Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rolling Over

I have never liked New Year's Eve much. This is mostly because I find it fairly meaningless. I've struggled to see a point to it ever since it dawned on me that the time at which we decide a new year has started is completely arbitrary, and we are therefore celebrating nothing. Also since it dawned on me that I don't get invited to parties and everyone on earth is having more fun than me even when it's NOT New Year's Eve, let alone when it is.

So my dislike of the occasion really comes down to irritation at others making a big deal over something I'm basically indifferent to.

Or to boil it down: in this, as in all other things, people give me the pip.

But no matter how rationally you assess the emptiness of New Year's, you are human and the mindset seeps in: this is the end of something, and the beginning of something else. Draw a line under the last 365 days, we have a new batch for you.

But...that's worse.

Because I'm someone who has always found himself being borne ceaselessly into the past. I obsess over past disappointments, fret over past mistakes, analyse past events, and wish myself back in time, either to right wrongs, or to enjoy better times. I can't escape the past: a memory with a peculiar gift for keeping the most minor events and throwaway comments accessible in my brain has caused me to be constantly poring over what has been even as I look forward to what will be.

It's not all bad - a keen awareness of where you've been gives a good sense of perspective, provides a foundation for your life.

But it also tugs at you, bites and tears with regret.

And at New Year, the celebration of the ticking over of the calendar just makes me look back at the year about to end, and suddenly I am crushed beneath the weight of the disasters, and the failings, and the regrets. The end of the year does nothing for me so much as make me hang my head in shame for the hash I've made of it.

So I just can't get myself in that celebratory mode. Festivities are not for me at the end of 2011. It's too awful what we've been through to get here.

But what's done is done. I can't change the past, as much as I'd like to. I can't make amends. I can't balance out the world. All I can do is apologise, and apologies seem all that's appropriate for me as we stare out into the seas of 2012.

So I'm sorry. I'm sorry I haven't been as good to you all as I could have been. I'm sorry to those who I've let down, my family, my friends, my readers. I'm sorry for the mistakes I've made, I'm sorry for the jobs I've stuffed up. I'm sorry for being a bad friend, a bad husband, a bad father, a bad brother, a bad son. I know I'm not always bad - I'm sorry for letting myself be bad when I know full well how not to be.

I'm sorry for being surly, and moody, and irritable, for not being as kind, or as companionable, or as amusing, as the man inside me screams at me to be. I'm sorry for letting down everyone who knows me, and for letting down everyone who might know me better if I hadn't failed.

I'm sorry for those I've upset: who I've saddened and angered with my thoughtlessness and stupidity. And I'm sorry that I have driven some away so completely they probably won't even read this. I hope they do - I want more than anything for them to know how sorry I am.

I'm sorry to you all for the ways I've wronged you, and with the deepest shame I admit I am sorry for the ways I'll wrong you in the future.

And maybe more than anything, I'm sorry to myself, for not living up to my own standards, for being too lazy, or too irritable, or too selfish, to be who I want to be. I'll try harder and harder, and I'll be sorry again for falling short I'm sure.

The world is a beautiful place, full of beautiful people, and I'd like for as many of those beautiful people as possible to feel that my existence in the world makes it just slightly better. But for all those moments when I fail in that, for all the times I've made someone's world a darker place, for all the times I've stumbled and forgotten my lines in this show...I'm so sorry.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No, Virginia

We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of BPWWOO:

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, if you see it on Ben Pobjie's blog, it's so. Please tell me the truth: is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon (deceased)


Your little friends are right (and what's the deal with you calling them "my little friends"? What are they, mice?). They have been affacted by the scepticism of a sceptical age, which is a good thing, because by being sceptical we learn to get a grip on reality and stop believing ludicrous bullshit like Santa Claus. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little - but yours is littler than most, judging by the fact you're eight years old and still haven't figured this out. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world around him. This is why he makes up idiotic fairytales to keep himself amused, like the one you continue to fall for.

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. How dreary would the world be if there were no Santa Claus? Not very dreary at all. There is love and generosity and devotion: aren't these enough without conjuring up fat elves to convince ourselves that the world is more exciting than it really is? Seriously, if you need Santa Claus to make the world interesting, you are a very dull-minded and ungrateful child and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Not believe in Santa Claus! Yes, indeed you should not believe in Santa Claus. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, because fairies don't exist, moron. Neither does Santa - that's why you never see him. Duh!

Really, Virginia, you need to take a good hard look at yourself. Think about it for a second. Santa delivers presents to all the children of the world in a single night? You thought that was possible? Do you have even the slightest knowledge of basic physics? You realise the speeds Santa would have to travel at to do this? He would burst into flames! And with flying reindeer? Come on, Virginia, try to engage your brain here.

You think it's just a coincidence you always get much better presents than your poor friend with the unemployed dad? You think the poor kids must have been "naughty" every year? And how did you think Santa knew who was naughty or nice anyway? He's been spying on every kid in the world? That didn't creep you out even a little bit, this old man peering at you all the time? I bet your Papa wouldn't be too happy to see "Santa" looking through your bedroom window of a night, or asking you if you'd been naughty. I don't think Papa would like that at ALL. Luckily, Papa knows there's no Santa Claus, because he's not a cretin.

So in summary, Virginia, you believed that an old man lives at the North Pole (!) with a bunch of elves - a species that has not been observed ANYwhere on the planet throughout recorded history - and some magic reindeer, and that this old man is capable of making all the toys and synthesising all the commercially-packaged consumer goods that the children of the western world receive each Christmas, and delivering them to EVERY SINGLE ONE in a single night, once a year. Except for the naughty ones, because he's able to determine their behaviour by keeping tabs on all of them 24/7 throughout the previous 12 months. This is what you believed.

Are you fucking retarded, Virginia?

Wake up to yourself, Virginia. And while you're at it, wake up to your parents, who have been shamelessly lying to you your entire life. Lying and deceiving and laughing about it behind your back, mocking your ignorance and lack of critical thinking skills. The world is full of monsters, Virginia, but are not your parents perhaps the worst of these?

A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, Santa Claus will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. Because parents are lying scum and kids like you are irretrievably stupid.

Grow up, Virginia. Stop being such a halfwit, and maybe your "little friends" will stop beating you up. There is no Santa Claus, Virginia, and it's obvious to anyone with half a goddamn brain. Jesus Christ.

Never write to me again.

Friday, December 9, 2011


ARIES: There's someone behind you. He has a kind face, but he also has a shotgun. So your call, really.

TAURUS: A financial transaction brings you great joy. Like mayb you buy some donuts or something. The joy won't last very long because later in the day you'll find out you have crabs.

GEMINI: You will watch Little Shop of Horrors five times today, and you STILL won't know all the words to "Skid Row". Idiot.

CANCER: The crabs thing would have been funnier if it had been you, but that's astrology for you. All that will happen to you is you'll buy a fauly exercise bike but deep down you'll be glad because you didn't want to have to exercise.

LEO: It is time to sort some things out in your life. Return those damn pants for god's sake.

VIRGO: Sadness is a big part of your life this week, but so is happiness. Also anger, regret, fear and hunger. All the emotions really. And probably you'll go somewhere, have lunch etc. Nothing is going to happen is what I'm trying to say.

LIBRA: Family issues come to the fore this week when your grandmother attacks you with a drill. Time for some tough decisions?

SCORPIO: Someone stole your mirco machine men. Don't know who it was, he had a hood on. He was wearing brown sneakers.

SAGITTARIUS: It seems everywhere you go you are surrounded by betrayal and suspicion. What do the voices in your head tell you to do? If I were you, I'd do it. Go on. I totes dare you.

CAPRICORN: Your faith in God will be severely tested this week when Jesus returns to walk the earth and he backs his car into your shopping trolley. A long and expensive court battle later, and you will be down a hundred thousand dollars and carrying on a secret sexual affair with Jesus. How did things get so messed up? It all started when you were five and you lied about pushing the babysitter down the stairs. Food for thought I'd say.

AQUARIUS: You will be devoured by ants. There's no easy way to say it. Sorry.

PISCES: Go to Bunnings and ask for "Reg". He'll show you where the bags of sand are. Choose the middle bag in the second row. Take it home. Fill your sandpit. Dig through the sand until you find the amulet. Swallow the amulet. Tell nobody. If you do, your whole family dies. Later that night you should kill your family. Wait for my instructions.

