The artistic endeavours of Josh Radford

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A Mouthful of Murdoch

A Mouthfull of Murdoch

A Mouthful of Murdoch: Tony personally repays his debt to old mate Rupert.

In the lead-up to the 2013 Australian Federal Election, Murdoch’s multi-billion dollar News Corp media empire ran an openly slanderous and heavily critical derail campaign in mainstream print press against the ruling Labor Government, mocking and ridiculing the Prime Minister of the time, Kevin Rudd, whist heavily promoting the rise of a new Liberal government by canonising it’s leading candidate, Tony Abbott. This undeniably biased media coverage substantially shaped public opinion and massively aided Abbott’s election win, seeing him into office as Australia’s new ruling Prime Minister.

Murdoch has since come under criticism for his obvious siding with the Liberal Party and biased media representation, questioning his motives and his excessively generous media campaigns to destroy their opposition, which have evidently left a large favour to be repayed. Such criticisms are especially relevant in light of Abbott’s recent public attacks on the editorially independent public news source, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), labeling it as unpatriotic and problematic in it’s coverage of government whistle blowers such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, as well as the ABC’s criticisms of The Liberal Party and Australian Navy in it’s conduct regarding asylum seekers.

Controversy has also surrounded News Corp’s recent $882 million dollar payout by the Australian Taxation Office after winning a long standing legal battle over tax deductions from 1989, which had since gained several hundred million dollars worth of interest. Connections have been suggested between the massive government payout and the conveniently coincidental rise of Uncle Rupert’s favourite new Prime Minister and man in debt, Mr. Abbott. The ATO payout to Murdoch has knocked an enormous hole in the Federal budget, with the Australian public being warned that it is they who will now feel the pinch as funds are cut from other sectors to make up for the loss.

“Thanks Uncle Rupert, how can I ever repay you for getting me into office?”

“I’d say about $800 million and a BJ oughta do it”

A4-web

I forgot to put this here, probably because I’m an idiot. Exhibition with my friend Joe Baker at a bar in the city. It was good. It will continue to be good for the rest of the month. Go see it if that’s what you’re in to. There’s awesome art for sale (biased opinion)

Trams

ppp

I usually catch a tram home from work, it picks me up from under the bridge where the homeless people sleep. The weather is getting warmer, but they still lay in thick blankets, between the pillars, between the roads. Busses and trams pass by only meters from their beds, yet still they do not stir. Earplugs in, they settle for the night to be serenaded by an urban lullaby.

I watch happy people, distracted by their conversations, walking past or standing right beside them who don’t even realise they are there. The invisible unwanted.

The tram is full of conversation, yet none is there for me. A happy man on heroin leans out the window like an excited dog in the breeze, muttering happy thoughts to himself… perfectly present yet so far removed. His softened, glassy eyes are free and content, and though wary, people seem fairly unconcerned by the commentary, the vocalisation of his internal dialogue and his seeming inability to stay still. He strikes up conversation with ease.

The woman across from me wears turquoise jewellery. She is beautiful and intriguing. She writes in her journal, mirroring my actions. I want to know what festivals her wristbands are from; She wears them as part of her collection of bracelets. Another stranger who I likely will never know. It seems rude to interrupt her from her writing and I am too drunk and tired to have confidence in my ability to articulate sentences. There are no good moments to catch her eye and the distance between us in the carriage seems vast and impossible, especially with all this noise.

The tram is strangely packed out, much busier than this morning, when a man began screaming in a most concerning way. Severe Tourette’s, or schizophrenia, I’m not sure, possibly a mix of the two. He wailed an angry and tortured noise, periodically slapped himself in the head with force, and rocked rigorously back and forth. Nobody seemed too concerned, and gave him little more than the look you would give to a screaming infant. A brief inconvenience which is to be endured. He seemed like quite a regular, though I’ve never seen him before.

I don’t know what to make of any of it. I’m not sure what it means.
I suppose I’m just glad that I’m alive.

7am

7am, day 9084 of my existence. My alarm goes off, ripping me from a vague and confusing dream to remind me that I have an early morning appointment with Centrelink. ‘That’s what you get for not reading your mail’ I thought ‘ they make appointments for you, at ungodly hours of the sun cycle.’

