Tag Archives: Australia

Australia a (pre)police state?

Speech made by independent senator Andrew Wilkie back in 2015 and important for reasons related to the fact he made this speech to an empty chamber.

 

I’ve banged on for years and years about the erosion of civil and political rights here in Australia. We are not alone of course in being either stupid or a coward’s collective. Remember what John Curran said,The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance. and Benjamin Franklin’s “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”. Last century a number of nations became dictatorships both of the far left and far right. This could happen at any time and anywhere if a few conditions are present including and essentially fear. Remembering Roosevelt’s famous The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ listen to how your local politicians treat you like scared, dumb children.

 

Further to the previous, love and street kids.

In my previous post I included a screen cap where you can see a character grabbing the arm of my protagonist. The character is secondary but as work continues I’m finding he is a bit special to me. Not sure how this happened and maybe I’m basing him on a kid I knew when working as an art teacher in the juvenile justice system or managing youth programs on the outside but more likely he best represents what street kids have in common. That sense you don’t matter to society, that you are surplus to requirement. The Vietnamese, I was told years ago by a colleague who speaks that language, call them ‘the dust of life’, in Brazil and elsewhere in south and central America they are summarily murdered, bashed and if good looking are raped by police, criminals and private security guards. This stray kid in my comic strip is one of those street kids, dumped by his ‘caregiver mother’ probably too preoccupied with her own ‘issues’ which include ensuring a steady supply of sex, alcohol and drugs and as for the ‘father’, often his identity would be uncertain or as often happens, he is serving a long sentence or has moved on to a new ‘relationship’. Busy making more clients for social workers and prison guards.

We call these kids ‘throwaway’ in that the mother throws the kid out when it has grown from pet-child that is a ticket to social housing and the single mother pension into a troubled young person that needs love and proper parenting. Statistics show that here in Australia 48 percent of kids in the street or in state care are throwaways.

I might sound harsh but let me tell you just this one little incident that happened at a drop-in center I was running in the late nineties. Interested in photography I used to take portrait shots of some of our clients and one day noticing the patterns made by shadows of nearby trees on a corrugated-iron wall, I asked a boy who was then in his mid teens if he could stand against the wall, took the shot and lowering the camera found he was crying. No one, he told me trying to force a smile, had ever taken his picture.

Except maybe a mug shot at the local police station and that again just reinforces the sense of alienation these children feel. What is to other children an irritating part of being member of a family, grandma chasing you around wanting to take pictures, becomes the rejected child being recorded as something dangerous to society that if it cannot be safely locked up at least can be identified as we do for the safety of society, the various types of venomous snakes. What is usually an expression of love, an adult taking the picture of a loved child, is inverted into an expression of hate intended as much as anything else to humiliate and destroy.

The kid grabbing my protagonist’s arm and who dresses in a private school uniform is as I said, a secondary character. Why and how he came to dress like that will be revealed later in the story. I feel he should be more important but to do that would be to tell a lie. His life doesn’t change as in going from rags to riches like all goodies in a Hollywood film but rather he exists in an unchanging self-created space in which he can sleep, eat, dream and play with his few possessions one of which is a scooter he found chucked on the street and that he repaired and that is now to him a status symbol and his freedom to move within the city environment. Mostly he is ignored but is often actively driven away by the other kids and of course by society at large. He doesn’t do anything wrong, he just survives as best he can in a loveless and often dangerous environment. His goal, because all characters in a story have one even if it is forever elusive, is to find the two people who made him and, if he succeeds, then what will he ask them?

Blessings.

Out taking pictures and boring in Sydney.

Been down to Sydney a few times recently researching and photographing locations for the comic strip and stumbled across the ‘Creative Sydney’ poster below and that caught my eye because of the picture it made when combined with graffiti and sandstone wall. All three elements form a snap shot of the state of creativity in this nation with the sandstone wall referencing tradition and past nation building, the tagging (graffiti) arguing ‘creative Sydney’ is illegal street art even if the tags themselves are stylistically a decades long process of copying a long lost original and then the poster itself which is pegged down well within the boundaries of the acceptable. None of this would be a real problem were it not for the fact and as seemingly understood by who or whatever commissioned the poster, that ‘creativity’ has dollar value. Will this poster contribute in any significant way towards the goal of making Sydney a powerhouse of creativity with billions of dollars pouring into the State’s coffers ?

Creative Sydney poster tagged and behind sandstone wall.

Not sure the city authorities understand what creative people need.

