Paycheck to paycheck, living for what? Every night I get drunk to get sunk – 11th February 2020

The continuum of Problem-solving:

You solve the visible problem.

You solve the problem that caused the visible problem.

You avoid the problem.

When solving visible problems, it’s easy to signal value creation to others. If you work in a large organization with a regular paycheck, few people ask if the problems should exist in the first place. Instead, everyone thinks you’re indispensable because you’re so busy solving problems.

As you move toward avoiding problems before they happen, visibility decreases. Explaining what you do all day becomes harder and more subjective. Rewarding people for something that didn’t happen is very difficult. Thus, it becomes risky for the employee to avoid problems.

From Farnam Street’s Brain Food Newsletter

“If you work in a large organization with a regular paycheck, few people ask if the problems should exist in the first place.” Reading this took me right back to my old IT office job.

I really loved that job when I first started. It was overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I worked my ass off to learn as quickly as I could. Years later I was rewarded with a technical administration position, which was better than it sounds.

It was a steep learning curve which involved a lot of testing, installations, maintenance, programming and 24 hour support. The product was a top of the range piece of software. It had just turned the year 2000 and money was flowing freely through the institutions that were supported. Work was interesting and fun.

Slowly, money started to dry up and upgrades were delayed. Often the users would demand it whilst their finance departments would not agree to pay for it. These battles went on consistently for about a decade. During that time all that I needed to do was to make sure the thing kept running. My typical work day could be over after 5 minutes of checking emails. So I made good use of the super fast internet, the office supplies and the printers.

Eventually they started replacing the product I was supporting with a cheaper alternative. Of course users complained because now their minor problems were turning into major problems. To save money, costed money. But it was more cost effective for my employer to pay penalties to the customer for fuckups than it was ensure the fuckups didn’t happen in the first place.

Eventually, after 13 years of arguing for better planning and products, sitting quietly doing my own things on company time, I was made redundant. It was an amazing relief to be honest, and it changed the course of my life. Much for the better, I like to think.

Now, wherever I am working, I can see the same redundant systems in place. The ‘work smarter, not harder’ mantra hasn’t managed to infiltrate everywhere as yet.

It won’t work,
Won’t work no more….

Here we are in the New Age… – 7th January 2018

It’s been a long time between drinks.  Around 23 years or so.  1994 was a life changing time and then life took over and now I’m looking at another transitional period.

Life changes daily though.  It seems slow but every detail matters somewhat, and if you care to remember it.

Right now I’m sitting in an office, getting paid and doing very little work of reward.  The kind that is emotionally unfulfilling.  But right now, I’ll take the money, thank you very much.

Somehow, over time, you learn that working for ‘the man’, as opposed to working for yourself, is something that must be exploited to the full.  I managed to get myself into a position at one point of not doing any work-related activities at my job and started doing my own hobbies in company time.  Somehow I was also well paid for this.  It was always slightly precarious and eventually, it came to an end.  Then it happened again – and with the same company to boot.  I do thank you, although I wish it could’ve been more rewarding for both of us, to our mutual benefits.  Perhaps I feel guilty.  I know I would sometimes get annoyed when I actually had work to do that was interrupting my personal time and that’s not a good place to be.

The more depressing it became, the more I strove to distraction.  I ended up being very productive.  I could never make that jump though, to make money from doing the things I enjoyed.  I am envious of people who have been able to position themselves in this way.  I’m lacking in artistic talent, not through want of trying.  Often lacking in concentration, born on the cusp of distraction entertainment as I was.  The advent of new technologies only makes this worse and now that even they have surpassed my knowledge and I am like the old man programming his first VCR with only a 3 button remote, I sometimes pine for those days again.

My nostalgia is aligned with depression.  I was deeply unhappy for periods of time that I now reminisce.  That depression was an artistic motivation, a driving force.  The actions often more thrilling than the results.

Right now, I am biding time again.  In this strange period of inertia, the feeling of anticipation is immense and I am highly conscious of the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence.  Hence to take time enjoying the moment, the present, the now.  I visualise vividly a relaxing future whilst aware of the constant need for ‘work’ whether in some paid variety or just the work of remaining alive and managing the mundanities of life.  I hope to derive great pleasures from the digging of weeds or painting of walls but worry that I will start to ignore the dust that settled in the corners many years before.

