The Curious Case of Cardinal Pell (and those who protect him)

Content Note: This will inevitably lead to a discussion about sexual abuse, child abuse, rape apologists, paedophilia, the works. Brace yourselves before reading if you’re sensitive to such topics, and of course, help is readily available:

LIFELINE: 13 11 14
KIDS HELPLINE: 1800 55 1800

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Some years ago, I was watching my then-girlfriend sing Handel’s Messiah with the choir she worked with. This, in turn, led to a chance meeting with one Cardinal George Pell. We said “S’up homie?”, shook hands, he declined my offer of a fist-bump and I thought nothing else of it…

…Until I saw his name in the paper a few weeks later saying he was accused of abusing a choirboy or two.

Fast forward to last month and Pell was finally convicted on multiple counts of child sexual abuse after this all was made hush-hush over the years, because of course, the church can do no wrong. There never was a epidemic of paedophilia in the Catholic church and there never was a priest or even a cardinal convicted of such a heinous crime. That’s only reserved for the folk that got their shit pushed in by Operation Yewtree, right?

Right…

Even up until recently there was a gag order on all media discussing the case -as pointless as it is in the age of the Internet, where I can catch up all the day’s goss in about five minutes-, because heaven forbid anyone talks about such a high-profile case, regarding a high-profile person, accused of a high-profile crime.

But the word’s out, Pell’s convicted, and people are talking. Several of whom, probably shouldn’t.

In an amazing example of “Not the Betoota Advocate”; Tony Abbott, John Howard, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt, the Archbishop of Sydney, and I’m sure a slew of others have come out swinging in defence of the poor, oppressed Cardinal, inferring that it’s all a smear campaign. He’s a “good bloke”, he “was wrongfully accused”. The usual tripe that plagues cases like this (big and small) when your mate down at the pub grabs someone inappropriately.

What amazes me more in the cases of Bolt and Devine, is that News Corp thought that having their two most prominent columnists defend a convicted paedophile was perfectly fine and dandy.

The kicker for me was this fucking doozy from Pell’s Lawyer and 2019 winner of the prestigious “Stop. Just Fucking Stop.” award, Robert Richter, QC:

“This is no more than a plain, vanilla sexual penetration case where a child is not volunteering or actively participating,”

You know, because forcing oral sex on a choirboy is the vanilla-est thing. I myself can’t have a cheeky wank without being punched in the head and having my nipples hooked up to a car battery. #kinklyf.

but I digress.

In regards to the group above. Let me just say, under no uncertain terms, and on behalf of all that is left of kindness, goodness, and decency in this sordid fucking country; go fuck yourselves.

This wasn’t some Judge Judy-esque shitshow where everyone involved was kinda shit and you can’t look away because it’s an absolute trainwreck. This was a powerful person, taking advantage of his ranking, to abuse innocent children. Children. You know, the ones you were so committed to protecting when same-sex marriage was gearing up to be The Worst Thing Ever™.

I didn’t hear a goddamn peep from anyone when Rolf Harris was convicted, or Gary Glitter, or Robert Hughes. Nor did I hear a peep from the conservative rags when we all universally decided Jimmy Saville was an utter shit cunt (and nor should we, on both counts). But now it’s your best mate you feel so, so compelled to defend him, to call him after the conviction, to cite “undeniable evidence” he was wrongfully convicted, to offer character references.

Even Ray Hadley. Ray Goddamn-fucking Hadley called you guys out on this crap.

Let’s just unpack some of this bullshit, shall we?

“In my opinion, this is our own OJ Simpson case, but in reverse. A man was found guilty not on the facts but on prejudice,”

“Cardinal George Pell has been falsely convicted of sexually abusing two boys in their early teens. That’s my opinion, based on the overwhelming evidence.”


“Declaration: I have met Pell perhaps five times in my life and like him,”

“I am not a Catholic or even a Christian. He is a scapegoat, not a child abuser. In my opinion.”

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun.

Bolt sure likes his opinion, doesn’t he? Which evidently means he knows more than the victims who prosecuted against Pell, and thankfully isn’t admissible court evidence. I would wager if it was anyone else, he’d just be on his merry and state that we should let the courts do court stuff. Don’t even get me started on refugees.

“It’s devastating because I don’t believe that Pell, who I know slightly and admire greatly, could be guilty of sexually assaulting two choirboys in a busy cathedral after Sunday mass when he was archbishop of Melbourne in 1996,”

Miranda Devine, Daily Telegraph

Devine, a staunch Catholic, infamously accused the Victorian Police of using the accusations against Pell as a distraction from a crime epidemic in 2017.

Devine being Devine, I’m sure any pearls of wisdom I was able to glean in spite of News Corp’s paywall are as fair and balanced as you can get.

And you know what, Miranda? It does suck. It sucks that one of the most powerful people in the Catholic church couldn’t keep his saintly prick in his pants. And now he’s convicted. Boo fucking hoo.

But it’s fine. It’s all fine. We can get through this together. I tend to look to the Bible in tough times (mostly when a table leg needs more height), and I believe this may be of use to you:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Galatians 6:7. Paraphrased occasionally by Marilyn Manson

You asked in 2017 “how would you like to be labelled as a paedophile?”. Tell me, how does it feel to be defending one?