Friday, December 2, 2011

This Is Extremely Heartfelt

My dear fellow Australians, I have something I would like to say to you all.

It has come to my attention during the course of the same-sex marriage debate at the Labor National Conference that there are people out there, real people, with real feelings, who are being terribly distressed by some of the things being said in this debate.

And so, as someone who has in the past spoken up to voice my own opinions on the subject, I would like to apologise.

I am sorry that, through my support for same-sex marriage, I have, however inadvertently, hurt the feelings of those who think it is a bad idea. I apologise for the pain and suffering felt by anyone who found themselves upset or saddened by my disagreement with their own views. I particularly apologise to anyone who has found my - in retrospect, somewhat excessive - focus on concepts of fairness and equality to be at odds with their own principles to an offensive degree. I fully recognise and respect their opposition to fairness and equality, and accept that it was insensitive and wrong of me to vilify them for it.

I apologise for my persistent homophobia-phobia, and I assure those who are concerned about my relentless attacks on homophobes that I have turned a corner in my life, and with the help of my family, my faith, and my sponsor, I believe I can leave that aspect of my personality behind me. I am deeply and sincerely sorry if anything I have said and done in the past has offended any homophobe, and I regret enormously any disrespect I may have shown for their chosen lifestyle.

To those who are opposed to gay rights due to their extreme and/or insane religious beliefs, I apologise for my previous campaign of religious harassment and vilification. It was by no means my intention to suggest that your idiotic dogma was in any way inferior to anyone else's beliefs or philosophy, and I apologise if that impression was conveyed. I deeply regret any hurt or inconvenience caused to members of the religious lunatic community by my suggestion that their beliefs are not the only valid beliefs in existence, or any inference drawn that the government should not be run solely for the satisfaction of religious minorities. I cannot fully express in words how sorry I am that I may have hurt the feelings of anyone through my pig-headed insistence on not agreeing with them.

I am truly sincere in all this, but I feel I need to go further. The time is now for making amends for the unfortunate past.

And with this in mind I would like to apologise for the time in my teenage years when I engaged in a certain amount of physical contact and mouth-to-mouth affectionising with a young lady of Asian extraction. It was an action undertaken in the recklessness of youth, but I realise now that there may have been racists in the vicinity who may have been made to feel uncomfortable by the sight of my lip-locking with exotic females. With the wisdom of years I see now just how nauseated members of the bigot community are by the idea of the co-mingling of different races, and I am regretful that my impulsive actions may have contributed to any feelings of unease or offence that they might have felt.

I also apologise for calling these bigots bigots in the previous paragraph.

Furthermore, I have become aware that in the past on matters of race, I may have come down with a certain heavy-handedness on the side of equality and anti-discrimination. I recognise now that there are good, decent, honest Australians who wish only to live their lives free to detest and discriminate against those of other races without fear of harassment, and I apologise for making their lives just that little bit harder with my petty and ill-thought-out anti-racist attitudes.

I would also like to apologise to anyone who feels distressed or offended by my own marriage, and in particular my past insistence on allowing my wife to choose her own outfits, drive a car, and speak to adult males outside her own family. It is only recently I realised how my lenient and tolerant attitude towards my wife must have upset and wounded those who would prefer that women be treated as the possessions of their husbands, and I feel great sorrow that I have been the cause of such upset.

Furthermore I would like to apologise to the wider misogynist community for any psychological or emotional harm that has come to them as a result of any previous statements on my part to the effect that women might be human beings. It was not my intent to in any way smear or slur misogynists, many of whom are proud Australians worthy of respect, and I abhor the thought that my respect for women may have the cause of anyone else's angst or personal growth - it was not my intention to disrespect the beliefs of anyone else, or to make anyone a better person: if I have done so I apologise.

In summary I would like offer a sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who at any time has felt insulted by, attacked by, or in vague disagreement with anything I have ever said in the past. I am truly sorry for all of my statements throughout my life to the effect that anybody anywhere was wrong about anything, or that there are people who might on the balance of probabilities be stupid, insane, or nasty. It was not my intention, by saying what I think, to suggest or imply that what I think might in any way be correct, or that what anyone else thinks might in any way be incorrect, or to create the impression that any human being should at any time ever have to hear or read something they might not like very much. I can see now that my past actions have been in every respect an affront to basic human dignity, and I regret ever promulgating the idea that it is acceptable to label or describe fellow citizens in offensive ways based only on an accurate perception of reality.

For these and any other opinions I may have held that perpetuated the unacceptable oppression of my fellow human beings, I apologise without reservation. Thank you

(those of you who likewise wish to redress the injustices referred to in this statement can make a donation to the Association For the Assuaging of the Hurt Feelings of Bastards, or AFAHFB, c/o the Australian Christian Lobby)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

Given that Christmas is coming, as evidenced by the title of this blog post, it's time to think about where you want to direct your hard-earned money in order to best approximate your feelings of vague affection towards friends and family.

This Christmas, it might be a good idea to give your gift-giving a theme. A good theme is "Ben Pobjie". Why not give everyone you know a Pobjie-themed present?

For example, for your dad, who likes a laugh, get him Funny Buggers, a book of lines from great Australian stand-ups which includes me for some reason.

Of course, the problem is I don't get any money from you buying Funny Buggers, so for your mum, who likes a laugh but is also furiously political, buy Surveying the Wreckage, which is all by me and contains many hilarious political jokes to make you laugh, but also make you think and possibly make you cry if you're a bit weird.

And then there is your grandma, who likes a laugh but only if it's related to food in some way and has cartoons as well. You should buy her Superchef, which as far as I know Maggie Beer calls "the greatest thing ever I have seen ever in my whole life since I was born".

And what about little Jimmy, the boy who sleeps in your backyard? Would he enjoy Handy Latin Phrases or The Adventures of Guanacoman? Who cares - he can't read! Buy them for him and see him weep in gratitude!

So there you go - interesting and affordable ways to manage Christmas, spread some joy, and assist me in my own selfish goals - what more could you ask? An ideal work-life balance and some emotional stability? Can't help you there - I just write books!

Oh we do have fun.

So quick! To the bookstores! Let hilarity be your co-pilot!

Like this guy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


So today, it would seem, is White Ribbon Day. Which I think is probably a good thing to get behind. But doesn't it seem strange?

This is the White Ribbon oath that we're asked to swear:

I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence to women.

And I do. My life is filled with marvellous, beautiful women - my wife, my sisters, my friends, and the tiny women-in-waiting who I helped to create - and it makes me sick, brings me to tears, to think of hurting them.

So I swear. But it feels so weird, to think that it is even necessary. Just saying those words in my head, it feels surreal. Because if we have to actually affirm that in an oath, it means that there are people out there who wouldn't swear it. There are people out there who are quite happy to commit, excuse and remain silent about violence to women.

Isn't that weird?

Of course I know it's true - there are hundreds, thousands, millions, of men - and women - who think violence against women is fine - you know, under the right circumstances. When she's really asking for it. When it's well-deserved. Everyone knows that this horror is really rather common.

But still, isn't it weird? Isn't it weird that people do this? Isn't it weird that people condone it? Isn't it weird, especially, that it's not just a matter of people losing their heads and lashing out, that there are actual human beings out there who do this systematically, who can justify it to themselves and consider a normal part of life?

Isn't it weird that White Ribbon Day needed to be created?

Let's not look on women as a protected species here, as delicate flowers that need defending by the big strong men. Let's not split our species in two, positioning the male half as the burly warriors nobly striving to keep the women folk safe, and the female half as fragile doe-eyed innocents, helpless if not for the efforts of their guardians. Let's not throw around silly lines like "Imagine if it was your mother, or your sister".

Let's look on men and women as people, sharing their world, sharing their lives. Let's look on the experience of being human as a duty for us all, to look out for each other, for men and women collectively to be each other's protectors. Let's imagine not that it was a woman you know - let's imagine it was you. Or even better, let's imagine it was a complete stranger suffering, and you stood up anyway, because that's what people do for other people.

I know we all get angry, and frustrated, and we want to strike out sometimes at the people who frustrate us, even when those people are smaller or weaker or less able to defend themselves. Even when those people are women. It's pretty human to want to punch someone in the face.

But we don't. Why don't we? Because we don't want to be that sort of person.