Luckily I have an outside motivation, my wife, Amy.  Could I do it without her?  Probably, but without so much pleasure, enjoyment and fulfilment.

The bones of the tale are this.  In 1994, I relocated from small-town England to small city Australia. Sydney and thereabouts.  In 2018, I will relocate from small city Australia to small-town Thailand.  In 1994, I documented my time in transition. I have not looked over those diary entries since, but the intention is to add them here alongside current musings.  Let’s see how they compare.  Let’s see if I have really gained some wisdom in the intervening years.

What’s Cool and Unusual – 24th June 2014

Call out!

The Red Rattler’s Management Committee is on the hunt for some new Directors. This is your chance to get directly involved in the management of this community-run space – hands-on and fully intimate.

We are looking for individuals with skills or knowledge in at least one of the following areas:
Finance
Law
Not-for-profit organisations
Governance and compliance
Event management
Risk assessment processes
Program and Project Development
Social Media
Contemporary arts and culture
A commitment to planning for the long-term viability of this non-profit venue
A commitment to implementation of The Red Rattler eco-sustainability plan
A passion for arts and politics
A commitment to build a space where racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism are not welcome.
Find full details on submitting your Expression of Interest online or contact Director Kat Roma Greer on kat@redrattler.org.

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Another call out!

Want to Smash Jura Books?
With a Hammer

Ever wanted to take a sledgehammer to Jura Books? Well, now’s your chance. We’re doing renovations to our library to make it a bigger, better space for talks and gigs. We need your help to destroy a wall (and rebuild the room). We also need a certified electrician to do about a day’s work on the wiring. We can afford to pay the sparky, although mates rates would be appreciated! Please get in touch if you are a friendly sparky or know of one.
• Working bee, 12-5pm, Sat 5 July
• Working bee, 12-5pm, Sat 12 July

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Sat 28

Red Rattler, 6 Faversham St, Marrickville
8pm

LAKES/FOUR DOOR/LUCY CLICHE/ORION

The follow up single to last year’s well-received ‘Blood of the Grove’ LP from Melbourne based musician Sean Bailey under the moniker of LAKES. Post punk meets dark folk delivered with military-like precision, for fans of DEATH IN JUNE and THE MOB. Mixing bleak pop with an underlying aggression, delivering stark melodies with understated power.

17th Aug 2021 – As far as I can tell, after 7 or so years of weekly posts, this was the last newsletter sent out. As I had lost my job earlier in this year, I wasn’t going out too much so not so much in the loop of things. Also, Facebook had really taken over as the communication tool of choice, leaving this list feeling a little redundant. Jeremy Chunn valiantly helped out for the last 12 months or so but even his enthusiasm couldn’t motivate me to keep going. This was a special time in Sydney with a lot of motivated people trying to create things outside regular bar venues. Places like The Pitz, Maggotville, Dirty Shirlows and many many more became legendary for a while there.

What’s Cool and Unusual – 18th June 2014

Wed 18

Lamps, level 4, 342 Elizabeth St, Sydney
$5/$10 ALL AGES

Laura Altman
Evan Dorrian with Andrew Fedorovitch
Luiz Gabriel Gubeissi with Mel Herbert, Jim Denley and Bonnie Stewart

  • special guests

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Fri 20

Birdrib, Tempe
9pm

ACHE, SOLIS , VEX MACHINA , HACKED TO CHUNKS , FRAME 313

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Fri 20

Black Wire, 219 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
7pm ALL AGES

LAST CHAOS (Bris) / THORAX / CANINE / MANDATE

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Sun 22

107 Projects, 107 Redfern St, Redfern
6pm $10/8 ALL AGES

Pretty Gritty #7
assault and bassery

Cat Hope
Defektro
Knife Crimes

What’s Cool and Unusual – 11th June 2014

Fri 13

107 Projects, 107 Redfern St, Redfern
$10 ALL AGES

Matthew P. Hopkins – LP launch

with special guests:

Monica Brooks
Moonmilk
Exotic Dog

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Fri 13

Black Wire, 219 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
$10 ALL AGES 7pm

HOODLUM SHOUTS (Cbr)
MERE WOMEN
FREAK WAVE (Melb)
COLLAPSO

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Sat 14

Edgeware Rd, Marrickville
9am

DEQY & Daily Jam Present: Benefit for RISE (Pop-Up Cafe/Motherlands and Hometowns Zine Launch)

Proceeds raised from the cafe and zine will be sent to RISE (http://riserefugee.org/) and Cross Border Protection.


