Friday, 11 December 2015

I think I just got manshamed, fat shamed and came across as a crazy person on the interwebs.

Manshamed: The shame you feel for being male when all you’re doing is being friendly, stupid, having fun but it gets misconstrued as something else. Like flirting or being over bearing and obnoxious.

Fat Shamed and body shamed  it happens to everyone, not just females. Although I do think women cop it worse as there are idealised female forms in advertising, media and the internet. Relentless consumerism makes women feel bad in their skin and makes men search for ideals that do not exist. Basically, it’s stupid and mean and fucks people over for no good reason other than selling an unobtainable dream.

Men punish themselves at gyms to appear as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, when in reality we are exhausted from working jobs we hate, to buy things we don’t need.

Men delude themselves that looking like an over muscular chode with a small dog and small girlfriend is actually a good look. Men drink themselves to death to make up for their boring lives. Men are more likely to kill themselves. Men are more likely to be in prison. Young men are more likely to be perpetrators and victims of violent and other crime. Men are more likely to just go get a job and not follow their dreams. Men don’t get as many followers on Instagram and Twitter unless they are stupidly creative. Our Instagram’s just look lame, whereas a Taylor Swift clone’s twitter feed looks like Barbie’s dream house and everyone wants to park outside. 

But I am just as guilty of it, often I describe a local union rep as a stupid fat fuck who should go on a diet.

What I should say instead is ‘I have seen his work, and I find him and his union to be self-serving hypocrites who only have their interests on their minds, not their members. And I am glad I’m not a union member because they are a bunch of Labor party toadies just waiting to get into Parliament and sell out their members more than they already have’

Anyway back to the point of this blog post

I like to go see bands and live music. I’m a bit picky about it, I wouldn’t bother with a Hoodoo Gurus superannuation tour, but I will go see the Clowns, Deez Nuts and heavy metal and punk bands at my local pub. I will travel Australia to go see bands, especially Soundwave festivals and touring acts in Melbourne. Sometimes my wife goes with me or I go by myself. She missed out on Hellyeah because she had the worst flu ever. So I went on my own. 

In February 2015 I went to Soundwave to see Ministry and by a happy coincidence Damian Cowells Disco Machine was playing the night before at the Corner Hotel, My wife was going to come with me but had to pull out.

I really like Damian Cowell’s musical output, I love TISM and I probably listen to them every day at work. There is something refreshing to listen to music that speaks to the common man.

A man that works in a cubicle, in an office and who would prefer to be making art, but knows that art don’t pay the bills.

TISM were my favourite Aussie band when I moved to Australia from New Zealand in 1994. New Zealand bands were always a little serious and cool but I did like them a lot, especially Headless Chickens, Nemesis Dub Systems, Freak Power and the Gordons.

In Australia in 1995 TISM were the shit, not shit. I thought this band were incredibly artistic, dangerous and fun. They were like Laibach but with Australian sarcasm rubbed all over Laibach’s jackboots. Their music was a mix of rock and dance, much like other bands I bought like Pop Will East Itself.  TISM also appealed to my deep unrelenting cynicism about everything and everyone.

I never got to see TISM play live, I tried one night to go to the Roxy in Brisbane in 1995 but I had just come off a night shift at one of my many terrible jobs and just couldn’t physically leave the house. They didn’t play the Gold Coast when they did the Big Day Out tour. So I saw a shit (not the shit) Ministry slot instead.

But I’ve seen everything else Damian Cowell has done since, including a voice over for a Westapc advert that I swear contains his dulcet baritone.

I went to the Valentine’s Day Root at the Brisbane Hotel. The one where David Walsh asked DC to do a CD for his new Mona museum in Berridale and my wife danced to ‘Pauline Hanson thinks there’s Christian Muslims too’.  

For the record: Damian Cowell’s Root! is one of the few bands I’ve seen her dance to.  Root! and Down and that’s it.

  • Saw Root play at the Republic Bar
  • Saw the DC3 play at the MONA opening. Bought the $80 MONA book, but really only for the DC3 CD.
  • Made my friends go with me to see DC3 with Pinky Beecroft, at the Republic (we really don’t have that many pubs in Hobart) (so many beers Tim and Kellie , so many beers)

I’ve bought every Root, DC3 and Damian Cowell CD pre-order and the tee shirts and DVDs. I’m facebook friends with DC, which is basically meaningless because I never actually talk to him.

