latest Internet-Carlo Sands-related innovation: The Daily Carlo. It is self-explanatory, I will blog about *something* every single day, more or less, give or take the days I am too hungover and/or drunk to type.

I just can't believe no one has thought of this before! Sure, plenty have maintained daily-updated blogs, that is not new, but not FEATURING CONTENT BY ME! Wow, it is just so obvious now I think about it, it is a miracle no one has beaten me to it!

I expect them in general to be short. Probably very short. Coz I am a fucking busy man. But here we go!!! THE FIRST DAILY CARLO!!!

***

In My Daily Carlo Number One I wish to acknowledge two *very* important 50-year anniversaries for humanity that must be marked: the assassination of Malcolm X in the United States and the invention of "cask wine" -- ie the goon bag -- right here in Australia.

One of the truly great revolutionaries, activists and human beings of the 20th century, African American anti-racist fighter Malcolm X was assassinated 50 years ago on February 21, 1965, probably with active police complicity.

Many of the issues he raised -- of systemic inequality and racist violence, remain pressing issues today.

Malcolm X was one of the all-time great public speakers because he spoke directly, articulately and without any compromise to the victims of the system, as one of the victims of this system, and in doing so helped instill pride, knowledge, awareness, courage and determination in the victims of this system to stop being victims and collectively resist their oppression.

Although he started out as a very successful organiser for the Nation of Islam, which, through a theologically bizarre interpretation of Islam, blamed the "white devils" for racism and abstained from the civil rights struggles of the day, in the last year of his life Malcolm X increasingly saw the global capitalist system as the enemy of humanity and the need for a broad-based mass struggle of all oppressed, whatever their skin colour, to win liberation.

As can be seen in this clip featuring extracts from his 1964 speech to the Oxford Union in England.


And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change. People in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built ... And I, for one, will join in with anyone—I don’t care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.

And the second anniversary, as the ever reliable NT News informs us, is that this year marks 50 years since cask wine was invented! YES THE GOON BAG IS TURNING 50!!!



Happy birthday, goon bag!


The NT News explains:
THE humble cask wine may have caused countless hangovers, but it holds a proud place in our nation’s history and today it reaches a major milestone. It’s one of South Australia’s little known inventions, created in the 1960s after riverland winemaker Tom Angove searched for an alternative to the half-gallon flagon...
Here are some little known facts about ‘the cask’:
• Invention was patented in April 1965
• It was inspired by the flexible packaging of old goat skins that stored wine in biblical times.
• Angove was inspired to store wine in a plastic bag and store it in a box.
• The ‘airless flow’ of the cask is why the invention is genius; wine comes out, but no air goes in. Therefore the wine doesn’t become oxidised.

 A Big Cask to celebrate cask wine.

But it hasn't always been easy, what with the crypto-prohibitionists and their "complaints" about the "cheap and nasty" nature of goon. In just 2011, there was a campaign to essentially ban cheap goon by means of heavy taxation that would cause its cost to quadruple! IT WAS INSANE, OUTRAGEOUS AND I BLOGGED ABOUT IT HERE!!!

Thanks in no small part to my campaigning on the issue, the goon bag survives to this day, as does the gloroious Australian invention -- one of the few contributions of which our nation can be proud -- the party game of Goon of Fortune!!!


Goon of Fortune.

And, is this my first Daily Carlo, well... I suppose I'll give you all a very special treat! Here is some dodgy footage of the first time I ever performed stand up, in a wild, unfocussed and rambling set that included yelling quite furiously and insistently on the government plot to take our goon away! IKR? Don't thank me, buy me a beer -- via the pay pal button on the right of the blog! GO ON! DO IT!



'This is a fundamental attack on our way of life!' From the very start, I used the medium of stand up to pose the big questions. 



Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Hi 2015, British TV is going to make a *sit-com* about the *Irish Famine*! THAT THE BRITISH FUCKING CAUSED! HAHA! IT'S GONNA BE A GREAT YEAR!

