Adam Goodes chucks a pretend spear and Australia chucks a very real wobbly



Adam-Goodes-war-dance-L_0
image pilfered from
New Matilda

 

On Friday 29 May, some football happened, as it frequently does, and I ignored it, as I usually do.

However, days later, media is still buzzing with a certain incident, reading all manner of threat and offense in it.

As I understand it, after consistent heckling from Carlton fans at an AFL game being played at the SCG, Adam Goodes kicked a goal and celebrated it with a dance.

Now.

As I say, football happens frequently to my utter indifference.

Even so, I'm not totally ignorant to the joyful celebratory activity of players overtaken with the elation of having scored points. Take the elaborate jersey-over-the-head antics of goal-kickers in the World Cup, say. To be honest, I'm not adverse to recreating the same in the front room when I score a goal against the kids in foosball

Back to Adam Goodes.

Apparently, the game was an 'Indigenous Round'. I don't really understand the full ramifications of that title but I assume players are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background or ancestry, or at the very least, there is some link to those cultures that enable an otherwise broadly racist country/administration/sporting code/fanbase to feel it's doing its bit for race relations for another year.

Whatever.

It turns out, however, that Adam Goodes' little celebratory fancy-stepping is an alleged 'war-cry' dance. It was accompanied by some kind of 'hurling a spear' gesture. Although Adam later attributed it to an U16 team he's hung out with, the Flying Boomerangs, fact is, at the time, and in the days subsequent, the more Anglo aspects of Australian footy fanbase, admin, talkback radio and the population in general, appear to be losing it as a result.

There have been a range of often contradictory responses.

At half time:

“We’ve never seen that before and I don’t think we ever want to see it again to be perfectly honest, regardless of what it is.”

After the game:

"It’s quite aggressive, let’s be honest."

"Even if it made us feel a little bit uncomfortable in the first instance ... let’s not get too precious about the whole situation."

"Let’s discuss whether we want to have that type of celebration as an ongoing thing."

"I think we have to be careful on things where players are going to the crowd in any manner.”

"Personally, I don’t like to see demonstrative celebrations after a goal or anything else."

On Monday morning:

"Had we known before the game that Adam or the indigenous players were planning to do some sort of war cry, we could have been able to educate and understand the situation."

"This is a made-up dance, this is not something that has been going on for years."

And these were just some of the ones uttered by Eddie McGuire.

What? Eddie McGuire contradict himself over controversy involving Adam Goodes? Really? That's never happened before. Except with the foolish girl fan called Goodes an ape, not realising the racist overtones of the term, and Eddie stepped in to smooth things over. And then cracked a 'King Kong' joke at Goodes' expense not very long after. Still. Rugger b*ggers, eh? Does anybody really expect them to think? I mean the ones employed to make important decisions and be media personalities and all that.

There have been other responses by other people. But they all seem to revolve around the threat posed by Adam Goodes' pretend spear.

Waleed Aly intelligently pointed out that, on occasion, footballers have given opposing fans 'the finger': "they might get a fine, but they don't get boo'd for it," he said. "The fact that this was some kind of cultural expression that people found confronting is the issue."

His take on the furor?

"Australia is generally a very tolerant society, until its minorities demonstrate that they don't know their place. The minute someone in a minority position acts as though they're not a mere supplicant then we lose our minds and say, 'no, no, you need to get back in your box'. And that's why Adam Goodes ruffles feathers - it's because he says, 'I'm going to express Aboriginality, and I'm going to do it at a time and a place in which the vanilla frontier of Australian society doesn't cope with it very well'."

