Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Employment reflux.

Person 1: "Knock knock."
Person 2: "Who's there?"
Person 1: "I don't know."

I was talking to my drummer the other day, and he mentioned "If this music thing doesn't work out, (he is) into becoming a fireman."

Thing is, before we officially met and made this band, I saw him rock the living shit out of major music festivals, sold out interstate tours, and...Rove Live! His style of drumming always inspired me, and he was always my first and only choice when it came to drummers. He's just mind-blowingly awesome, a total showman, and luckily, a super sweet guy.

So what does he mean, "If this music thing doesn't work out"? How can you be that good, and even consider anything else?

There's nothing wrong with being a fireman. Kurt Russel was a fireman in the movie 'backdraft'...and he got to have sex with the insanely hot Rebecca DeMornay, so who am I to not be impressed? But seriously- totally respectable job, and it speaks a lot about this guys heart, too.

But it still stayed with me. Employment reflux.

And to be real about it, I'm doing exactly the same thing. This year, on top of the band, I am finishing qualifications in:

-Forklift operation.
-Earthmover operation.
-Mine clearing.
-Personal Security/Bodyguard.
-Anti-Terrorism training.
-Military Close Combat. that I'll have some options (like defense contracting or driving a forklift/earthmover and clearing landmines) if "this music thing doesn't work out." Because playing music, as much as it has taken me everywhere but Antarctica so far, and paying me a nice rate per hour sometimes, has never been able to compete with a good, solid, high risk full time job with danger pay, with possible death a statistical probability given a long enough time line. A bit like being a fireman.

So I've been studying every day, when I'd rather be recording and writing, moving closer to crossing those items off my to do list.

And I've noticed a change come over me lately. Like focussing my mind in a different direction has changed me. Things I loved I'm kinda over. Hopefully it's just now that I'm exhausted and depressed, and I'll love them again when it's feasible. But I've even thought about giving up on making choppers (which aside from music has been my life for years now). Who the fuck am I?

I want to live simply. Own less 'stuff'. Concentrate on relationships instead of 'things'. Buy a house (what?!) Have babies.

Utterly. Alien. Thoughts.

But good thoughts too. I just don't understand why they seem to push away the old me. The guy that LOVES choppers, has way too many guitars and wants more, who collects robot toys and light sabers and bicycles and motocycles, and who never has enough room for it all.

Maybe I'm sick of living out of a suitcase with my life in storage, or how hard it is to move that life from one place to another. God knows I don't care if I never travel again. Travelling is shit. And it just gets worse and worse. So no, I won't miss that.

And I guess it's a good thing that my identity doesn't feel the need to cling on to tags like 'musician', 'bike builder', 'whatever else people call me'. That it's okay to want to learn more about how to sculpt using porcelain and ceramics, wanting to open a restaurant, things that aren't really things most kids aspire to.

Maybe that's it?

Maybe I'm less of a kid now? I know for a fact I'm no fun at parties. I've turned into the cynical old wanker that sits in the corner staring at everybody, and thinking he's obviously the best quality person in there. Or should I say "the cynical old wanker", because it's totally a stereotype. Just not usually at 38.

So maybe I am entering into a new phase of life, an altogether more grown up affair, where toys are traded for art, music for...silence?

I played the latest Call of Duty in one sitting, and when it was over, I thought "Is that it?" Is my life going to be like that?

That's the thought of the I'm looking more into filling life with relationships that matter, strengthening bonds, being more available. Having security. Manufacturing some safety and some peace.

This is the part where I normally tell you something. Sum it all up, make an attempt at a grand statement. Instead of that, how about this time, you tell me something? Comment anonymously if you must. But if anyone still reads this thing, I'd like your take on whatever this is.

I leave it with you.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Australia is a racist country, Vs. Indians deserve to be bashed.

I haven't written one of these in a while.

"One of these", being an opinion blog, based solely on my experience and thoughts on a current event.

Typically, these blogs incur the wrath of a lot of people, my readership goes down, things like that. That's ok...I generally don't live by what others think, so it's pretty much like losing hairs off my head.

So here's the synopsis:

Indians are being assaulted in Australia.

Indians are increasingly upset about this.

The view from India regarding Australia is that Australia is "a racist country". They have issued official Government travel advisories, warning Indian nationals of the dangers of being Indian in Australia.

OK, hold up a second. Australia may, or may not be, a racist country. It wouldn't surprise me if there were more racists/xenophobes here than any other country on earth. It wouldn't surprise me if there weren't, also.

