Easter Sunday. Let us sit upon the couch, and tell sad stories about the death of our chocolate egg supplies.
We know, those of us who stare at each other through our computer screens and wonder what fresh catastrophe the mishandled greed and corruption of the Megabusiness Lap Dogs we trusted to run our societies will unload upon us, and just what will remain when we emerge, shamefaced and cowed, to look upon the aftermath of toilet paper riots and border-closing xenophobia we brought upon ourselves. We know.
We know that to return to the old way of things is to have learned nothing. We know that something has to give, that this epoch of money-worship and cultural isolation has been as close as anything else to bringing us to this point, where we blindly threaten our own survival simply so Frank and Edna can have that boat they only ever sit on the water and drink beer in, and so that Drumpf and Bezos and Reinhart can wipe their arses with ever-thickening wads of fifties. We know.
We know, and still we contribute to it.
We’re sitting in our air-conditioned cells, chowing down on mass-produced sugar and milk bundles, celebrating a weekend allegedly dedicated to a 2000-year dead man whose own attempt to overthrow a corrupt regime by changing the cultural landscape around him has resulted in centuries-worth of corruption of the institutions of our own cultural landscapes by people who purport to follow his mantra. Don’t pretend this doesn’t have to change. We know.
We know it does. We know it.
If insanity is repeating the actions of the past and hoping for a new result, what is watching your countrymen die from lack of treatment, lack of precaution, and lack of adequately funded medical infrastructure, while grey-suited happy clappers appoint spiritual advisors and mining company CEOs to prime political positions for inflated salaries? What is actively destroying your own environment — the only place you can actually, you know, live — to ensure larger and larger mines can be built to satisfy a input/output equation on a national expenditure spreadsheet, using a unit of monetary measurement that literally only exists as an philosophical conceit?
What is buying into the concept that you must slave yourself to death for the economic benefit of millionaires and churches? What is the worship of celebrity culture and the diminishment of intellectual achievement? What is the love of anti-intellectualism? The rise of the ten-minute Google expert? The toleration of hate, and nationalism, and fascism? What is the continuation of the way things have become?
That’s not insanity. It’s a death wish. And we need to stop.
So, to today’s musical accompaniment: Painters and Dockers were a staple of the pub rock scene in the late 80s and early 90s. It’s hard to explain, if you weren’t there, or aren’t Australian, just what pub rock meant to the evolution of Australian music. It was a crucible of fire, for audiences as well as bands. The closest I can come up with is the initial punk scene of late 1970s London, only on a national scale: overstuffed venues filled with sweating, bouncing, scream-voiced lords of animus, skin melding into each other, one arm raised in synchronous pumping beat, high on waves of almost-visible testosterone, oestrogen, and tribal ferocity. If you didn’t roar out into the night after a Spy V Spy or Radiators concert in some suburban pub, screaming “That was fucking great! I was kicked in the face twice!”, were you really even there?
Pub rock was the muscle car of music, and Painters and Dockers were cynical, hard-bitten high priests of the anti-establishment that ran under and through it like guerillas in the suburban jungle.
Here they are at their most prescient, with a song that rails against the hyper-commercialism and chrome-glassed vanity of the Decade of Greed, but which is a fitting call to arms for the post-capitalism era we need to establish once this time of plague and natural disaster has passed, and we have killed off the fat, white, old men in suits and panic rooms.
Long live the revolution.
If you’re late to the party, you can still get timey-wimey and listen to everything that has come before:
- A is for the Angels
- B is for the Butthole Surfers
- C is for The Cat Empire
- D is for Dead Kennedys
- E is for Everclear
- F is for Faith No More
- G is for GANGgajang
- H is for Hilltop Hoods
- I is for Ian Dury
- J is for James
- K is for Kinky Friedman
- L is for Lisa Mitchell
- M is for Madness
- N is for Nina Simone
- O is for Orbital