I hit snooze a few times but it does nothing – the alarm keeps going off the second I close my eyes. Five minute intervals mean nothing in early morning sleep-in terms and I can’t figure out how to make them longer, so I delete the alarm and set another one for 7.30. It doesn’t work; apparently sleep-ins have no regard for 20 minute intervals either. I roll out of bed before I let my brain indulge any further in the idea of turning off the alarm and ‘just resting my eyes’. It never works, not even with one foot on the floor.

I can tell by the horrible dark grey colour of my room that it’s raining outside, a suspicion confirmed by the rolling sound of thunder and the dripping of a broken gutter outside my window.

Todays programme is brought to you by the letter ‘fuck’.

I waddle into the bathroom and stand under a shower that runs slower than the broken, dripping gutter and contemplate life.

Why am I living here? Where am I going? Why does my housemate keep pissing on the floor around the toilet? Does he have his dick pierced? Did he lose his knob in a welding accident? Why does he fail at life? I look at the empty shelf and remember yet again that the new soap I bought is still in my bedroom. One day I’ll bring it in before I get wet.

I sit in the kitchen, staring at the floor, practicing what I’m going to say to the Centrelink beasts when they ask me why I’m still unemployed. I know there’s some sort of review taking place today and I have the fear that my time has run out – that I’ve been in the system too long, desperately clinging too the glory days of being a student, and someday soon they’re gunna send me to the rape room and make me do ‘work experience’ at Vinnies or an old peoples home. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to be unemployed for such a lengthy period of time since graduation without a bounty hunter tracking me down and claiming my scalp. George just lucky I guess… Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a dole rat, I’m not heading down to the local with Shazza to blow my pay on beer, ciggies and pokies, then fight some cunt ’cause he made fun of me flanno, and I’m not sitting at home sucking down Orchy bottle bongs and eating Dominos whilst watching Jerry Springer.  I’m just an artist is all. Any of you who understand will know that’s enough said.

The rain gets heavier, and I watch through the kitchen window as torrents of water pour from the rusted holes in the gutters of our garage. My raincoat is on the other side of town and I lost my umbrella in a protest march a few weeks back. I toy with the idea of going back to bed and telling them that I misread the time of my appointment, but some niggling sense of responsibility makes me put on some shoes.

I throw down some toast, make a sensible clothing choice and head to the train station once the rain eases. There are a surprising number of strangely dressed people on the platform and I remember that this is the time that noose-wearing people go to work. The whole train smells like old-people morning breath. Nobody is smiling. Nobody wants to be here. No amount of fake tan, foundation or concealer can hide the puffy eyes of an early morning on a rainy day and she knows it. Some business woman on a mobile phone starts the “I can’t hear you – you’re breaking up’ routine and the train turns to a murderous mob of iced eyeballs. Thank fuck I’m getting off, it’s too early to see a freshly beaten corpse.

I arrive at Centre-stink twenty minutes early. Nothing can excuse this – I could have hit snooze 3 more times… I am shocked an appalled at my behaviour. The doors open and I enter the strange, silent, sterile and spotless government building. It is one large, featureless and soulless room, the same as all the rest; far too big for the intended purpose, separated by office partitions and manned by the same breed of people as the train dwellers. They look tired, sad and lacking basic human emotions such as empathy and compassion. There will be no happy smiles and I can only hope that their coffee kicks in before I have to talk to one. I have no idea why an office like this would need to hire a Sudanese security guard at 9 in the morning. He is the happiest, friendliest looking puppy dog of a security guard – I can’t even imagine him with a frown, let alone a threatening stance or an ability to restrain someone. Then I remember that we’re in Whitesville, Australia, and that suburbanites are afraid of being talked to or touched by black people. I wonder how much he gets paid to stand in the corner and people-watch all day?

My efforts of being early go unnoticed, as I wait in line with chatting mothers, sick children, old people, and a man who looks like he carries barrels of concrete for fun – a short, dense, stocky unit of a man, unable to put his arms flat against his sides, but instead hovers them outwards, like a cowboy in a pistol duel, poised and ready to draw his sidearm. If he was the secco, I’d be worried. He looks like he could bench press a panda whilst simultaneously winning a pie-eating contest.

The silence in the building is horrifying, with no radio or background hum of idle chatter or office machinery – only the odd rustle of paper or clearing of a throat. I feel sorry for the people who work here; they look pained. I’d love to burst in here one day dressed as a clown, riding bareback on a llama with a brass marching band in tow, handing out balloons and lollies, just to brighten their day. Then we’d see if that security guard was worth the money.

