Trump declares himself “Wrath of God”

Exclusive image of ex-President Trump departing Washington for Florida

Ex-President Trump departed Washington on a raft for Florida this morning, skipping the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden.

Aides close to the President state that during the trip down the Potomac he declared himself “The Wrath of God” and announced his intention to marry his daughter, found “the purest dynasty the world has ever seen” and rule the entire north American continent.

He then proceeded to interrogate several squirrel monkeys, demanding to know which of them were “with him”.

Anthemic

Well, we made it. The horror year of 2020 is behind us, and we can now look forward to fresh, new horrors in this year of our lord 2021 (I suspect they will involve bees).

I broke my usual habit of going to bed early to express my contempt for a calendar that assigns the turn of the year to a completely arbitrary point, and stayed up ’til midnight – partially to make sure that 2020 actually ended, and partially because they were playing a repeat of the latest Red Dwarf special which I missed when it was on the other week. It was actually not bad, not as good as the original series of course, but a lot better than their last effort. Watching this one was fun, whereas Back to Earth was just painful.

Hang on, there’ve been three entire series between Back to Earth and The Promised Land?! And I was not informed!?

Anyway, not here to talk about that. Here to talk about the national anthem.

It was announced today that the line of Advance Australia Fair reading “For we are young and free” is being changed to “For we are one and free”. Doing something about this line has been on the left wing agenda (an agenda that – lest anyone get the wrong idea – I am fully in favour of) for the last few years, after it was pointed out that our nation is home to the oldest living culture on Earth, and hence any description of our country as ‘young’ is appallingly exclusionary to indigenous Australians. The replacement of ‘young’ with ‘one’ was suggested – or at least bought to the attention of the mainstream – by Gladys Berejiklian last year, and here we suddenly are.

(The fact that the change was publicised by an embattled Liberal – which is to say conservative, Australian politics can be very confusing – state Premier probably has a lot to do with Scumo’s mob of reactionary neocons actually doing something for Indigenous Australians. Can you imagine them changing the national anthem at the behest of Dan Andrews?)

My feelings on this change are mildly mixed. I fully support changing the word, but I’m not super keen on the way the new line scans. That said however I have for many years been firmly of the opinion that Advance Australia Fair is a terrible song anyway, so screwing up a single line is a small price to pay to address – no matter how minutely – some historical injustices.

So, why is Advance Australia Fair such an awful song? Well, to start with the tune is a goddamn dirge. Get a military band with trumpets and things to play it and it can sound somewhat regal, but it hardly lends itself to spontaneous outbreaks of national pride. As a song for the common citizen to whip out at, say, a sporting event, it’s a complete non-starter. It’s slow, it’s dull, and attempting to speed it up to give it a bit of kick just makes it sound like the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies.

Then we come to the lyrics. They were written in 1878 by Peter Dodds McCormick who wrote under the pen name “Amicus”, which probably tells you 90% of what you need to know about him. The original words as written by this faithful son of the Empire are notable for being composed in the second-rate faux-classical mode so beloved by Victorians with literary pretensions, and are very, very, very pro-British, pro-Empire and anti-anyone or anything else…

Australia’s sons, let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains let us sing,
Advance, Australia fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sail’d,
To trace wide oceans o’er,
True British courage bore him on,
Til he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England’s flag,
The standard of the brave;
“With all her faults we love her still”
“Britannia rules the wave.”
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance, Australia fair.

While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We’ll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England soil and Fatherland,
Scotia and Erin fair,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance, Australia fair.

Should foreign foe e’er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore,
To guard our native strand;
Britannia then shall surely know,
Though oceans roll between,
Her sons in fair Australia’s land
Still keep their courage green.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Out of four verses, three of them are all about how great Britain is, which is kind of weird for a song that claims to be about Australia. It’s riddled with pretentious ’tils and o’ers and e’ers and even with those it can’t manage to properly fit the words to the tune. There are half rhymes, far too many uses of “fair” – including an instance of rhyming “fair” with “fair” – and the inclusion of the word “girt”, which – while a fine word of noble pedigree – in a song sounds like the vocalist swallowed their tongue halfway through the line. The words are repetitive, lugubrious, and let’s not even get started on the overwrought syntax of the phrase “Advance Australia Fair” itself.