I am a bad person to lecture others on morality. I have done bad things in my life. I have treated other people, even people I love, poorly. I have failed so often to live up to my own standards. But no, I don't hit women. Because I don't want to look in the mirror and see a bully staring back at me. I don't want to lie in bed at night, gazing into the dark, and have to keep company with my own cowardice and cruelty. I don't want my beautiful children to have to look up to a brute, and be set to follow the example of a man who let violence overwhelm his humanity. I don't want the legacy I leave the world to be fear and hatred. I don't want to join the ranks of those who have so abandoned compassion, who have so detached themselves from empathy, who have been so hollowed out by anger and crushed by frustration, and who have found themselves so devoid of hope and imagination, that they can only deal with their own demons by inflicting pain on another human being.

I don't want to be that person. Nobody has to be that person. I hope that I, and you, and all of us, can make the effort to be better. I hope that violence against women can become as bizarre and alien a concept as it deserves to be. Let's all join this human race, shall we?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If you would care to peruse my CV...

So, in the wake of Kyle Sandilands's latest courageous stand against tall poppy syndrome and fat chicks, many people have been asking, why?

Why does Kyle Sandilands have a job, these people (not me of course) have been asking. Why does he continue to be granted opportunities to enrich himself and raise his public profile on radio and television, even though he is, according to scientific testing, the worst person in the world? Why does he occupy a position of power and influence in the entertainment industry even though his only marketable skill is putting gel in his hair and he possesses all the charm and personal magnetism of a Gestapo officer masturbating on a dead rabbit? How has he managed to keep his job in the face of the fairly well-known fact that he is a puffy-faced dead-eyed misogynistic little blobfish of a man whose appearances on radio and television are the audio-visual equivalent of being urinated on by a camel? And how is it fair that due to his inexplicable success, he has also created a long-lasting media career for Jackie O, a woman who, if she one day lost the ability to giggle inanely, would be immediately reclassified as a species of moss by the botanical community?

These are the questions that apparently, so I hear, people are asking.

But of course these are harsh questions. I do understand why Austereo and Channel Seven continue to employ and promote and pay Kyle Sandilands - it is because they have literally been unable to find anyone more talented than him. They've scoured the world, hoping to find someone with more talent than Kyle - which is to say, someone with some talent - but have come up short.

But don't worry, showbiz bigwigs - I am here.

I am here to solve all your problems, I am here to soothe all your doubts, I am here to rescue you from the chubby bearded quagmire you find yourself in.

I am here to replace Kyle Sandilands. Yes, I hereby launch the Replace Kyle With Ben campaign, or if you're on Twitter, #replaceKylewithBen (pronounced "hashtag replace Kyle with Ben" if you need to say it out loud)

What will you get from replacing Kyle with Ben?

1. I am much taller than Kyle. This means that fellow employees will no longer be called away from important tasks to assist Kyle in getting the Milo down from the top shelf.

2. I have a wide and varied assortment of female friends and acquaintances to choose from for the the purposes of sidekickery. Not only are they smoking hot (because duh, as if I have ugly friends), but they can all speak in words of more than one syllable, thereby out-qualifying Jackie O by some margin.

3. I can beat Kyle at arm-wrestling.

4. My Sean Connery impression is near-flawless, creating endless opportunities for breakfast radio shenanigans of a hilarious nature.

5. I appeal to a broad demographic, being equally popular with both pre-schoolers and the elderly.

6. I have never been involved with the singing career or Tamara Jaber.

7. I know how to conceive, write, and perform "jokes", as well as possessing the capacity to "discuss" "issues" with "people", thereby obviating the necessity to conceal an inability to do any of these things by abusing women or strapping children to lie detectors.

8. I have bigger tits than Kyle.

9. I would quite like to be rich and famous, so you know I'm committed.

10. I have little to no desire to threaten violence upon people who give me bad reviews - in fact I tend to make friends with them.

And finally,

11. I am able to deal with my own deep-seated sense of personal inadequacy in ways other than hurling obscenities at others, belittling those with more talent than myself, or whining like a sissy little bitch every time someone criticises me for anything.

As you can see, I am the complete package - at least compared to what you've got now - and am available to start RIGHT AWAY. There is no need to thank me - I ask only for a generous salary and an enormous amount of fame. So, Seven, Austereo, and any other major media organisations who'd like to get in on the action, just have your people call my people, and we can have this deal stitched up quicker than you can say "ambushing a child-rape victim is ratings gold!"

No hard feelings Kyle - it's just that I'm a lot better than you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Poem In Honour Of The President's Visit

Barack Obama rhymes with armour
Because he shields us from our fears

Barack Obama rhymes with calmer
Because I am always calmer when he is around

Barack Obama rhymes with farmer
Because he tends his people and raises freedom and democracy from the soil

Barack Obama rhymes with chicken parma
Because he is cloaked in the cheese of nobility and the tomato sauce of joy

Barack Obama rhymes with banana in pyjama
Because he is long and yellow and chases teddy bears

Barack Obama rhymes with Dalai Lama
Because he is an elderly Tibetan man

Yes, Barack Obama rhymes with llama
Because he is surefooted and carrying our dreams up the Andes

And also, the fur.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why I Am Not Supporting Movember

Last year I did Movember. I grew a big stupid moustache, and I raised a bit of money, and it was all good.


But this year, when Movember rolled around, I decided I would not be doing it again.

This is not because I have any problem with the aims of Movember, or how they try to achieve them. I haven't, in the last year, decided it's all a bunch of crap and not worth bothering with.

But one of the main beneficiaries of Movember is Beyond Blue, the depression initiative. And while I've been a supporter of Beyond Blue in the past, I cannot continue that support, because they continue to retain Jeff Kennett as the organisation's chairman and public face.

And while one may laud Kennett for his work in establishing Beyond Blue, and what he's done to raise awareness of depression and mental health issues, I believe that he does not have the best interests of depression sufferers at heart. In fact I believe he actively works against the aims of those who attempt to improve life for depression sufferers and lessen the impact of the illness upon society.

Through his support for poker machines and his opposition to reforms aimed at fighting gambling addiction, through his hurtful and bigoted public statements denigrating gay parents, and equating homosexuality to paedophilia, Kennett has aligned himself on the side of those contributing to depression, not fighting it.

This is not to say Beyond Blue does not do good work, or is worthy of no support as an organisation. But I can't take them seriously as a depression initiative while Jeff Kennett is their figurehead, and the only way things will change is if a message is sent that the current situation is unacceptable.

So that's why I'm not supporting Movember, and most importantly why I'm publicly stating my opposition and the reasons for it. Movember is a great idea, and I hope to be able to support it again in future. But I can't in good conscience give support to the raising of funds for an organisation that I believe is militating its own goals by keeping as its most visible public spokesman a man who frankly doesn't seem particularly serious about actually working for the good of depression sufferers.

Having said that, I am not railing against those who do choose to support Movember. That's their decision, and they are motivated by a genuine desire to support the cause of men's health, and I can't criticise that.

But I do believe we would all be better served by diverting our support to other worthy charities that also do good work, without necessarily achieving Beyond Blue's profile.

You can support Fauxvember, an alternative charity set up basically for the same reasons I've outlined here, which is also committed to men's health issues.

You can support the Black Dog Institute, which does really good work in the fields of depression and mental health.

Then there's Lifeline, which is on the frontline of crisis support and suicide prevention, and is literally a lifesaver for a lot of people.

And of course the other side of Movember is its support for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, so why not go donate to them directly?

There's loads of other organisations dedicated to raising awareness of and improving men's health, and if you want to get behind the issue, there's lots of places you can go. I have no interest in preventing support for the people tackling these problems: but I do think a change has to come. Beyond Blue can't be taken seriously with Jeff Kennett at the top - please, give him that gentle nudge.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Captain

One of the first cricket books I ever owned was by Peter Roebuck. It's called Great Innings - I still have it now, more than 20 years after I was given it. It's simply a series of 50 short essays on some of the greatest innings played over the history of cricket, from the 19th century through to the late 1980s. It wasn't the first great innings anthology written - the sort of mind that tends to commit itself to cricket is always the same kind of mind that will incline towards list-making. And Roebuck would not have been alone in including in his own list Bradman's flawless 254 at Lord's in 1930, or Stan McCabe's 187 in the face of Bodyline. Most people would probably include Botham's Headingley hurricane of 1981 and it's not a great stretch to put in Viv Richards's 56-ball hundred, or Victor Trumper's 104 before lunch on a wet track.

