LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: Z IS FOR WHAT COMES NEXT

This is the end, beautiful friends. The last entry in our Love in the Time of Covid playlist. Z for Zachariah, and also for pretty much the only band most of us have in our playlist that begins with Z.

So here’s the final question, at the heart of all this -end-of-culture ranting I’ve been doing in my recent posts: If you are only ever one mortgage payment, one food shop, or one car payment away from disaster, how much security do you really have? How well has the pre-Covid ‘normal’ really been for you? To speak in fluent memeslash: how are those franking credits working for you now, Karen?

We are a species that has fooled itself into thinking we have outgrown the need to adapt: that it is the role of the planet to adapt to us, when we have only ever been a small, breeding-crazy, too-smart-for-its-own-good part of a living organism that needs all of its components to maintain a constant evolution in order for the whole to thrive.

If there’s anything we can take from our experiences during this pandemic, it is that we need to fashion an environment that works for us as a part of something greater than our small, human concerns.  We can’t continue to try to squeeze ourselves into ever smaller cubicles to please the money-hoovering blue suits that have brought us to the edge of environmental, cultural, and societal collapse. Just why are we following these fucks, when we know, to the deepest core of our marrow, that they’re selfish shits with no eyes other than for themselves? Does anybody really believe that the Orange Humgruffin, or Boris the Bastard, or Scum the Crime Minister — Murdoch, Reinhart, Putin, Bezos, Zuckerbot, Branson the Pickle, you name your billionaire of choice — has your best interests at heart? Do you?

Then why?

The pandemic has shown us, if we didn’t already know: The world is too big for us to conquer one by one. But I can evolve, and adapt. You can. That guy there can. If we can do mit as individuals, as family groups, as small communities brought togethers by shared concerns, then we can have a positive effect. And yes, the world is full of idiots. And yes, we’re seeing that in full flow right now. But idiots can be taught. And if they can’t, maybe their children can.

Power does not have to lie with those whose only contribution is money, and entitlement, and the desire to legislate your culture into directions you don’t want it to go. Money does not have to equal right. Destruction does not have to equal progress. Cultural, religious, and ideological zealotry do not have to detract from synthesis and togetherness.

We’ve been adapting to the wrong things. That much has become clear. So isn’t it about time, now that we have had to fall back on our own resources at the community and interpersonal levels, that we did so, once again?

Enough of that sermon. Let’s talk music.

There was a time before ZZ Top were cutesy, family-friendly, mainstream radio darlings. Before the fluffy guitars and matching wacky suits. Before the way-too-80s-for-words videos and appearances on your Mum’s favourite extruded-sitcom-product. A time when they were the grungiest of grungy Southern blues bands. When sixteen words and a six minute guitar solo was considered a song. When you could dig their music out from under your fingernails, they had so much grit in them.

50 million album sales proves that evolution is a good thing and that, if a band can redefine itself and engage with a new way of thinking in order to adapt to the changing requirements of a world that would all too easily leave it behind, then we can, too.

So here’s a visual representation of all that I’ve blethered on about, above: ZZ Top, live. In full-on post-80s mode of dress, and persona, and image. Grunging the living fuck out of two of their greatest pre-adaptation classics. Proving that evolution doesn’t mean abandoning the past, simply redefining it to fit into the tomorrow you want to create.

Rock on.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, well, what can I say? You’ve had 26 days. Here’s everything else:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: Y IS FOR CHILD AND MOTHER

We’re almost at the end, my friends. The end of this little journey through a Covid playlist. The end of the capitalist, he-who-dies-with-the-most-was-probably-a-psychopath, white men in blue suits wet dream. The end, if we’re lucky, of the world that was, and perhaps, just perhaps, at the start of a new way of doing things, where destroying the planet and each other just so a minority of hate-filled money rapists can wank into a slightly higher stack of twenties on the weekend isn’t necessarily the prime way for the deluded Murdoch-gobbling masses to slowly kill themselves.

Or, if you spend any time at all on social media, perhaps we’re at the start of an era where fucking morons identify themselves even more easily than they have in the past. It could go either way.

Either way, here’s a gentle reminder: the world turned before we were here. It will turn when we’re gone. As pollution and fauna migration patterns during our quarantine period are showing, it might just turn a little better after we’re gone. Chuck Palahniuk is right: You’re not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. It doesn’t matter how many blue suits you wear, how many happy-clapper orgasmotron group therapy delusion sessions you kneel at, how many fistfuls of dollars you deny the needy. We are what we have always been: slow-moving meat.