Walking around the city center looking for something, anything, that could be of some use to my comic book project the more distance traveled the more I wanted to puke. As a city Sydney is sanitized and made appropriate and inoffensive to all including the children of millionaires with now a lovely playground sitting right next to the fountain in Kings Cross where previously the homeless, rent boys, prostitutes and drug dealers hung out. OK – nice, clean and the locals living in their multi million dollar flats can now park their Ferrari’s and designer bicycles in what were once-upon-a-time dark back alleys without fearing they being vomited on by drug-fucked and homeless ‘losers’. The poor, the homeless, the artists, the musicians, the poets and that essential demi-monde have been pushed out and I doubt a poster can fill the void.

 

Bike riding in the suburbs a few days later I actually found a location that could be useful. Horrible cliche though – you know – the urban decay and graffiti thing but has potential as a backdrop for some depravity or other gratuitously violent action. Below are a few pictures taken as part of my search for locations.

 

mountain bike leening against wire fence that surrounds abandoned commercial centre along parramatta road Sydney

The trusty MTB bike. For sure it will be immortalized in the comic strip.

black and white of abandoned petrol station on Parramatta road Sydney.

Had some fun in RawTherapee and Gimp with one of the pictures taken at the abandoned commercial center site.

Railway pedestrian tunnel at Lawson railway station Blue Mountains New South Wales Australia

In the Blue Mountains town of Lawson and not Sydney but could be useful.

On the topic of art and culture it appears much today is part of this now mainstream social engineering trend and nothing of the past appears to be beyond re-interpretation such as below Australian photographer Max Dupain’s famous ‘Sunbaker’ taken in 1937 and used here in an anti-racism poster. Right or wrong in intention I think this takes away from Dupain’s work which was about the sun baked, free, democratic and prosperous Australian lifestyle. Anyway, had a bit of Gimp fun with that one as well.

max dupain's 'Sunbaker' in anti-racism poster.

He is not dreaming – he is living it.

Blessings.

Yep – it’s a comic strip.

Despite being superstitious about sharing details of a project I think it won’t draw evil upon my current project if i share a few screen shots and words about the why , what and how.

Basically as all reading this blog over the past few years would know, I tend to be like a kid in a toy store when it comes to projects and in particular anything related to the visual arts and story telling. I have a few roughed out books on my hard drive sitting beside a few short near-completed animations and plenty more of the same begging exit from the creative section of my brain. I’m one those people who dive into something and when the creative process is completed and it’s no longer fun and games, I get bored and look for something else to play with. Either that or I go into one of my recurring bouts of clinical depression and select all and delete. I’m sure many can relate to that and the bit where later you find yourself madly going through files on the external hard drive hoping there was a backed-up copy you had forgotten existed. To be fair to myself, some projects are beyond what a person can create by themselves.

Problem is I’m not getting any younger and would like to actually complete a major project and so and summing up what I know and my skill portfolio, I decided a comic strip would be the best option even if figure drawing, the most important skill in comic strip creation, is something I have not done for well over a decade. As my father used to say ‘there is no such thing as the perfect circumstances to start something’, and he was right, at some point if you burn to do or create something then just jump in and get started. Sort out the problems as you go along.

So with no small amount of self-doubt I dragged out from the dark corners of a back-up hard drive a script previously written for an animation based on actual life events experienced by street kids I worked with in the past and went about re-writing it as a story that could be told in drawn frames and speech bubbles. When that was done and there no excuse left, I fired up Krita, the open source paint application, and after a first test (previously posted on this blog) to get a feel for the software which I rarely used before, started roughing out page number One.

I can confirm from that initial experience that drawing people is difficult if there was any lingering doubt in anyone’s mind but as I progress through this work a new problem is becoming apparent and it is that like the proverbial ability to ride a bicycle, long lost figure drawing skills are beginning to return which means I will be going back over the already sketched out pages. My work method is from the written story I sketch out a rough and entirely hand drawn version of each page and then work up a version that is still a pencil sketch but closer to what will later be inked, painted with speech bubbles and text added in the end.  What I’m finding is that the second pencil sketch done using for example Blender 3D to assist with tricky perspective is not as alive as the entirely hand-drawn rough. Below is an example where this difference is apparent. The second version is more detailed and has some obvious background changes but clearly relying less on intuition and spontaneity is I think not as good as the original could be when my confidence returns and I can work with at most a perspective grid.

screen shot of the intial pencil sketch.

Initial sketch that to me communicates the character’s emotional state better than the second sketch of this page (below) which made greater use of software in the drawing process.

Changes to background with computer assistance in drawing the main character.

 

The ‘abominable crime of buggery’.

Was happy this morning hearing the Northern Territory first minister acknowledge the harm caused by the territory’s ‘buggery laws’ which were in place as late as 1983.

‘Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery, committed either with mankind or any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned for life with hard labour.’

