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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Wednesday, 11 February 2004
Any colour as long as it's black
Then we hit high school

consumer education
health education
physical education
outdoor education
home economics
english literature
human biology
technical drawing
arts and crafts
speech & drama
business principles and practice

and to think we used to think we were disadvantaged in choice of subjects compared to the city kids!

I was also in the interschool debating team and a bit of a star, if I may say so. Well it did make up for the fact that I could no longer run for shit and wasn't selected in any of the Country Week sporting sides.

Posted by berko_wills at 1:55 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 23 February 2004 1:33 PM EADT
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Friday, 6 February 2004
Black is the new black
Check out my Spencer P Jones opus (below) as it was a few days in the making.

I don't know how many people get the inclination to revisit the subjects they learned at school and see how much things have changed:
social studies

Hmm, a motley assortment. I would have pegged the exciting new development in Numbers - and, indeed, mathematics - as being the discovery of the highest prime number

Of course english dropped out and that could make all the difference in the world.

Posted by berko_wills at 1:50 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 14 February 2004 3:00 AM EADT
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Wednesday, 4 February 2004
A good drop
Both the recent street press articles on Spencer P Jones spoke of his tardiness; of being late to get to the phone and late to submit typed answers to questions the 'interviewer' had set.

The difference, nonetheless, could not have been more pronounced. Yes both namecheck the frantic record company guy trying to rally Mr Jones. But Ross Clelland of Drum Media - often lambasted by letter writers for his bias or cursory reviews - does a proper introduction. This is quite a spiffy opening paragraph when you're talking about someone with a musical pedigree:

'The name should be familiar [Jones] musical history runs through legendary names of slightly off-centre Australian music of the past, present, and future from The Johnnys, to the Beasts of Bourbon, to be oft-sighted as a Paul Kelly sideman, to invitations to guest guitar on a list of records as long as your arm - if you are an orangutan (obligatory Year of the Monkey joke...)

Clelland got kept waiting but puts his own feelings aside and does a professional presentation of who it is we're supposed to give a shit about.

But the Brag music editor had her own tale to tell...

"This week I sent these questions through to Spencer P Jones , in an effort to promote some random thing the guy's doing...
1. "I'm a young rock lover who doesn't mind catching new bands every now and again. I've never heard of you. Why should I come to your gig?"
2. Best and most interesting new band(s) on the scene?
3. Right now you're listening to...?
4. Best show on telly? (And "I don't watch telly" is not an answer)
5. If you could have sex with another man - just once - who would it be? (I'm assuming you're of the straight guy end of the queer guy scale here)
6. Inspirations that you'll never tire of?
7. What's the most courageous thing you've ever done?
Fun huh? Not too bland, a little spicy, questions you'd probably want Mr Jones to sit down and answer. A small amount of effort that would go to show that he cares about all you guys out there in Brag readerland to promote himself, and what the hey, maybe engage in a little interesting dialogue. The deadline ticks on. I put in a call to Jones' manager and inform him that the answers haven't arrived. This obviously touches a nerve with said manager, who informs me he'd "fucking kill him" if the answers didn't come in and that he "hating organising artists sometimes." But, he assured me, the answers would come. Hold the space. 4.50pm on deadline and we receive the following fax:
[replica of fax]Georgia Clark -
Find the questions unacceptable. Good luck with your fanzine. Spencer Jones

How Spencer knew I made a fanzine in my downtime from editing Brag is spooky enough on its own, but it was the charm and good nature of the fellow made me blush. The poetry! The love! The sheer generosity of spirit! OK, so given his effort I couldn't be fucked telling you what he's up to that would warrant a mention here in the fanzine-cum-street press magazine and hope that this news piece has incensed his manager enough to indeed act upon his desire to take human life. Good luck with your singing hobby Spence, we're all rooting for ya.

I don't own a Spencer side project and I wasn't into The Johnnys. And if Georgia had wanted to say that she couldn't see how his new disc could get an Album of the Year gong then I wouldn't have minded at all. It would be her opinion and I'm fine with that.

But this vituperative rant says more about Ms Clark than it does about Spencer P Jones. She has done NO research that one can tell and yet she accuses Jones - who's a musician, not a journalist, and would have less time to answer stupid questions than she has to write them - of being lazy!

If she was attempting to be sardonic talking about Spencer's fanzine reference then one has to realise that Brag is relatively new, having emerged from the ashes of Revolver. Same editor-in-chief, same contributors, but not as well known as it's competitor, Drum Media. What should his focus be - writing and performing good songs or keeping track of every rock rag in the country?