The awkwardly silent line of waiting customers is subjected to the confused pleas of a Thai lady as her application for a payment is greeted with apathy and despondence from the man behind the service desk. I sense the growing restlessness and uncomfortability in the crowd and I wish I bought my headphones or a sketch pad. Almost on cue, a cross dresser enters the room to antagonise the situation. A blackie and a gay all in one morning? Can these folk really handle that?

The man is tall and lean, with thin, hairy legs, scuffed black slip ons, a short, twisted skirt, mismatching top, small breasts, a days beard growth and a tangled mess of unbrushed bed hair, badly homestyled into a woman’s cut. He looks edgy, nervous and strung out as he adjusts his skirt and tries to fix his tits. By any standards, if this were a genuine woman, she’d look like a cheap whore, who had encountered a rough night. If he was going for a glamorous and seductive transformation, he had failed miserably. He picks his undies out of his bum as he walks awkwardly over to the waiting room and starts noisily rummaging through his bag and knocking things over.   Comedowns are a bitch.

For some reason there is a pile of seniors newspapers in the waiting room and I scan through one with fleeting amounts of interest to kill the time. Funeral ads, nursing homes, dementia, meals on wheels, nostalgia, bingo, campervans, hearing aids and war memorials. Some old timer in the classifieds claims he has a sure-fire way to win division 2 and 3 in the lotto and he’ll sell you the tips for a decent price. Sounds legit. I’m tempted to write down the number.

I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the appointment. I have no idea what’s going to happen or what they’re going to ask me. Was I supposed to bring anything? Was there a form?

They call me over and I prepare for the worst, but receive nothing but the boring basics. Have you been looking for work? Are you in stable accommodation? Have you ever smelled honey? How many fingers am I holding up?
They never ask you anything personal on an individual level. They never ask if you’re having an existential crisis about your role and purpose in the universe or if you’re experiencing a general sense of disgust and disillusionment with the trends of society and the continuing relentless destruction of the planet.

There’s no form to claim for those kinds of ailments.

They don’t seem concerned that my job search provider hasn’t contacted me about a job since I signed up, or that I spend my days drawing cartoons and ranting about the state of things. I get a few stamps and a bit of paper with a barcode and that’s that. See you in a month or something. The door keeps revolving and before I know it I’m outside and walking back to the train. How anti-climatic. I’m suspicious that someone’s following me, or that a ninja will jump out screaming from behind a bush and decapitate me, but it never happens. The system is flawed. None of it makes sense. I suppose it’s time to get a haircut and get a real job.

30092011167

Inner City Park

tree

I think of Jim as I absorb the soundscape.

The cars hiss by my window, like the waves down on the beach.

The constant hush of a million petrol wheels rolling over countless tonnes of tarmac just off to the side of me blends into a soft white noise,
accented by the songs of the birds and the beating of helicopter blades somewhere overhead.

A siren sounds emergency, whilst a man declares his urgency, with yet another blast of an angry car horn.

A strange city mash it is, like the statues of the CBD rising from the stark, flat nothingness of the Native Grassland Circle;
A strangely barren and unexplained ellipse of dry, yellow grass, flanked by the beauty of gums and the frolicking of happy dogs.

I choose to walk and weave through the trees, exploring new areas for hidden delights, whilst others stick to the tarmac trail, observing nature with their headphones in, and walking in a pre-determined loop.

A half demolished building attached to a hospital, a remanent of a wing long gone, juts out from behind a eucalypt, caged behind a large blue fence.
Its insides vomit out and hang limply down the open face of its wounds; cables and twisted rebar hanging like entrails with an illusion of weightlessness,
like thread unfurling from frayed fabric, hanging as though tonnes of twisted steel could blow freely in the breeze.

It’s a strange feeling to walk through an area like this in an otherwise concrete city;
strangely soothing, yet sharing the sad irony of going to see animals at a zoo.

A moderated sample of what once ran freely.

Roads and footpaths run through the park like veins, whilst pipes and drains poke through the surface like open pores;
a reminder that every tree visible is here by design, and every blade of grass cut by machine.

It’s not quite reality, but I’ll happily take it today as a nutritious supplement for the soul.

You can’t fake the simple beauty of the sunset’s fading orange light, washed over the fresh blossoms of a graceful tree.

Sorry

will smith tiny eyesSorry to all those people who have subscribed to my posts, and possibly just received 10 million emails. I changed the format of my WORDS section and needed to individually load each story. Here’s a picture of Will Smith with tiny eyes to makes up for it?

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