In 1901 the third verse was replaced with the following…

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make our youthful Commonwealth,
Renowned of all the lands;
For loyal sons beyond the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair!

Now this contains the one decent line in the entire song – Beneath our radiant Southern Cross. This line is so good in fact that it could lead one to presume that McCormick had nothing to do with the new verse, but he soon regains his stride by invoking “loyal sons” and jamming 15 syllables into 14 notes forcing the singer to break rhythm and gabble out “combine-to” in a desperate attempt to keep pace.

The song replaced God Save the Queen as our official national anthem in 1984 with the following revised set of two verses…

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Which, with the change from “young” to “one” in the second line, is the version sung today. McCormick’s “Australia’s sons” has been replaced with “Australians all” which is a bit awkward but fully justified (providing a precedent for trading scansion for inclusivity) and the pro-Empire “loyal sons beyond the seas” has been cleaned up. They still left “girt” in their though.

So, this is the anthem we are stuck with. Personally I’d prefer to salvage the line about the Southern Cross, throw the rest in the bin and then come up with some suitable versus fitted to the jaunty march bit of the Space Battleship Yamato theme, but that’s probably just me.

Happy new year!

See Journalistic Standards, Lack of

Here’s a Sydney Morning Herald article about a very unfortunate situation…

Man has both legs amputated after white-tailed spider bite

For those who would like a summary it goes like this…

A man has had both his legs amputated after being bitten by a white tailed spider!

He didn’t see the spider, and has no evidence he was bitten by anything – let alone any type of spider – but it was a white tailed spider all right!

Scientists and doctors say there is absolutely no evidence that white tailed spider bites cause necrosis, and the media should stop telling people that they do!

Signs of a white tailed spider bite include necrosis and having to have your legs amputated!

Sheeze!

LATER: Oh, and now the story has gone missing and the link goes to a 404 page. I wonder why that is? 😀

LATER STILL: And now there’s a new article that’s actually based in some kind of reality.

Let us Rejoice

You know, as far as the Wyrmlog is concerned signing up to Twitter may have been a bit of a misstep. Now whenever I have an inane thought it quickly vanishes off into the Twitterverse in 140 characters or less, rather than sitting around in my head and fermenting its way into a blog post. I’ll have to see what I can do about this.

Anyway, it’s Australia Day. There’s a lot more talk this year about moving the date to something less upsetting to the Indigenous population, and consequently a lot more pushback along the lines of “why don’t they just get over it!”. As is standard practice the news bulletins roll out some Indigenous people who want to change the date, and then track down another Indigenous person (it’s usually a single person) to say why the first bunch of Indigenous people are wrong, and then round it all up with some vox pops. And thus the news cycle continues.

I’m quite sympathetic to those who want to change the date. I can’t deny however that this is partially because January 26th doesn’t mean anything more to me than a day off work and the Triple J Hottest 100. Yes, I’m Australian, and I’m grateful to be Australian. I’m proud of the many good things my nation has done, and I’m ashamed of the many bad things my nation has done. But I feel that way – and am aware of the good things and the bad things – every single day. I don’t feel the need to set aside a particular day each year for it.

Call me unpatriotic if you like, but I’ve always been suspicious of patriotism. To my mind, patriotism is only a few steps away from nationalism, and nationalism is only a few steps away from fascism. I’m glad to be Australian, and I’m grateful for all this country has given me, but I express that by being a good citizen and doing my best to make this country better, not by sticking temporary tattoos on my face and waving a flag.

So moving or not moving the date is a race I do not have a horse in. As long as I get my day off work I don’t really care.