That might come across as obsessed. 

I like Damian Cowell's music a lot, but it’s the lyrics that really shine. Unlike most rock lyrics DC’s work is genuinely deep and poetic. Incredible similes and metaphors reign through his output. Double entendre rolls though his lyrics, combined with cutting metaphors for life’s suburban struggle.

Very little music actually exists for life’s little vicissitudes, where is the song for the man in corporate jail? It’s in the men’s room.

The stupidity of a man’s midlife crisis, it’s Surface Paradise.

Australia kissing the arse of every other country, its’ I Still Call Australia 'HO

Hipster cool… well take your pick of every second song written by DC and Peter Minnack.

Which brings me back to the Corner Hotel and the Disco Machine. I went to it by myself the night before Soundwave. So I was alone in a quite a funny crowd of people. I didn’t have that great a time because I didn’t know anyone and drinking alone is just kind of silly. The support acts weren’t for my taste, I would have preferred to see the Bennies or Deez Nuts do a party set, instead we got the acoustic comedy stylings of Frankie Walnut . I don’t think I was Melbourne enough to like it.

For once in my life at a gig I felt too young. The average age of the audience seemed to be 55; there was a lot of grey hair, shiny heads and tidy clothes. I’m a bit used to being the oldest at gigs, which must look weird when you’re watching bands like the Clowns who are my son’s age or NOFX when a young women comes out of the mosh pit pointing to our matching Clown’s tee-shirts and says ‘well one of us has to  go home and change!

But the Disco Machine was a cool gig; the dancing, the lights, mirror balls, two drummers (who I could really only hear one of) special guests, backing singers, backing violins .

I think the best part for me was hearing DC perform the Future Sound of Nostalgia, it’s such an amazing song and proves DCs ability to write a pop song without the TISM/narrative/cynic badge. That song should be sung at Eurovision by an ex Idol winner not TISM performing.

So this now brings me to Michelle Thomas . Michelle released a review of Damian Cowell's Disco Machine gig at the Corner Hotel called THE FAMOUS BLOGGER MEETS​ THE ANONYMOUS ROCKSTAR which very nicely describes the night I  had at the gig. 

Except I think I got quoted and described really wrong and in a quite troubling way.

You see Michelle has written articles about being body shamed on tinder and was published in The Independent. What she wrote was really amazing, I didn’t realise until today that it was her who I met at the Corner Hotel, who asked me about what I liked about Damian Cowells music. To which I said it was ‘like an English teacher’s wet dream’. While probably crapping on about metaphors, how many times I’ve seen him play and all the shit I’ve typed out above this here paragraph.

Surprise, I knew DC was an English teacher which is why I said it. Some of us have studied English too.

The second bit, and I don’t know if it was me, said ‘"I've got a better picture than that for you" he bellows, ripping up his 4XL Tshirt and exposing a TISM tattoo on his back.’

I remember showing Michelle my TISM bunny tattoo because it matched that girls tee-shirt, its one of my favourite tattoos, I certainly don’t remember ripping off my shirt, as its on my inner arm and no big deal to show.  But if it was me, then being described as enormous and 4XL is bad for me or the other guy.

We can’t all be willowy , 24 year old rocker types in skinny jeans, long hair and oozing cool our whole lives. We men have to grow up (and wide) and we come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some of us are tall and don’t feel tall. Some of us are friendly and people think we are too loud. Some of us wince when we see our guts and ask ourselves ‘what does it all mean?’ Some of us are filled with indecision and would like to do art full time, but we sacrifice ourselves for our families, kids and mortgages. We would like to be rock and rollers but instead we watch Damian Cowell and drink beers with our friends and dance like no one’s watching and hopefully with a bunch of people we like to do that with.

