May 31, 2005

comfortably dumb

Sorry about the lag between posts. Will post something in the next day or so.
In the meantime, check out this video from Indymedia of Naomi Robson. So great.

May 20, 2005

oops, i did it again

I didn't end up going to the 'Welfare to Work' information session. In short, I had better things to do and I slept in (feel free to read between the lines there).

If you read Paul Watson's comment in the last post, and follow the link, you might see an explaination as to why I was mysteriously put on monthly forms. You see, my Job Network Provider (JNP) pulled a scam on my behalf. I basically made a power play with my JNP last time I went in (about six months ago) and my case worker put me down as doing "Intensive Assistance" when, in actual fact, I wasn't doing anything. So I got a six month holiday.

This leaves me with three options. I can a) get a job, b) do Work for the Dole, or c) go back to studying. At this stage, it looks like I'm going to do the latter. I can probably get back into uni fairly easily, but I'm thinking seriously about going to TAFE and attempt to get some kind of qualification.

What should I do?
Stay on the dole.

Get a job.

Go back to uni.

Go to TAFE.

Watch Battle Star Galactica until I cry.

Current results

May 17, 2005

regrets. i've had a few.

Goddamn. It's 4am and I can't sleep yet again. I'm sitting here thinking about the Peter Qasim situation, and my rant from a couple of days ago.

Specifically, I'm thinking about what I said about the Zapatistas, and whether I truly believe that their nationalism is "dodgy." After reading this piece by Ashanti Alston, I decided that i was totally wrong on that point. I mean, it's working for them, right? They're talking about themselves as a nation within Mexico; a nation of indigenous people. If their situation is at all analogous to that of Aboriginals here in Australia, this kind of nationalism is crucial in the face of ongoing genocide. That black pride is doing more to combat onslaughts than any well-meaning rants. And, when I look at what the Zapatistas are doing, they're not being exclusive or arseholes about their identity. Fuck, Subcommandante Marcos isn't even indigenous.

When I think about it from that perspective, seeing hippies appropriate aboriginal culture is more understandable; they're trying to utilise that strength, that source of power. Kinda like drag queens and feminine power?

Some might say that "autonomy" is a more appropriate word than "nationalism". But, meh, it's kind of typical for white guys like me to look for appropriate synonmyms for what coloured people are doing. I humbly submit that I should probably cease to order the world by labelling social movements according to my point of view.

That's right. This blog is meant to be about the dole.
Okay, okay. In my dole news, I'm back on fortnightly forms with four employer's contact details after a blissful three months of monthly forms with no jobs to put on them.

welfare to work ad from The Age
The excitement of life on the dole never stops.
On Wednesday, I'm intending to go to a 'Welfare to Work' information session being put on by the Federal Government. My plan is to write a piece for this blog and for Melbourne Indymedia.

The info session is about the "comprehensive package to move people from welfare to work" (that what the ad for the thing says). Now I went to the website as directed by the ad I saw in last Saturday's Age but no info about the info session was forthcoming.

Will there be nibbles? Is it a press thing? The ad says it goes from 10am to 2noon (sic). And fuck me, it's at the Sheraton Towers (now called the Langham Hotel). That is a swanky place, for those of you not from Melbourne. I plan to go all doled up; flanellete shirt, possibly drunk.

The gist of the Welfare to Work program is forcing cripples and single mothers to work under threat of loss of payment, with no corresponding funding to make employers flexible for mothers or modifying workplaces so the disabled can work there. With the change in the Senate, it looks like the Goverment has decided to replace the carrot and stick approach with the cattleprod. Oh, and they gave themselves a Au$65 a week payrise.

I've heard no mention of what is planned for the able bodied and childless, though it can't be good. I did see on the news that the much-despised Job Network (a privatised network of employment centres) will be losing Au$500,000,000 in funding. Insert a Nelson "ha ha" here. As mentioned in earlier blog entries, the Job Network funding is a thinly-veiled subsidy for conservative religious organisations. However, I suspect that it will be the more secular of these Job Network members that will be defunded.