But I don't know anyone except Roebuck who would select from Javed Miandad none of his myriad test match masterpieces, but a virtuoso 200 for Glamorgan. Who but Roebuck would nominate a whirlwind 88 by Kiwi legend Bert Sutcliffe, hit against a fearsome South African pace attack, with a bandaged head, and a broken heart the day after a train crash claimed the lives of 151 of his countrymen, including his teammate's fiancee? Who but Roebuck would bypass Garfield Sobers's dazzling 132 in the Tied Test in Brisbane in favour his captain Frank Worrell's unspectacular 65 in the same innings, seeing the greatest heroism in the inspiration a skipper gave to a young, insecure team?

That was Roebuck's peculair genius: he was not ignorant of the cold hard realities of the game; he didn't disregard facts and figures - often he would remind his readers that in the end that most important thing for a player was to make runs or take wickets - all else was incidental. But while keeping these realities in mind, Roebuck would still see the romance of cricket, its adventure and emotion, as much as its results and statistics.

He was a storyteller, and his greatest proclivity as a sports writer was to discern the narratives in cricket. Every innings, every day, every wicket, every moment was a story to Roebuck. Great feats of bowling or batsmanship were cinematic in their scope: he would relate them in epic terms, setting the scene with passages that could seem gloriously out of place on the sports pages, with their poetic imagery and whimsical metaphors. He would construct his story as if creating fiction rather than relating mundane real events - the obstacles to overcome, the inner turmoil of the individual, the magnificence of mighty champions coming together, and the triumph of a man over his opponents, his environment, and himself, were related as if Roebuck were handing down a legend, a tale of giants in a more momentous universe. Cricket was in his bones, and it ran in his veins, and his life was devoted to helping others to see it as he did. A team game in which personal ambition is supposed to be sacrificed to the collective good, yet which is comprised entirely of confrontations between individuals, he understood its beauty and its strangeness and its otherworldly quaintness, and he told its story in the way he saw it.

Players' careers were novels, tales of struggle and redemption and success and failure that stretched back long before the public became aware of them, and continued long after they faded from view. Roebuck was a very good player himself, a successful long-standing first-class player and county captain who played with Botham, Richards, Garner, Waugh and Crowe, and understood as well as anyone the battle a man can find himself waging against his own limitations; the frustrations to be found in the inability to realise your highest aspirations. When writing of a player, even to judge him as inadequate or to call for his dismissal, his pieces never contained malice, never lacked compassion. He never allowed his objective judgment of cricketing skill to blind him to the humans he was writing about.

And he delighted in those humans' successes. When weaving a story from the threads of a cricketer, he favoured the rags to riches variety. He loved nothing more than to tell the story of a subcontinental street kid, a country urchin raised on dirt pitches, or an island villager who grew up using a palm frond for a bat, rising to the highest echelons of international sport. He rejoiced in men like Ranji, or D'Oliviera, who defied their own bigoted societies to succeed. He took an especial pleasure in unconventional operators who found success despite their disregard for orthodoxy or tradition - the bizarre stance of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the crabbed, awkward technique of Simon Katich, the cheerful agriculturalism of Colin Milburn, were all admired by Roebuck, lover of the rebel and the innovator.

His sense of justice, his loathing of bigotry and nationalism, were palpable. He hated barracking, railed against those who would place their desire for their own team to win above justice or the good of the game. His opinions were always fiercely independent and scrupulously sincere. I didn't agree with him all the time - I thought he got it wrong on Darrell Hair, and that he completely lost his head when he savaged Ricky Ponting in the aftermath of the 2008 SCG test against India. But whether agreeing with him or not, there could never be any doubt that what he wrote was motivated by nothing more than pure, genuine conviction. If he could be intemperate, if his emotions could overrule his judgment so that he seemed less than dispassionate in assessing the facts, it only ever came from his love of the game, and his hatred of anything that could sully it. He saw such beauty in the game, and what it could do to elevate people, and bring them together, that it distressed him beyond measure to see ugliness intrude, to see his beloved cricket be less than it could be. That was why he wrote with such anger whenever corruption or greed threatened the game, when he saw it twisted to base political ends, used to assist political thugs in Zimbabwe or organised crime in India. He was no starry-eyed idealist thinking cricket could be divorced from the world around it, but that was just the point - he believed in cricket improving the world around it, and was inflamed by it doing the opposite, or allowing the worst of the world to infect the game.

But perhaps most important of all was how he wrote all this. That beautiful, lyrical, elaborate, passionate, impish, sharp, idiosyncratic style that somehow seemed of another time, evoking Cardus and Wodehouse as it painted intricately detailed landscapes and portraits of a day's play, while simultaneously devising new angles, new windows to see the game through that could distort it in new and lovely ways while also clarifying events in a way that other writers never even conceived of. There was simply nothing else on sports pages to compare with Roebuck's words. The art he brought to what can so often be a flat, blunt craft was something to behold. He could make you fall in love with cricket simply by describing the snap of a bowler's wrist, or the flourish of a batsman as he let the ball pass harmless to the keeper. He made me fall in love with cricket.

I was reading Roebuck before I read a word by Douglas Adams. Before I'd even heard of Terry Pratchett. Before I'd watched a second of Monty Python. Before I'd encountered Wodehouse, before I'd thought of becoming a writer myself. Of all the influences on me as a writer, Peter Roebuck is probably the longest-standing outside my own parents. I never net him, and now, to my lasting regret, I never will. I didn't know him - though, from what I understand few really ever did. But if it's true that a writer can show themselves through their writing, that you can get to know someone by the words they put down, I knew him. I knew him by his words, for most of my life, and the devastation I feel at his death is a testament to his ability to touch lives of people he was never even aware of. It's a mad, delusional conceit for me to wish I'd really known him, to think maybe I could have done something for him, as an act of reciprocity. But if I wish I could have been a friend to him, it's because he so often made me feel he was a friend to me. Maybe that was the greatest part of his genius after all.

I don't know all the details of his life, or of his death. I don't want to speculate, I don't want to intensify my own sadness, or anyone else's, by sifting through that which I really know nothing about, or by pontificating on sadness, or loneliness, or the flaws of a man only just gone.

But what I can say is that in recent years, Peter Roebuck seemed to be one of the last bastions of cricket the way it was supposed to be. As the game became more driven by money, by greed, by coldly professional calculations and cynical self-interest, to the point where the lines between corruption and administration were becoming blurred...Roebuck stood as a voice for cricket as pure, as joyous, as the most beautiful of games. As Michael Parkinson said, sport only matters if it doesn't matter - only if sport can remain a game, played for love and by principles of fairness and honesty lacking in the important, life-and-death world outside, can it be a beacon to that outside world, a force for good. Once cricket becomes just like everything else in life, it might as well not exist.

Peter Roebuck felt that. And now that he's gone, I wonder if anyone else really feels it the same way. With Roebuck gone, cricket feels a little more prosaic, a litle more dull, a little more sordid. I don't know if this game that I love still has the magic, the beauty that can make me believe there's something better in the world. Maybe there's nothing better in the world. Maybe everything really is, at heart, dirty and ugly and selfish. Maybe cricket is destined to go the way of everything else, and even the most brilliant of artists among us can't hold back the tide of voracious, remorseless reality. I hope it's not so, but maybe it is. And this summer, this Roebuckless season that is now upon us, can't help but feel grim and hopeless and dark. This game I love...can it be beautiful anymore? His words, today more precious than ever before, will hopefully help it remain so.

Peter Roebuck I will miss you. If I wrote a thousand times as many words as I have here today, I'm not sure I could ever really say how much.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yo Pro-Lifers! Suck It!

Oh, look! An article by Joel Hodge of the Australian Catholic University that is all about defending people's right to assembly and is not at all about defending people's right to harass other people on their way to undergo legal medical procedures and demonising the pro-choice movement. It's all about justice and freedom and stuff.

Because after all, all these people are trying to do is prevent the murder of babies, right? I mean, not literally, but in their own heads, because they're insane. That's all they THINK they're trying to do, right? And if you knew there was a an establishment near you where babies were being taken to be slaughtered, wouldn't YOU picket and harass and wave signs and throw pamphlets at people?

Wouldn't you?

I mean, of course, you'd do more. You'd actually break down the doors and rush in and take those baby-murdering bastards OUT, in a heroic, John McClane-esque manner, because hey, they're KILLING KIDS.