For the record: I'm 113 kgs and wear XL. shirts and 38 inch jeans. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Gotta catch em all

My art work is available now to purchase online at Nolan Gallery

All works are A3 size,  ink on paper and they come mounted on matt board ready for framing.
 So start working those credit cards ready for a unique Christmas gift.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Low Art for High Ideals 2.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

I was asked, quite out of the blue, to produce some art works for the Nolan Gallery. Betty Nolan gave me measurements of the space I could fill and left it to me. I decided that I would produce a series of drawings in pen, ink, pencil and airbrush. The drawings themselves are based on a number of themes and styles found in tattoo and comic book art, specifically science fiction comics published in the United Kingdom in the 1980s.

The Tattoo themes have come from trying to teach myself to tattoo and learn to draw in that style. Tattooing requires a sureness of stroke, confidence and replication and the ability to not worry about inflicting pain on your client. The art style of tattoos is usually defined by clear bold lines, vibrant blended colours and rich black shading. Tattooing is buyer dependent. The client is the person who decides what they want and where. This has a tendency to create a sameness in tattoo designs as various trends are followed and then discarded. For the tattooist it’s a balancing act between giving the client what they want, doing good work that will sell, and forging a creative path that lets them stand out from the crowd.

By learning to tattoo I found I needed to slow down my drawing to a crawl, I needed to be incredibly critical of my work, and I needed to follow rules of drawing and illustration. I also had to learn and apply those rules. I needed to practice and repeat. I have never really done this before. My approach to drawing has been mostly gestural and ‘letting the chips fall where they may.’ Which is fine, if you do life drawing with charcoal or draw for pleasure, but not for creating highly refined pen and ink drawings.  
At one point this year I was about to give up art production and just play video games and my guitar. My painting practice wasn’t getting anywhere, tattooing practice had stalled and I had been refused a number of public exhibitions. But then something fortuitous happened. The author John Birmingham had asked his readers to enter into a fan fiction competition based on his Dave Vs. The Monsters series of books, which had just been published by Random House. I can’t write narrative or dialogue to save myself. So instead I drew some sketches of the monster characters found in his books. Needless to say Mr Birmingham published my drawings on his website in between the fan fiction. He also called me ‘an artist, a real one’. I was very pleased to have an author whose work I regularly buy and read actually call me that. I usually just call myself cubicle schlub or under worked civil servant.

As I said some of these works are based around themes that are used in tattoos. These themes can be found in the koi fish, the crow, the pin up girls, the Día de Muertos motif, Chinese dragons and roses. I have added in things I like into the works as well. My pug dog (Lily Von Puggle) makes an appearance being held by the dragon. The Día de Muertos girl has a moko tattoo on her chin in reference to growing up in New Zealand.


The monsters come from the sketches for John Birmingham’s fan fiction competition. The standing monster is called Trevo’r Thresh and the huge horrific blob is the Low Queen. I based these on the descriptions found in his books. The Low Queen is the wrong size but the right kind of ugly according to John Birmingham.

The Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse, and the pin up girl riding a bomb are an exercise in irony. The Horsewomen are usually depicted in art as either men or ghouls. I chose to put them in as cute female figures to enhance the irony. The girl riding the bomb is just whimsy and a way of creating a complete epic image of a city scape. 

The Exhibition is currently running at Nolan Gallery and Art School

Space 109, Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Place, Hobart Tasmania 7004 Australia 

List of works.
1.    Two Tattoo motifs fight to the death. Crow wins.
2.    Bring your own bomb.
3.    Koi fish
4.    The Low Queen.
5.    Trevo’r Thresh
6.    Día de Muertos with Moko.
7.    Pin up girl on a wall of roses.
8.    Modernism goes to the knacker’s yard.
9.    A Chinese Dragon in the West.
10.  The Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse 

All works are pen, ink and pencil on acid free drawing paper.
Size A3.

Monday, 16 March 2015

So yeah this just happened....

Ironically this week I was thinking of packing it all in  and just play video games and my guitar badly.

I think I might just have to keep going a bit longer now. 

Monday, 9 March 2015


I went to MONA on Sunday. I had this wonderful idea of going to find my 5 least favourite works and writing about them. 

Unfortunately there wasn’t much going on except River of Fundament but I’m not really inclined to sit and watch a 6 hour opera of anything, let alone watching a wanky art film about nothing except poo and vague representations of pornography and history. If I wanted to do that I could watch porn hub on one screen and open Wikipedia on the other and pretend I’m clever and interesting.

