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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Sunday, 16 November 2003
One more for the road
Too tasty to resist: a bloody marvellous article on David Bowie and the occult.

Posted by berko_wills at 3:25 AM EADT
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Knocking them back
Just like an argument on religion, this topic seems not to let go. But I did think I should mention that there was a time, not so long ago, when you were defined as either a card carrying Christian or in opposition to this; as an atheist or agnostic. With fledgling multiculturalism in the early seventies, we now have a plethora of nonChristian faiths: Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Bahai, Islam, Judaism...
There's probably even a few Zoroastrians, who are interesting for the many similarities between Zarathusthra and the Christian 'Son of Man'.

Satanists, of course, as with atheists and agnostics, are largely defined in relation to belief in Christ. (We don't think of atheists as 'not believing in Vishnu' after all.)But then Ceremonial Magic and study of the Kaballah are also closely aligned, even if their practices would dismay the average churchgoer.

You didn't think I'd miss an opportunity to post a link to witchcraft did you? Because that is again on the ascendancy. Though jostling with the more costly and trendy New Age.

Having religiously documented all the things I can think of that might see you bowing down, lighting candles, chomping devotionally, or otherwise sitting crosslegged and contemplating the ineffable, I'm done.

Posted by berko_wills at 2:47 AM EADT
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Saturday, 15 November 2003
Invalid port
It's refreshing when something is given a lowkey title (such as the drink that this entry is named for) Look around and everything from the dishwashing liquid to the fine crystal is marked somewhere as being brighter smarter better altogether.
The other thing that is great about Invalid Port is that it is (I think) officially named to rhyme with palid but, as a favoured drink for the down at heel, is usually rhymed with


bugger, not even the rhyming dictionary would come to my rescue for this one, choosing the easy option of salad.. the word I want here is roughly rhymed with 'cinder bid'. Or it's a synonym for a word rhyming with 'tipple'
Anyway you get my drift. Either usage connotes doing it rough; the very opposite of chablis, I should think.

While we're on the subject, no the title of this blog does not point in any way to my own drinking prowess, which is dwarfed by three quarters of the population of this fair nation. I'm not saying I'm a two pot screamer or a buttoned up wowser but I only drink socially for the most part. And since my social life is also somewhat parsimonious, this means I'm not a big support to the liquour industry.

A couple of more quick points about religion before we move on: I have personal experience of the Church of England, having boarded at one of their boy's hostels in high school and trudging off to church with all the other lads every Sunday. But my own background is with one of the multitude of prodestant churches called rather plainly, the Church of Christ. Now most of my family on my mother's side were all members of this church and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that there wasn't a lot of choice around the Mukinbudin District. I doubt you would have found a Lutheran or Assembly of God within coo-ee of the place.

My parents wore their religion lightly but we did say grace before meals and I used to go to Sunday School in Bonnie Rock once a fortnight. I believed in God when I was ten, I can remember. And investigating different faiths was something of a hobby for years, although I know they say you're meant to take it more seriously than that.
I'm even still officially a Jack Mormon, I guess, as I signed up with them when I was seventeen or so and living with my grandparents.

It took me some years of spiritual fartarsing round before I gravitated to witchiness and I wear that at least as lightly as my parents did Christendom.

Posted by berko_wills at 10:58 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 November 2003 9:14 PM EADT
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Monday, 10 November 2003
Dutch host
This was the original intended title for this blog but the politically correct folk at Tripod wouldn't permit it. I suppose it does have racist connotations: it's a term that stems from a period when the British were battling the Dutch and refers to someone who invites people to a dinner or party but is drunk before they arrive!
(I'm just relying on Tripod not looking this closely or they'll censor this as well)

Anyways sharp-eyed followers of this column; which presumably is all five of you, will have noticed some omissions from the last post. Yes we have a veritable cornucopia of ecumenically nomenclatured acts. In addition to those named, there is the sixties group Kevin Bible and The Book, eighties group the New Christs and current pop combo Superjesus. On the other side of the fence is/are the Hellmen


Posted by berko_wills at 1:44 PM EADT
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Sunday, 9 November 2003
Consecrated whine
And you thought I'd run out of titles. No chance. I've got a million of them (okay at the rate I post I might still run out)

Anyone looking at the Australian music scene could get the impression that either we're a devout society or we obsess over our religious colonial beginnings. Consider the names of some of our preeminent bands: The Church, The Saints, The Angels, The Choirboys, The Godmen, God, Man Bites God (okay, well that might be stretching it!)

I like to think it has something to do with our cheeky irreverence. Certainly none of these bands have a song catalogue that will turn up any time in a Christian Youth Camp to replace "Morning Has Broken" or "Rock My Soul In The Bosom of Abraham"

Our census statistics still suggest that most of us are nominally Anglican though it's long been held as an article of faith (heh) that there are many bodies buried in the Anglican section of the cemetery for no other reason than that they didn't have a declared belief.

Posted by berko_wills at 12:07 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 9 November 2003 12:19 PM EADT
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Thursday, 6 November 2003
Old soak
[Originally posted on The Grassy Knoll]

As for the ramifications of the Patriot Act; I still think that the US cannot see the forest for the trees. McCarthy was out persecuting people and trying to shut them up or shut them down because they were (allegedly) in cahoots with an organisation whose greatest sin was the way they smashed dissent and denied individual freedom. Had the American people at an essential level understood the grim irony of this position it might have given them pause.