But if you were a real wuss, you'd stand outside picketing and stuff. If you were opposed to baby-murder, but lacked any sort of intestinal fortitude or moral fibre, you'd totally protest outside the clinic where the babies were being murder. If you had guts, you'd take some effective action, but if you were a total coward you'd definitely stick to maximising psychological trauma for young women.

Coincidentally, that's also what you'd do if you actually DIDN'T think abortionists were murdering babies, but were just a self-righteous uptight prig who wants women to be punished for having sex and is enraged by the thought that there might be women who have sex without having to have babies, because you believe women having sex for purposes other than procreation is slutty and disgusting.

As I say that's just a coincidence, because that is not what THESE protesters are doing. These protesters are not hypocritical, judgmental, sexually repressed arseholes. They're just religious maniacs who are also really, really gutless. So let's cut them some slack.

I mean, don't listen to them, or pay attention to them, or alter your behaviour in any way because of them. You can't do that. Ignore them - they're insane. But have a bit of sympathy at least, huh?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You'll See Things In A Different Way

You know Liner Notes. You love Liner Notes. But you wish it would come along more than once a year. And you wish there was an opportunity for you to see Liner Notes tackle their classic albums more than once, because you missed out on tickets last year.


Liner Notes: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours is BACK

Featuring ME, and also:

Cate Kennedy
Lawrence Leung
Carrie Rudzinski
Emilie Zoey Baker
Sean M. Whelan
Omar Musa
Josh Earl
Alicia Sometimes
George Dunford
Eva Johansen

Showing you Rumours as you've never been shown Rumours before!

You never did believe in the ways of magic? I've got a feeling it's time to try.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I understand there has been a bit of a brouhaha over the Prime Minister of Australia's failure to curtsy to the Queen of England on the occasion of their recent meeting.

Let me begin my remarks on this affair with a brief comment to "etiquetteand protocol expert" William Hanson:

You are a moron.

Let me follow with a brief comment to anyone on this planet who cares even the slightest bit about whether the prime minister curtsied or not to the Queen:

You are a moron.

And when I say you are a moron, don't take it the wrong way: I simply mean you are of extremely low intelligence. I mean your brain doesn't work the way it should. I mean you need to wear heavy-duty protective clothing to shield you from the inevitable injuries caused by constantly falling over and walking into things. I mean you need to be institutionalised and isolated from society so as not to infect functional adult human beings with your virulent stupidity. I mean your stupidity is so vast as to actually constitute immorality. I mean that if you ever try to strike up a conversation with another person you should be arrested for committing a hate crime, because nothing could be more horrific to endure than to have to talk to you, you irredeemably and nauseatingly idiotic imbecilic moronic stupid cretinous fool.

Now let me tell you what SHOULD have happened when the Prime Minister met the Queen.

The Queen should have curtsied. The Queen should have grovelled. The Queen should have fallen to her knees, kissed Gillard's hand, and bathed her feet in finest perfume. The Queen should have subjugated herself entirely in the most humble gratitude that she has actually been allowed to go on this publicy-funded holiday and meet genuinely important people.

The Queen should have spent the entire meeting with the prime minister crying out, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!". The Queen should have made it clear just how grateful she was that she, as an elderly bejewelled parasite whose position in life is owed entirely to an accident of birth and who has never been required to either assume any genuine responsibility, or record any actual achievement to get where she is, should be allowed to hob-nob with people who've actually risen to their place in the world via hard work and talent. That she should be permitted to engage with the elected prime minister of Australia, a woman who attained that position via her own personal qualities and the democratic processes of a democratic nation, and whose job entails actual power, and actual responsibility, should have caused the Queen to be overwhelmed with gratitude, and humiliated with the thought of just what a small, insignificant wastrel she is by comparison not only with the PM herself, but pretty much all the other people surrounding her.

And the Queen shuold have gone to bed that night with a smile on her face, counting her blessings and wondering at her good fortune, that anyone in a position of genuine authority, when encountering her, should actually have been so preternaturally polite and astoundingly gracious as to shake her hand and bow their head, rather than passing her by with a witheringly scornful glance and going off to do something more useful, important, and enjoyable than poncing about going through the motions of a pointless ritual greeting with someone who is only recognisable by anyone on earth due to the failure of a good portion of humanity to escape from the hidebound medieval mindset that keeps them convinced that the behaviour of a fawning slave to an undeserving master remains worthwhile.

And now, if I may be a trifle direct, the Queen can fuck right off.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where Can You Find Me?

Goodness, there are so many places!

You can find me at New Matilda calling decent Australians to arms against the tyranny which threatens our freedom.

You can find me in the excellent King's Tribune, either by subscribing or picking it up at the newsagent - the current issue has my piece on atheism!

You can find me at the stylish and attractive Kill Your Darlings, where I've written about hating Julia Gillard.

Or there's The Roar, where I've been writing about rugby!

And if THAT's not enough, prepare to be EXCITED beyond all BELIEF!

Because Meanjin is running their thrilling Tournament of Books, and if you go there and check out the head-to-head battles of some classics of Australian literature, you'll not only read some cracking reviews of some cracking books, but also see the highly-esteemed Jess McGuire and myself providing no-holds-barred COMMENTARY on each match. Such as this one, to take but one example. The tournament's still going, so head there, catch up, and get on-board.

Now, is that enough for you, you slavering dogs?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How Not To Rape People Part 2: How Not To Be Raped

Hello there. Many of you in the me-reading community may remember this post, in which I enumerated a few simple, easy-to-follow tips on how to avoid raping people, for the benefit of those many millions of young men who were finding it difficult to not rape anyone for any significant length of time. It was a great success: many readers wrote to me to let me know that they had greatly reduced their raping-people rate, and in some cases, incredibly, stopped raping altogether.

This was very gratifying, of course, but I have recently come to the realisation that my job was only half-finished. I had addressed one side of the equation - men - but what of the other side? What of women? I guess it was the commonsense, firm-yet-fair, down-to-earth, nitty-gritty, wise advice provided to young women by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione that brought this home to me. His sage council to young women to tell their friends if they plan to have sex, so their friends can stop them having sex if they don't want to, or help them have sex if they do want to, or join in if a passing video producer pays them to, really drove home to me how neglectful I've been.

Sure, I thought to myself, I've provided useful advice to men on how to stop being rapists, but what about women? Don't they need useful advice too? After all, as Paul Mercurio tells us, it takes two to tango, and likewise doesn't it also take two to rape? I'm pretty sure it does - you never see the headline "Man rapes nobody" in the papers - and so I feel I should apologise for my oversight. But nobody can ever accuse me of being a man who doesn't correct his oversights, and so I hereby present:


1. When you meet a rapist, try to stay away from him.

2. Learn to idenfity rapists. You can do this through some canny questioning. Like for example you could ask, "Are you a rapist?" If the rapist is clever he'll see through that though, so you might have to ask more subtle questions, like, "Would you like me to have some Milo?" or "Are you a professional football team?"

3. Avoid men in general. Most women are raped by men, so it's important that a woman who doesn't want to be raped stays well away from men. It's a bit like cats and meat: if a piece of meat walked into a cat's mouth, would you blame the cat for eating it? Like in The Empire Strikes Back, when they fly into that alien thing's mouth. Do you blame the alien for swallowing the Millennium Falcon? No, it is Princess Leia's fault for wearing that bikini. That's an important lesson to remember. If you, as a woman, choose to conduct your activites in the same location as men, you must accept the consequences. If you're going to hang around penises, don't be surprised when penises do what penises do. Men in general have poor impulse control and will under most circumstances have sex three or four times a day whether they want to or not. If you HAVE to associate with a man, for business reasons or because he is your father, wear a wetsuit.

4. Don't be unconscious.

5. Keep an eye on your drink. Research shows a lot of women are raped after leaving their drink unguarded, or as this is known in legal terms, "consenting to sexual intercourse". If YOU don't want to be raped, make sure you have an eye on your drink at ALL times, and avoid flirtatiously allowing strangers to drop pills in it. Even better, drink from a bottle. Or don't drink at all - koalas gain all their hydration from eucalyptus leaves, and koalas are rarely considered slutty. Except that one who died of chlamydia. Point is, if you avoid drinking fluids of any kind, you can avoid that awkward situation where a reasonable person might interpret your unknowingly ingesting a foreign substance which renders you incapable of resistance to violent sexual acts as something of a "come-on".

