Monday, 25 January 2010

Nations built on genocide have bloody feet

Here in my place of residence, where they were kind enough to allow me citizenship a year or so ago, the nation has just embarked on its annual frenzy of self-congratulation and denial.
If you were to risk a stroll down the main street of any Australian town on this fine Tuesday you are likely to be assaulted by the sight of cars zooming past bearing Australian flags; driven by Australian flag cap, shorts and t-shirt wearing persons; possibly with an Australian flag bikini wearing person of the opposite gender beside them. There will be flags hanging out of windows, draped around the shoulders of intoxicated youths and being worn as decoration on the obligatory thongs - and here I do mean footwear - though more intimate apparel can also come with the Australian flag design.
January 26 is Australia Day - but more properly it is Invasion day - when the first fleet arrived from mother England and the land, having been declared terra nullis, was taken over for the British Crown.
For those of you whose Latin isn't quite up to scratch terra nullis is a simple enough concept - empty earth. Despite the fact that they knew very well that people were living here, this was treated as an inconvenient but minor issue that could easily be fixed with a policy of open genocide.
All of which makes the celebration of such an event seem a little...well...racist.
Ah, the nasty 'R' word. Shane Warne - that great example of Australian manhood is off to India to help improve relations with the Indian people - who seem to be getting a disproportionate number of beatings on Melbourne's streets - not that the police think there is any racial motivation for such attacks. Warney's plan is simple - "We all like our cricket don't we? Well, there you go...". Now I know that I'm not in the same league of intellectual genius as our great international sportspeople...but there seems to be a few steps of logic that have been missed out here.
The constant denial of racism in a nation clearly constructed on it would be funny if it didn't have such serious consequences. This is after all the country that had to have Harry Connick Jr. remind it that blackface performances on national television, for laughs, were just not very funny.
So when I came across the two gnomes whose picture grace this post I had to think several times about how they should be considered. Yes, they are blacked up garden gnomes, but they also have the only representations of the aboriginal flag that I think I saw anywhere in Western Australia. Who put them there? I'd very much like to know...bad taste joke; well-meaning pcness or activists making a point - you be the judge.

Friday, 22 January 2010

And I thought I had issues...

It seems unfair to hold back the truth from the world so for your further education I supply a few more pictures of Gnomeville. I think this now puts me in the same category as those people who publish grainy photos of old boots and pretend they are sea monsters; or those who put up fuzzy pictures of curtains blowing on a dark night with captions like - "ghostly visitation? - you decide..." - cue slightly creepy music and a slow fade.
Of course the difference between me and the ghosthunters and monster watchers is that I WAS THERE!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

They walk in darkness

On the whole I think these pictures of Gnomeville speak for themselves and they tell a story of not inconsiderable horror!!

There are more this space...

Monday, 18 January 2010

Gulliver in Lilliput

I have been to hell. And here I'm not talking about the 47 degrees that greeted me in the supposedly chilly Esperance. A day so hot I might add that large numbers of rare, white-tailed cockatoo fell dead from the sky. Squawk, sqwawk, sqwa...crash.

No, as Auden has observed before me, true evil wears a much more ordinary face. At least more ordinary than the hottest day on record in a southern beach resort.

You see, I've been to Gnomeville. Been and retained enough of my sanity to return and tell the tale. Even post the photos...some day soon...

Gnomeville is in the otherwise lovely Fergusson Valley. A valley which has everything to recommend it - there's a brewery, there are many wineries, some of these wineries also sell cheese. It is warm, pretty and has fabulous off-road national park countryside perfect for exploring in a small hired Hyundai.

But then there's the gnomes.

I believe that I am not alone - neither in the great big 'verse or indeed in my solid belief that garden gnomes are in fact the earthly incarnation of Beelzebub. And I have the photos to prove it.

You see, Gnomeville is a little piece of collective insanity that obly the Great Deceiver himself could have thought up. It is an otherwise pleasant little glade, just off the highway, on one side of a deceptively easy to navigate roundabout. And in this little glade, clustered under trees; huddling inside little gnomehomes; standing on bridges; hanging, somewhat macabrely from said trees and generally getting under your feet at every opportunity: is every size, shape and diabolical variety of garden gnome every put on this good green earth.

But the horror doesn't end there. Because the people who've transported these gnomes so they can gather together for their unholy sabbath, have painted them "zany" colours and patterns (Aussie flags a favourite...); gathered them into "family" groups and horror of horrors written truly bad "poetry" on little cards round there necks so that the gnomes do truly have the look of penitents on their way to the stocks.

The photos...and watch this space, they are almost ready for download, cannot truly capture the strange feeling of dread, the prickles at the back of my neck as I explored the full extent of the Evil One's work here in WA.

There is something truly disturbing about the fact that people have travelled from all over the world to visit Bunnings, buy a cut-price garden gnome, paint in a garish representation of themself and leave it standing under a tree for other people to shrink in horror from.

The only thing more disturbing is that this in in the top ten most visited tourist sites in Australia. Think about it.