“Strength and sincerity have always been features of his personality. I have always found him to be lacking hypocrisy and cant. In his chosen vocation he has frequently displayed much courage and held to his values and beliefs, irrespective of the prevailing wisdom of the time.”

“[Pell is a] lively conversationalist who maintains a deep and objective interest in contemporary social and political issues.”

“I am aware he has been convicted of those charges; that an appeal against the conviction has been lodged and that he maintains his innocence in respect of these charges. None of these matters alter my opinion of the Cardinal.”

John Howard, Character reference of George Pell

Oh, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. Here’s the thing. You speak of prevailing wisdom, yet deem it fit to somehow defend a disgraced Cardinal. These matters should alter your opinion of the Cardinal. I suggest you take a “deep and objective” look at yourself and who you surround yourself with. But then you were the “Boat people are throwing their kids overboard” guy. So I doubt you’ll equip very much foresight in this matter.

Come to think of it, why the hell are you still relevant? We ousted you and your gang of shitheads in 2007. Go for a jog or something.

“I absolutely accept that this is a shocking result, a devastating result, but it is subject to appeal,”

“It certainly doesn’t sound consistent with the man I have known.”

“Yes, he has been convicted, he has been found guilty, and as the Prime Minister said, no one is above the law … but let’s wait and see what the law ultimately produces.”

“I accept that there has been a judgment of a court. I accept that there has been a verdict of the jury. I accept that this is a horrific crime. I accept all of that. But there is a process that is yet to be finalised.”


“I don’t claim to have the last word in wisdom and insight on any of these issues,”

Tony Abbott, 2GB

Tone, mate, you shouldn’t claim to have the last word in wisdom or insight on anything aside from eating onions and being a terrible Prime Minister.

You have stated that you will ‘accept’ the results of the case, yet you want to ‘wait and see’ what ultimately comes out of it? Guess what? There was ultimately, definitely and undoubtedly a result and they found your BFF guilty. You might have to re-arrange your nails-and-hair-plaits dates, my dude.

You all are no longer mouthpieces for Conservative Australia and the apparent voice of common sense. You are all paedophile apologists and hypocrites and should be goddamn ashamed of yourselves.

Even when evidence and the courts have out and out convicted Pell of the charges, you lot still praise the guy and wait around for some sort of smoking gun, some miracle evidence that will unequivocably reveal that your buddy’s actually an alright guy. All the while doing your Oscar-winning attempt at hand-wringing over the victims. You couldn’t give a shit about the victims. You just want this to all go away so you can keep trialling Muslims or Refugees in your paid position at the Court of Public Opinion.

I don’t expect much from any of you, because you’re all basically trash. But honestly? I expected better. Far better.

Till next time…

A Music Snob’s Look at Kiss

I have a confession to make.

I used to really love Kiss, you guys.

I have them in vinyl, toy, CD, MP3, and -at one point- in comic book form. I was super-bummed out by the fact they announced they were calling it a day (and bewildered by the fact they just kept playing about a month later). During my formative years, Kiss was my fucking life ever since I picked up (okay, okay, begged my parents to buy) “Psycho Circus” many, many years ago.

Then I grew older and… kinda forgot about them. I mean, they were still cool (and kinda still are), but I just lost interest. Perhaps not aided by the fact the internet fucking happened and a whole musical world opened up to me by way of Limewire (you kids these days have it easy. We had to give our computers AIDS to get free music), nor aided by the fact Gene Simmons is a massive toolbag.

So I thought it’d be fun, interesting, (and perhaps a nice change for those who’s music tastes I shit on regularly) to look back at my past, at something that -at one point- was a big fucking deal to me, and see if it still holds up to the test of time.

THE ARTIST

You probably know them, I wanted to be them. Women still -somewhat inexplicably- want to fuck them. I mean, they’re fucking Kiss! What more can I say?

Formed in the 70’s by Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, Kiss trudged along until the release of “Alive!” which brought the excitement and energy of their stage shows to the CD format. Bolstered by 1976’s “Destroyer”, Kiss were formally part of the rock n’ roll lexicon. Equal parts the bite of bluesy hard rock and the fanfare of glam rock, Kiss -for a time- were one of the biggest bands in the world…

…And then they squandered that by bringing out a bunch of dud albums, kicking out Criss and Frehley, and took the makeup off for a while. there was the occasional release such as “Revenge” which kept them in people’s minds, but they were not the untouchable rock gods they once were.

Prompted by a surprise appearance of Criss and Frehley at an MTV unplugged show, the original founding members reunited, toured all over the world and released… another dud album, “Psycho Circus”. I mean, I liked it, but I was young and didn’t know any better.

Nowadays they’re still trudging along and playing shows, and recently released “Monster”.

THE MUSIC

Coming from a band formed in the 70’s, expect bluesy rock jams, power ballads, songs about fucking, all the fun stuff. Since their inception, whilst their sound has evolved somewhat, not a lot has particularly changed. “Destroyer” is still the fucking tits, though.