In his speech the NT first minister said,

“The brutality of that language. More so, the brutality of the message: You are not worthy. You are not welcome. You are an abomination.”

As an older same-gender-attracted person I can say that is precisely what young gays had to endure but worse still was the resultant choice gay youth were forced to make – that been that to be accepted and loved by family, friends and community a same-gender-attracted young person had no choice other than to self-hate. The results were often disastrous and long-lasting because a person long socialised into self-loathing will make choices that are self-loathing, including trying to be like everyone else and going out with and even marrying a person of the opposite gender. This can lead to dangerous situations where the denied self will seek expression in any way available and possible as I think is the reason the Catholic church has experienced high levels of sex abuse problems. A Polish priest who a few years ago ‘came out’ and introduced his Spanish manfriend said that in his opinion about half of all priests are gay. I think it correct law is upheld but also that greater compassion should be shown to people who themselves are the victims of their wrong belief they could live a life that is against nature. Unfortunately we still live in a cruel self-righteous world and even if this initiative of the NT government is welcome it remains there is still a long way to go and there is a danger we are not becoming a freer more accepting society but rather one where the LGBTQI community has simply been admitted into the ranks of mainstream oppressors and so neutered as a movement that could challenge limitations on freedom of expression for example. As the saying goes – there is no free lunch and gay males may find one day that same-gender marriage was an overpriced hamburger from Greasy Jill’s takeaway.

Below is a link to a video of Harry Hay (founder of the first American gay rights movement) speaking on the subject of gay youth and self-hate.

Stupid MTB Ride and Drop Bears at the railway station.

Set out yesterday to camp by the creek half way along the Andersons Fire Trail which is classified as ‘difficult’ by Parks and Wildlife and that for riders on proper bikes with a better than average level of fitness. I must be the only person to have ever attempted it pulling a trailer over-loaded with camera and camping gear and am happy to say that I made it to the end. Would not do it again.

Bike and trailer at the start of Andersons

Determined at the start of the Anderson trail.

The first half of the trail is fairly flat and pleasant before you get to the smoking-brakes downhill to the creek.

Anderson's trail with gum trees, bike and trailer.

First half is a nice, easy ride.

Bike, trailer and creek.

Camped overnight by the creek before the climb out in the morning.

Had a pretty good night camped out by the creek and then this morning it was the climb out. Literally kilometers of steep uphill.

Just when you make it up one these very steep uphills hoping it to be the last really steep- Yeah!! and there’s another and this goes on for kilometers.

Even the ant hills are big around here.

Made it up to Woodford where I stopped by Bruce’s cafe before heading for the station to catch a train back up to Katoomba. Had to wait over an hour and so had time to check out the more interesting posters on the station walls.

All about space / time for travelers on State Rail.

 

The Blue Mountains with its high cliffs is a popular suicide spot. My advise if you think life is not worth living is go do something really stupid like get into independent journalism, row a boat to New Zealand or do Andersons pulling forty kilos of shit on a trailer. Hey, you gonna die anyway so give it a go!

 

This one is about ‘Drop Bears’ the scientific name of which is Thylarctos Plummetus. The poster warns tourists they are at greater risk of attack than native-born Australians and that a way to ward off attack is to swear Vegemite (or toothpaste) behind your ears. Information courtesy of Australian Geographic and Transport New South Wales.

 

OK – innovative ways State Rail keep people amused whilst waiting for the oft late train.

Below are a few pics of Aboriginal rock carvings I took on my last ride down The Oaks trail (Woodford to Glenbrook). For those who ride the trail and haven’t seen them, they are at the top of the first big hill and on your right if heading in the Glenbrook direction. At the top of the hill you will see where Parks and Wildlife have placed rocks to stop  people driving onto the flat rocks and the carvings are near the trail edge and not back in the bushes where I’ve often unsuccessfully looked for them.

Aboriginal Rock carvings on The Oaks trail.

 

Near the rock carvings are these marks that to me look like groves made from sharpening stone tools and weapons.

Blessings.

A few pics, little boy found and mtb rides.

Really nothing much worth mentioning in my miserable existence but around the world there’s plenty worth mentioning but for sure everyone is sick and tired of hearing bad news. Especially when its human caused and so entirely avoidable. Syria, more killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli Defense Force, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and all the other disasters happening around the world. Oh yes – and the latest on climate change? It was April Fools day yesterday and so caution needs to be exercised but reportedly there is a plan to spray a sun-filtering film over threatened areas of the Great Barrier Reef to reduce coral beaching. If a joke it is a bad one. Good news is that a three-year-old boy who disappeared from a camp site near the rural town of Mudgee (West side of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales) was found yesterday safe and sound despite 18 hours alone, lost and terrified in the woods. The heart-melt part of the story is that the little boy said to police he asked a Kangaroo to take him home. In the end it was a police helicopter ride rather than a ride in a roo’s pouch which for sure he enjoyed just as much.