Enjoy your contemplation.

Yothu Yindi was a band largely comprised of first peoples members from Yirrkala in Arnhem Land. They broke big in the early 90s, when a lot of politicians suddenly realised that hanging out with intelligent, politically aware Aboriginal people was a good way to look cool. Thankfully, they managed to shed the blue-suited parasites for a while and produce some truly excellent music. World Turning equates the rotation of the Earth with being in love, which frankly, seems like a very dodgy way to ensure the continuation of gravity.

Also, it’s a good dancing song, which might just be a better use for it right now.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, well, so is the rest of your species. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the extinction:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: X IS FOR…. UH…. X

The twenty-fourth day of my musical choices on the twenty-fifth day of supposed isolation: it’s probably time to smash stuff up.

I don’t know about you, but enforced isolation has had no effect on me whatsoever.

Head Zombified 2

 

Luscious and I… and you know, every other teacher in the state…. are back in the classroom next week, so we have to prepare lessons for both face-to-face and online environments — that’s two five-week units per class. I have three and Luscious has five, so here we are today, at the empty school, preparing powerpoint after powerpoint…..

We’re doing our best to isolate, but Karratha’s already a highly isolated town. There’s a bit of a ‘phony war’ feel to the place: the shops are taking it seriously, but the populace isn’t, judging by the shopping crowds, and the shambling FIFOs milling outside the drinking wallow in the twon centre every time I drive past of an evening.

We’ve had 2 confirmed cases of Covid, but they’ve been isolated at the hospital and nobody’s mentioned them, so it’s almost like they don’t exist in people’s minds. It’s going to break out here. It’s just a matter of time, and the wrong scraped-through-year-ten-Doctor-Google-type-who-knows-better. And when it does it’ll sweep through the town like, well, like a plague. So while I joke, and act all cynical and the like, and make comment about schools returning, I’m genuinely worried about what will happen in the coming weeks. Because there are 1200 kids in this school, and one of them is going to get it. And once they do…

One kid. That’s all it will take, and this town will fall down like a National Party policy promise.

In that spirit, here’s one of the great Australian punk pioneers, with an angry, thrashy, gloriously fuckyouish ode to staying the hell at home where it’s comfortable and all the beer is. Parents: your Government isn’t listening. Please make sure you do.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, crack a cold one, headbutt the nearest wall, and pogo your way through this lot:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: W IS FOR WARREN

We missed a day! Blame Sunday, sleeping in, and that guy over there.

Truth is, it’s easy to let things slip when the only day awaiting you is the one you just left behind. So yesterday it seemed more important to spend some time playing D&D with Luscious and Lord 15 than staring at the computer screen while our currently-shitty-for-no-reason internet connection drops in and out and in and out like a Lieberal candidate in a marginal seat.

And because it is important for the historical record, let it be noted that they spent 45 minutes getting a mortally sick gnome drunk for the sole purpose of stealing his hat, so clearly the isolation is not affecting their personalities whatsoever……

The media is full of the inevitable pushback against isolation right now. Persons can be wise, compassionate, humane, and intelligent; but people have a tendency to act like frightened herd animals if given half an opportunity. Sure as eggs is eggs we’re beginning to see it, from the usual gun-toting Merkan hillbillies to a pair of New Zealanders who make Beavis and Butthead look like the love-children of Albert Einstein and God. Throw in the usual Orange Humgruffin shitshow, in which he appears to actively incite armed rebellion in Democratic States actually following the rule of law, and it must appear, if you’re even a relatively mature human being, as if humanity is determined to eat itself.

I, for one, welcome our new hircine overlords

 

 

Today’s musical choice is a timely combination of positivity and self-destruction. Warren Zevon built a reputation as one of the great rock and roll wild children before it took its inevitable toll and his urge for self-destruction became well, just plain old actual self-destruction: cancer taking him way too soon at the age of 56. Before then, however, he gifted us a dozen albums soaked in acerbic wit, cynicism, laser-etched lyrics, and brilliance.