Adding some extra excitement to this year’s festivities is the debate (if bomb threats count as “debate”) over an Australia Day billboard featuring (OMG!) Muslims. The original billboard in Melbourne was taken down after the advertising company received threats, but in a nice example of the Streisand Effect this has prompted people to put up many more copies of it all over the place. Which has pissed off the Islamophobes even further. As with all issues of religion and race this is, frankly, a complete clusterfuck, but I can’t help but feel good about anything that makes bigots so angry. Generally speaking if whatever you’re doing is pissing off Nazis then you’re doing it right.

But anyway I didn’t come to talk about any of that. Came to talk about the Hottest 100.

I finally got around to voting some weeks back, and present below my favourite songs of the year. As is standard these days someone has done some number crunching and come up with a list of predictions, so I’ll reference the predicted placing and (when it comes up) the actual placing for each of my votes…

Girlie Bits – Ali Barter
Predicted Placing: 36
Actual Placing: 58 (Boo!)

Without a doubt my favourite track of the year – which given its very obvious 90’s stylings shows just how old and out of touch I am. It’s a song about being a female artist in the music industry, and how everyone wants you to write nice, pleasant, girlie songs about love and flowers and things, as opposed to anything that really matters, and to always look pretty and/or hot while singing them. A fantastic song on every level.

Daughter of the Light – Urthboy featuring Kira Puru
Predicted Placing: 168 (which is a fucking travesty)

The second best song of the year (as far as I’m concerned) is Urthboy’s tribute to his mum. Go and read the lyrics. Excuse me, I have something in my eye…

1955 – The Hilltop Hoods featuring Montaigne and Tom Thum
Predicted Placing: 6
Actual Placing: 4

Third best song of the year. Of all my choices, I think this one has the best chance of being number one. It most likely won’t be, but I’d be utterly shocked if it didn’t get into the top ten. A great track celebrating small-town life in the Adelaide hills with downright amazing vocals from Montaigne in the hook.

Genghis Khan – Miike Snow
Predicted Placing: 24
Actual Placing: 15

A catchy and slickly produced song with easily the best video of the year.

Catch 22 – Illy featuring Anne-Marie
Predicted Placing: 48
Actual Placing: 23

I’m really hitting the Aussie Hip-hop this year aren’t I? Catchy, fun tune simply about having a good time.

Weatherman – The Panics
Predicted Placing: 200+

Incredibly lush, spooky song with lots of layered, echoey sounds building to something truly epic. Probably too subtle for the common palate.

Frankie Sinatra – The Avalanches
Predicted Placing: 23
Actual Placing: 28

The Avalanches finally released their difficult second album last year with this infectious pile of rap and samples. The video clip however is one of those arty ones where the song keeps getting drowned out by the sound effects. As a short film it’s not bad. As a video clip it’s a bit crap.

Take Me Dancing – Sløtface
Predicted Placing – 200+ (Ridiculous!)

The video for Take Me Dancing on the other hand is deliberately cheap and amateurish. A great little rock-pop song, somewhat reminiscent of Metric (Haley Shea really sounds like Emily Haines on this track).

At this point I’d run out of tracks I really wanted to vote for, so I just grabbed the first two that came to mind that I liked. There’s nothing wrong with them, but there are plenty of other tracks I could have voted for as well. In hindsight I do regret not voting for Sarah Blasko’s cover of Life on Mars – which is predicted to come in at 88.

I Know A Girl – The Preatures
Predicted Placing – 176

The Arrow – Urthboy featuring Timberwolf
Predicted Placing – 200+

So there we go. I wonder how they’ll all go…

What’s a Woman?

Loving Ali Barter’s new track Girlie Bits. Savage lyrics with a deceptively sweet tune and delivery…

Also, how good is samuraiguitarist’s western cover of The Final Countdown?

Have been busy with a number of projects lately, which will hopefully see the light of day soon. Assuming of course the world doesn’t end when either President Trump starts World War III or a new Civil War breaks out on the election of President Clinton.

Interesting times my friends, interesting times…