6. Dress appropriately. Studies show that over 90% of rape victims were raped when wearing some kind of "clothing", which strongly suggests that clothing plays a massive part in rapists' selection of their victims, or "partners", as they are called when wearing midriff tops. It is important that any woman who doesn't want to be raped avoids wearing any type of clothing that sends the message that she is "up for it". This is difficult, obviously, because as noted above, if a woman wasn't up for it why would she be hanging around near men anyway, knowing full well that men like to have sex? But as long as a woman avoids wearing low-cut tops, short skirts, short shorts, tight jeans, figure-hugging sweaters, loose sweaters, long skirts, skivvies, baggy pants, neck-to-knee swimming costumes, policewoman uniforms, or any item of clothing that provides any clue as to the woman's general shape, she can be fairly certain that her behaviour will be considered only conditional consent by the legal system. Which ties nicely into the next point.

7. Do not draw attention to your femininity. Most people who raped women admit that before raping the woman, they wanted to rape a woman. It is therefore vital when out in public that women don't make a big deal about being a woman. Try not to act too much like a woman - don't go around washing dishes or shopping. It can be a good idea to strap your breasts down and cut your hair short in an attempt to pass as a petite teenage boy. But some people consider that extreme - it's more important just to direct conversation away from the fact you are a woman. If you see a man lurking nearby, try to ward him off by casually remarking, "Goodness, I'm having a nice time out today - it's probably my lack of oestrogen making me feel so good"; or, "I wonder what having a vagina is like, because I certainly don't know!" In fact it is always VITAL to prevent people's focus being directed toward your vagina - reputable opinion polls indicate over 60% of people consider a rape victim was "asking for it" if she was found to be in deliberate possession of a vagina.

8. Don't go out alone. I mean this is pretty self-evident unless you're a prostitute, but I thought I'd throw it in.

9. Don't be a prostitute.

10. Make your intentions clear. If you don't want a man to have sex with you, say, "I would not like to have sex with you, thank you." If he still wants to have sex with you, say, "No, really, I do not want to." If he persists, shout "NO!" and knee him in the testicles. If he doesn't get the message, scream for help and try to run away. If, after all, this, he still ends up having sex with you - well you obviously weren't clear enough, try harder next time.

If young women take these tips on board and follow them closely, then I feel confident that with a little bit of commonsense and community spirit, we can move towards a future where young women don't feel unsafe when they leave the house, young men don't feel guilty for their perfectly normal biological urges/crimes, and the heinous act of rape is eliminated from our society except for those times when really what else would you expect?

Happy not being raped!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Dog’s Bar Arts Hub In conjunction with Australian Poetry
Proudly Present
Australia’s First Ever
Climate Change Poetry Slam
Friday 7th October 7pm@St Kilda MeMo Theatre

Come join us as we raise a toast to spring (while we still have distinct seasons)! Feel free to laugh, boo, cheer and celebrate the poetic as we contemplate the demise of our planet! Rhyming optional.

MC’ed by The Age’s TV apostle, Superchef author and twitter-philosopher BEN POBJIE, with Guests Crikey cartoonist FIRST DOG ON THE MOON, HELEN RAZER, SHANE MALONEY, LOU SANZ, RRR'S BEN BIRCHALL, Queen of the Spoken Word, EMILIE ZOEY BAKER, professional wrestling superstar KRACKERJAK THE MADBASTARD with special guests , Q&A guest poet and hip hop legend OMAR MUSA, MIGHTY JOE and many more including a surprise guest AUSTRALIAN GREENS SENATOR SCOTT LUDLUM who will be reading the poetry of Bob Brown!

Yes the poetry will be fast, funny, sexy, sad, slow, scintillating, even possibly dreadful, but it will never be boring. Brace yourself for surprise cartoons, magic tricks, juggling and potential nudity.
The Slam will take place at the historic St Kilda MeMo theatre, a glorious throwback to the 1920’s with a rumoured resident ghost and two fully stocked bars.

When: Friday 7th October @7 pm

Where: St Kilda MeMo Theatre, 88 Acland St Kilda

Tickets: $15 Concession/Online Booking, $20 at the door

All net proceeds will go to the Sacred Heart Mission who work closely with our homeless community.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 30 - FINAL POEM - Title Courtesy Of @johncarneyau

Is It Too Late?

The sight of your back receding to the horizon
I never saw the opportunity go begging
I was somewhere
Thinking your face would be there still
Because there's just no way you could go
Before I had the chance to say
Before I had the chance to do
Before I had the chance to give you
There was no way you could go

Now my hand hangs
Like a frayed rope dangling from the cliff, wondering how it broke
And if lying on the rocks below
Flapping in the wind
Another is wishing to return
And wrap itself around its Other

That hand will keep hanging till it falls
And is scattered to the winds
And forgets why it was there
Till the white-hot blaze of your slow-swaying shoulders
The sad exhaustion of your diasporic heart
Is not even a memory
Just a lingering heat-haze at the back of my eyes
Not worth noticing

For now I'll watch your back
Blurring far away
And pray you won't turn around to speak again
This silence is my friend
And grinding uncertainty my comfort
And I'll only hold together
As long as I don't know

And the question I need to ask
Can fade
In a year
In a decade
In a lifetime
And I won't need to ask it
And it will die with its own answer buried alongside
And I won't care
Maybe in a year

I won't care
I won't

Please Do Not Read This If You Are Not A Blog Forward Reader

A community service announcement from Ben Pobjie, recent graduate of the GASP College of Public Relations-itude and Customer Service Trainingness.

I understand there have been certain complaints from readers of this blog whom have found the bloggingness of the blog to be not to their tasting. Having now had the privilege of learning the factibility of the situations which led to the circumstances of these complainants, I am now in a position to respond.

Firstly, this blog is especially designed to appeal to a very blog forward consumer. Always at the forefront of my mind when writing this blog is the need to not appeal to those whom are not in the position of being in front of themselves when it comes to consuming blogs and other things. This blog is read by A List celebrities such as Patti Newton, Tom Oliver and Mike Whitney to name only a few, and these are not the sort of personages who would read a "run of the mill" blog. In fact, when people read this blog and say they are "frightened" or "confused" or "nauseated", I give myself a big pat on the back as it means I am succeeding in my targets of making a blog full of attractivenessitude to people whom are the kind of people whom I wish to be attractive to. I know I am doing my job right and my modus operandi is being affirmed in a typically solidistic fashion.

Insofar as the aforesaid blog posts in a manner of specificity, blog posts are selected with the same approach in mind - I am a qualified blogger who has a sixth sense for words, and my only problem is that I am too good at what I do, and being a person whom am talented I cannot tolerate having my time wasted, which is the reason you may be provoked to refer to me as a "dickhead". This is your prerogatorivity.

Inasmuch as you say you are also capable of literacy, this does not mean we are of a sameness. Much of what I am writing here probably does not make sense to you or you are not in agreeance with the generalised thrustings of what I am conveying to your brain right now. You would probably never write a blog post like this, would you? This is because you are a person whom does not understand elite bloggery like I do and so it is of an inappropriate nature that you would say "we both know how to write" as it is almost as if we are in different industries: you in an industry whom is for stupidities and me in a forward-thinking industry for blog superstars.

So if you would like do me any favours or kindnessings, please do not waste my time because as you have seen I am not someone whom tolerates it from people whom are you. I am sure there are plenty of blogs that appease your taste which is stupid, so I retrospectfully request that you side-step this blog during future eyeball-directioning computer operativity engagements.

Thank you for your inquisitions

Ben Pobjie, Blog Manager

Below: a picture of a person appreciating the sensual and evocative lifestyle that an exceedingly directional blog like this one can bring about.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 29 Title Courtesy Of @sexenheimer


Who is me?
Is me the man who stalks proudly through the crowds winking at the tank tops
Ducking the Squirrel Nutkin hairdo to everyone he meets?
Is me the man who goes to sleep at night dreaming of fuzz-bass donuts
And electronic nachos?
Is me the man who hovers above that man
Astral travelling in his spare time
While his physical body jerks and spasms on the slab
In a lab
Owned by a mad crypto-menshevik futurist?

Is me any of these men?
Or is me none?
Is me the dream of a better tomorrow?
Or is me the nightmare that creeps upon you while waiting for your Boost Juice?