But most of the fervent patriotism I see coming from there is still of the moronic yeee-hhaaaa flag-waving kind with no real thought whatsoever. 'My country right or wrong' must be one of the most insidious notions ever concocted because if an adminstration takes the helm that does NOT have the average joe's interests at heart, they'll still go on merrily shafting themselves and handing ove their rights for some mythical 'greater good'. This is no better, in any sense, than the same brainwashing in mainland China, in the former Soviet Union, or in any other nation where 'the State' takes on an autocratic life of its own and rules the people instead of serving them.

Our Anzac Club - a group for retired servicemen and women - has the motto They Only Deserve Freedom Who Are Prepared To Defend It. I'd want clarification because that sounds stupid from where I'm sitting. I would want to know how long I have to surrender my freedom (until the threat is passed?) before I have a right to regain it and thereby give it meaning. If I never have freedom, and there is nothing in the system I serve that will look like giving me freedom then I am defending a lie; a pretend freedom. And what value does my future freedom have if I have lost my independant will or been permanently scarred by the experience of first defending it?

If I have to defend my freedom but some shirker indirectly benefits from it then am I to be given cold comfort by sneering at them that THEY don't deserve it?

So if the old diggers are going to have such a contentious statement on their wall then they need to hire a patient and skilled mason or scribe to etch all the subclauses and codicils that should emanate. And that would just look messy. Better to get a decent slogan to begin with.

Besides it is a weak statement because if we apprehend what freedom really entails then we have an automatic right to it. The fact that there may be hostile forces ready and willing to take that away from us (including those on our 'own side') does not take away from our right to it. An analogy would be insisting that in order for a business to run, it should have all the necessary security features, alarms etc whereas no the merchant has the RIGHT to have his gold trinkets on a trestle in a crowded marketplace. His right here is not, and should not, be impinged by the inevitability of some scum stealing it. Of course he would be foolish to leave it so unguarded but that is an entirely different proposition to saying that he has no right to be a merchant in the first place.

The thing about the Patriot Act is that it doesn't guarantee its citizens freedom; it does the opposite. So it should be opposed for being against the American Constitution, its founding fathers and all it purports to stand for. This rather spins past some vague thing called an 'opinion' and has ultimately fuck all to do with partisan politics.

We had an Australia Card proposal by a social democrat government, which would have seen every individual's details stored at one central chip. It was so vehemently opposed that the plan was abandoned, as it should have been. American needs to treat the Patriot Act the same way.


Posted by berko_wills at 1:50 PM EADT
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Sunday, 2 November 2003
Trinken Sie Es Schwarz
Trinken Sie es kurze Liste des Schwarzen A der notwendigen Ubel: Formen und Markterhebungbesteuerung die politische Systembevolkerungsdichte, die Verunreinigungsausgabe auf dem militarischen shonky Schnellimbi?gaumen der Diplomaten verursacht

Posted by berko_wills at 11:54 PM EADT
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Saturday, 1 November 2003
The formula
It hasn't been deliberate yet already this blog has developed features that a critic could glom onto:

(1)the revolving hyperlink: favourites signify both individual taste and mass acceptance; the revolving hyperlink cycles through it all
(2)apt title: the title doesn't have to fit the content of the posting but it does have to play off Drink It Black
(3)the way the world plays it: this started off accidentally with Filipino fans of Smallville and seemed a novel way to point to a country and its people without going into fallback mode and documenting their latest coup de tat or natural disaster
(4)a bit of language: the link is in another language
(5)alignments: what started with skeptics popping up in a newspaper piece, has evolved into a need to drop in on all those maddening little subgroups who exercise an opinion different from that fed to them like infant mush by the mainstream
(6)musical chairs: I'll be back on the beat in no time
(7)sitting here without a comic book: that's a document of description NOT a suggested title
(8)there's a lesson in there: exploring a thing not because it has personal significance or you want to rat on your friends but because it is of interest and could prove beneficial - as long as it doesn't come across all preachy
(9)haranguing by a thread: has the quality of the zine upon which it is based

Posted by berko_wills at 2:59 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 1 November 2003 4:39 AM EADT
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Tuesday, 28 October 2003
Now that Jello's back in town
I've never really understood spoken word. I know not everything should be turned into comedy, as my blogging style attests. And I am sure too that there should be at least an attempt to entertain rather than to harangue. I suppose the structure of song, screenplay and vignette quell the directness of the message. I'm just not sure that paying someone forty dollars to tell you stuff for three hours is all that good a deal.

The paining thing for me, being sympathetic to Biafra's position, is that it is those early Dead Kennedys songs that I remain so enthused about. More, Holiday In Cambodia is my favourite single. So the fact that JB is out on his own and the kid from The Courtship of Eddie's Father is singing his material is all a bit confronting. It makes all those old accusations about the DK's being cartoon punk take on resonance. I don't begrudge the others for wanting to preserve the franchise but it's a bit surreal for my liking. And that's saying something.

"Jane Fonda on the screen today/Convinced the liberals it's okay"

Posted by berko_wills at 11:28 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 28 October 2003 11:47 PM EADT
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Horses for courses
Or not.

Posted by berko_wills at 1:39 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 1 November 2003 4:19 AM EADT
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