Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mosquito Sideboard #1

I had a vague notion (not to be confused with Ken Kesey's great notion)that I should ruthlessly emulate Hazel Blackberry's awesome blog with its light but nutty blanc mange of funny remembered conversations and piercing insights.

So I thought *I* should start remember all the fitfully amusing conversations that *I'm* part of. Like:

Me: Just this, thanks. [Displaying copy of Sydney Morning Herald that I intend to purchase].
Newsagent: That'll be [notional price. This is a fake anecdote. I don't really know how much the Herald (or S-M-H as Jessie Mo insists on calling it) actually costs].
Me: OK [Handing over coins].
Newsagent: Here [handing back a coin when I believed I'd given him the right money]
Me: Oh?
Newsagent: You gave me [notional amount] too much.
Me: Oh, OK, thanks.
Newsagent: No worries. Have a good day. Also I don't think the holocaust really happened.

But seriously (because that was a fake anecdote and the holocaust did really happen. But it's nice to know that a fictional holocaust denier can at least have some integrity when it comes to fictitious money. Fictitious holocaust deniers are bad people to be sure but they may not always be pure evil through and through), I had some bitter old men around for a drink in my back garden. Anyway, a couple of exchanges were fitfully amusing and I swore to remember them to post.

I thought that if I remembered a key word from each exchange I'd be able to piece the conversation back together. I carefully committed to memory: Mosquito Sideboard. Let me repeat that: Mosquito Sideboard.

But several weeks later, I'm buggered if I can remember what they signify. I'm like a police sergeant giving evidence in court.

Judge: Counsel for the defence may examine the witness.
Defence: Thank you, your Honour. Sergeant, can you please take us back to the events of the evening of the 27th of March?
Sergeant: Yes, sir. [Laboriously flips through note book, forwards and backwards, several times.] Ah, um, Mosquito Sideboard.
Prosecution: Objection!
Defence: No further questions, your Honour.

Next time I post, I may try to piece together the mystery that is Mosquito Sideboard.

In any case, Mosquito Sideboard is a perfectly decent band name. Along with my new current faves:

Use of Bees
Airport Emergency Fuel Stop

Friday, February 13, 2009

The day we called it a day

On the plane down to Sydney, the young woman next to me was writing out a long Valentine's Day message. It began: 'Dear Mum...'. Has it come to this? Are we now expected to write Valentine's Day cards to our parents?

"Dear Dad, I know we share a lot in the way of genetic material and that neither of us are gay but you're really becoming distinguished as you get older (those greying temples, mmm!) If I were an older gay man, I would totally go for you. Love, your son."

Should we move on to other festive occasions?

"Dear Mum and Dad. I know we all share republican tendencies but can we just take a moment to wish the Queen 'Happy Birthday'? Yours with affection etc"

I wonder what gift my sister will get me to celebrate Armistice Day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The best idea since pre-sliced bread

I was at a meeting the other day and someone said: ‘we don’t want to reinvent the wheel.’ Everybody nodded.

Inwardly I recoiled.

Why not re-invent the wheel? Is there any other human invention from 6000 years ago that we still use? If the PC had been invented by Assyrian goat herders, would we be so loathe to interfere with its engineering?

Why are we protecting the wheel from innovation? What are we afraid of? Are we so afraid of the shock of the new that we must swaddle this tired old piece of artifice in stale tradition? Can we not conceive of injecting a little new thinking into its ancient design?

Round is best. Everybody knows round is best. Of course. Of course. The one-sided shape is always the answer to your transportation or rolling needs. One side good, two sides, three, four sides, more sides bad.

I think it's time to challenge this cosy “common sense”. Its time to attack the comfortable perch of the spoked circle and its brainless adherents.

It is time, in short, to reinvent the wheel. Our children and our children’s children demand nothing less than an absolute commitment to relentless scrutiny of conventional wisdom.

I am going outside immediately to replace my car tyres with eggs and soft toys held together with sticky tape. Sure, it may not work. But how will we know until I try?