September 8th, 2003

Blow Dat Trumpet, Gabriel!


"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

- Gandhi


Blowing One's Own Trumpet

Dear folks,

Why do Australians in particular have such a problem with people blowing their own trumpet? I mean . . . REALLY! Whose supposed to blow it if you don't blow it yourself?

I know it's one of the symptoms of the tall poppy syndrome - but what exactly is that?

The tall poppy syndrome (or T.P.S.) in Australia is an almost genetic aversion to authority figures, stemming from the hatred that the early convicts, who were transported here from England, felt for the 'Jacks and Johns' - ie. the King's Police/Military, who stood over them. Anyone who manages to lift themselves out of the convict galley, unless they've become a bush ranger or outlaw, becomes automatically part of the Establishment and sooner or later, if they're successful at anything, Tall. Chop chop. (In some ways, we have the T.P.S. in common with Sicilians, who also have a genetic and learned distrust of authority.)

Some of my favourite self-trumpet big noters are:

'I am the GREATEST!' Muhammad Ali.

'I have a Dream!' Martin Luther King Jr.

'THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.' Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show

'Before Dali, nothing . . . .' Salvador Dali

'Wave your Freak Flag high!' Jimi Hendrix

'I am the Architect, Creator, Emancipator, Inventor, King and Originator of Rock and Roll, and the Beauty (who is still on duty!), Bronze Liberace, Georgia Peach, Human Atom Bomb, International Treasure, Living Flame and Southern Child." Little Richard
(in his own words)

'I am the SON of GOD.' Jesus Christ

Imagine Jesus sandaling around Australia today. Do you know what he'd hear?
'Maaaaate, pull your head in!'

Speaking of misunderstood prophets, here's the latest shovelful I've had to cop - from a music reviewer no less:

" The only thing more painful than listening to ' Shaddap You Face' again and again is having to read your dribble crapping on and on about that damn song and how you've done nothing since then but like to make out you have. Go away." M. N.

Now usually, with these sort of things, I just stick them on my Press Review page in amongst all the other 'kind' things people say about my work, to give me a sense of balance and perspective. But for some reason this particular bit of bile has so much personal invective in it that I think it's better left to the scrap heap. Mr M.N. obviously hasn't heard the old saying:

'Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly . . . . UNTIL you can do it well.'

I'm not really all that TALL when you stop to think of it, anyway. Perhaps this particular bit of tongue lashing is an example of the new Aussie 'No Poppies of Any Size Whatsoever in My Stinkweed Patch' syndrome, or N.P.A.S.W.M.S.P.S. This is one of the problems with the music industry in Australia, too. No-brainer writers like M.N. are employed to write our music review columns. You do have to be careful who you dismiss so lightly:

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
- Decca Recording Co. rejecting The Beatles, 1962

Usually, people just put DELETE when they want to be removed from a mailing list - but every now and then someone has to get a dig in before they go. Naturally I removed M.N. from mine as he requested - but only after I touché a little French back to him - basically: 'Voulez-vous couchez avec un canard', and 'forniquez-vous avec l'Eiffel Tower a votre derriere!'

I also suggested that perhaps my song-that-dare-not mention-its-name-now actually might have been written for people like him? (wink wink nudge nudge?) - and maybe he should sharpen that pencil attached to his forehead and apply for a new job as an understudy judge on Australian Idolt. Another nice quote comes to mind:

"I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters." Frank Lloyd Wright

Come on M.N. - Give the poor one-hit wonders a BREAK, why don't ya! Anyway:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Alva Edison

( But I digress . . . . )

Speaking of bush rangers, my favourite Australian outlaw is Harry Power, rather than the more well-known Ned Kelly. See my song lyrics: 'The Last Bushranger:')

"Gather round me children and hear my tale,
Sit with me for an hour,
And I'll tell you the story of the last bushranger
By the name of Harry Power. "

C.P. Cavafy Poetry and Song Work

Blow Dat Trumpet, Gabriel! I want to alert everyone in the Melbourne area of an extremely rare event. Costas Athanassiou and I are doing a performance of the C.P. Cavafy song-work I wrote, 'When The Lips and The Skin Remember,' on Sunday September 21st, for the Darebin Writer's Festival.