SONG-BY-SONG

It’s hard to really pick a small handful of songs, here. With such a huge body of work and different iterations of the band, there’s an even mix of good and not-so-good songs. But I’ll do my best to keep this as concentrated as possible.

I Was Made For Loving You

Even if you’re not a fan of hard rock, you know this song. Kiss goes Disco, and it shows why Disco fucking died in the first place.

Deuce

Off of their debut, “Deuce” goes alright. Still definitely holds up. Way better live

Detroit Rock City

Kicking off their magnum opus “Destroyer” and promptly butchered by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “Detroit” fucking goes off live and is an impressive effort when listening normally. Totally sets the tone of the album and the band’s then-developed and matured sound

Strutter

If there was a litmus test for whether you’re going to like these guys or not, it’s “Strutter”. This is Kiss in a nutshell. For the love of god, though, avoid the remix “Strutter ’78” off of their compilation “Double Platinum”. Keep your ears pure. Stick with the original.

Rock n’ Roll All Nite

The other song everyone knows. Much like “I Was Made…”, catchy dreck without the disco. Once an anthem for the people, it’s just hokey now. Again, better live.

Unholy

Off of arguably their best “unmasked” album, ‘Revenge’, this is one of the best Kiss songs, and one of the best songs Gene Simmons ever put vocals to.

Lick it Up

There was only a few good songs off of the “Lick it Up” album, and this isn’t one of them. Avoid. Watch the music video for the cringe.

God of Thunder

Look, all of “Destroyer” is pretty fucking good, alright? Just go listen to it. I don’t, never did, and probably never will understand the random kids in the song, but whatever. Still good.

Love Gun

Hokey, but good hokey. It’s about Paul Stanley’s dick. What more can I say?

OH WAIT. Frehley’s solo work here is amazing. That too.

Sure Know Something

Another one off of Dynasty. It’s also not great.

War Machine

One of the hidden gems from “Creatures of the Night” Some tasty, tasty riffage can be found here. Why this never got its due I don’t know.

Psycho Circus

….Yeah okay. This still goes off. I still fucking love this song. Shame about the music video.

Calling Dr. Love

The greatest Kiss song ever. No question. Don’t like it? fuck you. It’s my blog.

Beth

Hoo boy. Okay. This is equal parts an alright song, and a warning why you never let your drummer contribute to the songwriting process.

All of “Music from The Elder”

…What? What the fuck? What even is this shit? Who are you fuckasses and what did you do with Kiss?

IN SUMMARY

So do they hold like they did in my childhood? Are the still the “hottest band in the world”? If you want the best, are you gonna get the best?

….Yes and no.

Here’s the thing: Kiss are equal parts rock band and stage show, and it’s hard to have one without the other. Especially because they know how to put on a fucking awesome rock show. But as musicians? They leave a lot to be desired. Given the amount of Kiss merch out there, they’re better businessmen then they are rock stars.

Yeah their songs go alright and I daresay younger me had a pretty good ear for music, but they’re basically Nickelback with make-up and debauchery. They’re average. Middle of the road. If you want your cock-rock minus Jon Bon Jovi and his obsession with being a fucking cowboy in lieu of making decent music, then listen to Kiss. Just don’t expect your ears blown off unless you see them live.

 

Till next time…

 

….No, seriously, what the fucking fuck was “The Elder”?! Jesus fuck.

 

 

Go Fuck Yourself, Faleena Hopkins

So this has been making the rounds.

For the link-adverse, romantic novelist Faleena Hopkins has trademarked the term “cocky” for her books. All usually with a title like “cocky cowboy”, “cocky biker”, “cocky garbageman”, so on and so forth. This, of course, because humans are trash, has led to several cease and desists sent out to other romantic authors for their use of the term. Apparently chick-lit has a lot of cocks. Who knew?

In a way, I get it. You don’t want anyone shitting in your cabbage patch. Shit like this is what led Metallica to sue Napster, George RR Martin to hate fanfiction, and KISS to slap their faces on pretty much everything imaginable.

I, er… what?

But a fairly unremarkable, and unassumingly common phrase

a) can’t usually be trademarked, because it’s doesn’t ‘belong’ to anyone

and

b) sets a pretty dangerous prescedent, should one be trademarked.

We’ve heard about people trying to trademark phrases before. Paris Hilton, Taylor Swift, being the two more memorable examples, both seemingly have fallen flat since their inception.

But good ol’ Hopkins has gone and done the thing. So here we are, and I have an announcement to make.

I will be writing a novel.

Purely entitled “Cocky”, because fuck shit like this, that’s why, it will be an Australiana-led piece about mateship, camraderie, maybe a bit of romance, and most importantly, this squawky fucker with a sick mowhawk:

If I’m going to be sent a cease and desist for anything, I may as well be a cheeky cunt about it.

Better yet, I’ll be releasing it for free right here on Don’t Eat the Felafel (though if you dig what I do, send a couple of bucks my way, willya? I hate my job)

Come at me, Faleena Hopkins. Barnes and Noble. 20 of your best mates vs 20 of mine. No guns, no nothin’.

