Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Xmas FRIGHTS of Lobethal

First time ever visiting the Lights of Lobethal. We arrived early and experienced ample parking, traffic-free roads and HORROR.

Mele dropped into an Opp Shop - Hosana's (which should have been a clue). Up on a shelf among the golliwogs and handmade shoe trees were a couple of paper mache cow heads.
'Check out the cow heads,' says Mele.
'Wow,' says Charlie and I, thinking about getting an ice cream on this summer evening in the Adelaide Hills.
'Oh yes, they're from the church play,' says the shop lady, popping up from behind a rack of flowery frocks.
'Huh,' says I, smilling and picturing a couple of the more homely kids wearing them and being quietly lead up the back of the barn to look on while the Baby Cheesus is set upon by three nine-year-olds in fake beards. 

What followed was so bizarre that I regret that it will not be strictly verbatim, but I promise the gist remains.

'Yes!' beams shop lady, clearly encouraged by this toddler-toting young father and his dress-wearing wife (a fine blend of modern and traditional roles). 'It was the story of Ezra and Ezekiel in which the one true lord commanded of them to perform a blood sacrifice!'
'Oh my goodness!' I am clearly gasping at this point. 
'The story goes that the lord god bade them to take their sons of slaughter them upon the altar of divinity and they took their only children to spill their blood in the name of the most divine lord.' [It must be noted that she has not even modified her tone from the one which told us about a church play. I am scrambling for the exit at this point, trying not to knock over tumblers and tea services while covering Charlie's ears.] 'And so Ezra took the cows as well and spilled their blood for the blood sacrifice, and that's where the cows heads are from because their heads were cut off for the blood sacrifice in worship of the one true saviour Jesus Christ our lord!'
So chatty.
So scary.

In my mind, I will probably remember her as being slowly enveloped in dark smoke, bathed in a seething crimson glow as her voice deepened and echoed across eons, reverberating with the ever-writhing flesh of a billion souls consumed like so many cups of Lipton's. But she was a very normal-looking woman. The quintessential opp-shop lady, right down to the cream-coloured cardy. And that's what made it all the more terrifying.
I wanted to ask her to stop repeating the phrases 'blood-sacrifice' and 'slaughter' to my son, but I preferred (as usual) a swift exit to confrontation. 

'Don't worry, Charlie,' I said, as we trotted off towards the non-brimstone engulfed soft-serve van. 'She's just talking about people in a play.'


Monday, December 3, 2012

View from the back

I'm a proud father, so obviously I think everything my son does is great. I even let him have a go on the camera so he can take a billion pictures of the same food label. But every now and then, he comes up with something that I really admire. Maybe the good feelings are purely paternal, but who cares. I genuinely like unusual portraits that suggest things, rather than show them. He's already teaching me.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32