THE MENU (All vegan, all gluten-free):

Breakfast:
Scrambled Tofu
Sauteed Balsamic Mushroom & Zucchini
Home Made Beans
Home Made Hashbrowns
Gluten Free Bread

Lunch:
Onion Bhaji
Cashew Butter & Pesto Pasta
Oven-Baked & Seasoned Vegetables
Garden Salad with Balsamic Dressing

$10 for a plate of food
$15 for a plate of food, a zine & a tea/coffee

THE ZINE:

Motherlands and Hometowns explores the way in which we move through the world, build metaphysical homes in physical spaces and disentangle our complex identities. Contributors: LM, Blossom Mckenzie-King, Ellie Rose, Cher T, Stono River Caves, Farnoush Parsiavashi, Alana West, Craig Lyons.

$4

THE ENTERTAINMENT:

5pm-onwards
Line-Up TBA

DEQY is an initiative that advocates for people of all genders to enjoy and play live music, without being marginalised.

Daily Jam Recycled Furniture
Furniture designed and constructed by Michael Dukes and Blossom Mckenzie-King using recycled timbers, fabrics and whatever we find useful.

This event will be held upon the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We acknowledge the Gadigal people as the traditional custodians of this land and that sovereignty was never ceded.

What’s Cool and Unusual – 4th June 2014

Call out!

Monster Mouse Studios will be hosting two days of interactive workshops. The workshops are a combination of all the activities undertaken at Monster Mouse from the last year. It will be a one-stop shop to learn every artistic skill under the sun.

Would you like to run a workshop?! Please contact us with your workshop idea. Don’t let a lack of skill stop you from running a workshop!

https://www.facebook.com/events/270076939841861/

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Thu 5

Red Rattler. 6 Faversham St, Marrickville
Doors 7pm $5

Chaos Syndicate’s Arcade

Freak out with the geeks and geek out with the freaks.

Back by popular demand!

Board Games and Video Games.

Small World, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride (Europe), Risk 2210 A.D., Spartacus, Munchkin, Scrabble, Twister, Chess & more.

Feel free to bring your own games too. Many people playtest the games they’ve developed themselves. Consoles hooked up to projectors and TVs. Also Halo 4 Lan.

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Sun 8

Black Wire, 219 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
3pm ALL AGES

TAPE/OFF (Bris/Album Launch) / NARROW LANDS / CULL

What’s Cool and Unusual – 28th May 2014

Call out!

Future event heads up!

NCWS Presents
LET’S GET STUPID – Outdoor Underground Party

Event Info: http://lgs.dancepartyhire.com.au/
Warm Up Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/1434316483468052
Tickets: $35 + b.f Presolds now on Sale (Please email ****@dancepartyhire.com.au for payment info)

  • EVERYONE MUST TAKE THEIR RUBBISH HOME
  • Tickets only sold to all who love the music & the scene
  • This is a presold only event, all ticket sales end on the 5/08/2014 or once sold out

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Call out!

Monster Mouse band room now taking bookings 2 weeks in advance! Support our user-friendly and affordable DIY rehearsal space. Only $30 for 3 hours plus $5 gear hire (drumkit/cabs/pa) Marrickville area, weeknight slots 4-7pm and 7-10pm. Weekends 1-4pm and 4-7pm. Write an email to: ****@gmail.com or text Hannah for bookings. Tell your friends 🙂

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Wed 28

PACT 107 Railway Parade, Erskineville
7pm $15 ALL AGES

Room – Earthcrosser Company
Room is a new theatre work that explores the interaction between a performer’s physicality and unconventional light and sound sources.