Is anyone really reading this blog anymore?

May 14, 2005

i'm rick james, bitch

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Only three years too late, I just saw the 'Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories' episode of the Dave Chappelle Show. Now I'm running around saying "I'm Rick James, bitch" like every other Internet nerd. It feels good.

May 12, 2005

stella one 11

One day a history of bad ideas will be written, and somewhere, probably in the concluding chapter, there will be a paragraph or two dedicated to me.
Last year I had an interview with the very decent Australian group, Stella One 11. I thought it would be funny if I went incognito.
My alter ego was Helmut Face, a reviewer of computer games and friend to everyone. I started talking with Cindy, the singer of the group, who handed me to Genevieve (as in Genevieve Maynard,, a musician in her own right), who was so insanely pleasant it was hard to keep lying. She was very much into computer games. I was like, "Helmut would probably ask if she wants to ICQ. Don't do that. Damn, you should tell her you're bullshitting."
The moral of the story is, I came off as a total dick.

Helmut: What's your computer game about?

Cindy: Are you asking me? Stella One Eleven is a band.

H: I'm Helmut, the games reviewer. I think there's been some confusion. I've, uh, never done a band interview before. Can you hold on? [15 secs of silence] My editor says I just have to do it.

C: You should talk to Genevieve. She plays computer games for 8 hours a day. [To Genevieve] Hey Gen, you're gonna do this interview because this guy's never interviewed a band before and he's going to weave computer games questions into it.

Genevieve: Golly goulash. A real interview that's not about music. It's about something important.

H: Are you more into first-person shooters or platform games?

G: I'm actually into role-playing games at the moment.

H: Apparently there's a live action Pac Man movie being made. If Stella One Eleven were to do the soundtrack, what would it sound like?

G: I would suggest a Pac Man, hip hop r'nb fusion with a live guitar thrown on top of it.

H: What do you do at a live show that you don't do in the studio?

G: We do more acoustic shows live. We do it without the sequencing that runs the loops and electronic parts. It's good because I'm forced to play a different role and think how I'll play the songs acoustically.

The End.

May 11, 2005

clothes for corpses

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I found this in a shop in the outer suburbs of Sydney. It's a tiny "Cozy Pet" notebook from Korea. I love this shit.

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This one is from Japan. My friend Mark stole it from a McDonald's (obviously) because he knew bad english cracks me up. The actual meaning behind it is a little unclear, but somehow I think sitting on that seat would solve all my problems.

May 10, 2005

peter qasim

I swear I won't do a post like this again for ages – I hate rants too. I'm super pissed off at the refugee sitch at the moment.

My friend Asha (that's her blog there on the right) sent me an email about Peter Qasim, an asylum seeker here in Australia. Now, normally I like to write about silly bits of pop culture or other aspects of lumpen life, but I agree with her that something urgently needs to be done about Peter Qasim. The situation of asylum seekers in Australia makes me want to invent new swear words to describe my complete hatred for Liberals and their shitfuckfacescrotumdepletional constituents.

The short story of Peter Qasim is this: he's a refugee from Kashmir (the disputed territory between Pakistan and India, not the Led Zeppelin song), who fled because of the murder of his father and his own torture by the Indian army. After years of detention, he chose to face an uncertain future in Kashmir rather than indefinite imprisonment here in Australia. The Indian government won't accept him back, so now he is in detention forever, because Australia chooses to punish on the basis of how a refugee seeks asylum.

Where I diverge from most of my friends on the issue of refugees in detention is the role of Australians in the whole process. I disagree that people are "ignorant of the real facts" or totally unaware. We have had two elections and plenty of media coverage around the subject. I think Australians get pleasure from sinking the boot into refugees.

When pro-refugee activists try to "raise awareness" by retelling stories of the conditions in places like Baxter, they unwittingly help produce pornographic material. Everytime any other Australian hears that a grown man has been reduced to a bedwetter or that a child has gone insane, they see the power their Australian identity holds and, as if by magic, the ability of this identity to supress interest rates. In another slight of hand trick, supporters of the policy mask the refugees themselves by pretending they are really targeting the elusive "people smugglers."

