December 4, 2007
Do the Nut Bush. Do the Funky Gibbon. Do the Expressive Chicken. Yah!
Or .. Do the Motionless Standstill.
It’s the latest craze.
Mm-hm, the Stock-still (apparently).
Would you believe the Very Slow Robot?
The Freeze Frame? The Matrix Slow-Mo?
Sigh! Will i ever live this down? Standing still on a dancefloor !?
No way .. i wasn’t .. i didn’t .. those people, they’re being disingenuous!
Look i’m sorry you got called ‘paranoid’.
i know you’re just Normal within a Paranoid Society.
Can’t we just be mates? Maaaaate?
That’s it for me and dancefloors, we’re over!
I’m just going to sit still at a table with my beer and a my mates,
staring at the chicks on the chequered squares
.. like a Normal Aussie Bloke.
“You say, Everything’s All right. I Say, Nothing can go right Babe. Chequered Love.”
November 21, 2007
Well honey, thanks for your blessings and the kind reminder.
i really do consider myself lucky. i’m living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. i’m alive, i have a working fridge plus a roof over my head, and i currently have a huge whacking degree of freedom. This freedom i am celebrating every minute, with every breath. Albeit somewhat nervously right now. A misunderstanding can really turn your world around.
Way too many other people haven’t been as lucky as me.
Many have fallen into the clutches of a horribly murderous cult, and given their lives to kill, which they were brainwashed into thinking was the right thing to do.
Many have died because of the (insanely misguided) actions of these people.
Many have fallen before the armies out hunting for the leaders of this cult. Many in these armies have died also.
A fair few have died from mistakes in the hunt for the cult leaders, and
Plenty have been locked up for time without charge, while
The rest of us are apparently living in fear.
none of that seems good to me.
So, yes i feel very very lucky. Don’t you worry about that Joh.
Lucky to be alive, lucky i didn’t get beaten up, lucky i never joined a cult. Lucky to still have my freedom. If i’d been reported to the security hotline, it seems unlikely but i could in theory have been detained for fourteen days without charge. With nobody knowing why i didn’t come back from Cairns.
I’d still be asking for my mobile phone, so i could send a text to my mum.
(Thanks Eric Kilby for the image “All your needs .. and Coke”, at flickr and Cowtools for “how to enjoy better meals”)
(There are some other funny comments on that Register page. Lot of people running down Australians for not being able to read.)
November 16, 2007
When i went dancing in that hotel in Cairns, i really didn’t think too much about the consequences. But i did think about how people might perceive me – a fortyish male caucasian on my own. So i tried to be discreet, non-threatening .. not stare at anyone.
i moved about on the dancefloor for four or five songs.
(Including Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and Billie Jean. Okay, i was desperate for nightlife. i was on my own in a strange city. i was feeling a bit lonely and uncomfortable. But trying to look cool and relaxed about it.)
Then i stood to the side of the dancefloor watching the action for maybe three songs. Again, trying to be unobtrusive.
Whoops! It didn’t work. Somehow i came across to some people as potentially threatening, and the bouncer asked me to leave, saying that several patrons had complained about the book i was carrying. When story hit the front page those patrons wanted their say too.
Now i find out it wasn’t just the book.
Some of the patrons from that night are now upset at being labelled paranoid. They say that they saw a man “behaving strangely”, and that they felt intimidated. These people saw
- wires coming out of a man’s pocket (my mp3 player and headphones),
- a waist pouch (with my sunglasses),
- and a book with “the T word” on its cover (novel by Richard Flanagan).
They saw a man standing motionless on the dancefloor for twenty minutes ..
(that really baffles me. i’m sure i was dancing vigorously, and i meant to be friendly, but in my own space – intending fully to respect other people, not intrude on anyone else’s fun.
(Anyone who’s seen me on a dancefloor would be puzzled by that one. The reason i hit the dancefloor was because it was active. Usually i’m the one who gets up first, and starts other people going.)
Other people were also asked to leave
At the moment that the bouncer (#181) came up and moved me to the pavement, i was wondering whether to leave or to have another dance ..
.. because i’d just seen an Indigenous woman escorted out the door. She’d been dancing too. A very funky dancer, she was striking in appearance. Recalling the moment, I realise now that i did stare pointedly around me at that moment. i was stunned. This woman had also been dancing on her own, very well. She was well dressed and good looking. She looked to me like a good and interesting person.
i somehow leapt to the conclusion that she was asked to leave because she was “too black”. If that were true, then this was not the kind of hotel i wanted to dance in.
At that moment i stared around me in shock, trying to fathom why this had happened. i was outraged at the possibility that my conclusion could be right. i did stare at people then, wondering why everyone had let this black woman be kicked out for no reason.
- A man who looks different,
- who has wires coming out his pocket,
- who has a pouch around his waist and
- a book with the T word on the cover,
- as well as long frizzy black hair,
- who stares, indignantly.
Clear signals, to someone on the lookout. Someone who feels threatened by the world of difference. Someone who perhaps doesn’t notice an Indigenous woman being kicked out of the pub.
Atmosphere of fear
i’ve got to say that i think labelling people paranoid could be a mistake. i always thought Keating’s biggest mistake was to abuse his opponents, rather than lead them to a better place. People do get afraid, and their minds can leap to unfair conclusions. Abusing or making fun of people who feel threatened, or are in the grip of fear, is perhaps not the best approach.
This culture we live in has been brought to the point of hysterical frenzy, and individuals are not immune from these emotional currents. Most people don’t have much protection against the pressure-cooker emotions of the mass media, or from politicians who seek to embed their power by preying on those fears. i too have looked at strangers in bars and found myself wondering.
We urgently need leaders who can empathise and allay people’s fears, while at the same time evolving our understanding and our behaviour, sensibly and responsibly.
Personally i feel vulnerable and disturbed. Now i know how easy it is for people to get the wrong idea.
Just what the book is all about.
(image: thanks for “is that an iPod in your pocket by thespacesuitcatalyst at flickr)