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Fri 30

Black Wire, 219 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
6pm $10 ALL AGES

Ether Rag
Alf Stewart
Bombs over Brunswick (Melbourne),
Scrotal Vice
Nobody’s Driving

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Sat 31

Black Wire, 219 Parramatta Rd, Annandale

Ixodes, Kremlings [Geelong], Chinese Burns Unit, Moonsign and Grey Places

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Sat 31

Monster Mouse Rehearsal Studio, Maud Lane, Marrickville
7pm $10 ALL AGES

Dark Horse
Hostile Objects
The FUCK OUTS
Bombs Over Brunswick (Melbourne)
Vile Ways

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Sun 1

Young Henrys, 76 Wilford St, Newtown

Conspiritus Muppetus | Print Exhibition and Book Launch

Glenno Smith has drawn and written all about esoteric cults, conspiracies and weird history, shoved it all in the (72) pages of a book and is offering it up, like it’s some sort of… thing!

Individual prints, as well as signed copies, will be made available on the day, as well as frosty, cold beer… at the source of all beery goodness – Young Henry’s Institute of Awesome.

What’s Cool and Unusual – 21st May 2014

Wed 21

Lamps, Hibernian House, 342 Elizabeth Street
8pm ALL AGES

Peter Farrar – solo
Shota Matsumura
tba

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Thu 22

Black Wire, 219 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
7pm ALL AGES

Thee Nodes (Canada) / Gentlemen (Melb) / Nobody’s Driving / Mandate

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Fri 23

Firstdraft, 13-17 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo
7pm

Video Ezy

Video Ezy is a collaboration between two Sydney based musicians and artists, Nina Buchanan and Del Lumanta. Using synths, keyboards and drum machine, the pair move between dystopian pop songs and loose, repetitive jams.

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Fri 23

Red Rattler, 6 Faversham St, Marrickville
Entry is by Gold Coin Donation! Doors 7pm

Angharad Yeo – Spiderstring Album Launch.

Playing an exclusive set with full band, there will also be copies of the album for sale at the event.

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Sat 24

PACT Centre for Emerging Arts 107 Railway Parade, Erskineville
12-2pm, $15 / $10 ALL AGES

This is a special event co presented by New Music Network and the NOW now. The Splinter Orchestra will be presenting an afternoon concert of new works. – We’ve been building up to this the last 5 months!

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Sun 25

107 Projects, 107 Redfern St, Redfern
2pm $10 ALL AGES

Reykjavictim, Mannheim Rocket, The Seaport and the Airport, Wade M Gilmour

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Sun 25

Alaska Projects Level 2, Kings Cross Car Park, 9A Elizabeth Bay Road
5pm FREE ALL AGES

MUSICAL ALASKA no. 17
involuntary muscle
feat. Jane Sheldon | Michaela Davies

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Sun 25

Level 3, Central 28 Broadway, Chippendale
11am-4pm

Other Worlds Zine Fair – an alternative to the MCA’s zine fair.

The MCA is sponsored by Transfield, a corporation that operates contracts in the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Transfield derives brand value through its association with the arts. By participating in events that are sponsored by Transfield we add value to their brand. This alternative fair will give zinesters an opportunity to show their protest while still enabling them to sell and swap their zines. An alternative to the MCA zine fair may seem like a small protest, but it’s a specific protest as zine makers, in solidarity with asylum seekers who protest against and resist mandatory detention from within the camps

What’s Cool and Unusual – 14th May 2014

Call out…

Call Out for Red Rattler:
Volunteer Live Music Coordinator!
We’re looking to fill the volunteer Live Music Coordinator position(s). Ideal for emerging music event managers or promoters that are able to be part of a programming group to develop festivals/events showcasing and promoting the Red Rattlers commitment to Sydney’s alternative arts and music culture.

You would play a massive part in continuing the Rattler’s success as a creative live music playground in Sydney’s inner-west.

What you need:
• Lots of contacts with skills to expand on The Rat’s music bookings
• Ability to develop your own events or bring tours to Sydney
• Strong desire to build relationships with local/interstate promoters & work with local community radio stations
• Excellent event management & tech knowledge
• Ability to help promoters & bands with music briefs; programs & setlists

You’ll bring a great attitude, diverse music knowledge and a desire to maintain the Rattler’s strong anti-racist, queer friendly, activist and feminist arts culture.