To one self-respecting adult to another: An Open Letter to Rhymer Rigby

So thanks to ex-housemate Brenton, this following article crossed my feed this afternoon.

The gist basically is as follows: Comic book movies are silly, comics are for children, the movies that are adapted from them try so hard to appeal to the adult crowd and less so for children that the stupidity hurts, superhero movies are the worst way to convey a message.

Well then.

When I shared the article to my own Facebook feed, I semi-joked that I haven’t had any self-respect for decades, so I’m in the clear, but y’know, as a card-carrying, comic reading, dork-who’s-meant-to-be-an-adult, I think I at least deserve a little more of a right of reply than self-deprecating humour. So here goes.

Read more

On “THAT article” about Clementine Ford.

So a New Matilda article has come out, penned by Jack Kilbride, basically saying that Clementine Ford isn’t the wonderful, patriarchy-punching role model she appears to be.

Identifying as a feminist, the ironically-surnamed Kilbride explains that to preach to the non-converted, getting angry and spewing vitriol is not the best way to re-educate misogynists.

Y’know what? The guy has a point. Patiently explaining to someone your views and initiating a discussion will get a lot more positive feedback than simply hashtagging #KillAllMen…

….Except y’know, there’s that whole thing that this is the exact thing women have been trying for decades, and they’ve promptly been told to shut the fuck up for decades.

I’m not going to even try to explain Ford’s motives here. That is treading a little too closely on the mansplaining line and I’d like to avoid that where possible. But here’s what I will say: People get sick of hearing broken records pretty quickly, much less attempting to initiate a discussion that inevitably ends up sounding like one.

Shit, even I have ended up in arguments about the whole “Not All Men” thing, which has been explained by others pretty fucking plainly. Shared the following infograph on my Facebook profile:

11219590_955997274445800_1250932126168087829_n

And it still completely fucking derailed with people saying it was unfair, that it was a discussion worth having, etc. etc.

It call comes down to one thing: Those who aren’t willing to listen, simply won’t.

The problem with misogynists who call out feminists, tell them to get back in the kitchen, and proceed to call them “sluts” and “whores” and what have you is that they’re quite content being misogynists. No patient discussion is going to change their mind, even if you patted them on the head, fed them chocolate and said “poor little bunny”.

I don’t agree with Ford’s tactics 100% of the time. I can certainly see why she polarizes people, and at the end of the day, Clementine Ford is simply out of fucks to give, along with countless other feminists, and while they certainly couldn’t give a fuck about little old me and what I think on my shitty-ass blog that nobody reads, they have my unwavering support.

It is not the job of feminists to explain to you their agenda, there is Google for that. That’s how I learned a thing or two about a thing or two, and shit, it kinda worked.

Nor is it the job of (female identifying) feminists to placate men who wish to be in their space. The sooner the #NotAllMen crowd dies off, the better the world will be.

According to “Destroy the Joint”, do you want to know how many women have died in 2015?

78

Seventy-fucking-eight as of this writing. 84 in 2014, and shit, I’d hate to go back further.

Read those two numbers again and tell me why the fuck Ford and other feminists shouldn’t be fucking angry?

That’s not to mention the cat-calling, the verbal abuse, harassment in public areas, so on and soforth. Even if you are completely privileged, the world is a pretty shithouse place for women, when it really doesn’t have to be. Nor should it be, in 2015.

Maybe Kilbride is right. Ford’s “nuke the earth” tactics are probably not going to win over anyone anytime soon, but -from how I see it- women are simply sick and tired of explaining nicely and so they should be. If men are unwilling to play ball when they had the opportunity, why the hell should they be given a chance now?

Till next time.

I just improved your shitty Minion quotes.

Minions. Gotta love ’em, right? Or if you’re me, tolerate them just enough to not car-bomb all your Minion-loving Facebook friends for being such fucking embarrassments to society.

Trust me when I say this, I know all about being an embarrassment to society:

Still the greatest photo of me ever.
Still the greatest photo of me ever.

But whether we like it or not, Minions are here to stay, it seems. But it doesn’t mean we can’t use this to our advantage. Sit tight, Felafel-readers! I’m about to solve all your fucking problems with these four weird tips.

1) Find a minion picture. Just use Google. Nobody uses Bing except for parents and Microsoft employees. Don’t be a fucking disappointment to your ancestors by picking any old image. Choose one that’s relevant. I chose these three assholes:

minions-2015-im-with-stupid

2) Find lyrics to punk, metal, or prog music. If you have AdBlocker, you should be able to avoid the 7200 viruses you’re about to get.

3) Open your favourite image editor. By “Favourite”, I obviously mean Photoshop. Everything else is crap in comparison. Don’t even get me started on Paint Shop Pro.

4) Copy and paste like the talentless hack you are, and viola! You have a Minion image you can be proud to emblazon on your Facebook page, putting a spring in your step every time it appears on your newsfeed.