Well Jesus Fuck, any naive illusions that the turn of the New Year might bring with it anything approaching basic fucking decency along with its endless crippling hangovers was quickly destroyed by the glorious news that British TV has commissioned a fucking *sit-com* to be set in the... Irish Famine.

Yes this *is* the same "famine" (so-called despite the fact it was caused by deliberate British policies) that caused the population of the island to *halve*, with about one million starving to death and another million forced to emigrate. HAHAHA!

What next? American TV to greenlight a hilarious new sitcom on the deliberately spread smallpox epidemic that devastated Native Americans? Or perhaps Australian TV might take a stab at a funny-yet-heartwarming comedy about the near-total genocide of Aboriginal people in Tasmania?

I got a joke about the famine for them, too --  they can have this one for free, it's a corker and it goes: "How many potatoes does it take to kill an Irishman?" The answer? "NONE!"

HAHAHA! Get it? It is funny coz it is about a million people starving to death in agony despite the fact their country was producing more than enough food to feed everyone on the island, just most of it belonged to large (frequently absent) English landowners who had it shipped off to England under English armed guard! Fucking hilarious!




AHAHAHA! Just *looking* at this Dublin memorial to the Irish hunger victims is amusing!


But what *I* want to know is who'll play the wacky-and-lovable-yet-utterly-racist-and-genocidal Charlie Trevelyan?

Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, KCB, was, of course, the cheeky scamp of a top-ranking British official in Ireland who oversaw the policy of denying badly needed relief to the starving masses because, as he wrote in a letter, he viewed the mass starvation as an "effective mechanism for reducing surplus population" and "the judgement of God".

It is likely a moot point, as you can probably bet on the show not featuring those who ruled Ireland at the time -- you know those actually fucking responsible for it, as then-British PM Tony Blair acknowledged in an official apology to the Irish people in 1997 (perhaps in about 150 years or so a British PM might apologise to Iraq for Blair's war crimes).

After all, the show's writer, Dublin-based Hugh Travers, explained: "We’re kind of thinking of it as 'Shameless' in famine Ireland."

IrishCentral.com responded:

The Showtime US version of “Shameless” series depicts the dysfunctional family of Irish American Frank Gallagher, a single father of six children. While he spends his days drunk, his kids learn to take care of themselves.

So we are basing a sitcom on The Famine on a drunken Irish American series. Hard to beat that I'd say.

So, yes. This show looks set to be all about laughing at the poor. It is the victims of that Great Hunger, considered by many to be deliberate genocide, who will be the source of its "humour".

And why not? That seems the fad in comedy -- laughing at the poor without any care for the context of their predicament ... or who is responsible for it.

The best comedy, on the other hand, "punches up", not down. It mocks the powerful and seeks to laugh *with* their victims, not at them.

And maybe, following such an approach, maybe it would be possible to make a comedy series set in the famine -- much like a show like Blackadder Goes Forth found humour in the horrific mass slaughter of World War I. By making the humour the sheer absurdity of the situation, and the incompetence of the aristocratic officer class blithely sending others out to die for a futile cause.



I just *had* to put in another pic of that Dublin memorial. The looks on their faces is too funny!


But whatever, you might be thinking, it was a long time ago. Perhaps enough time has passed... except for the fact that there are stories like this one from January 3, about how the bones of Irish children who died in a "coffin ship" fleeing the Great Hunger 170-odd years ago had just washed up on a Canadian beach.

It is just one example of how the effect of the Great Hunger extended far beyond Ireland's shores. Large numbers of million or so people who fled in the infamous coffin ships headed for North America, but plenty headed here to Australia too. (One was my great great great grandfather who settled in Victoria -- and was a dedicated Orangeman sectarian, which just goes to show even bigots get hungry.)

Strangely enough, the decision by Britain's Channel Four to commission the series has caused widespread outrage. An online petition is calling for the decision to be reversed.

But if you want to make up your own mind, feel free to read a special secret "leaked" version of the script published by IrishCentral.com

Or have a listen to the issues as spelled out below by Sinead O'Connor. Yes, I know. Sinead O'Connor. I did not want to have to resort to such extreme methods, but really, the fucking Brits had it coming.