I started this songwork, employing some of the sensual poems of Greek writer, C.P. Cavafy, when I was 21 years old and I am just putting the finishing touches on a revision of poem number 15 this week, which makes it a living work in progress for over 35 years. The songs have stood the test of time like fine wine. The whole sounds better now than it ever has. It is an extraordinary collection of songs-made-out-of-poems, one of the most beautiful in the English language, mainly due to the excellent English translations I had to work with from Dr. Rae Dalven, now passed away. I sing the entire work in the form of very bluesy folk songs, in English, flirting in and out of Lydian scale variations, and Costas reads the original Greek language poems within the songs. Anyone who loves poetry and song should try to make it to this event as we do not do this piece very often. The last public performance was in 1999 at Greekfest. It's FREE so there's no excuse. It's not necessary to wait until creative composers are dead and buried before you go and listen to their music. (Think Schubert playing 'Die Winterreise'.) And just 'cause you ain't read the kudos about this work yet in 'Music Anthropology and Composer's Bones Forensic Weekly' don't mean it's not wonderful. (It is!) Costas and I will both endeavour to still be alive on the night to present it for you - the way the composer intended it! Here is the Site with the poems in Greek and English if you want to try before you sigh.
Ceres Peace Day Report

It was a perfect Saturday for the launch of the Ceres Peace Centre. Chock-a-block with people, kids, animals and plants. Peace Clowns roamed the crowd and the entertainment was interesting and exciting. MC'd by the eclectic Mal Webb, Rupert Guenther opened with a 20 minute violin solo improvisation, followed by Vietnamese and Japanese choirs. Bronwyn Calcutt's Expressive Women's Choir sang a Latin peace song, followed by some Turkish poetry and the Underbelly Dancers (whom I at first thought might be a group of bag ladies from the local shelter) who turned out to be an erotic quartet of really gorgeous tattooed belly dancers who left the stage smokin'! (I had to follow them, of course!)

The highlight for me was being given a free plate of Iraqi food from the Iraqi women's stall and then walking up on stage and singing 'Gift (from one Iraqi child)' to them as a thank you. I closed my set with a quodlibet (In JS Bach's day, the Bach family would sit around the fire at night and sing 2 or more of the popular songs of the day, at the same time, in counterpoint.) I arranged 'Give Peace a Chance' and the chorus to 'Imagine' this way, and half the crowd sang one melody while the other half sang the other, a capella. Rupert played some electric violin and I played some blues harp over the top of it all. (ed. note: 'Imagine' was banned on many radio stations in the US immediately following 9/11!) Elle, the organiser of the event gave me a healthy looking homegrown oregano plant as a thank you present from the Ceres staff for taking part, which I have put at pride of place in our herb garden to help me with future culinary delights!

Gospel Music Could Originate from Scotland

The Scotsman
Sun 31 Aug 2003

" Dr. Willie Ruff, an Afro-American professor of music at Yale, was adamant - he had traced the origins of gospel music to Scotland.

The distinctive psalm singing had not been brought to America's Deep South by African slaves but by Scottish émigrés who worked as their masters and overseers, according to his painstaking research. " (more)
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)

Letter From Joe Simonetta

Joe Simonetta Withdraws from Florida Congressional Race

You might recall a few issues back I recommended signing up for Florida Democrat Joe Simonetta's mail outs. He was running against Republican Katherine Harris in the notorious state of Florida, where all that mucky-muck about the lost votes occurred. Well, Joe's decided to drop out and I recommend everyone look over his reasons why:

" We simply do not have time or resources for adversarial politics. In fact, humanity is running out of time if it continues on its present course. If we wish to sustain humanity and advance our civilization, it is required that we enter into a completely new consciousness of what reality truly is. Our window of opportunity to accomplish the necessary monumental consciousness transition is small compared to the large obstacles within our current belief systems that must be dissolved. Yet, this must happen if we and all the life forms that share this jewel of a planet are to survive." (more)

(Ed. note: He still gets my vote.)
They Staged the Statue Event
from Mark Morford

"Hey, remember that dramatic CNN footage of that big statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled by U.S. forces in that Baghdad square a few months back, during the "war"? Remember how powerfully symbolic it was supposed to be? Remember, later, seeing the wide-angle shot on the Internet, the one of all the U.S. tanks surrounding the square and the whole bogus set-up, complete with a big crane and some strong cable and strategically positioned "citizens" cheering their "liberation" as the statue fell, as just off camera, a handful of genuine Iraqis loitered nearby, looking confused and bored?