What is me?
If I knew the answer to that question I could rule the world
Yet I would not
For I respect democracy
Does me respect democracy?
Or is me a fascist?
An anarchist?
A feudal neo-primogeniturist?
Why is me so coy about his motivations?

If me were a fireman
He'd put out your fire
If me were a baker
He'd make you a Boston bun
If me were a race-car driver
He'd pass you on the inside
Yet what does me really have to offer?

I don't know
I don't know
Three little words
Say them with me
"I don't know"
Whisper them as if murmuring in the ear of your lover
Sob them as if crying in a gutter
Bellow them!
As if shouting
In the ear of your lover
Deafening her

Is me deaf?
Deaf to injustice perhaps
Is me blind?
Blind to hatred, yes
Is me dumb?
Dumb as a bear with foetal alcohol syndrome, maybe
Is me one of those guys with no sense of smell?
One of those guys with no sense of smell for prejudice I would wager
I guess there's no doubt
Me is a jerk
And you should punch him in the thighs

So who is me?
A Cossack dancer?
An Israeli hitman?
A deformed Welshman?
A buxom Utah madam?
Pop sensation Tiffany?
All this and more?
None of this and less?
More than this and partially?
And undecided

Who is me?
I don't know
You tell me
Who is me?

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 28 Title Courtesy of @Jo_MacD

Bunnies. It Must Be Bunnies

I do not want to write about bunnies
I'd rather write about bacon sandwiches
Bacon sandwiches that gain sentience through a freak electrical storm
And rise up against their human oppressors and take over the world
But see their new bacon-based civilisation brought low by their own hubris
I'd like to write about that
But no, it must be bunnies

Even though I'd really rather write about tigers
Enormous tigers with enormous teeth
That stalk the jungle and pounce on unwary travellers
But long for something more than this savage existence
Tigers that secretly yearn for a career in musical theatre
But whose dreams are dashed because they can't dance on their hind legs
Or hit a high F
I'd like to write about tigers
But no, it must be bunnies

If I had my way it wouldn't be bunnies, it'd be pirates
Rollicking, roguish pirates
With a glint in their eyes and cutlass at the ready
You may plead for mercy from these pirates
But it will be no good
They will strike you down without remorse
Because these pirates aren't in it for the money
They just like hitting people with swords
I'd like to write many words about the joys of hitting people with swords
But dammit, it must be bunnies

I don't even care about bunnies - I care about spaceships
Big shiny spaceships full of adventurous spacemen
Who meet bizarre aliens, seduce their women, and then fly off with a jaunty wave
And a mocking laugh
At the stupid aliens who trusted them so stupidly
The spacemen I'd write about would be real dicks
But their ships would be gorgeous
And I'd love writing about how shiny and futuristicky they are
But I can't because it must be bunnies

So I'll write about bunnies

What the fuck is up with that?
Am I right?

The End

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 27 Title Courtesy Of Emilie Collyer

Brownlows and Bosoms

Brownlows are better than bosoms are better than brooches are better than bison are better than baccalaureates are better than bills are better than bullhorns are better than buns are better than beetles are better than bugs are better than bacteria are better than bastions.

But if Brownlows are better than bosoms are better than bangles why do bosoms seem better than banter is better than broccoli is better than biotechnology is better than Bavaria?

I'd rather have a Brownlow than a bosom but I'd rather have a bosom than botulism. But botulism is as botulism does and I'd rather have botulism than not have a Brownlow. But I don't have a Brownlow, a bosom or botulism, so what's a boy to do?

If bosoms are better than Brownlows are better than bracelets are better than bloodstains are better than buffalo wings are better than Bose stereos are better than books are better than Bulgarians are better than Brussels sprouts are better than blackbirds are better than blueberries are better than beef cheeks are better than bongs are better than bongos are better than banjos are better than Brazilians are better than butchers are better than bakers are better than bankers are better than builders are better than baffled reactions to bewildering badinage...where are the bosoms that are better?

A Brownlow in bronze may be better than the brassy bosoms that bountiful benefactors bestow upon the benighted bastards below, but if beauty is in the bosom of the beholder, who's beholding the Brownlows?

And if beauty is better than benevolence is better than baseball is better than basketball is better than Beethoven is better than Bach is better than Bradman is better than Brando is better than Bristow is better than Branwell Bronte is better than British India is better than Brother Andrew is better than Brendan Behan is better than Billy Bunter...

I'll take bosoms any day.

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 26 Title Courtesy Of @alliewonder


What is a sister?
Is it simply a woman with whom you share some DNA?
Is it just a girl you grow up with?
Is it a small amphibian dwelling in temperate zones throughout Europe and Asia?
It is all of these things and more, but not the last one

A sister is possibly the most precious thing you can have in life
Especially a sister made from diamonds and uranium
Just think about that for a moment
Think about your shiny radioactive robot sister
Imagine the fun you could have
Imagine the dreadful atrocities she would visit upon the local citizenry, at your command

Is this not what a sister is for, in the end?
Should not a sister be not only a friend and confidant, but also a public menace?
What's the point of a sister who cannot commit murder on a grand scale?
As useless, as my grandfather used to say, as tits on a marmoset
What was wrong with grandfather anyway?
Why did he drink so much paint?
Was it my sister's fault?

I have three sisters
And I have never felt so close to them as I do today
We don't see each other as much as we should
And we don't talk to each other as much as we should
And we don't know each other's names as much as we should
And we frequently tell each other we hate each other and want each other to die
But we have a bond that can't be broken
A bond of blood
Even though they are all adopted
Or at least that's what I tell them

A sister is a wonderful thing to have
So useful, so helpful in times of trouble
Not a sister
A trailer
A trailer is a wonderful thing to have
More useful than a sister anyway
You can barely fit anything into a sister
If you want my advice, get a trailer

I think the best kind of sister
Is the young, attractive, sexually liberated kind
Who is not your sister, but someone else's
Another good kind of sister
Is the kind who shoots chocolate out of her eye sockets
But let's face it

That's pretty rare

What have we learned about sisters?
Nothing - and isn't that just typical?
We never learn, we never progress, we never advance ourselves as a species
And hence we die, unenlightened and alone
Especially if we pissed off our sisters
So be nice to your sister
She may be all you have left after your wife leaves you and your parents die and you are excommunicated from your church because you sexually violated a porcupine during Mass
Be nice to your sister
And she will be nice to you
Or not - she might be a right bitch

But hey, what can you do

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 25 Title Courtesy Of @jeremysear


It was in a theatre, dank and dusky
That I found him, sitting, sighing
A cigarette dangling from his dry, sad lips
Chuckling in the dark, blinking away tears
His smile sad and lonely, like a gunfighter remembering the last man he killed

And I sat next to him and I tried to talk
But he was in no mood
He looked at me with tired eyes
And shook his head, and shook the desert dust from his boots, and stood
And he walked away, but before he did, he handed me a rolled-up scroll, and shook my hand, and said three words

"I. Shot. First."

And he was gone
And I unrolled that scroll
And in that dank and dusky theatre, by the flickering light of the projector
I read what was written there
And tears sprang to mine as they had sprung to his
And what time was passing...I had no idea
And the scroll read like this:


We see the farm of Owen Lars, in the early morning. Aunt BERU (Scarlett Johannson) steps out into the sunlight and begins doing her aerobics practice, while all around her run the beautiful bright green desert-elk of Tatooine.

ENTER LUKE SKYWALKER, the four-armed super-hulk of Tatooine.

Hey Aunt Beru, what's shakin'?

Darth Vader is coming! I read it in my crystal ball!

She holds up her crystal ball, which speaks in a funky Negro voice.

Sho' 'nuff!

Oh yeah? We'll see what me and my faithful companion Dogbert von Woofilus have to say about that!

ENTER DOGBERT, a large cowardly dalmatian with a rocketpack


I was bawling, hardly able to see
But I had to keep going
I had to know just how the atrocity would end
I turned to a later page


ENTER DARTH VADER, dancing to "I Got You (I Feel Good)" as it blares from the Death Star stereo system. He approaches GRAND MOFF TARKIN, a distinguished elderly man with an enormous parrot on one shoulder.

So we captured the princess, Lord Vader?



Sorry, I mean, yes, we did.

Well we better get her to talk then.

Yes I will use the Force on her.

LOL! The Force! Epic fail! You can't use the Force, roflcopter!


Maybe I can explain it like this...