Jim Carroll - People Who Died
Jim Carroll – People Who Died

Much like Simpsons quotes, excessive drug use and casual racism, there’s one for every occasion. Here’s another I knocked up:

Tool - Prison Sex
Tool – Prison Sex

See? SEE? He looks kinda INSANE right?! The song talks about sanity, and he’s in his underpants, so he probably rubbed one out so…. look, the bar’s set pretty low with these things already. Just find a fucking Minion, add lyrics from music your grandmother will probably hate and don’t put too much thought into it beyond that. It works for Minion Quotes.

Pantera - Fucking Hostile
Pantera – Fucking Hostile

Here’s a few tips from when I actually did some graphic design:

-Use a readable font. Nothing gets ignored quicker like a shit font. And make sure it doesn’t clash with the background. None of this red/blue, white/yellow colour scheme shit okay? I know where you fucking sleep.

-Use as childish a font as possible to fool people into thinking it’s legit. Better yet, just use Comic Sans.

-Remember to use your left/center/right alignment tools. If you don’t know what they are, you have just failed “using a computer 101”. Get the fuck out of my class.

-Keep it simple. Unless you’re adding a basic background or some shit and know what you’re doing, text + image is fine. Let’s not put any more effort into this than needed.

 

Now I’m leaving it up to YOU GUYS to cause a bit of mischief and make your own. Send any submissions to audible.xepha@gmail.com with the subject title “Metal Minions”, Best 10 submissions will be featured on the site and the very very very best will get a prize of some sort.

 

Till next time…

Barnaby Joyce is a fucking tool.

Australians all let us rejoice, for we are run by a pack of morons.

But let’s focus on Barnaby Joyce today. I mean, what a waste of a badass name. When I think “Barnaby”, I picture some cigar-smoking, dinosaur punching, time-travelling anti-hero who sounds like Tom Waits coughing up a lung and speaks like a pulpy Noir detective. Instead we’re stuck with this dipshit:

The only time travelling this jackass is doing is bringing us all back to the 1950's
The only time travelling this jackass is doing is bringing us all back to the 1950’s

Non-badass Barnaby has been in the news recently, criticising same-sex marriage (or as I like to call it, ‘marriage’), saying that Asian countries may see us as ‘decadent’ if it’s embraced in Australia

To this I say “so what?”

Out of all the bullshit arguments about letting ‘them filthy queers’ marry, this is quite possibly the worst. It’s not even impressively insensitive or crass like the other, more popular ones (pedos wanting to marry children, and the whole “Adam and Steve” thing, to name a few).

It doesn’t even make sense. Since the Coalition (again, waste of a badass name) came into power, when exactly have we given a fuck about how other countries view us?

We don't even like Asian people, really.
We don’t even like Asian people, or any other race, for that matter

Seriously, after silencing doctors and human rights supporters speaking out about the atrocities happening in detention centres, the fact the Libs have spent more money than Labor ever did, the fact we’re cutting funding to everything that isn’t making the rich richer (again, thank fuck the ballerinas are safe), we’re now insecure all of a sudden?

It’s 2015 guys, come on. Even America is doing better than us. Don’t you want to keep laughing at how shitty America is, guys? ‘Cause they’re kinda beating us as the whole “equal rights for all” game, and shit, they love the hell out of shooting all those “thuggish, unruly, black people“.

I get it, the Coalition are all for traditional values that are long since outdated, but frankly, if we’re going to get our man-panties in a twist over other countries’ opinion of us, I don’t think it’s same-sex marriage we have to worry about.

Joyce goes onto say that marriage shouldn’t be redefined by legislation (despite the fact it already has been many times over), comparing the idea to calling diamonds squares, and the usual tripe about how marriage is for procreation. All the fun stuff that gets thrown around when a middle-aged conservative thinks that being a decent human being who stands for equality is akin to being naked in public in the nightmare fuel department. Yawn.

Don’t get me wrong, I think same sex marriage is not the be-all and end-all. There’s still many a ways we need to go even once we have that fabulous-looking feather in our cap and I hope the recent push from everyone sporting a rainbow on Facebook continues into the realms of women’s rights, transgender rights, etc. and not just be another grand show of slacktivism. But this does eventually need to happen sooner or later.

And it’s time for Barnaby and his ilk, to stop making excuses for same-sex marriage not to be allowed in our once-great country. I just got off the phone to Adam and Steve, they wanna start planning how fucking fabulous their wedding cake is going to look already. Pick your fucking game up, ‘Straya.

 

Till next time…

The Cost of Working for Free (and why “Exposure” makes for shitty compensation for your skills)

Hi.

Incase this is your first time reading this blog, let’s recap:

I am a filmmaker, writer, blogger, former webcomic writer and currently-on-hiatus-until-I-get-my-shit-together podcaster. I am also the lead creative director, owner, and sole trader of a small-time production studio here in Sydney.

I also work freelance a lot of the time for a lot of people who need a guy to do a thing. As of this year, almost all of these gigs have been paid, except for one I did for local band Shanghai, whose musical director (Hi Luis!) I get free shit from all the time, so it kinda evens out and even if that wasn’t the case, I’ll be happy if I never get paid a cent from these guys because they are friends first, and pseudo-clients second. Plus I get to test out new setups for my gear, which is a bonus and takes less fucking around than doing so on a proper film shoot.