What surprises me here, is that, when you want sympathy for your cause (that cause being awareness by a country of your position on a current event), don't insult the country. It makes people not like you, and you lose in the eyes of the media, which is how the majority of people in this country see and comprehend what goes on around them.

Also, make sure you're perfect, before shouting about the imperfections of the country you're visiting.

India has twice the murder rate per capita than Australia does. So fuck up.

In India, women are killed in the name of honour all the time. So fuck up.

In India, white people are victims of violent crime too. So...fuck up.

Here's what I see:

Indian people I experience in Melbourne in the main have been arrogant, rude, and in some cases, aggressive. I have also met some wonderful Indian people here (and overseas), and they were all loveable in the extreme, and well worth respecting. But sadly, they are in a very tiny minority of my experience.

There is something about the way Indians in general communicate that is incredibly rude and disrespectful. Is it a holdover of the caste system,? Do they see us as inferior because we're not dressed formally,? Is the Indian 'tone' easily mistaken as rude when in fact they are merely inquisitive and opinionated? No idea.

Do they deserve to be bashed for it? Hell no.

Don't think I'm nationalistic. I'm not. nationalism is societally endorsed retardation.

Don't think I care how the rest of the world sees Australia. I don't. Australia is a bit of a joke overseas. Laid back people with stupid slang and accents wrestling crocs or sunning themselves on the Gold Coast. Whatever. the reality of Chapel Street, Prahran, or Mooloolabah beach in Queensland on a Friday night is far more embarrassing.

So say what you like.

But when I see Indians beating their own female cousins on the street because they dated someone the males didn't approve of, don't sook when your people get bashed here.

When I see Indian taxi drivers fighting each other and sometimes others in public, don't sook when your people get bashed here.

If you show people you're into scrapping, don't sook when people get confused and think you're all like that.

Have a look at yourselves, and how you (generally don't) integrate here, and stop wondering why traditional Anglo Australians (read: bogans) would want to have a go at you.

Is it racial? No. Anyone who is rude/arrogant and beats their sisters in public would get the same treatment.

Is that right? No! But it is Australian. Does that make us racists? Again, no. There are so many people here who marched with you, who suppport you, and who would want to help you. So when you stereotype all of us, you include them.

And for my part, the next time an Indian taxi driver attempts to kidnap and rape one of my female friends, I won't label you all rapists.

The Government of Australia is dreaming if it thinks that these attacks aren't racially motivated. the police know why this is happening, they're just not telling Joe Public. The reason is, is because there is a small group of people who live here, that are ignorant of India's incredibly rich history, cultural diversity, insane work ethic, and everything else that makes India an incredible place full of amazing people, these people, want to travel in the city and not be the only white face on the tram. They are sick of International students and taxi drivers and anyone else they don't understand. And they know that if they bash enough of them, they'll simply stop coming. And this has started to happen.

The number of international students coming to Australia from India has halved for the next year. The plan is working. The racists are winning. And you're all falling for it.

The only reason they haven't done the same thing with Asians is because Asians have killed each other with samurai swords outside nightclubs, and may or may not know martial arts. Bogans ain't fucking with that.

So if you're in India, and you're thinking of cancelling your plans to move here, that's fine with me.

And if you're in India, and you want to come here, that's fine too.

Just know, that people in Australia get bashed occasionally. And if you come here, it might be you, just like it might be me (Dutch), or my friend Moses (Syrian). That's the Australia you don't see in the Qantas ads.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Finding inspiration in nothingness.

Big changes lately... minute I'm a hotshot guitar player in Dubai, the next I'm in a bar fight with an Arab, and now I'm back in Australia.

I can't say I'm sad about it, although I instinctively keep thinking I want to go eat at places that are on the other side of the planet before I realise. I miss getting paid so much you could wallpaper a room with it all- and that's in 500's! I miss cheap taxis and lebanese food and basically free food every day. I miss my apartment, and the neighbourhood cats, and the weather.

I don't miss the locals. My best friends over there are Syrian and Russian. Emiratis are the most backward-ass retarded race of idiots I have ever encountered...proclaiming Islam while fucking hookers and getting drunk every night. But if you mention anything to do with Allah, watch how quickly they get offended. Same shit, different religion.

I don't miss my manager, who thought he was Michael Caine, but was more Austin Powers. He took thousands of dirhams a month from all of the prostitutes that worked in his bars, and acted as if he was some kind of business mastermind, instead of the sleazy opportunistic woman hater he actually is.