'..then in the middle of this, they gave us money not to teach our children Irish...' Those British bastards forced me to do this.


And, OK, why not, while we are on the topic. Here is Irish folk legend Paddy Reilly with his hit version of Pete St John's classic tale of an Irish man during the famine transported as a convict to Botany Bay for stealing food ("Trevelyan's corn").



'Against the famine and the Crown, I rebelled, they cut me down...'




Monday, December 08, 2014

'I just can't make it by myself' --Tom Waits turns 65 and thank god he's still here.



'I just can't make it by myself...' 

It is a very hard call, and I certainly don't stand by it. But for what it is worth, I think Tom Waits' "Shore Leave" is my favourite Tom Waits song. Or, put another way, it is my favourite song.

A vivid tale of a lonely sailor on shore leave in Hong Kong is transformed into something almost frightening in its heartfelt despair. The sailor's declaration that "I just can't make it by myself, I just love you so..." is how I sometimes feel, in my more fanciful (ie: drunk) moments, about the veteran American songwriter who turns 65 today (well OK, that is yesterday here in Sydney where I write this, but it is still before midnight on December 7 in California where Waits resides). 

Tom Waits was inducted into the Rock'N'Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 by Neil Young in a move Waits described as "very encouraging".

In his more than 40 years in the music business, Tom Waits has had a huge impact  -- from his songs that YouTube mash-ups prove could easily have been sung by the Cookie Monster, to inspiring disturbingly accurate parodies like Tom Waits sings Christmas songs to being immortalised on the Internet via the Nyan Waits

Waits' turning 65 really makes you think -- mostly, it makes me think: "Oh for FUCK'S SAKE you GODDAMN  BASTARD! You are NOW FUCKING 65!!! TIME IS RUNNING OUT! TOUR AUSTRALIA! FOR GOD'S SAKE JUST COME AND TOUR AGAIN BEFORE YOU'RE TOO DECREPIT AND/OR TOO DEAD YOU ARSEHOLE!!! FUCK!!!"

We are probably lucky we even have the chance, however slim, that he might come back here for the first time since 1979. After all, this was a man who spent the 70s seemingly trying to drink himself to death in a bid to inspire the ultimate barfly song.

By the end of the 70s, Waits was in a bad way -- so bad he said he looked in the mirror one day and saw Billy Joel.

He was saved by the women he married, Kathleen Brennan. But this is not some patronising "woman saves man with her love and became his 'muse'" bullshit story where the woman only exists to further the leading man's narrative.

Brennan did not just help inspire a totally new direction for Waits, starting with 1983s Swordfishtrombone, she has been his creative partner, co-writing most songs ever since. On the nature of their songwriting partnership, Waits has variously offered such insights as "You wash, I'll dry" or "I'll hold the nail, you swing the hammer". 

One example Waits gave of one of Brennan's lines is one of the finest in any Tom Waits song -- "She's a diamond who wants to stay coal" from "Black Market Baby". At first, Waits thought she said "cold".

Essentially, from the 1980s on, the musical entity known to the world as "Tom Waits" has been a more-or-less entirely Waits/Brennan collaboration.

But we can also appreciate the fact that, had he never met Brennan, by his own admission, Waits probably would not be alive right now and tormenting Australian fans with his steadfast refusal to tour here, while making infuriating comments on the topic when pressed about it, like when he told Triple J in 2011 that, while he had no plans to tour, "Life is long, I'm sure it will happen."

Yeah, life is long, Tom, but it is not fucking infinite.




'We're all gonna be just dirt in the ground...' That's right Tom. What you just said. You might want to think of your own words in relation to your long-suffering and fucking desperate Australian fans.


I am obviously a big fan of Tom Waits. His poetic tales of ordinary people staggering through a hellish world frequently make me cry -- especially, but not only, if I've drunk reasonable quantities of beer and/or whiskey.