 

 

Now, forgetting for a moment the expression of Aboriginality ruffling the feathers of the vanilla frontier, consider this:

Football is a ritualised recreation of tribal warfare. This team, the warriors of the tribe from this village, fight that team, the warriors of the tribe from the other village - and we can tell them apart by their distinctive battle colours - over the disputed, desired object. If it were a beauteous chick instead of a ball, and one team snuck into the other team's half, secreted in a giant wooden Brownlow Medal that appeared to be a gift from the gods, we'd have the classic Trojan War scenario. Indeed, if the losing team (or the winning team - academics still argue about it) was sacrificed at the end of the game, you'd have Ōllamaliztli - the ritualistic ball-game 'played' by various Mesoamerican cultures, often as a proxy for war itself.

But all of this, though not being irrelevant necessarily, is pointless to dwell upon. Spectators, commentators, the elements of the Australian population who took issue with Goodes' dance and gesture just don't want an outspoken indigenous Australian threatening them. With his pretend spear.

And this is where the nonsense lies.

Consider sporting events involving a New Zealand team. How do they begin? With a ritualised  dance. The one known as the Haka.

A Haka is a war dance. No two ways about it. Traditionally, it was performed before battle. I've been told it's all about threatening to tear the enemy's heart out, and eat it.

Did you get that?

TEAR THE ENEMY'S HEART OUT.  AND EAT IT.

It's okay, though. It's just pretend. The New Zealand team isn't really going to tear the other team's heart out and eat it. Not literally. It's just pretend.

This is my question:

Why is Adam Goodes' war dance and pretending to chuck a spear more threatening than a whole tribe doing a war dance and pretending to threaten to rip your heart out and eat it?

Well, clearly, it's because, as Waleed Aly says, we're uncomfortable with the Aborigine ruffling our feathers. The ritual of the Haka is now part of the performance, part of the game; we know it's harmless. New Zealand's white population reconciled with and acknowledges the history of its indigenous peoples. There is some kind of actual and more real harmony - it would appear - in the New Zealand culture, compared to Australian culture.

But forget the lesson we should learn from that.

Back to pretend spearing and pretend ripping out and eating the enemy's heart.

Surely the pretend spear is just as harmless as the Haka.

No, actually, the pretend spear is even less of a threat than the Haka.

Think about it.

Which would you rather face? A pretend spear being pretend chucked at you? Or a tribe of warriors pretend threatening to pretend rip out your heart and pretend eat it?

I mean, at least with the pretend spear, there's a chance it will pretend miss.

How long do you think you'd be able to pretend elude a pretend attack of a pretend band of pretend warriors pretend intent on pretend ripping out your heart and pretend eating it? There's a whole pretend bunch of them - at least pretend one of them's likely to pretend catch you and pretend proceed with pretend rippage and eatage...

I prefer my pretend chances with the pretend spear.

If only footy and furore, and whatever the latest human rights violations they're diverting attention from (decimation or total eradication of our health services; sale of prime farmland - the food bowl of Australia - to a Chines concern, for coal mining; human rights violations in detention centres; the Trans-Pacific Partnership…) were also just pretend.

 

 


Vale Stuart Wagstaff 13 February 1925 – 10 March 2015

Stuart Wagstaff

Rest in Peace, Stuart Wagstaff - one of Australia's finest BLANKS.

 There will be no shortage of tributes and obituaries for Stuart Wagstaff - an entertainer with a lifelong career on stage and screen. In addition to a series of cigarette ads I barely remember (tobacco advertising ended on Australian television in 1976 - replaced by intense ad campaigns for matches) Wagstaff was a regular panelist on the game show Blankety Blanks. Which was still enjoying repeats in the late 1980s. It also had a spin-off brand of lemonade. Featuring a who's who of Australian celebrities, it proved a popular DVD release.

Here are some random excerpts courtesy of Youtube:

 

 

 

 

(Here's the soft drink ad if you really need to see it.)

 


Getting the Finger from Jerry Garcia

I was tickled pink by the news that the Grateful Dead were reconvening for their 50th Anniversary: July 3-5 at Soldier Field, Chicago.