Some of the questions ARE bland: I can't see what fun anyone would get from telling the panting public what telly they watch. Or reading what an old lag does on his downtime. If they're going to read the article at all then it will be to find out about a recent overseas tour, a current Australian tour, a support slot, a new release; not whether the bugger has done anything courageous like appearing with the Wiggles or Kamahl.
Question one is a bad start as it asks someone with guest star appearances as long as an orangutan's arm, to justify his status to some young, say, Jerk fan who has never heard of him. It puts him badly on the spot - does he list his accomplishments thereby making him look bigheaded, or does he foolishly hum and hah without cause?
Question 2,3,4,6 & 7 could have been asked of anyone. It might be worth the lead singer of the Worried Hamsters filling this crap out but what advantage does it afford someone who is surely entitled to having some vague reference to his career in the interview instead of "Right now you're listening to...?" There is some ancillary benefit to understanding a band's music through their influences but this is not as immediately worthy as running through some of the tracks on the album and what they mean. Or relating the current release to items in the back catalogue.
Question 5 manages the impossible: it is both bland and offensive. Spencer is a guitarist, not a bon vivant; there is no reason why you should expect him to be a natural wit but there IS a great deal of reason to engage with the work he creates if you want to be the one to publicise him in your zine.

Sure he shouldn't have left his scrawled refusal to the last minute but, it just seems naive that she wouldn't consider that asking a hetereosexual man which guy he'd like to have sex with just the once might not cause some resistance.

What she should have done is what Ross Clelland did: research the background of her subject and ask him - personally - questions about his 'career past, present and future'.

Posted by berko_wills at 1:13 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 8 February 2004 5:33 AM EADT
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Thursday, 29 January 2004
The government to blame for all society's ills? Perish the thought. No they take care of big picture stuff: war, large scale poverty, indoctrination.

Let's look at how the individual contributes to the state of our nation and the notion of our state:

Tagging: "Ya see that lovely old turn of the century building.. and ya see that beaooootiful airbrushed commissioned artwork.. yeah and ya see those people's garden wall. Now ya see that hideous scrawl coverin' it all? I DID THAT." [beams with pride]

Leaving the tap on: there's water restrictions with heavy fines for washing the car or watering the lawn outside certain hours but I'm much too busy/lazy to turn off the tap after washing my hands.

Leaving public toilets in a disgusting state: that Asshole song where Dennis Leary sings "I use public toilets and I piss on the seat" was a satirical swipe, not a call to arms!

Littering: we can only hope that the 'Don't be a tosser' ads start to have an effect. But I have my doubts.

And then there are your crimes proper. I'm sure if you did an evening class in criminal psychology they'd tell you that the crooks bizarrely construct a rationale for their actions; something along the lines of 'they (the victim) had it coming'. There'd be very few people, I'd wager, who would commit acts of bastardry without first justifying it to themselves. It's a way of living with yourself despite how horrible you are.

It's doubtful that an ethical society would support an unethical regime in any case.

Posted by berko_wills at 1:51 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 30 January 2004 1:53 PM EADT
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Wednesday, 28 January 2004
So what was all that anarchism and paganism stuff about? Well I've long thought that I'm closest to being an anarchist in spirit. Not because I'm particularly rebellious or want an excuse to avoid accountability for my actions (I've met "anarchists" like that and we didn't get along)but by default - I just don't believe that governments can operate in the service of the people without using their borrowed power to pursue their own agenda. And I blame government for a great many of our social ills.

As for paganism: if I have such a distrust of 'God given' authority (worse than secular since it is imbued by some force outside ourselves; unaccountable and nebulous)then why on Earth - or anywhere else - would I subscribe to the Great Unknown myself? And in truth it can't be argued rationally and that's the paradox. Though I do observe patterns that lie outside what a random temporal world should produce.

Some personal examples: when I first lived in the city I stayed in boarding houses and hostels. They were the only places I could afford. And I would see fellow residents in the street or on the bus. When I moved, I would no longer see that set of people but residents of my new abode.
I met my first girlfriend and found my first share house proper on the same eventful evening at a friends' gig.
My own vague picture of the 'girl of my dreams' has long dark brown hair, miniskirt and long black boots. The women I've dated don't fit that description/those descriptions. Unremarkable? What if I told you that nearly every female in my life is a redhead. And that's NOT by design.

Posted by berko_wills at 1:37 PM EADT
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Tuesday, 27 January 2004
House special
More thoughts on mind control (since I can't find an Estonian site on leaderball): We presume that any selfhelp book with 'mind control' in the title is exactly that - self help. After all the kind of 'mind control' practiced by the clergy, the beaurecracy and the secret societies is masked with inclusive rhetoric; compelling you to do something that would normally be against your will, by virtue of some call to a greater good or because it is 'God's will'.

But 'mind control' isn't the be all and end all. Sure you can direct yourself to give up eating fatty foods but if your every second waking thought is directed to not having that steak and kidney pie or second helping of cream tart then that would be a self-inflicted torture. And you would risk missing out on everything else that was going on.

Besides, anyone who has read any of these publications (I guess this is a confession - but then I do steer away from the ones that end every sentence with an exclamation mark)will know that any advice you give to your subconscious or unconscious (depending on the text)must be couched in positive terms so it's never "I will stop smoking fat cigars and drinking cognac while watching allnight Japanese horror flicks" it's "I will adopt a more healthy lifestyle". Otherwise they'll find you flopped over the armchair in a stupor and your unconscious telling you it's all your own stupid fault.