Others say Waits makes them cry too ... but for different reasons. Not everyone shares my... well obsession is really the only word. His (in)famously ultra-gravelly voice -- as well as his often eccentric sound and persona -- tend to divide opinion between obsessives and large chunks of the rest of humanity.

But whatever. Waits' music is theatrical and sometimes cinematic. It creates an atmosphere and mood in which to tell a story and evoke certain emotions.

And no two people like the exact same films or plays or books. At the end of the day, I just don't give fuck. And through four decades or recording and performing music, Waits has never given much indication he does either.

But rather than keep adding to the many, many words I have written already on this blog about Tom Waits, I'll highlight a couple of quotes from other songwriters and performers on the man -- who has inspired much praise and awe from all kinds of performers across many genres.

Former David Lee Roth guitarist Steve Via, best known as a hard rock metal guitarist, describes himself as "an overzealous fan" of Waits. In an interview about his love of Waits last year, he spoke of the first time he ever heard Waits (when he bought 1999's Mule Variations), saying:
I bought the CD, put it in my player, and I tell you, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was stunned into silence. I just listened to the entire CD, and then I went out and bought everything that he ever did.
On why Waits affects him so, much Vai explained:
He's 100% committed. When you watch him perform, he's fully present; he's in the moment with every single word... What I look for in music is artistry, sincerity, and simplicity and Tom Waits has all of that ... That's what I get from Tom's music, and that's pretty special.
More recently, Ben Nichols, frontman of country band Lucero (I refuse on absolute principle to use that idiotic phrase "alt. country" -- it's just fucking country music) wrote a November 12 piece for American Songwriter on his deep admiration of Tom Waits. He says:
I remember driving from Memphis to Little Rock listening to “Blind Love” from the album Rain Dogs and saying to myself, “That right there is the type of song I’d like to write in this Lucero band.”

Now, that is all well and good but I’m still trying to write a song like “Blind Love.” In the 16 years I’ve been writing songs for Lucero, I am still struggling to achieve what appears to come so naturally to Tom Waits...
Nichols concluded:
I never go very long without listening to some Tom Waits records. And actually, I just realized the best part about writing this essay … it made me want to stop typing, pick up a guitar and try to write a song, cause that’s what listening to Tom Waits makes me want to do.
So here you go, in honour of his 65th birthday, a pretty random selection of Tom Waits songs, just ones that I feel like including tonight -- there are countless ones I could post and I've done various themed Waits' song posts before.

As ever, the songs are helpfully compiled in a nice YouTube playlist. Yar, don't thank me, buy me a beer sometime. Via the paypal donate button on the right side of the blog...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOM WAITS NOW COME AND FUCKING TOUR AUSTRALIA YOU GODDAMN BASTARD!

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'Don't you know there aint no Devil, there's just God when He's drunk...' As well as just generally a great song and a cool performance, that "Devil/God" line is one of my favourite quotes of all time. And it's followed by 'This stuff'll probably kill ya... let's do another line...' Hollywood summed up.





'The smell of blood, the drone of flies, you know what to do when that baby cries... Hoist that rag...' War, via Tom Waits. One of the tracks from 2004's Real Gone inspired by Bush's futile, failed wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.





'Two dollar pistol, but the gun won't shoot. I'm on the corner in the pouring rain...' Sure, other times, I'd go for the full emotional bombast of 'Downtown Train' -- one of the most poetic songs there is about urban alienation. But I've done that before on this blog, and 1985s Rain Dogs has many more tales of the madness of urban life in a major city like New York and this is just one.





'Well my parole officer will be proud of me...' It probably says a lot about me that I tend to lean towards the "heartboken, drunk and filled with melancholy and regret" side of the Tom Waits ledger.  Here is a Waits' track cutting loose a bit.





'And all the news is bad, is there any other kind?' That one line sums up how, on this track from his 2011 album Bad As Me, Waits combines pointed social and political jabs ('It's hard times for some, for others its sweet. Someone makes money when there's blood on the streets') with his more usual territory of heartache ('Well she told me she'd leave me, I ignored all the signs...')





