Demythologizing LSD


GIMP first tryLSD is one of the most talked-about drugs ever to exist. That’s ironic but forgivable, because translating the experience into words isn’t easy. Only those who’ve used it really get the meaning of the word “tripping”.

The recent rebirth of LSD is starting a second wave of interest. Given that the competition for attention is absolute garbage like coke and ice, it’s not surprising that LSD is getting pretty positive feedback. It’s like comparing a Rolls Royce to an empty KFC bucket. Continue reading

Where are the civilized people?


Wasp2People may find it hard to believe, but there was a time when obsessions and neuroses weren’t the sole basis of society. People had civilized intellectual lives, something few people have today. They had interests other than watching other people, and did something themselves. They even had something to talk about.

Some background:

The things civilized people didn’t admire included –

  • People weren’t obsessed with money and sex. These weren’t the sole topics of conversation. Nor were they the sole reason for social contact.
  • People weren’t proud of their ignorance. General knowledge was an expectation.
  • Criminals weren’t heroes and didn’t run countries. They were expensive minor nuisances.
  • People didn’t talk about religion, and minded their own business about your beliefs.
  • Illiteracy wasn’t a criterion for status. It was either a disability or proof of stupidity.
  • “Success” meant actual, unique achievement, not a return to the caves with some dismal, boring, collection of tales about battles with spreadsheets.
  • Politics was seen in its true light of employment for the useless and sycophantic. It was for the dummies in the family.

Continue reading

Bibliotherapy? Take two Hesse books and call me in the morning?


Wasp2I have to admit that the entire science of bibliotherapy has managed to pass me by, probably for its own good. I just read something in the New Yorker which aroused my skepticism as much as my interest. The idea of reading for therapy is pretty much hilarious and fascinating to me.

According to Ceridwen Dovey in the NYer, the question of whether reading can make you happier is a moot point which needs to be proven. For a writer, it’s not hard to prove. For a real reader, it’s not even a question.

However – According to Dovey’s experience, bibliotherapy is a way of coping, a very valuable form of therapy, and it’s based on actual needs.


OK, I can easily see why reading can be used as a working outlet for issues. When I get bored with this tedious, bogus, world, which is about every 0.5 seconds, I read science fiction. Not to escape, but to remind me that somewhere in this increasingly stupid civilization people do think about things which are more interesting than trivia. To read new ideas and new logic.

That is undeniably therapeutic for me. It’s also one of the reasons I write. I have to say, though, in all honesty, that when I searched bibliotherapy on Goodreads, I got a shopping list. I recognize quite a few of the authors, and the scope of therapy seems to include everything from Tolstoy to something called Schol Reader Level 2: If You’re Angry And You Know It, designed to sort out emotions for young kids. Continue reading

The Threat-Hamster books and the writing ethos


Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverMy books are to some extent a reaction against literalism and pedantic writing styles. I find the idea of explaining everything to readers both patronising and pointless. To me, that style of writing takes the freedom of interpretation and the fun of reading away from the reader.

The Threat-Hamster books are all about visualisation. This is a world of unfamiliar things, in which the reader is quite free to interpret and see the different scenarios and situations as they wish.

Some things, for example the visual appearance of the characters, are not explained at all. You can read all three Threat-Hamster books and all you’ll find out is that one of the characters is an ash blonde. The storylines are based on extended logic, largely derived from the characters. These books are supposed to be fun, interesting, and enjoyable.

Ads_Cover_for_KindleI’ve certainly learned a lot from my characters. As it turned out, the only “normal” that I’ve ever written, Ads, was actually a development of the characters. In some parts, they more or less wrote the book for me, and I just came along for the ride. Continue reading

Dr. Mary’s Monkey and the other America- Essential reading


DR MARYIf there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s hysterical conspiracy theories, alleging anything and everything based on the flimsiest facts and in many cases pure innuendo. Edward T Haslam’s book Dr. Mary’s Monkey is the exact opposite. This is an objective, highly- staggeringly- researched book, with a lot of attention paid to confirmation of facts.

The subject is the story of the contamination of the polio vaccines given to a generation of Americans. These vaccines were contaminated with known carcinogens used on test monkeys, mice and other animals. A subsequent epidemic of soft tissue cancers is believed to have occurred. How the contamination occurred and the story of the “weaponization” of carcinogens is an intriguing and in many cases hideous story. Continue reading

New York Fashion Week 2015 – Selling corpselike ugliness, badly


NYFW1NY Fashion Week is something people usually look forward to, knowing it will be at least one bright spot in the fashion year. 2015 NY Fashion Week screams, “We have no talent, we don’t care, we sell ugliness”. This wasn’t a fashion event; it was an epidemic of low grade diseases.

At this rate, the NY fashion industry will be out of business in a few days. If this is the level of design top labels can be bothered to put on display to the world, death is too good for them.

A few points about the basic presentation of this atrocity:

  • Deformed farm animals, and worse, as models.
  • Dresses with swizzle sticks in them instead of human beings.
  • Pathetic derivative designs, dating back to real fashion but nowhere near as good.
  • Color sense (The Pastel Peasants Look) which makes any sewer look like a comparative Renaissance/Baroque extravaganza of good taste. What, couldn’t get any other pigments from Bangladesh?
  • Blush? Who wears blush? DSLR cameras don’t need blush. Even cattle don’t wear blush.
  • Models with skin problems and blemishes nobody could be bothered addressing. (Presumably the Psoriasis R Us Look?)
  • Hairstyles from optometrist escapees no doubt on America’s Least Interesting list.
  • The Corpses R Us Look, in which necrophilia is the one common feature of models, clothes and presentation values. You can almost see Vincent Price tagging along at the end of the show, saying “They’re actually paying me to do this, you know”.

The fashion industry is famous for its insensitivity and insults to intelligence. When it starts insulting its own intelligence, that very vague thing, you know things are bad.

When the industry starts destroying its own bottom line, however, questions have to be asked:

  • People are supposed to be able to make money out of this crap explosion. How? Souvenirs, maybe?
  • Never mind who – What in the name of God is going to wear these enemas?
  • Can you think of any particular animal, waste product, or fossil desperate enough to be seen in a car crash wearing these horrors?

Medals for fashion writers and photographers

The creative process coverIt’s not often I feel much real empathy with fashion writers, fashion blogs or editors. I follow them as part of my own work. I think they do a pragmatic job, most of the time. They’re commercial writers, like me, doing a job for themselves and their industry.

The ethics of the job are simple – You do things realistically for your clients, your businesses and your publications. These guys tolerate the intolerable because it’s business. This time, however, I found myself wondering, and worrying that people were asking too much of them.

Overall, the fashion writers did a truly noble job, ripping out with their bare hands a choice of selections of the offal and fecal surprises from 2015 NY Fashion Week. This is verbal bravery in the finest traditions of NY writing. Read Bloomberg or The New York Times for fashion’s answer to storming the beaches at Tarawa.

NY fashion writers traditionally write despite all appeals to personal health interests, selflessly taking the English language to places it may not want to go. You can’t hear the antihistamines and the undoubted sobbing. You can hear the sanity creaking.

Getty Pictures, probably against doctor’s advice, took pics as always, bravely going in to the void of nondescript total failure in search of enlightenment. There wasn’t any enlightenment, anywhere, and that’s not Getty’s fault.

Even The New York Times, which will support anything in NY regardless of considerations of sanity, couldn’t do a lot with this pitiful collection of clichés and leftovers.

Who’s to blame?

There is absolutely no point in singling out which particular vermin are responsible for this debacle. This is the last pitiful death-fart of NY fashion, a desperate attempt at mediocrity, and even that didn’t succeed.

In the We Have No Aspirations category, it’s anybody’s award. The big names and the newbies seem to be equally uninspired.

In the Totally Unimaginative Presentation category, it has to be said that presenting fashion the same way they auction cattle really does leave a few things to be desired. The tiles are more interesting than the presentation. A high school fashion show does it better.

In the Brain Dead Model selection category, everyone’s a winner. Why would models need faces? Some of these models don’t, or shouldn’t, have faces. Are you guys too dumb to figure out that “Some barnyard animal wearing my designs” might not be great for sales? Don’t you know that having eyes half an inch apart can be a turnoff? …Or are you into that?

This is what real models look like, you peasants: Note that they’re alive, have eyes in the right places, and have human anatomies. Look and learn.

Moving on to the We Wonder What Model Presentation Means category – In the old days, models were expected to look like they were taking amphetamines to watch their weight and coke to help them pretend to be alive. If these models were used as anti-drug posters, the war against drugs would have a future. No self-respecting 12 year old would ever touch drugs. Ice users before and after look more alive than they do.

(Admittedly, they may just be too overworked to think about any sort of presentation. Maybe the vast intellectual effort of getting people to walk on time down an empty floor is too much. Maybe they think boring people to death is the required standard. Perhaps a nice lie down and a crayon would be appropriate before euthanasia.)

In the “Men’s Fashions are for Coma Wear” category, the question is – What men’s fashions? Even The New York Times could only come up with one Lacoste, the best of a truly horrendous bunch of remnant bin contenders, and a sort of Ken Doll Reunion profile shot of guys for Duckie Brown.

This is modern media?

Says who?

This was truly beyond pitiful.

The NY 2015 Day Care Week of the Living Dead has a lot to answer for. The net upshot of this catastrophic descent into trivia should be “Never Again”.

LOGO with Sydney Media Jam edit 300PPI



Correct professional titles for annoying people


American Valhalla page 28If you’re stuck for appropriate descriptions of people in their professional official capacity, a few tips. It’s more important to emphasize the importance of the person than what they actually do. A true professional title is really a sort of character reference.

Doctor Arschwunder (rough translation “Arse miracle”) from my Threat-Hamster books is a sort of template for honorifics and professional titles. (I read Gargantua when I was a kid, so blame Rabelais.)

There are naturally correct professional titles for all professions and even individuals. Simply consider what’s wrong with that person, and elaborate.

Honorifics by profession:

Accountant: Your Inscrutability

Aged care facility worker: Your Recentness

Architect: Your Unfathomable Grandeur

Bureaucrat: Your Unblemished Purity

Cabinet maker: Your Stainworthiness Continue reading

Reinventing the arts 2: Reinventing literature


GIMP first tryWhether anyone likes it or not, the fact is that literature is evolving, despite Easy Bake storylines and a prehistoric idea of content. Fascinating as middle class storylines never will be, there’s no doubt at all that the boundaries of literature, its forms and its market are on their way to real revolution.

By “real” revolution, I mean the mob rule form. Not a conscious decision, not organised, not a political motif, but a general move to new territory. Formats and technology are awakening a monster that’s been asleep since the modernists. Post-modernism was a wank and a half. The alternative to post-modern was conservative, and like all good little illiterates, the publishing industry, which has the artistic knowledge base of a house brick, defaulted to the current scenario. Continue reading

Reinventing the arts 5: Reinventing graphic art business models


Wasp2Graphic art is perhaps the most frustrating of all the arts these days. A visual medium, applied to a global market which is all visual. The difference between brilliance and boredom is defined in a single glance. Graphic artists have to sell their work to various levels of comprehension. They have to deal with tech-minded people who know all about DSLRs, but know nothing about content.

In the high-paced world of 5 seconds of relevance, this isn’t a great business model. Demand ranges from the vacuous to the vague, and the editorial jobs, if thankless, are also unsympathetic. An editor may want what pleases a publisher, not high quality content. They may want high quality content, but only know it when they see it. Leave out the nepotism and the acidity, and this is a career path? Continue reading

Reinventing the arts 4: Reinventing the creative process


Ads_Cover_for_KindleThe creative process, depending on the person/people involved can be a tricky expedition through thinking, logic, self-argument and visualization at the best of times. Turning the creative ideas into a practical working option is also an acquired taste. The trouble is that after this trek across the rocks is an even bigger obstacle course of more issues- Business, intellectual property, marketing, etc.

One of the problems here is perspective. Each part of the process thinks their part of it is simple and easy to understand. It’s how things are done. There’s no doubt that artists are chronically under-educated in the other processes, though. There’s a difference between the arts and “precedent”, which is what most of the economic aspects of creativity are based on. Continue reading