Email your expression of interest (max 1 page by Friday 24th May)
***@gmail.com

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STIRR UP GALLERY Addison Road Community Centre
142 Addison Rd, Marrickville NSW 2294 Australia

“DESERT / FOREST” Ganbold Lundaa aka Gawaa and Hirofumi Uchino exhibtion
20 May -1 June 2014

opening party TUE 20 May at 6 pm
live: Defektro, Toydeath, Zedfemale with Shane Fahey, Codakrohm

closing party SUN 1 June at 2 pm
live: Bukhchuluun Ganburged, Lc Beats, Bright Murane, Forenzics, Axis

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Sat 17

Red Rattler, 6 Faversham St, Marrickville
Doors 7.30pm, $22+bf

Broken Hive Records presents

Foundation (USA)
Twitching Tongues (USA)
I Exist (ACT)
Warbrain (VIC)
Vigilante
Legions

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Sun 18

Red Rattler, 6 Faversham St, Marrickville
1pm

Celluloid Sessions is a collaborative indoor arts festival with local Djs, Bands, Street Artists, Projection Art, Short Film Screenings, Food & Art Stalls & the biggest clothing swap in Sydney.

We’re screening cult classic and awesome Aussie masterpiece Wake In Fright (1971).

In the Art Department we’ll be joined by talented Sydney based artists, The Dirt, Mulga The Artist as well as Lowri Best & Rudá Tillett. Each artist will be painting live artworks throughout the day.

Super Galaxies, The Spoon Collectors, Love Swagga, Spike the Punch, Mannheim Rocket, Zhe Nhir, Shart City, & many more talented musicians will be dishing out the funky tunes & freshest beats.

There will be Art stalls, Food stands and a fully licensed bar to keep you well watered!

Celluloid Sessions will be held at The Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville on the 18th of May, right around the corner from Sydenham station!

The Clothing Swap will kick things off at 1pm with the event finishing around 11pm.

Get in early and grab tickets online for only $10-

http://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/CelluloidSessions

or pick one up at the door for $15

The first 100 guests to buy their ticket online will be entered into a draw to win an original piece painted by one of our talented artists. So don’t miss out!

What’s Cool and Unusual – 7th May 2014

Call out

Monster Mouse is looking for a new house mate. But no ordinary house mate.

Monster Mouse is a living and business situation that requires someone that can balance home, warehouse work, and external work.

Living here is amazing and comes with so many amazing perks such as a swimming pool size living room (sometimes containing a 12 person swimming pool), band rehearsal space, pot belly fireplace, communal art spaces, large events and lots of quiet time too. The rent is very cheap for the area and space you get to live in.

However living here means you’ll also be running an artist in residence program and maintaining a very large space. It requires about 4hrs a week dedicated work as well as ongoing work that is hard to estimate. You’ll be given one of eight roles which rotate every 3 months. Building Coordinator, Events coordinator, Waste management, Bandroom manager, Finances, Artist Liaison, Public Relations and Graphic Design.

If you’re interested in living here please contact us and we’ll invite into the space for a viewing and further run down of our warehome.

Tell a friend

Contact a host or msg
https://www.facebook.com/monstermousestudios
***@gmail.com

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Fri 9

birdrib, marrickville

ixodes, world at glance [melb], the farting arses, yes i’m leaving, outposts [melb] and ivan and the backpackers

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Tue 13

Giant Dwarf, 199 Cleveland Street, Redfern
8pm $20

It’s time again to don the cassock and go mental on the wafers!

Joining us for a night of humiliation and absolution will be:

MICHAEL HING * JO THORNELY * NICK COYLE * SPOD

If you’ve been living with a secret shame in your life, this is the event for you. Confession Booth invites writers, musicians, actors, comedians and creatives to the stage and asks them to confess their deepest, darkest, most embarrassing, disgusting, hilarious or surprisingly moving moments that they’d previously kept hidden from the world.

And, of course, we invite you to share in a catharsis. Bring your own story for our wildly popular audience confession segment, hosted by Matt Roden, and you could win yourself an awesome prize (as though freedom from eternal punishment weren’t enough).

Hosted as always by A.H. Cayley.

All for just $20! (plus booking fee). Make sure you select May 13th in the date dropdown: http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/confession-booth-tickets-11312860069