'The piano is firewood, Times Square is a dream... ' Well I guess I couldn't stay away from the 'bitter sweet songs tinged with melancholy and regret' for too long.





'I'm the last leaf. The autumn took the rest, but they won't take me...' Great track, sharing vocals with Keith Richards.... But still... I mean don't forget Tom... I know you sing 'I'll here through eternity, if you want to know how long. If they cut down this tree I'll turn up in a song', but you know... NOT LIVE. You live on forever, or at least until the climate change-induced eco-holocaust destroys us all, in *song*... But NOT LIVE!!! TOUR AUSTRALIA YOU PRICK!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The 6 Things You Should Never Say To A Psycopath

As anyone who has been near the internet at all in the past couple of years knows, some people in this world are introverts and others are extroverts. And both groups have their own special needs that only other introverts/extroverts could possibly understand.

But what about psychopaths? It can seem like our special nature and needs are all too often ignored.

This is not surprising when you consider all the negative portrayals of psychopaths coming out of Hollywood. What, with films ranging from American Psycho to Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the seemingly endless versions of Snow White (seriously, couldn't Hollywood manage to have at least one of them try to depict things from the Evil Queen's perspective???) it is no wonder psychopaths are so misunderstood and even feared!

No doubt you have many preconceived, and possibly quite wrong, notions about psychopaths -- that we are all mass murderers, torturers or CEO of major banks! I mean, it just isn't true -- some of us also run large oil companies!

Well you need worry no more! I have compiled this list to help you better understand and relate to the psycopaths in your life, and also increase your chances of staying alive! Yes, here are "The 6 Things You Should Never Say To A Psycopath"! Don't thank me, just buy me a beer sometime! Seriously! Just do it! Don't make me hurt you!


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1) "Why are you carrying that machete?"

Yes we know we are carrying a machete! And yes we know it is dripping in blood! This is because psychopaths find social interaction to be difficult and frustrating if we don't have some sort of deadly weapon at hand with which to brutally slaughter whoever we are talking to, should the need arise.

This is just one of the defence mechanisms we have to help us cope with the outside world. It doesn't make us lesser humans or mean we hate you. It just means we are constantly weighing up whether or not to slash your ugly face to pieces with our machete.

Healthy relationships are all about maintaining respect, so keep in mind that pointing to the deadly weapon in a psychopath's twitching hand is basically like asking a disabled person why they have a wheelchair or asking someone what their false leg is for. As well as rude, it will also likely shorten your life expectancy.


2) "Why do you kill people?"

Why do you ask stupid questions? Seriously, it might be well-intended, but asking this is almost guaranteed to offend/enrage a psychopath.

But basically, so you know, it is kinda how we recharge our batteries.

Imagine that every person has one cup of energy that can be emptied out and needs refilling. Generally, non-psychopaths find the act of brutally butchering another human being to be a draining activity, after which they will often need a decent rest or even a long holiday on an entirely different continent with a fake passport and new identity.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, find the act of slaughter to be an exhilarating and uplifting experience! It really gets the blood flowing (haha bad pun!)

Essentially, it gives us the energy we need to face another day on this truly godforsaken hellhole of a planet. Best to just get out of the way and leave us to it, if you know what is good for you.


3) "Where do you bury all the bodies?"

OK, now asking this is a pretty big "no-no". No psychopath will want to answer this one partly for some pretty obvious legal reasons and partly because each psychopath's burial ground is a deeply personal space. For many of us, the place we bury our victims is one of the few places we can ever really truly feel at peace.

Also, it can be hard to find a decent place to bury bodies and space is often at a premium. Asking this of a psychopath will just lead to us having one more dead body we have to find a place to hide and this will increase stress levels unnecessarily. So just be respectful and avoid this one. For your own sake.


4) "ARRRGGH!!! FUCK!!! YOU'RE SLASHING MY LIMBS! OH MY GOD THE PAIN!"