Remember how you felt then? Like this little black worm had bored into your skin and was crawling around in your small intestine and you had the perpetual urge to go off into the corner and eat pie and slam double scotches and scream at the state of BushCo's nation? " (more)

Book Title of the Week

"Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes" by Lewis Grizzard.
Quote of the Week

"Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that."
Britney Spears

(Ed. note: Oops! I Stepped In It Again.)

2003 Nude Cop Calendar

Here's some fun - turn up your speakers loud before you click on this one.
(thanks to Constable John Jacobs)

Favourite Porn Spam of the Week

" Presenting the company that works on video production, movies and photography: EROFILM

We are the Slovenian video production, who's presenting their own products around the world.

We made a successfully movie, Billy Cigar-a! in the time that sexuall affair Bill Clinton came out. On Slovenian market, we printed calendar with Slovenian candidats for Miss Slovenia.

We where also presented in very known Croatian newspaper.

We would like to find and employ new models for erotic movies and photography. We are shooting movies with different contents, and have big ambitions.

We are interested for short and long cooporations. We could make contracts for a day, week, month or even for longer time. Honorar is payed out the same moment when the work is done. We arrange for residence on out expense in the time of work. We do not organise prostitution.

Only interest is shooting and publishing the movies and photography.

At first place we are looking for an adult women's.

We are forward to any contact on the bottom address for a questions or testing photos. Mail: Erofilm

We also publishing biggest tourist catalog of Slovenija girls.

Contact with us and Welcome!

PP 3546
Ljubljana, Slovenija
Director: Boris Valenãiã


My reply:

Dear Boris,

You sound like very unattractive man, but:

I am interesting at aplying to this positions.

I am short Slovenija girl living at Australia in the moment.
I am large bosom with measuring: 41-41-41.

I am not interesting in prorno filums but consideration possibly in hand release for career oportunity, or working on local version of classic filum, Johnny Howard Cigar-a!

I living in Sydney in bonza flat but willingness to travel to Tasmania if necessarily for barnyard shooting.

I does not do topless but have tattoo on backside, of Slovenian dolphin looking good with wide-angle lens, no doubt.

I am also cooking goulash aussie style on barbeque.

contact with us back,
Miss Martina Petruscha Notalotta
( p.s. picture of dinki-di barbeque enclosed.)


Linguine 'Ostrich' alla Livornese

Livorno, Italy: " . . . at one time there were also ostriches - today disappeared - that were eaten raw but also cooked 'alla livornese' with garlic, onions, parsley, breadcrumbs, lemon and seasoned with oil, salt and pepper . . .' (more)

No, we're not cooking literal ostrich today but a simple long-necked pasta dish I made up over the weekend using the techniques I've been learning from my favourite new Livornese home-stay lunch place. (I am unfortunately sworn to Omerta by the owners - they need to keep it quiet as they have no license - but I will endeavour to get down there as often as possible and learn the recipes. The in-house grandmother has been generous in sharing her secrets with me.)

The idea behind this way of making the sauce is using a little tomato paste mixed in warm water rather than passata, tinned or fresh tomatoes. This is mostly olive oil based (with a little tomato paste colouring) rather than the usual pasta drenched in tomato sauce.

Linguine - 250 grams (enough for 2)
1/2 cup cold pressed olive oil
1 red chilli, chopped finely
good chunk of pancetta (or guanciale), small dice
1 anchovy fillet
mix of black olives
parmesan cheese
a few capers
1 tble tomato paste, mixed in a little warm water
a little sugar, to taste
splash red wine, to taste
one clove garlic, chopped finely
chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the pasta in a generous amount of boiling water until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, put olive oil in saucepan over medium heat and mash anchovy into the oil until it dissolves. Add pancetta and chilli and cook until pancetta is almost crisp. Add tomato paste mixed in warm water, sugar, garlic, capers, olives, red wine, salt and pepper, and half the parsley. Cook for a couple of minutes and remove from heat - keep warm. When pasta is cooked, drain and stir a little butter throughout. Place the saucepan with the sauce back on the heat and toss the pasta in it until mixed well. Serve with parmesan, fresh parsley and black pepper, with bread and a nice red wine.


"I criticise by creation - not by finding fault."
Cicero (106-43 B.C.)