When refugee activists say that the government is acting in contradiction to the people, they are undermining any small gains by stating obvious bullshit. The possibility that the government is doing exactly what the majority has desired since aborigine killing became unfashionable seems to be slowly dawning on reformists like the Greens or (snicker) the left wing of the Labor Party. They seem to readily recognise that Australia has a viciously racist past, but seem to make no connection to the situation of the present.

It seems to me that the extent, and cancerous nature, of nationalism in Australian politics is becoming so apparent that the Left are finding it more difficult to utilise. Maybe Trades Hall and the CFMEU will start to see that the employment of nationalism has a downside, now that the historic compromise is coming undone. I doubt it, though.

So what should be done? For beginners, let's not descend into the pathetic militancy of the 1970s. Pipe bombs are a shit way of covering up bad politcs. Instead of wasting resources on stickers, posters and lobbying, practical solidarity is needed. I know it's a bit 2001 of me, but I'm going to envoke the Zapatistas here. As dodgy as some of their politics are, they're 100% right in that new space must be created for new possibilities to present themselves. That means supporting any "illegal non-citizens" and creating the space where solidarity can be practiced.

For now, I don't think Peter Qasim should hold his breath as long as Australia collectively masturbates over its ability to lock up people who ask for help. It's not all pessimism here at Dole Diary though, because I still have hopes that his name will be written alongside Nelson Mandela and not Anne Frank. If we spread Peter's name around, at least he'll have some friends if and when he is finally released. The rub is, just knowing who Peter is probably won't change anyone's mind.

May 04, 2005


My favourite film of all time is Return of the Living Dead. I first saw the movie when I was eleven or twelve, maybe younger. It scared the complete hell out of me but got me hooked on the horror genre.

One of the things that stuck out the most for me was the soundtrack. In particular, there was a song called 'Tonight (We'll Make Love Til We Die)' that plays when one of the characters does a dance and strip on a grave (one of the highlights of the film). The track was credited to "SSQ", which I figured was a 1980s electro/new wave band.

The soundtrack also introduced me to The Cramps, who I've been getting more and more into lately. But I digress.

For years, over a decade now, I've been looking for the soundtrack on vinyl, mostly so I could find more about the SSQ song, and for the artwork.

Back in the days of Napster, it was the first song I looked for and I eventually got it, but everything about the band was still a mystery.

As you might have read in my recent entries, I now have a broadband connection. Naturally, this translates into downloading shitloads of music from peer-to-peer networks. I looked up "SSQ" and I found another song, called 'Synthecide.' It was just as cool as 'Tonight (We'll Make Love Til We Die)' but way more upbeat. Then today I found another song called 'Walkman On' and it was more 1980s electro genius.

Armed with these song titles, I finally had enough info for a decent Google harvest. And fuck me, it turned out that "SSQ" was the previous monicker of Stacey Q, who had a hit with the song 'Two of Hearts' - a song, incidentally, I am also really fond of.

For so long I wanted to know about SSQ. Now I have three tracks (well, four including 'Two of Hearts') plus the info to get more. Oh, and Stacey Q converted to Buddhism apparently, so I presume she isn't making cool electro tracks about fucking the devil or making love with headphones on.

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May 01, 2005

bite party photos

The Bite #2 issue launch party @ The Hope St Warehouse, 30/04/05. Photos taken by Pete Smith.
The party finished at about 6:30am, with yours truly on the decks at stumps. Bloody great night.
Highlight: The orgy on the stage (for true). Playing the horror movie Demons in the "chill out" room.
Lowlight: The dancing cage fence falling and smashing some dude on the noggin.

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You got served.

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Fancy drink for a fancy man.

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Acrobatic performers.

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Cage dancing.

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"Boldfinger" performance.

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Me & Camilla on the decks.

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Alice on the wheels of steel.