Of course, I just hope if they ever end up becoming stupidly famous and playing in packed-out stadiums and ending up on the cover of Rolling Stone or somesuch shit, they remember that guy who shot all that shitty, grainy concert footage for them over the years.

As of six months ago, the freelance side of things has become my fulltime job. I have an ABN, am looking to register a business name so I can sic lawyers onto anyone who wants to name their company “PUKED!” or “Fompound Ciasco Productions”, and -since putting an ad up on Metro Screen, my workload, word-of-mouth advertising, and thus, cashflow so I can pay rent, bills etc. has jumped exponentially. Basically, at the point, I don’t need to follow the naysayers usual catcall of “get a job”, because this is my fucking job. I barely ever work for free these days (I will, however, work for a cut rate, which-while not ideal- fills me with glee because it pisses Centrelink right the fuck off).

Between the years of 2010 through to 2013, I have been on many, many shoots where I have worked for free, or deferred payment which never got sent. Why? Because I doubted my skills, needed the experience, or it was a friend I owed a favour. I’m not bitter about it these days (at least as much), because I have set prices for my skills, know what I can do, and can just say “no” if I want. Because I know that I have a safety net, and -if things keep going the way they’re going, there’ll be another well-paying gig around the corner anyway.

I have also asked other people to work for free, simply because I didn’t have the money to pay them. They agreed, and I’ll probably be giving out a few-grand-worth of handouts once I’m living pretty comfortably.

I think -at least starting out- working for free is just a necessary evil. If you’re still honing your skills and not confident with what you do, best way to get your hand it and keep it firmly planted there is just sign yourself up to some cheap, shitty labor. Jump on the gig, accept the dubious payment for “exposure” and “for your portfolio”, leave at the end of the day knowing there’s at least ten people you no longer will want to work with because nine times out of ten, low or no-paying gigs are a clusterfuck.

But the established? The professionals? The ones doing the thing they want to do and getting paid for it? You’d better damn well expect a paycheque.

Thanks to musician/actor friend, possible secret understudy for Tori Amos and all-round cool chick, Helen Perris, I’ve been reading more and more about professionals getting asked to work for free. More disgustingly, they’re being asked by prominent, well-known businesses, who have the cashflow to pay people.

First up is Castle Hill Myer, who Helen approached to see if they were keen on her music. Though this has since all been sorted out from the sounds of things.. So kudos, Myer.

Next up? Oprah Winfrey, with her net-worth of 2.9 billion, asking performers to play during her tour, “The Life You Want” on a stage nowhere near Oprah, for free. I guess the bill for all those free cars finally came through.

and Opera Australia, doing a callout for dancers who -again, aren’t earning a paycheque.

All of these organisations have plenty of money to go around. This isn’t another case of a purely independent artist like Amanda Palmer asking people to work for free (though really, that’s still kinda shitty), and this isn’t like they’re bringing on people who are still honing their skills. These guys are loaded and can afford to pay some folk, and the people they’re asking are talented, skilled, and probably earning a bit of cash on the side.

Outside of Helen’s facebook page, I have recently learned my girlfriend, Kim, was not compensated for her work alongside a prominent opera singer, and that her reward was “the opportunity to work with me”, which… well, call me biased, but that’s the biggest load of shit I’ve ever heard in my life.

Don’t get me wrong. Exposure is nice and all. But it simply isn’t enough of an excuse or form of compensation if you’re going to recruit people to work for you, and you have the cash to pay them. Even in my situation where I’m living week to week, most people are pretty chill if you work out a payment system and mututally-acceptable rate with them. Hell, just tell ’em you’re poor as shit and be upfront about the fact you can’t pay them. These people are human, and humans are capable of rational thought, compassion, and understanding (unless they’re Liberal, or voted Liberal, anyway). So long as you’re upfront, honest, easy to work with and nice about it, you can usually get away with murder without looking like a jerk. Just remember that every person you ask has every right to tell you to go fuck yourself (and probably will).

The problem with exposure is that

a) it rarely follows through with that almost-always-promised “paid job down the line”,

b) it’s usually un-needed if you market yourself enough and have enough portfolio-filler.

Portfolio-filler has it’s own share of demons, being that usually, the projects aren’t that good, or well-polished, or are just downright unusable. It also is a bit different for people working in entertainment because that next album, next film, next book, is your portfolio-filler most of the time and with services like YouTube, Vimeo, Bandcamp and WordPress, it’s getting simpler, cheaper, and easier to get your work out there.

To me, the whole concept of “working for exposure” just cheapens one’s craft. Like, think about what that says in regards to your respect for the person you want to collaborate with; You absolutely LOVE their work, but don’t love it that much to pay them? Nice.

It’s probably worth mentioning that most expenses go unpaid ontop of the lack of a fee. So once you put rehearsal time, their skillset, practice, years and hundreds of dollars of training, and now the poor bastard has to pay for their own fuel to get to your shitty job? Congratulations, you’ve just made every sweatshop in China go “jesus that guy has some issues”.