  1. Fundament



noun: fundament; plural noun: fundaments

1.the foundation or basis of something.  
2. Formal humorous

a person's buttocks or anus.

The props from River of Fundament are on display and basically my initial feelings are
  •    Meh 
  •  ‘you spent how much on what now?’ 
  •  I really like the Egyptian artifacts on display, especially the falcon. Seriously it’s 2,500 years old and looks a millions dollars.

One of the things with contemporary art is the total bias against traditional painting, sculpture and skill based works. Not for us is artwork that looks like the artist spent some time and ability developing a skill set that creates work that makes you go ‘wow!’

By definition ‘wow’ is I can’t do that myself right now, gosh that looks amazing, it makes me feel wonderful, perplexed, questioned and enthused.

There isn’t much ‘wow’ at MONA at the moment, the big bronze head with the flashing lights and the fat Porsche, maybe the pinball machine of creepy death or the Sidney Nolan paintings. The porcelain vaginas are back on the wall, although my thoughts are when I see them is: wouldn’t it be neat if they got the casts of Cynthia Plastercaster  made in rubber and hung them on the opposite wall so you could,  if you were so inclined, smack your head into a rubber facsimile of Jimi Hendrix’s appendage.  Or the rich and famous members looking longingly to the unknown vaginas on the wall. They could sell Rock and Roll rubber appendages at the Mona gift shop too. Sure fire winner there.

The MONA Museum is supposed to be about sex and death; what’s more sexier and death defying than a dead rock star’s rubber facsimile of their appendage for sale?

The other exhibition on show was the Biennale of Moving Images. In short it was utterly terrible. And I have express reasons for this.

[I must put a caveat on this, I have done a lot of film making and I was a professional camera operator for 8 years and a camera assistant for four. I have made professional films, ‘experimental’ films, corporate videos, fun films, music videos, comedy, scripted short films and assisted on some big and small productions. I still shoot things occasionally, mostly live music, where I take my tiny HD Samsung still camera to gigs and drunkenly shoot a song or two and put it on my YouTube channel. (108,000 views and counting…) or my dogs. ]

The films I saw were just bad, banal, terribly made and repetitive. There was nothing deep to them, no wow factor and contained nothing but what is symptomatic of contemporary art production in the 21st century.

I watched one film made of a big HD projection screen and two smaller plasma screens replaying what looked like a Facebook search on an IPhone. The big screen played an exhibition of custom boy racer cars, a sort of Pimp My Ride for French people. The camera work was atrocious and wobbly with fast editing, which said and did nothing. The plasma screens had images of body building men showing off their ripped stomachs. I read the MONA app and that’s what it was about too. I think the artist was trying to be metaphorical. Really? That’s not a metaphor but a pun, and a shit one at that. 

Everybody watched, too scared to say anything and they had the blank look of desperation that people at art events always have.

The look that says, I should be interested in this, I should know what this means, I do know what this means but I’m too scared to say….this is bullshit! 

Another film was a guy smashing concrete with an axe. And that was it; the customers sat on the seats in front of the screen looking bored. Maybe that was the point? Bore your audience until they fall over comatose.

Another had flamingos cut outs placed to the side of the screen, cheap ass plastic buckets with gaffer tape on them was in front of the screen. And the film? Out of focus repetitive nonsense of the same quality as the others.

It wasn’t over my head, there wasn’t anything deep to it. These films were all surface, and what is really galling to me as an artist is the kudos given to them like they are somehow important and talented because their work was chosen for exhibition. 

Let’s make no bones about it; the exhibited work was a big steaming pile of dog shit. 

A card should be given to each person who enters MONA so they know how to view these films.

On the card it should say. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Emergence by John Birmingham - Book Review

Emergence by John Birmingham, aka Birmo, Aka Ole JB, Aka owner of the ole persuader

As a rule I don’t usually read books with orcs, magic, dragons and fantasy novels in general. Oh how I have tried though. I tried reading Lord of the Rings, I read the first one skipping pages of idiot songs, Tom Bombidil sleep overs, and endless dialog about nothing. Apparently there was a balrog somewhere. I know this because the hobbits said ‘look a balrog!’ I haven’t read Harry Turtledove’s fantasy books either, even though I do love his books. I mostly read books with explosions and alternative history themes or nonfiction books about history and its associated explosions. I didn’t mind comics with dragons but only if they were English and featured Slaine and drawn by an Italian. But fantasy novels I just struggle with. Game of Thrones is left unfinished as the TV show just crushed the story, what’s the point in reading it when the blu-ray is easier and looks Lena Hadley amazing?