Once I'd gotten my head around the staggering ticket prices - a three-day pass has been offered on StubHub for $116,000 (that's US dollars, I'm guessing) - a series of questions immediately sprung to mind:

  • Will there be a return of the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests?
  • Will the Kool-Aid be available in drip-bags with deluxe attachments that older fans – the not-quite-Deadheads – may affix to their disability scooters?
  • Who will fill the spots left vacant by founding members who haven't managed to last quite as long as the band?

At least they've been clear on the final issue: deputising for lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, for example, is Trey Anastasio, of Phish.

 

B_M3lG4UwAMaDPY

 

Check him out: Trey clearly has been deliberately chosen f0r his ability to look enough like the Jerry Berry to fool the baby boomer acid casualties.

Which reminds me, there is one final essential question:

  • Has Jerry Garcia ever given you the finger?

No?

If not the finger, how about a finger?

If not, there's certainly the opportunity to get one now, that's for sure!

According to gossip newsletter  Popbitch, a dude called Matt is selling one via Craigslist. ("$5,000; Good Condition.")

 

Jerry Finger Craiglist

 

Matt reckons he's selling the severed finger to raise money for said upcoming 50th Anniversary show.

"It pains me to part with this one-of-a-kind collectable," he writes, "but I believe Jerry would want me to see the last show."

Matt doesn't explain how he came to own Jerry Garcia's picked finger, preserved in brine solution and hermetically sealed "for long term storage".

Of course, this is the perfect marketing opportunity: individual vials with replica Jerry Berry Finger tabs, immersed in the specially prepared Electric Kool-Aid Acid available at the merch booth.

 

Jerry Berry's finger

 

If they really wanted to, they could clone a whole new Jerry Berry from the DNA contained in the preserved digit.

At the very least, this concert should be recorded for posterity. Adorned with the image of Garcia's finger, it would be the perfect way in which to revive that series of live Grateful Dead recordings known as 'Dick's Picks'. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dead Heads, Acid Casualties, Mobility Scooter-bound Baby Boomers – may I present Dick's Picks Volume 37:

 

DicksPicks37b

 

 

 


The ultimate booby trap as clickbait

 

Okay, sorry - I just couldn't resist.

Just like my mate Nick who, likewise, couldn't resist posting the story of 'Beshine', the stage name of Mayra Hills, who allegedly has the largest fake breasts in the known universe. For Nick, it demonstrates the new era of absurdy. I just love how this particular clickbait is the ultimate booby trap. And I have a nice visual punchline for it.

So here we go:

 

Booby trap

 

No. These are:

Aaathese are

 

 

Whackety schmackety doo

 

(This reminds me of an old blog post entitled Bosom Buddies - proceed if you dare.)

 

 

 


Our Lady of Peripheral Indulgence?


I went for a walk at lunch time on Friday, taking a slightly different route back to the office. In so doing, I came across an item of cultural ephemera not half a block away from a private Catholic school.

Relax, sensationalists, this isn't The Telegraph, and it's still school holidays. It could be any wastrel dumping their spent jollies-delivery-unit in the street.

Still, made for some nice photos that I couldn't help but share:

 

IMG_2935
Parramatta, you bastion of kulchar you!

 

IMG_2978
In context

 

IMG_2979
Still [life in the back streets of Parra!] more context

 

 

Of course the comments on Instagram and Facebook waxed nostalgic for the vintage equivalent from their youth:

"A step up from the Orchy Orange Juice bottles of the '80s ... Just." - nickhadleydarlo

(Orchy had the monopoly on single-serve bottled juice back in the day.)




Malcolm Young's Dementia

Malcolm Young from SMH
Malcolm Young, from
SMH

 

Tabloids love tragedy, this much is true even of the former 'newspaper of public record' trying hard be both relevant and popularist, the Sydney Morning Herald.

Early on the night of Wednesday 1 October the SMH online published National Music Editor Peter Vincent's report that the family and management of one of AC/DC's founding members, Malcolm Young, had confirmed rumours of his dementia.