So I came back to Australia a few months early, and went to Queensland to chill out and consider what happens now. My relationship ended, and the feelings associated with that made it very hard to look forward positively. I developed a weird kind of tunnel-vision, seeing nothing ahead but loneliness and desperation. I had no money, using everything I had on bills, living, and just getting back to the country. My phone had been cut off while I was away, and even though Vodafone admitted it was 100% their error, they wouldn't reconnect it. Not a cent outstanding, 8 years with the same number, and "fuck you, it's policy" in return. No surprises there, right?

I don't like thinking negatively. I'm a positive person to my friends, I see good things for them. But when a few major things go wrong, it's my habit to think as badly about life and its contingent prospects as is humanly possible. I take it as far as it can go, kind of like a Hunter. S. Thompson trip- stretching the bladder of life until the inevitable bad urine storm. The point? Well, nothing life has ever thrown at me is as bad as the hell I had put myself through while waiting for it to hand down its decision. I'm left with an enforced gratitude, like "Thank god- I'm not in jail after all", a jubilant celebration of a liberty never really threatened in the first place. A good, old fashioned, level head.

I decided a good thing to do would be to go to the coast, and spend the night in a completely strange town, on the beach. No money, no nothing really. But it was 25 degrees- a warm summer night, and the stars were out, so I had way more than mere money could provide. I had the Universe, turning it on and beaming lights at me from distances that are inconceivable to even rich people, the ocean crashing on the white sand, and no one else around to distract me from the cool breeze and the scene in general.

I don't know when the last time was, when you lay on your back and just watched the stars. I don't want to sound preachy, but you should definitely do it. My mind, no longer constricted by 4 walls and 40 problems, expanded to fill the solar system, and I just marvelled, and wondered, and all the other things children do, when in the same situation. I saw 2 shooting stars, and each time, wished for the same thing...for the same person. I swam in the water, dried off on the sand, on an isolated beach with no one else on it. Well, until 4.30 when the surfers climbed out of their cars and paddled out. It's like a religion with these guys. But they seem to love it so much...that they'd have to to do anything before work other than sleep, and maybe fart a little. It impresses me, not enough to join in, but in a private way for sure.

And as predicted, the sea air melted the shit from between my ears, and I finally got a clear sense of what I want to happen, and how I'm going to achieve that.

On the 31'st of December, 2009, I boarded a plane in Brisbane, headed for Melbourne. Melbourne's not really home, but I have lived there for a long time in the past, constructed a couple of memories, and I seem to know my way around. My things were already there, in a storage space in an old power station. So we were to be reunited.

I know I'll have to take a break before I embark on another music contract, so I will have to find a normal job, doing normal things, in a normal place. I won't have stage lights on me, whatever I'm working on won't be amplified to ear-splitting levels and broadcast to paying customers who like to party.

I think I'll drive a forklift.

So- back to school, get the appropriate license, work at the job, and make some money, find a house, pay the rent, maybe even cook some food. Life stuff.

And the plane starts to descend, through the clouds below. And the plane drops, and the passengers scream, and I catch a mental glimpse of myself, and wonder why I'm smiling.

Then the captain comes on the intercom, and, mistaking himself for Bono, embarks on a verbal journey that far surpasses the actual physical one we were soon to complete, thinking anyone actually gave half a shit about the endless, useless stream of information he felt so desperately led to impart. Flight crew should just fuck up and fly, or serve drinks, or something else that doesn't involve me sitting in my seat thinking "Just fuck up...just fuck up...for gods sake fuck up..." But flight crew think they're rock stars, and we all want to hear them talk at length about absolutely zero. And there I am trying desperately to deal with it, and the captain says "Happy New Years" and everyone that was screaming and crying every time the plane dropped through the turbulence suddenly starts clapping and cheering, and all i can think is "God I hate every last one of you."

I could see the fireworks for New Years Eve exploding under the cloud cover to the east, it looked like Australia was under attack. Again, I smiled to myself...not very patriotic, I know.

It looked like the end of the world, when really it was just life as normal (which is even worse). And then the clouds parted, the plane steadied, and there's Melbourne, fireworks blossoming above it like million dollar pink dandelions, and I thought this kind of action was worth way more than a $150 ticket, pilots and flight crew notwithstanding. The pilot decided it would be a neat trick to land the plane sideways, but I didn't blink...I spent a lot of time in Wellington, New Zealand, where the planes regularly land sideways, and even upside down on account of the massive crosswinds they cultivate over there. And I didn't blink those times either. Pilots don't impress me unless they can fly quietly.

And there I was, back in town, walking through the streets I knew again, feeling connected to the energy that has allowed me to achieve so much in the past.

And I realised, I guess this is my town after all.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.