Yes, OK, we know. Sometimes we start hacking away at anyone in our general vicinity when we get anxious or upset. Often it happens if someone tries to ask us where bodies are buried. It is a spontaneous response and often we won't even realise we are doing it!

However, you highlighting the fact in a public situation is unlikely to help and will only raise levels of anxiety and/or murderous rage. The best procedure is to wait for a quiet moment to discreetly raise the matter with the psychopath in your life and explain, gently and very, very carefully, your negative feelings towards having your limbs hacked to pieces.

Assuming you are still alive, of course. Which is probably pretty unlikely, because if there is one thing you can say about us psychopaths, it is once we start hacking, we tend not to stop until your body is in small, easy-to-dispose-of pieces! Sorry, it's just how we are!


5) "You are under arrest."

This is definitely a very bad thing to say to any psychopath. It is about the most offensive thing you could say -- and yet amazingly, you'd be shocked at how many times I actually hear this said to me! Even in 2014, some people still seem to think this is acceptable!

And why does it always seems to be police officers?!? I don't know what it is, but I can tell you right now the police forces in this country are clearly long-overdue for some "psychopath sensitivity training". Honestly, you'd think some of them have never seen a blood-splattered psychopath standing over a dismembered corpse before!

This really is one sure way to guarantee more blood being spilled. If you say this one to a psychopath, don't expect to stay alive much longer. You've been warned!


6) "Hey, psycho!"

"Psychopath" is the proper name for people who suffer from the medical condition psychopathy, which is characterised by enduring antisocial behaviour, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior. The term "psycho", however, is widely recognised by psychopaths as a negative slur.

Yes, a psychopath can, and sometimes will, call another psychopath a "psycho" -- often when engaged in a battle to the death over some prime corpse-burying territory. But for a non-psychopath to use the term is deeply offensive.

Other terms to avoid include "crazed killer", "deranged lunatic", "freak", "murderous fruitloop", "serial killer", "monster", "The Butcher", "blood-stained axe-wielding maniac", "The Spawn of Satan" or "The Very Personification of Pure Evil".

Also unacceptable are "the suspect", "the accused" or "the defendant" (see point five). 

Use of such terms is likely to lead to your brutal death and it is unlikely to be quick or painless. Of course, if you have a psychopath in your life, you will probably die a horrible death sooner or later anyway. But you can do your bit to ensure your last remaining time on Earth is as non-offensive to your almost-certain-to-be murderer as possible. We thank you in advance.

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OK, I hope that was useful, but if you wish to know more, I recommend these tracks about psychopaths and our culture. It is important to highlight those parts of popular culture treating psychoths with respect, so no I am not putting up any versions of Leon Payne's "Psycho" -- not even the Beasts of Bourbon's version despite Tex Perkin's fine vocal performance -- on grounds it uses the unacceptable "P" word.

I hope you enjoy the below tracks, however, featuring, somewhat unsurprisingly for anyone who has read more than one post on this blog, Tom Waits, Shovels and Rope and Alberta's finest country singer Corb Lund. DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN PSYCHOPATH SONG? Suggest it in the comments.



'Cause there's nothin' strange about an axe with bloodstains in the barn. There's always some killin' you got to do around the farm...' Damn straight Tom! You tell 'em.




'She saw a thin man and a shadow make their way across the lawn ... And it'll be a long time before the sun shines on Shank Hill street again...' The South Carolina husband-and-wife duo's sensitive song by about a psychopath's sometimes strained relationship with their surrounding community.




'I ain’t got time to savour ‘em, I gotta drink ‘em quick
I’ve conveyed my urgency, I hope
If they catch me it’s all over, I’ll be way on up the creek
And I’ll be swingin’ on the wrong end of a rope'


Such a sad song by Canadian country singer Corb Lund! All about a psychopath from the American Wild West on the run from the law (does persecution of my kind ever stop?) who stops for a badly needed drink, only to be cruelly gunned down by the bar tender when he turns his back! I mean really, if you can't even trust your own bar tender who can you trust? Sad, sad song.