The story opened by bragging about Fairfax "breaking the story last week" (c'mon, the rumour was doing the rounds a couple of months ago) but cited "a major gossip magazine" claiming to receive confirmation from the Young family.

Angus Young story SMH
click for close-up

 

What I love most is how the article telling of Malcolm Young's dementia seems to exhibit symptoms of dementia itself: after paragraphs outlining confirmation of Young's dementia rumour, the band's success, its immediate plans, aspects of dementia itself, the article suddenly starts behaving like your favourite Great Aunt - not the one who flirts shamelessly and inappropriately with your best friend (she's got all her faculties; she's just a bit of a slut) so much as the one who changes the subject entirely for no apparent reason other than to treat us to an out-of-place, bizarrely off-topic tale. In this case, it's a closing paragraph that describes in great detail the American glossy People magazine.

Time-inc Paragraph
click for close-up

 

Perhaps National Music Editor Peter Vincent is also Fairfax's International Publications Profiler (a job that can only be getting cushier with time, as more publications cease to exist…)

I am, of course, saddened that Malcolm Young is unwell; I wish he, his family and his band the best of the future.

 


From Steamboat Willie to Motorboat Mickey

 

 

Way back in 1928, Walt Disney's legendary creation Mickey Mouse sort of made his debut in the animated featurette Steamboat Willie.

It was a 'sort of' debut because Steamboat Willie was in fact the third animation that Mickey appeared in, following Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho. However, the earlier two cartoons didn't appeal enough to distributors for them to take them on. Thus, Steamboat Willie was the first Mickey Mouse film to receive distribution, and it's considered important for many reasons, including the fact that it's the first animation to feature synchronised sound.

The title takes the - ahem - mickey out of comedian Buster Keaton's film Steamboat Bill, Jr. The title of Keaton's flick refers to a song, 'Steamboat Bill', which happens to feature in Steamboat Willie along with 'Turkey in the Straw'. In fact, what with the synchronised sound, an argument could be made that Steamboat Willie is the very first music video; it is, after all, a story built around two feature tunes. Consider, though, how quickly animated features with synchronised sound developed: it's only 12 years until Disney's Fantasia, a timeless masterpiece that wedded music and imagery so well. It's worth nothing that another part of the plot involves love interest Minnie Mouse almost missing the boat.

 

 

In the 90-odd years from his not-quite debut, Mickey has come a long way, and he's all over the place.  Clearly, I can't avoid him, no matter where I happen to be strolling after work - whether it's on the entrance to a house in suburban Glebe after recording the audio of a spoken word gig, or in the window of a clothes shop in the high street of that fashion capital, Parramatta, as you'll see.

Although, in this instance, Mickey's activities are a little questionable. What exactly is Mickey Mouse doing, with his back to us, on this top? Where's Minnie now?

It seems somewhat of a distance from Steamboat Willie to 'motor-boating Mickey'.

 

Motorboating Mickey

 

 

 


The day Rik Mayall offered to shag my sister

Image


Guest House Paradiso wasn't a cinematic masterpiece. It was, however, an opportunity to see Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson being violently hilarious on the big screen. And for me,thanks to the free weekly entertainment rag Revolver, it was the opportunity to meet Rik 'n' Ade in real life. They'd come to Australia to promote the film and were being interviewed in their hotel at The Rocks in Sydney.

I'd taken my sister Sylvia along to the interview. Having introduced her to The Young Ones via Monty Python's Flying Circus, she had - as most converts do - become the more zealous true believer. While I was off having my inner-city freelance writer adventures, she was dutifully compiling all the episodes of Bottom on carefully labelled VHS video cassettes; the series hadn't been released on DVD yet.

Of course, I'd had the good sense to leave my sister in the hotel foyer. I figured, get the interview in the can, then ask if I can bring her up to the room; if they get annoyed by unprofessional fan-boy and his sister, the work's already done.