Had another attack on the art website which I will rebuild one day, too busy with that project I won’t mention for the moment, and the primitive nature of these attacks – brute force attacks – would indicate they are the work of criminals who attack all and any site  in the hope that people are stupid enough to have ‘admin’ as user name and ‘password’ or ‘qwerty’ or ‘123456’ as password. Yes folks, there are people so stupid they would indeed make things that easy for hackers. BTW I did manage to log with the cyber crime people the previous attack and the security people I use have advised there has been a spate of hack attempts on WordPress sites.

Otherwise, been out on the mountain bike and did the usual 20 kilometers of highway followed by 30 of dirt trail on Friday. Saturday i did another 40 or so kilometer combination of road and track. I’m trying to build up endurance which is the main issue for older and very young riders especially when the weather is abnormally hot for the time of year – 35 degrees Celsius at the bottom of Friday’s ride down to Glenbrook. On the way I found an English family stopped mid uphill on the Oaks trail and who were obviously not well prepared. Dad was pushing the kid’s bikes to the top, Mum was sheltering with two boys in the shade of trees and the daughter I found crouching under a rock shelf a bit further up.  Chatting with the mother and making sure they were OK and didn’t also need the services of a rescue helicopter, she told me it was their first visit to Australia and that they had no idea of the difficulty and length of the trail. Her face dropped when I told her they had roughly another 15 kilometers to go and a few more big hills but on the balance of down and up hill and at the point they were, they were better off continuing down than trying to go back up. Later and taking a break with feet in the cool water of Glenbrook creek a few other riders who arrived at the end of the trail said the Poms were all alive and progressing slowly. Moral of the story is do your research before taking small children on a happy bike ride in the woods even if it’s just on the outskirts of Sydney.

Below are a few pics I took the next day at Hanging Rock.

Hanging Rock and Grose Valley, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.

Hanging Rock and its a long way down to the bottom of the valley but some young persons find it a perfect place to ‘death swing’. Look up ‘ blue mountains hanging rock death swing’ on youtube. There have been a few fatalities..

Hanging Rock with the Grose Valley in the background, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.

The haze in the background is oil from the gum tree leaves which often perceived as blue in color is why the area is called the “Blue Mountains’.

Cliff edge looking over the Grose Valley, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.

End of the Hanging Rock trail is a cliff edge view of the Grose Valley.

Blessings to all.

Here we go again

Welcome back. End of my lazy period. LOL

Notice the little widget on the side – it gives you the amount of heat added to the Earth’s atmosphere in Hiroshima bombs. Four per second. We’re sending our children to hell. Depressing and have to say the more I learn about climate change and the more I see the extent of inaction the more depressed and angry I get. At some stage we will need a Nuremberg style tribunal for climate change deniers and with sentences that reflect the gravity of the crime of facilitating the sixth great extinction.
The other thing that would make you throw your arms up in despair is the outbreak of stupidity of politicians and special interest groups who while paying lip service to climate change act in a manner indicating they either don’t get or don’t believe in how serious it is. If you check out the website and policies of the Australian Greens for example you will find they are more concerned with social engineering and social justice than they are survival of species. I’ve heard they know they have issues with too many of their members being refugees from defunct far-left parties and people with single agendas such as LGBTQI and Indigenous rights, not forgetting feminism, and who have little if any knowledge of the science and urgency of climate change. To be effective the Greens would need to become a mainstream party with a sizable portion of seats in the federal lower house but they are never going to achieve that pushing for example a toxic form of feminism the majority of women themselves reject as being more about hating men and pathologizing little boys than seeking equality between genders. Funny that a party such as the Greens would overlook the fact many women are mothers who don’t hate their sons. But anyway, I digress. Could this obsession with the politics of the contents of underpants suggest a reason why we as a species are unable to prevent our own destruction? Sex, money and power are the wants of the individual. We have since the beginning of the industrial revolution reinforced in people’s minds the belief that the purpose of life is having more or at least the same as others. This I believe is the reason we now can no longer react to a collective threat; we would need in the context of climate change to agree to have less so the collective can survive but I can’t see that happening until after the point of no return is crossed if individualism remains the dominant philosophy of life. A collective problem will always be ‘someone else’s problem’ if resolving it means I would have to leave my self-worth parked in the garage.

Otherwise – working on a new page or two as mentioned before and including one for people wanting to join in the fun of mountain bike riding in the Blue Mountains.