Also, from the standpoint of hiring people to work for free, people simply give less of a fuck about it. Take it from a vindictive, misanthropic bastard of a filmmaker, folks. It’s easier to get people back in line, arrive on time, learn lines, rehearse, and work without complaint if you threaten them with their paycheque. But that’s just me. I tend to rule through fear.

I know some of you out there are calling “BULLSHIT!” and saying that artists have a choice to work for free or not. They do, and they exercise that right pretty fucking often. However, for every two artists that say “no”, there’s three newcomers who haven’t figured out that their newfound recruiter is basically exploiting them. It makes it harder for legitimate, professional artists to get paid for their work. Not to mention, you get what you pay for, nine times out of ten.

Perhaps you’re also saying “BUT THEY COULD HAVE GAINED LIKE, SOOO MUCH EXPOSURE FROM THAT! IDIOTS!”. Also true, but last I checked, exposure isn’t a form of legal tender, and it’s hard to pay rent with IOU’s (trust me, I’ve tried).

And for the select few assholes who want to yell “GET A REAL JOB!”? Go fuck yourself. You don’t deserve to enjoy art. Burn all your CD’s, all your books, all your movies and ram the molten  remnants up your goddamn arse if that’s the attitude you’re going to go with. Imagine the world today if some cock-headed loudmouth jerkass yelled at say, Kurt Cobain, or the dudes from Metallica, or Quentin Tarantino, or the Matt godddamn-motherfuckin’ Groening to “get a job”, and they did. You and people like you just destroyed some the few good things about the 90’s. Well done.

We, as artists, consumers, and recruiters need to set a precedence that not only asking people to take time of our their day to work for free -when no other trade really encounters this- is a shitty exploitative practice, and that getting a paid gig shouldn’t be something to be cheering about, but something that’s damn-well par for the course.

If you take anything from this post, just remember that being an artist is also a job for some people, and if you’re so adamant about how exposure is a good form of compensation, tell a tradie that you’ll tell all your friends about him if he fixes your house for free, and get back to me with how far you get in your spiel without being punched in the head.

 

Till next time.

 

#EarlyMorningTweetRage – The Longer, Bloggier version

Again, I’m breaking that “don’t bring up personal shit on a public blog that everyone can read” rule, but I need to get this out seeing as I’ve now ranted on Twitter and Facebook about it and the series of events are still fresh in my mind.. This will be lengthy, names will be named, details will be detailed and hopefully some questions that have cropped up will be answered. So if that isn’t your thing, I’ve summed up my current thoughts and feelings into this video of Hulk beating the shit out of Loki on a repeated loop:

 

Okay! on with the show. Backstory time:

Ar0und 2008-2009, my girlfriend at the time, Tessa, and I moved out to a gorgeous -if a little neglected- single bedroom cottage in Burradoo, in NSW. Big backyard for the dog, just enough room for two people and -given it was a private deal and was owned by a family friend (David), we were living there practically rent free ($100 a week, $50 per person. Compare that to current market rates and weep, fellow renters).

Being that we were young and stupid and had plenty of young and stupid friends at the time, it also became the designated party house whenever a gathering was required. But that’s a story for another day.

I eventually moved out in 2010 to study, leaving the house to Tessa and her deadbeat boyfriend at the time. Earlier this year, Tess, Kim (current girlfriend) and I all moved just outside of Bankstown, leaving the Burradoo place to a friend of ours, Josh, who passed away earlier this year.

Since then, the house has largely just been ignored, short of the occasional “let’s make sure nobody’s broken in” and people needing to get Josh’s things because none of us really wanted to deal with it and dredge up painful fucking memories. We have tried to get in touch with David since, and he’s been a pain in the arse to get a hold of, as he has been since we first moved in. Aside from the painful memories thing, we all work and have little time to make trips down. So yeah, a fair chunk of stuff we didn’t immediately need has been left there.

I get a call one day from a friend, saying her daughter needs a place, and he suggested the Burradoo place. They offered to clear it up and look after the place, so I jumped at the chance and got the ball rolling. We all rocked up to the place to find the following notice taped to the front and back doors courtesy of the neighbour (commentary in bold is mine):

26 June 2014

Dear Tessa

You have obviously moved out

That is really great for David as he has been planning for a change to the house for a while. (You mean the past god-knows how long he hasn’t bothered to contact either of us regarding the house?)

It is unfortunate that he has not been able to contact you and you have not notified him. (Again, I reiterate: He is not easily contactable, never returns calls or texts until months after the fact unless we’re extremely lucky. At this point, no effort has been made by either David or Johanne to contact us)

Therefore the locked have now been changed and the power has been turned off. When you want to get your things out you will need toring me, as I have the new keys.

If your personal belongings have not been removed within 2 weeks, they will be stored in the garage, which is as you know is not locked, for another 4 weeks. (Yes. well done. Tell any passer by that it’s a free-for-all)

After that time they will be disposed of.

My numbers: [redacted] or mobile [redacted]

Regards, your former neighbour, Johanne

Cue brick shitting on the friends’ part. Few frantic calls to David (which he doesn’t answer and never got back to me), then a call to Johanne to start sorting out what will eventually become a shitstorm later on. Grab the keys and start hauling whatever we can into cars, with the above timeframe in mind.