I’ve own a number of JB books. He died with Falafel in his Hand, the World War 2.0 series, The Wave series and Leviathan. Leviathan is one of my favourite books. Ever.

I read JB’s Blunt Instrument column in the Brisbane Times and join in the merriment on his website at

I once offered JB an idea for a new book series and am totally disappointed that he didn’t write up my suggestion of Australian Aboriginals that created a near industrial culture over 40,000 years and those Aboriginals proceed to ‘discover’ England by sailing a fleet into South Hampton in 1766. I’m totally sure he will do that next.

Emergence concerns Dave Hooper, a middle aged overweight, overwrought engineer going through a mid-life crisis of spending too much money, divorcing his wife, losing interaction with his kids and pretending he is still 20. His reason for living is to pack in as many hookers and as much blow into his crisis until he either dies or grows up. Dave works on an oil rig as a safety manager off the NOLA coast. An extremely deep drilling experiment by the corporation he works for, manages to crack open a hole to a magical demon underworld which is full of orcs, magic queens, minions and general crazy people. All hell breaks loose and Dave becomes the hero of this and every hour; much to his jaundiced surprise.

Unlike ole JB’s other ‘plosions and tech warfare books Emergence has a single narrative perspective, which shuffles the story along at a brisk pace. You don’t need to turn back to follow each story strand. This also means that Dave’s humour and pathos are on every page. This makes for a laugh riot of in jokes, scatological humour, cynicism and some very well drawn criticism of the American military industrial complex.

I particularly like where Dave wrestles with his personal demons of dealing with his ‘ole persuader’, dealing with females who are better educated and couldn’t care less about him, and where he might just have to step up and be a man for once, which in this context means ‘Get the girl, kill the baddies and save the entire planet’.

One of the appealing things about John Birmingham’s books is that you get to view America as an outsider. America as a character becomes absurd, full of military bureaucrats, proto-fascists and lonely people being let down by the American dream.

Sometimes in the novel Dave can also appear as a bit of Aussie everyman, his ongoing joy about his new ultra fit body, the ability to eat whatever he wants and in huge amounts. (Which is frankly the Australian man’s dream, I mean have you seen our ability to barbeque like possessed demons?) Although I did notice Dave suffering remorse after having just one last chocolate milkshake.

We are all Daves now.


Post script.

Something JB doesn’t really do, is include musical references in his books, unlike his hero Stephen King who is always name checking AC DC, Springsteen and the Ramones. So I thought I would list an appropriate soundtrack for Emergence. Dave Hooper needs a soundtrack to play on his iPod while eating, as would the supporting characters to drown out the noise of Dave eating.

Note* This is written down as a soundtrack to my imaginary Dave Hooper movie  

New Orleans is a Dying Whore’ by Down. Intro song, title and director credits.

The Great Southern Trend Kill’ by Pantera. Helicopter ride to the rig on the crap worn out seat with the mean civilian cat lady pilot.

Wake Up! Time to Die’ by Pop Will Eat Itself. The memories of the last night of hookers and blow.

Weekend Warrior’ by Ministry. The first fight with the Hunn when Dave brains the orc with Lucille.

Where Eagles Dare’ Misfits cover by Biohazard. Where the SEAL team assemble to move Dave and meet the oversized scout.

One Shot One Kill’ by Pro-Pain. The fight scene with the Scout.

Surface Paradise’ by Root! As Dave travels via car, background noise on the radio.

Nemesis’ by Shriekback segueing into NWA on the car stereo.  The Hunn coming up through the sewers in New Orleans and getting royally confused by baseball caps.

Guns for Show, Knives are Pro’ by Parkway Drive.For the Hunn.

Sheep in Black’ by the Clowns. Dave eating while thinking about his brother and the military men surrounding him.

Get the Girl, Kill the Baddies’ by Pop Will Eat Itself. End Credit sequence