Posted by berko_wills at 2:08 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 January 2004 2:10 PM EADT
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Sunday, 25 January 2004
On the house

some bits and pieces to tack on to old entries:

Names for tribute bands who actually exceed the original

Above Average White Band
More Creedence
Super Supremes
Greater Temptations

Names on the patina of 'Oils ain't Oils'

Not U2
Not So Young Rascals
No Nirvana
Who Else


The idea of combining the last great memory aid - rhyme - with a means of remembering the chapter headings of The Silva Mind Control Method never got off the ground. I had an introduction:

'Mind control' seems like an unlikely thing to hock; it conjures up images of that short bald man with coke bottle glasses and a taste in lab coats. His interest in controlling your mind, if we can believe stories of the era, are to take the place of the debonair and handsome or extract some kind of 'revenge' on them.

but I couldn't be stuffed coming up with the necessary rhymes. It was meant to demonstrate that rhyme worked on anything and that it wasn't that hard to apply rhyme to unlikely prospects. Perhaps I should have chosen something I was immediately passionate about and then modified the commentary to say 'find your own passion to apply rhyme to, use other memory techniques for that architecture text you've been putting off reading.'
Or there's always the 'Results may vary' disclaimer.


The Go-Betweens are great. I have no idea what further I wanted to say on the subject. They're still playing and recording so they can speak for themselves.


I think writing is more closely aligned to magic than science. There seems to be that 'the gods help those who help themselves' thing happening. If you sit down and work at your structuring, grammar, syntax, versatility, dramatic effect and so forth, the Muse will kick in at a certain point and give you a sharper image than you might have envisaged; pluck a phrase that resonates and reverberates with meaning, seemingly out of the air. This is my biggest thrill in writing and I can't (don't feel a need to) explain it.


Are paganism and anarchism mutually exclusive? What about anarchism and libertarianism?

and why are Marxists so distrustful of anarchists? In religious stance, do Freethinkers and anarchists dispute terms? (hyperlinked site found on
Then what of rationalists and anarchists? Can anarchists ever be called pragmatists? Are they idealists instead?

Posted by berko_wills at 4:39 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 January 2004 7:18 AM EADT
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Monday, 19 January 2004
Home brew
'E's back. Yup, I am back online at home after two weeks in the wilderness (an eternity for a net nerd)

I now have a system shorn of all the clutter that I had on my hard drive so, while it is unfortunate that I have lost some handy stuff, I'm going to use this opportunity to keep everything functional and 'within reach'


A word or two about my hyperlinks: I don't use them as a form of editorialising, reinforcing some point I want to make. I often rely on Google's 'I'm feeling lucky' to pick the link for a word or phrase and that can give my usage an ironic twist or run counterpoint to something I feel personally.

When a hyperlink depicts an unflattering image of smokers as 'trailer trash' with bad skin that is in no wise MY image of smokers. In fact I don't see smokers as one amorphous group. And the percentage of people in my acquaintance who are smokers makes any tilt at hostility untenable. I DO use controversial hyperlinks in a similar way to the imagery I employ in my poetry - it works against the reader's assumptions. It also makes misconception all but inevitable but I figure that I would rather shine the spotlight on stinkin' thinkin' - and risk being associated with it - than to employ the censorious tactics of my idealogical opposites.
The idea isn't to silence the enemy but to make their stance appear ridiculous.

And sometimes I just can't resist using a hyperlink I stumbled on while looking for something else.


There are times when I think I should just run a blog that caters to a particular group and is inoffensive.

Posted by berko_wills at 11:05 PM EADT
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Friday, 16 January 2004
Plain label
Hey all this enforced downtime is paying dividends. I've been doing quite a bit of work on my website.

I've got a song about the ubiquitious Australian cover bands on there that I'll unveil shortly.

I'm not fond of them as a rule (as the song displays) but they do get some brownie points if they call themselves Bjorn Again (ABBA cover band) or Oils Ain't Oils (Midnight Oil - the reference is to the old Castrol GTX ad)

So,to whet your appetite, some truth in advertising with deliberately bad cover band names:

Dung Beatles
The Tyrds
The Grateful Dud
Beige Floyd
Pale Mauve (Deep Purple)
Neil Zircon
The Unforgiven (Metallica)
Megadearth or Meagredeath
the Six Pastels
The Darned
Bleak Rubble Motorcycle Club
Public Enema

Posted by berko_wills at 2:09 PM EADT
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Monday, 12 January 2004
Sly grog
The head of Yahoo is named Tim Koogle? Then I suppose the head of Google is named Tom Yuhoo? Just wondering.

It's quiet in here. Too quiet.

Despite having more spysmashers and firewall and what-have-you than anyone could reasonably keep track of, something has gotten into my home computer. Symbolically it crashed on New Year's Day. A friend at work has me reassured that it is not kaput as it still brings up the Windows 98 screen before shutting down so I'll haul out the pc repairman to have a look. Serves me right for surfing into those outlaw sites (I can just see a stern Mother Superior wagging her finger at me now - and I'm not even Catholic!)


You know free-to-air television has reached a nadir when the silly season offerings are better than regular programming. This wouldn't even be a topic of conversation but my regular evenings of logging on are curtailed and I've run out of smoko, so bellybutton lint holds no fascination at present.

Posted by berko_wills at 1:38 PM EADT
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