The next time we head down is the week or so after, Kim and I get rear-ended and our car is out of commission for the following two weeks as we sort out insurance and a new car purchase. I then go off and shoot a movie (which is, you know, what I consider work), so the timeframe lapses with everyone’s schedules being all over the damn place.

Cue yesterday, 10th September. I contact Johanne to enquire about the status of our belongings and the house. Namely, whether they’ve turfed our stuff back or not because yet again, no-one has contacted us. Conversation opens up with Johanne claiming to not know who I am (despite taking my number down, as well as Tessa’s), and it goes downhill from there. She gets flustered and rude as the conversation goes on. Meanwhile, I am being polite and asking pretty straightforward questions.

Johanne proceeds to tear into me about the state of the house, that stuff had to be moved “at great cost”, and that the timeframe to take our belongings has lapsed to the point where she has taken some of Tess’s things to Vinnies. (which I’m pretty sure is kinda… you know, theft). I ask whether this coming Sunday might be suitable, and she “doesn’t know what she’s doing”. I ask if I can just have access to the shed and she would rather contact David first. Because you know, part of apparently putting yourself in the position of middleman is having to ask permission first. The conversation eventually leads to the story of who moved in when (which she already knew, passed from me and Tess, to Tess and her BF, to Tess and Josh, and then Josh).

Her response?

“Well I’m not surprised he killed himself, given the state that YOU left the house in.”

Cue shock and much tongue-biting so I don’t tell the old bitch where she can shove her perceived theory of the mental wellbeing of a person she never met. I tell her I will contact David and get back to her. After ringing David  (and again, no answer at 11:00am, and straight to voice message at 5:50pm. Mind immediately goes to “he’s blocked my number”, because I’m paranoid), I send her a message saying that I cannot get in touch with him, and that if Sunday is no good for her, then to tell me when she is free, so I can organize people to move shit.

I have spent most of yesterday afternoon hurt, angry and upset over the comments made, given that I was in no way able to help Josh when he was going through what he was and I feel GUILTY as FUCK about it. I have not slept, and if killing things on the Xbox and listening to the angsty music of my formative years (Smashing Pumpkins FTW) doesn’t improve my mood, you know I’m in a pretty bad fucking way.

What I don’t get is, I have done nothing to deserve those comments. I have always been polite and respectful to Johanne since moving in and out again. I am aware she is in a shitty situation playing middleman (which again, she brought on herself) and have done my best to alleviate that. She has been rude and pushy in the past to both myself and my friends (Tessa included) and I’ve ignored it. But Blaming ME? for a situation I had NO control over? Broke the fucking camel’s back, man. If it weren’t for the fact I’m only playing happy families so I can get mine and Tess’s stuff, I’d tell her promptly, undisputedly, and unequivocally to go fuck herself.

It’s the sort of uncaring, callous and bullying attitude I have come to loathe of the more cashed-up parts of the Southern Highlands area, and makes me more and more glad that I left, even if Marrickville had it’s faults and issues and causes for mental breakdowns.

I am not going to deny that Tess and I aren’t entirely innocent. We could have just moved everything out and avoided all this to begin with, that’s our bad. But shit just didn’t happen, stars didn’t align, we just couldn’t do it in time.

I don’t know what the fuck to do now, or whether any of my stuff if still there (again, I asked pretty straightforward questions, and got fuckall straightforward answers). Whether it’s even worth coming down and wasting money or to just leave it. Whether to contact David again because I do not wish to speak to Johanne right now, or just bite the bullet and ring the old bag up and sort out a timeframe, or even do that, as I could probably just raise an army of beer-bribed minions and do a snatch-and-grab in the next few weeks.

So at a loss, angry, hurt, upset and here we are now, 5:39 in the morning, ranting in my blog. All because some cashed-up old bint said mean things to me.

She could have at least said I was fat, dressed funny and had a small dick. I have mastered plenty of comebacks for those over the years…

 

Till next time.

UPDATE 14th September: Went down to attempt to get stuff out of the shed. The shed has been locked (with our stuff inside), nailed/screwed shut, with “PRIVATE PROPERTY! NO TRESSPASSING” signs plastered everywhere. Photos supplied for your viewing pleasure.

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Johanne confronted us, claims that she “legally can’t let us in” and repeatedly said “we had six weeks” to get the stuff out, and that it’s been “unfair on David” to leave everything to him. Other comments includes “everyone moves on with their lives, even if you don’t”, more bitching about the shit in the house that was removed “at great cost”, more complaining how unfair it all is, blah, blah, blah.

Well gee, we’d help out, if -you know- we could GET OUR STUFF.

Oh yeah, that “great cost”? $70 for two couches. Yep. This apparently broke the bank. OH THE HORROR!

David, of course, is still uncontactable.

I have been informed by two friends of mine that what they are doing is illegal, as they have to get a court order of removal. Have called Bowral Police, they have told me I need to get a similar notice to give them the authority to give us access to the shed.

The next stop is going to court. But honestly considering if it’s all worth it.