ENTER the MAX REBO BAND to accompany Tarkin's musical number.

When you're fighting against all those nasty rebels

(nasty rebels!

And you just can't decide the correct course
Take a tip from Grand Moff Tarkin
You may say I'm simply barkin'
But you must never ever ever use the Force!

(use the Force!)

If you're wondering just how to kill a Wookiee
That ugly beast as strong as a wild horse...

Gasping, sick at heart, I read on
Page after page, all the same
All horrors unimagined, nightmares springing from the paper
I wanted to hurl it away, to run outside, to scream, to have a chemical shower, to vomit on a passer-by
But I could not - I had to see this through to the bitter end
I turned the page


VADER, JAR JAR BINKS and DANNY OCEAN lounge by the pool

Yousa give meesa one millions dollarees for just-a one night with meesa Sith Lord?


OK maybe I didn't have to finish.

Friday, September 23, 2011

SPECIAL Pobjie Poetry Month Day 24 Title Courtesy Of @becpobjie

The Fresh Beat Band
(OR, a poem that people without children won't understand at all)

We've had a great day
It was a super way
To spend some time together
Particularly with Marina and run my fingers through her silky red hair and breathe shudderingly in her ear

We've had a great day
The very best day
And nothing could be better
Unless it was Marina, kissing my lips and running her fingers slowly down my spine

All the music we'll play
It's always a great day
And nothing could be better
Every time we get together
Every time WE get together Marina, tell those other losers to fuck off, I want you to myself oh Marina please God PLEASE

We'll sing and we'll play
We'll kick it our way
We'll hip-hop and pop
The music party won't stop
It won't stop, Marina, till you and I are together, writhing sweatily on top of your drum kit, Marina, show me your rhythm section!

We had a great day...

No. It was not a great day. For it was another day without Marina in my arms. It was another day without my ginger temptress singing sinful suggestions to me. It was another day feeling slightly guilty at how arousing children's television makes me...

We could have a great day, Marina. Take off those shorts.
Throw aside your drumsticks.
Tell Kiki, Twist and Shout to go shove their heads up their dickholes.
We could have a great day, Marina, me and you, it'll be a super way...To spend some time together...
We could make such beautiful music together...especially if we're miming to backing tracks...
We could have a great day...but you're so far away...and so ignorant of my existence...and my kids would probably freak out if they found you naked in my bed in the morning...but still...we could have a great day...

Failing that, Josie Jump from Balamory looks well up for it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 23 Title Courtesy Of @creativemercury

Rugby World Cup

It's been so long
Let's walk
Down the street where I used to live
And back to the house that was mine
The World Cup's on
But let's not watch that
It'll only break our hearts

We can eat in the park where we had lunch that day
Chips from the cafe
Next to the video shop where we rented that movie
That day
We can go back to my house, and watch that movie again
But let's not watch the World Cup
It'll only break our hearts

Let's take a trip to the city
Over the bridge to the art gallery
Walking close as we can without touching
And laughing at the rushing crowds
And the senseless paintings that fashion has plucked
And I won't even check the scores
It'll only break our hearts

Let's get a drink before we go
And then we'll promise to do this again
We'll promise that as hard as we can
And we'll hug for just long enough
And you'll turn around, and so will I
And I'll go home and turn on my TV
Like the last time I said goodbye
And I'll watch whatever's on
But I won't
I won't
I won't watch the World Cup
It'll only break my heart

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 22 Title Courtesy Of @harrisonthefan

The Joys Of Writing Employment

Writing is better than digging a ditch
Cos you don't need a shovel and you can just sit in your chair to do it
And digging ditches hurts your back

Writing is better than plumbing
Cos you don't need to know how to use a spanner to do it
And you don't need to do an apprenticeship

Writing is better than being in the army
Cos when you write you can just make up cool army stories without having to leave the house
And you don't have to get blown up by IEDs

Writing is better than motherhood
Because you get more sleep because books don't wake up and cry in the night
And you don't get sore nipples

Writing is better than being the Queen
Because you can check Facebook while you're doing it
And also the Queen is very very old

Writing is better than Nazism
Because people aren't so scared of you when they find out you're a writer
And most Nazis are dead now

Writing is better than being a barista
Because if you're a barista you're probably a complete wanker
Why don't you fuck off, baristas?

Writing is better than working at Hungry Jack's
Especially this total bitch I know at the Hungry Jack's near my place
Fuck her

Writing is better than selling Foxtel door to door
Fuck off you idiots I'm trying to have dinner for Christ's sake
Just fuck right off

Writing is better than being a complete knob
Like that guy
What a knob

Glad I'm a writer and not a fucking knob like him
Am I right?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Not Have A Night Out?

At, for example, this

Everybody's Talkin' at the Fringe Club, 25th September, with me, First Dog on the Moon, Clementine Ford, Sophie Black, Geoff Lemon and Ben Eltham.

Or perhaps at this?

"Sad" at the Wheeler Centre, 26th September, with me, Andrew Robb, Nicole Highet and Noni Hazlehurst.


So those two are coming up, and both of them are absolutely FREE! Come along Sunday night and see me shooting the breeze with noted wits, and/or on Monday see me discussing things in perhaps a more serious vein. Both should be fun. Keep checking this blog for news on upcoming performances, there's more looming next month!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pobjie Poetry Month Day 21 Title Courtesy Of @bethanykeats

Platform 5

It was on Platform 5 that I first saw him
Just a bedraggled old man, standing alone
On Platform 5
I said to him, what are you doing here, old man?
And he said, I've been expecting you
I said really?
He said yes
I said how did you know I'd be here on Platform 5?
He said, I have a little robot in my head that can tell the future
I said WOW
He said I can give you what you're looking for
I said, chips?
He said're looking for something deeper
And so I sat at his feet, and waited
He said, why are you sitting at my feet?
I said, so I can learn from you
He said well get up, people are looking at us
And so I got up, in awe at his powers of reason

And he said, what would you say, if I told you that of all the animals, the human is the stupidest, the most dull and useless?
I said I would say that sounds unlikely
And he said, really? Consider the chimpanzee. It does not need clothes to be happy, or a house, or a job, or food, or water
And suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me: he was RIGHT. And I resolved that from that day forward I would stop feeding my pet chimpanzee
I said tell me more

He said there is so MUCH I could tell you. Do you know the secret of the sands?
I said no
He said good, it's rubbish
And with that he waved his hand
And suddenly all around me, the sky and the ground and Platform 5
All seemed to disappear
I was struck with wonder and terror at the old man's powers
Until I realised I had my eyes shut
Opening them I saw that he was still waving his hand
Why are you doing that, I asked
He laughed a mocking laugh like this: ha ha!
And said, do not meddle in things beyond your understanding, foolish boy
And without warning, he hurled a golf ball high into the air
And it fell down
And hit me in the face
I warned you, he said

I thirst for wisdom, I rasped, I need you give me wisdom
And he bellowed, well then let me tell you this!
In all your life, no matter how low you sink and where the travails of modern life may guide you,
Remember ONE THING!
Yes, I said eagerly
REMEMBER, he shouted, the man is mother to himself
I exhaled slowly, and asked, what does that mean?
He laughed. What does it? Are you retarded, he said.
I nodded. I saw his point.

Will you be my guru, I said
He said, Is that a gay thing?
I said, not necessarily, but let's see where it takes us
He said, I'm not gay
I said OK
He said seriously I'm not
I said OK
He said if you SOMETIMES like making out with boys it doesn't make you gay
I said OK
He said anyway, would you like some more wisdom?

He said far away over the horizon lies a mountain
And on that mountain lives an eagle.
And from this eagle an egg was laid.
And in this egg were contained all the woes of the world
And when that egg was poached, they were released
And it was delicious
He stared into the distance for several hours, then sighed

Bravo! I cried, applauding frantically
You have opened my eyes, I said, demonstrating with toothpicks
I won't go blundering through life anymore, blind as a bat, deaf as a snake, lactose-intolerant as a tree kangaroo. From now on, I am an Enlightened Man
And at that the old man laughed
And he laughed
And he laughed
And then he stopped

And it was then I felt warm hands reaching inside my waistband
And I said no, no, not here
Not like this
And so we went to dinner at a small noodle bar
And we made love like gods bringing thunder down upon the earth from inside a disabled toilet cubicle
And I never saw him again

Later that week I found out
That that station HAS NO PLATFORM FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean...dude.