Splendid Isolation comes from his science fiction-infused 1989 album, Transverse City, a hymn book to themes of disconnection and social breakdown caused by an increasingly self-medicating technological society. With its underlying message of solitude and comfort in one’s own self-distancing it’s an appropriate panacea for the head-shaking despair you must be experiencing while watching all those morons incapable of simply being by themselves for four weeks without pissing, moaning, and having a mental breakdown all coz of dat dem gubmint.

And they call us snowflakes….

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get your kicker boots on and kick about through this lot:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: V IS FOR VIOLENCE

I’m such a slacker and part-time babysitter, as The Crime Minister ensures me I am, that I was up until 2am this morning completing a Kahoot quiz for my students to prepare them for their upcoming online/not-online/they’ll change the rules on us again at least once before this shit is over term.

So I’ve got nothing witty to say this morning. I’m too tired.

V is for violence. Insert something cogent and satirical and hilarious about how that fits into the current world situation here.

And here’s the Violent Femmes, and a song about America being the place where we keep all the fuckwits.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get your kicker boots on and kick about through this lot:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: U IS FOR GETTING UGLY

I don’t know about you, but for a guy who’s verging on the bald, if I don’t get a haircut soon I’m going to be the source of a rash of Bigfoot seen in wilds of Karratha suburbs rumours coming your way very soon…..

It’s the end of the first week of school holidays, and as intimated by Scum the Crime Minister yesterday, Luscious and I are enjoying slacking off by being at the school, writing stay-at-home programs for our students for next term and creating online quizzes to give them something entertaining to do while they’re in lockdown, because as teachers we are, in equal parts, essential, sacrificial, and scapegoatable.

Scum the Crime Minister is a floating piece of weasel shit, and after he is voted out, he and his fascist lackey the Oberstumfuhrer Potatohead should be brought up on as many criminal charges as can fit on the charge sheet. But you already knew that, from watching their corruption, illegal gaoling of refugees, and acts of malice towards the democractic state already. And if you didn’t, either wake up or take the Lieberal-coloured sleeping mask off your eyes.

Continue reading “LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: U IS FOR GETTING UGLY”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: T IS FOR THOMAS

If Hell is other people, why are so many people complaining right now?

Here at the Batthaim, our personal Hell has become a routine of clothes folding, washing dishes, computer work, online teaching, Dungeons and Dragons, TV, movies, cool drink, crisps, home cooking, sleeping in until gone 9 in the morning… wait, what was the question?

I frigging love social isolation. I could do it forever.

The truth is, I’m already beginning to turn into exactly the kind of person people have been worried about me turning into for years. Another couple of weeks and I’ll be eating raw fish, complaining about tricksy hobbitses, and lava diving with the best of them. But, you know, quarantine is all the reasons I’ve been enjoying living in Karratha writ large: the lack of pressure, the lower social crush, the slower speed of living, the lack of external options (cinemas, restaurants, etc) giving me more time to spend at home….

Seriously. I could do it forever.

My own personal descent into Leonard of Quirmishness aside, it’s music time! And who better to describe the geography of my inner mental tesseract than that time-displaced voyager of electric steamfuturezappowcracklepunk, Thomas Dolby?

Dolby hit the 1980s like that distant Uncle who came back from the War full of stories, with strange objects hidden all around his person and a chest in the attic which you must never — under any circumstances — open, and who just didn’t give a fuck what your parents thought. His songs She Blinded Me With Science and Hyperactive and their accompanying videos were, well, hyperactive screams of squirrel-chasing insanity at a time when electronic music was typified by the pimple-free soft-skinned baby faces of Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw*, and their blonde-tipped ilk. Mainstream radio laughed nervously, asked Auntie to pass the salt, and resolved never to invite him to dinner again.

In response, he’s gone on to create a career of singular wonderfulness and individuality, positioning himself as some sort of steampunk Uncle Fester of electric satire. This particular track is from the soundtrack to the movie Gothic, and if anything could be said to sum up his approach to the music industry, and my approach to being removed from having to interact with the outside world, a madman screaming about scorpions having sex inside his head and becoming poet laureate of Satan’s playground is just about it.

 

 

 

*Just for the record, I like Nik Kershaw, and totally love Howard Jones. But, you know, they really are Dik Brownes** to Dolby’s Charles Addams.

**I love Dik Browne, too. This is not a comment on quality, just approach.

***If you can read this, you’re too close.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, dive into the fetid swamp of past imagination and have a splash: