name: Simon. Bags to some, Geddusanuthafugginbeerwillya to others.
in romantic relationships, what is your gender preference, if applicable?: Mostly Hetero. A relationship on official hiatus because we're about 11,000 miles from each other right now.
general location: Originally from Australia, currently based in England, no set location other than the road for the rest of the year once I step off again in my journey of the global north.
list 5-10 favorite books:
All Quiet on the Western Front
Brave New World
Down To The Crossroads
Homage to Catalonia
Macbeth (play, yes, but I read it years before I ever saw it performed and it's my favourite Shakespeare)
how about favorite authors?:
Most of my favourite authors are journalists or academics who have turned to long-form writing, like Guy Rundle or George Megalogenis, or former politicians like Lindsay Tanner or Tony Benn. I've been really rather slack with regards to fiction for the past few years and so can't really point to any favourite authors.
can you write/speak in any other language? if not, n/a:
Sadly not. I can say "hello", "thankyou", and "coffee, please" in a good dozen-odd languages but rarely any more than that.
any magazines/newspapers you enjoy?:
I've bought the Morning Star almost every day since coming to England, it's fantastic, and for Australian news I have an online subscription to Crikey, which far outstrips any australian print papers. Most magazines I buy tend to be political journals these days - QE, International Socialism, Historical Materialism etc.
do you read the works of any philosophers?/if so, which?/or no:
I appreciate, even if I don't necessarily enjoy or agree with, the classical Greek philosophers - Socrates, Xeno, Diogenes, Aristotle. More modern philosophers who appeal to me include Hegel, Camus, Zizek, Nietzsche and of course Marx.
2-20 punk bands you prefer:
I'll be honest here: punk is not my number one genre, it is not my genre of preference, it's just another genre I listen to. This may put me at a minority here and it will almost certainly mean that a lot of my choices are pretty entry-level or of questionable punkness. On the other hand it means I have more to learn from the community!
Minor Threat, Refused, Operation Ivy, Dillinger Four, Frenzal Rhomb, Cro-Mags, Arrivals, Fugazi, Leftover Crack, Dropkick Murphys, Charged G.B.H., One Night Stand In North Dakota, Disfear, The Clash, Municipal Waste, Descendents, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Poison Idea, Bomb The Music Industry.
2-20 bands of other genres you prefer [if you listen to more than just punk]:
As I said punk is just one of many genres I listen to - by all rights this list should be about ten times as long.
Radiohead, Wintersun, Sufjan Stevens, Outkast, Opeth, Daft Punk, Miles Davis, Funkoars, The Beatles, Kanye West, Shining (norwegian), The Pogues, Wu-Tang Clan, Girl Talk, Nevermore, Blackstar and several hundred others.
I guess most of these have already been covered.
do you like classical music?:
I do and see no reason not to. Classical is such a broad field, too, most often used to refer to several genres (baroque, romanticist, neoclassical, folk ballets) over hundreds of years ('classical' certainly covers more musical ground than 'punk' does) so as long as you're open to long, complex music played with the instruments it is as opposed to traditionally punk ones, you're bound to find something you enjoy.
how do you feel about rap/hip-hop?:
Love it. It's another genre with plenty of rubbish music but some great music too, just like punk - and I'd place hip-hop alongside punk as one of the only truly proletarian styles of music in the modern world. Of course the mainstream stuff is pretty crap, but how would you react if everyone judged punk based on bands like Green Day and My Chemical Romance, but with racism over the top of that already dumb judgement? Hip-hop deserves respect.
do you play any instruments? if so, which?:
Guitar, but not especially regularly.
play something that is not guitar/drums/or bass?:
Had piano lessons when I was a kid, other than that, no.
in a band?:
Wild Colonial. Or, at least, I think that would be a cool name for a band if I was in one.
5-10 favorite movies:
I don't watch many movies. Ones I do enjoy: Boondock Saints, Serenity, Dead Poets' Society, Spirited Away, The Dark Knight.
Ehnn, judging by that, action I guess... suppose I'm an uncultured pleb.
what political party do you associate yourself with?:
None. This is a very deliberate choice which has come from joining two parties (the Australian Labor Party at 16, the Australian Democrats at 19) and leaving both after being appalled by the way they acted. I also feel that as a journalist it's improper for me to be a member of a party - though I will gladly throw my support behind one on a particular issue. I could see myself joining the Greens when/if I return to Australia, but would rather remain independent for now.
what do you think about the outcome of election 2004?:
Actually you know what this is MAD outdated so I'm going to change this and the next one to the far more relevant '08 job because who gives a shit about '04 anymore.
2008 was not a good result. But it was the least worst result viable in the American system. Which is to say it's still kind of a bad result. Obama's campaign was fantastic, yes - hell, even I got caught up in the hype and hope and there's nothing to say I wouldn't if it happened again (without hindsight) today. It's just that he's still part of a ruling class waging class war on his citizens and actual war on millions elsewhere.
what do you think of john kerry/george w. bush?:
Can I say something here? I think Obama may be the best thing to have ever happened to the Republicans. Here they were, struggling to be relevant, presenting in John McCain a candidate who extolled the virtes of private enterprise but had been a lifelong public servant, who spoke of individualism and hard work but got where he was by being the son of an Admiral and marrying a beer heiress. And in Obama, they were faced with a charismatic candidate who both spoke a message more radical than he was, and then also had the radical tag forced upon him because he was young and black - but then went and ran a regime barely more progressive than Bush Snr. And because the radical progressive tag that he started has stuck, the Republicans have been able to recast the 'centre' as something way fucken out there in space.
But then again, when I read Dreams From My Father, there are still bits which I empathise with and feel like he would be an okay guy just to chat with, so who knows?
ever been to a political rally?:
A few small ones in Hobart and one massive, half-million-person one in London. The former felt futile and pathetic, the latter utterly glorious.
have you ever helped to organize/been in a protest?:
The March 26 rally in London was so big that there were several protests/riots involved in it. I was in the kettle at Piccadilly Circus, where dozens of people began singing the Internationale. I regret not being with the occupying force at Fortnum and Mason's.
what do you think about the Patriot Act?:
Is this, like, some sort of question to weed out people who aren't reading? Shit, does anybody like the fucking patriot act? I get a harder time when travelling because of it and I'm not even a US citizen.
should the u.s. have attacked iraq?:
Again, really fucking obvious answer. Course you fucking well shouldn't, and we shouldn't have gone along but Howard's head was too far up Bush's arsehole.
should we still be there?:
If by 'we' you mean the US Military, no. If it means, in my case, the Australian Defense Force then I would see less of a problem because one of our roles - in an ideal world, our chief/only role - is the training of an Iraqi police force and army so that they can be self-sufficient after getting gutted by coalition forces.
what, to you, is anarchy? is it a tangible possibility in today's world?:
There are a number of anarchical movements with legitimacy, but I feel the only form of anarchism workable in a long-term sense in modern society is anarcho-syndicalism. While communism is the only way to run larger nations, small communities, whether isolated by choice or by circumstance, would benefit from an anarcho-syndicalist arrangement. They are two different ways of working on the same principle - rule by the people, of the people, for the people - which is the highest that can be aspired to in this context.
how do you feel about 9/11?:
A tragic event which has been overplayed to the point of sympathy fatigue and used to justify all manner of deeds far more evil than the original evil act.
is an eating disorder really a disease?:
Not a 'disease', per se, because that doesn't fit the definition of disease. Certainly something of concern, but something which can only be 'solved' with education and a supportive society.
what do you think about american media?:
is self-mutilation (i.e., cutting/burning/etc. oneself) a legitimate psychological problem, or are self-injurers all attention-whores? why/why not?:
I don't know about 'legitimate psychological problem', because there are all sorts of grey areas there, but it is certainly not an 'attention whore' thing in all but a few cases (and in many of those, a real cry for help may be confused with simple childish attention-seeking). I knew one girl in high school who did it because it seemed like the thing a girl like her (playing up the 'dark/depressed' image) should do, I knew another who did it because she genuinely felt she had nothing to live for and attempted suicide a few ways. If you judged one by the standards of the other you'd be horribly wrong.
is racism understandable/acceptable? why/why not?:
Understandable because the capitalist media benefits from easy scapegoats and a divided working class so it's happy to promote a racist agenda.
how about sexism?:
See above: understandable because of the role of the capitalist media and the fact that the system benefits from oppression, acceptable never.
how do you feel about abortions?:
A woman's choice - 'safe, legal and rare'. At the very least, should the idea of an unborn fetus as a human being be considered of importance, the laws must radically change, because they currently have nothing to do with the sanctitity of life or equivalencing an unborn child with a born one and everything to do with punishing women for having sex.
As a man who is mostly attracted to women, I can marry the person who I love and who loves me. There is no reason for this not to be the case for all adults except for a dumb passage in an old book which places the exact same level of emphasis on not eating shellfish the very next line.
Consensual and between two mature people? Go for your fucking life, mate.
drugs [and legalization of]/alcohol/smoking/sXe people?:
I respect sXe individuals (well, the ones who aren't self-righteous and preachy about it) though it's unlikely I would do it myself for more than my occasional one-month bouts for either detox or focus (on something like upcoming exams). Some drugs should be legalised, there's no question about marijuana for example. Others such as heroin offer no positive attributes whatsoever and even at the most casual level are life-ruining and I'd rather those remain illegal. I don't smoke and think that because cigarette addiction has a negative impact on health it should be discouraged, regulated and heavily taxed. I do drink and think that because alcohol problems have a negative impact on both health and society at large (due to fights etc) it should be discouraged, regulated and heavily taxed.
are piercings/tattoos just a form of "acting out?":
Can be, can just be a way of expressing something on your own body, again, case-by-case. I don't have any piercings (just because I'm not so keen on them) nor do I have any tatts (because I apply a seven-year rule on them due to it being a permanent mark: if I think of a cool idea, and still think it's cool seven years later, I'll get it. All of my tattoo ideas I had when I was fifteen were 'decent but not something I'd want permanently on me" at best and "wow you were a fucking dumbarse" at worst, so I think it's a good rule.)
do you consider religion a positive thing?:
If it's used positively, yes. An idea I've been working on-and-off on is a thesis on Christian Socialism, the idea that the teachings of Christ himself are far more compatible with those of Marx than they are of Reagan. And I've never met a Buddhist who wasn't at the very least a nice person.
do neo-nazis have valid points?:
None whatsoever and I will fight you if you say otherwise.
what, to you, constitutes 'extreme' feminism? how do you feel about it?:
"Extreme" feminism is almost entirely a myth invented by the partiarchy and the media they control in order to discredit feminism as a whole. Think of those feared 'feminazis' - now think, have you ever seen one? Ever? Even on youtube or TV or something? It's like fucking bigfoot.
do extreme animal-rights activists have good reason for the sometimes intense actions they take?:
I don't agree with their methods but I understand why they think those methods are necessary.
what do you think about vegetarians/vegans?:
I don't respect it at all from a health perspective, and from a moral perspective I think it's flawed - would you force a bear, another omnivorous animal, to remove fish from its diet? But from an environmental perspective, where massive amounts of farmland which could grow wheat or rice to feed thousands are used to feed cows which can go on to feed merely dozens, that is something I can entirely empathise with and have considered myself.
should prostitution be legalized?:
Yes, and strictly regulated. In an ideal society there would be no need for prostitues, but for now, within the capitalist system, I suggest we look to Sweden and the regulations and laws which place the heaviest of emphases on the protection of the working woman.
how do you feel about incest?:
how about child-adult sexual relationships?:
Physically and morally wrong. A child cannot properly consent, therefore any sexual acts are immoral.
PICK A LYRIC! choose a lyric that describes the following and explain why:
last romantic relationship you were in:
Talking Heads, "Once In A Lifetime". We'd first met two years ago when I was quite a different person, we'd known each other well for over a year and then it all sort of slotted together wonderfully by accident and I found myself living in a beautiful house with a beautiful woman and asking myself how I got there. Of course, it's on hold now being as she's still in Australia and I'm in England, but the principle is still there.
your view towards life:
Sage Francis, "Three Sheets To The Wind". Doesn't matter what you say. I'm going full speed ahead.
Radiohead, "Idioteque". Everything is fucked but at least there's wonderful music along the way.
Ozi Batla, "Wild Colonial". "There was a wild colonial/stayed loaded up on rocket fuel/he died with words in his mouth/his testimonial/to make sure it's known to all/posted on the courthouse wall..."
punk rawkerz. what do you think about...
Utter fuckwit who did more for the popular image of the punk rock fan as a deadshit than every shitty modern appropriation of punk put together.
Made some good music and gave a much-needed breath of fresh air to the music charts in the early 90s. Shame he's remembered more for his death than his life.
A public agitator and a brilliant one. Big ups to him for seemingly existing simply to challenge what America thinks about itself.
john lydon [johnny rotten]?:
I respect him because he went on to other things after the Pistols instead of just living off the proceeds from them for the rest of his life. If you can have an assured career yet choose to push the boundaries instead then you're okay in my book, no matter the results.
I'll be honest, I've never paid much attention to his music or read enough about him to know whether his self-harm and throwing shit around on stage was for artistic expression (in which case it's still kind of questionable) or just to stand out or be more 'punk'/rebellious (in which case he was a deadshit).
I'll leave this one to Frenzal Rhomb and their song "Johnny Ramone Was In A Fucking Good Band But He Was A Cunt". I think the lyrics to that one sum it up pretty well.
Bona fide fucking legend both musically and ideologically/politically.
All I really know about the guy was that he was in a pretty good and innovative band, which is good, and he did loads of heroin and committed suicide in his early 20s, which is not-so-good.
situations. [as silly as these seem, they can say a lot about who you are.]
1. a friend has died and left you hundreds of thousands of dollars. what do you do with it?:
Fund a campaign, either for a serious issue or for a fair dinkum political figure.
2. condoleeza rice has come out of the closet as a lesbian. how do you think the government and country, including yourself, would react?
Today? The government would commend her while still doing bugger all about creating fairer LGBT legislation. I would wonder why she spent so long as part of an institution so ideologically opposed to LGBT rights then remember that most of the people who are the most virulently homophobic tend to be closeted.
3. the world suddenly and inexplicably is stricken with a plague. you, and a handful of other people are the only survivors. what do you do, and what are your feelings?
Find the other survivors. Put all of my effort into impressing upon them the need to build a community, and from there a society, instead of just mooching off what's left over. My feelings, whatever they may be, would be suppressed in order to work quickly and efficiently at a critical juncture.
what is your personal philosophy?:
Solidarity. Efficiency. Courtesy. Think about everything twice. Make an effort to understand the other point of view no matter how stupid it is.
what's your town's music scene like?:
Hometown (Hobart)? Rubbish, strong metal scene maybe five years ago but that got fucked from the inside and there was never anything in other genres. Current town (London)? So fucking preposterously productive it's impossible to keep up with any of it.
how about your high school? if you've graduated, tell us how yours was.:
High school in Australia refers to grades 7-10 (age 12-16), which was absolutely terrible. If you're talking the US definition that's closer to Australian college/matriculation/pretertiary (the term differs) which was great at the time but in retrospect not overly super but still pretty good.
where do you like to buy your clothes, music etc.?:
Clothes, wherever's reasonably priced. Music, from second-hand local record stores when possible, from the internet (preferably direct from the artist) otherwise.
how do you feel about the "elitist fashionxcore scene" kids?:
Does this exist? If so fuck them. I dress honestly pretty normal - runners or boots, jeans, a t-shirt or button-up, maybe a hiking jumper or a leather jacket - and my hair is probably even more normal (short and brown). I guess I'm already a heretic in their eyes, so fuck 'em.
do you do any acting?:
No. Did school musicals when I was young but that was only because my balls dropped later than everyone else so the one pay-off was that I got decent male soprano roles (and got the piss taken out of me the rest of the time).
is there anything unique you'd like to mention about you?
Unique? Only in terms of the sum of it's parts. Journalists, travellers, university graduates, former soldiers, agressively outspoken communists and male feminists - all of these exist, but I can't think of many people other than me who are all of those things at once.
show off your smart sense of humor:
Why do socialists drink green tea?
Because proper tea is theft.
scaramouche, scaramouche, will you do the fandango?:
THUNDERBOLTS AND LIGHTNING VERY VERY FRIGHTENING ME (honestly where did you think my user name came from)
promote us somewhere, give a link for proof here:
Segued into a discussion of lj communities in general on my journal here.
[POST PICTURES. >2 but <8]
Standard photo (camping with friends in Tasmania, 2010)
In one of the libraries in Topkapi Palace (Istanbul, March 2011)
Spider Jerusalem all up ins (Halloween party 2009)
Lookin' all snarly at a thrash gig (London, april 2011)
Lifting a car because we're cool (I'm the one in the green shirt front and centre) (hobart, january 2011)
any poems/photography/drawings you'd like to post?:
I've never really been the poetic type and I can't draw for shit, sorry. So have a photo taken on the crossroads of history: I'm standing in Europe, and can see Asia (taken a couple months ago in Turkey).