So after the interview, I sheepishly began by saying, "look, I know it's not very professional, but I was wondering – my sister's downstairs, and…"

"You want us to shag her?" Rik interrupted helpfully. "Well, we've only got a few minutes…" – glancing at his watch – "…but we can give it a go."

Rather than my going downstairs and bringing her up, they suggested they come down to the foyer and say g'day. On the way down they asked me her name.

As the lift opened, the voice of Vyvyan of the 'Young Ones' - or Edward Catflap of 'Filthy, Rich and Catflap' or Edward Hitler of 'Bottom' rang out across the room: "Where's this Sylvia bird then?"

That Sylvia bird was on the sofa opposite the lifts, with the biggest grin on her face.

That was the day Rik Mayall offered to shag my sister.

Image

Benedict Cumberbatch photobombs U2 at the Oscars

So the Oscars - or 'Seppo Logies' as I like to think of them - have been handed out for another year. I didn't watch any of it. All I know is what people Tweeted or Facebooked about it:

John Travolta looks younger than when he first became famous as Vinnie Barbarino, the Sweathog, back on Welcome Back, Kotter! Not only that - he still has as much trouble learning stuff (like a possible award recipient's name), reading it off the autocue or card, and saying it out loud - as his character would have had, back then. But ask him about it now and I bet he'd still be all, "What? Who? How? When? Ahhh, I'm so confused!"


Travolta mangles Idina Menzel's name…

 


…mangles the Irish potato famine's name…

Kim Novak should have stopped having work done to her face some time ago. I know it's been years since she was the babe in Rear Window[1], but babeciousness persisted throughout her life until more recently, when - it appears - she tried to gobble the rear window… in one gulp… forgetting it was made of glass. (Let me put this bit in perspective, though: making fun of someone who refuses to grow old gracefully is, in this instance, the undertaking of someone who's refused to grow up at all; if she wants her appearance manipulated by external forces that's her business.)

 

Kim novak
What is it Kim Novak can't face?

 

An Ellen Degeneres-centric celebrities selfie  got retweeted ad infinitem. What? A roomful of celebrities? At the Seppo Logies Oscars? Are you shitting me? No way!

 

Ellen_Degeneres_selfie_twitter_bradley_cooper_jennifer_lawrence_meryl_streep_brad_pitt-462748

 

All of that pales into significance when you see this awesome image of Benedict Cumberbatch photobombing the band U2.

 

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I can offer two captions:

"Bein'-a-dick Cumberbatch."

Or:

"Oy! U2?! Me too!"

 

 

Footnote

1 Yes, of course, Grace Kelly was the babe in Rear Window and Novak was in Vertigo; not for a second suggesting Hitchcock's thrillers or his leading babes are interchangeable. It's just gag the 'gobbling the real window' gag suits this situation so well.

 


Best. Discumentary. Ever.

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It began with a friend's status update on Facebook, proudly announcing the imminent arrival of a newly purchased turntable, anticipating the opportunity to play "vinyl records". (Bravo for not calling them 'vinyls'!)

She posted a very nice image of a Crosley turntable - on a shelf in a shop, looking nice and new, despite also looking like the kind of vintage turntable that would have the 'warm' sound of 'tubes'.

So I googled 'Crosley'. And discovered, courtesy of a phonophile's YouTube clip, that it's just one of any number of mass-produced turntables marketed under a vintage brand name, out of China. Affordable. It certainly wasn't this easy when I bought mine, a good 15-0dd years ago. Although, I'm a bit happier, in a smug sort of way, about my one: I bought an authentically old turntable - not as old as these new Crosleys are made to look - that had been reconditioned, along with an amp and pre-amp, from Egg Records. There was an old-age pensioner who used to recondition them. He looked a lot like Hoggle from Labyrinth.

 Bowie and hoggle2

 

After the phonophile's Crosley profile, I discovered this brilliant paean to the pleasures for collecting records. The best discumentary ever. Simply entitled Vinyl.

Now, no more talk; just watch: