Cheeseburger Gothic

Great opening lines

Posted July 25 into Writing by John Birmingham

I love a good opening line. Felafel's is probably my best known, and it is a good'un. Good enough that I fought long and hard against Michael, my then publisher, when he wanted to lift it for the title of the book.

"But you're ruining a perfectly brilliant opening line," I complained. "It will lose all it's impact if we plaster it across the cover".

He gave me two days to come with something better and I failed utterly. I did have suggestions, dozens of them, and I wish I'd kept that list for archival purposes because there were some shockers on it. But in the end he was right and I was less right than usual.

And I suppose it helps that it's not my favorite first line. That'd be from Tassie Babes.

Aristotle said if you hold your farts in you'll die.

I doubt I'll ever do better than that. It pretty much tells you everything you need to know about that book.

There's a nice piece on first lines over at The Atlantic, where Stephen King has been kind enough to make the rest of us feel inadequate by revealing to Joe Fassler that he sometimes works on his first lines for years.

"There are all sorts of theories and ideas about what constitutes a good opening line," said da King. "It's tricky thing, and tough to talk about because I don't think conceptually while I work on a first draft -- I just write. To get scientific about it is a little like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar."

But catch them he does, or at least tries. The opener should invite you into a story. It should hook you and even give you some backstory if possible. There's a bit of chat about James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, which reminded me of the discussion we had hereabouts a year or so back concerning the great opening lines of Don Winslow's The Winter of Frankie Machine.

It gets really interesting, however, when King moves on from talking about context and setting and style, and begins to ponder the sound a writer's voice in the opening line:

You hear people talk about "voice" a lot, when I think they really just mean "style." Voice is more than that. People come to books looking for something. But they don't come for the story, or even for the characters. They certainly don't come for the genre. I think readers come for the voice...

With really good books, a powerful sense of voice is established in the first line. My favorite example is from Douglas Fairbairn's novel, Shoot, which begins with a confrontation in the woods. There are two groups of hunters from different parts of town. One gets shot accidentally, and over time tensions escalate. Later in the book, they meet again in the woods to wage war -- they re-enact Vietnam, essentially. And the story begins this way:

This is what happened.

For me, this has always been the quintessential opening line. It's flat and clean as an affidavit. It establishes just what kind of speaker we're dealing with: someone willing to say, I will tell you the truth. I'll tell you the facts. I'll cut through the bullshit and show you exactly what happened. It suggests that there's an important story here, too, in a way that says to the reader: and you want to know.

A line like "This is what happened," doesn't actually say anything--there's zero action or context -- but it doesn't matter. It's a voice, and an invitation, that's very difficult for me to refuse. It's like finding a good friend who has valuable information to share. Here's somebody, it says, who can provide entertainment, an escape, and maybe even a way of looking at the world that will open your eyes. In fiction, that's irresistible. It's why we read.

The best example of voice I can recall isn't from a book, though - although originally it was, I guess. It's Harrison Ford's opening voiceover from Bladerunner.

"They don't advertise for killers in the offworld colonies. That's what I was ex-cop. Ex-bladerunner. Ex-killer".

If they gave out Nobel Prizes for opening lines, I reckon that one would have scooped the pool.

70 Responses to ‘Great opening lines’

Jim puts forth...

Posted July 25

:But then, I'd rather be a killer than a victim" is a cracking second line.

Was always partial to "Call me Ishmael" as an opening

That said, Dickens had "Its was the best of times..." etc

Jim mumbles...

Posted July 25

On reflection

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold"

would have to take the gong for me.

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DNABeast ducks in to say...

Posted July 25

I always recall the opening line to 'Hitchhiker's'.

  • Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25

Which regretabbly was lost (like tears in rain) when Ridely Scott did the directors cut as he didn't think the voiceover was needed, preferring the visuals to speak for themselves. Foolish man.

Along with the classic "call me Ishmal', "best of times, worst of times" and as an excellent example of setting context "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" my personal favourite is from Paradise by Toni Morrision "They shoot the white girl first".

Murphy reckons...

Posted July 25

Harrison Ford hated the voice over.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lulu mumbles...

Posted July 25

My favourite first lines are probably from songs, such as: "It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank".

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted July 25

Or even:

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

Works for me :)

Dick would have you know...

Posted July 25

Can be substituted for "It was a dark and stormy night"

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 25

Ah the timeless work of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted July 25

Bulwer-Lytton may have been a terrible writer, but that is the best opening line ever. Only one possibly eclipses it:

"As she fell face-down into the muck of the mud-wrestling pit, her sweaty, three-hundred-pound opponent muttering soft curses in Latin on top of her, Sister Marie thought, 'there is no doubt about it: the Pope has betrayed me!'"

Barnesm reckons...

Posted July 25

Oh sure its good but what about Sue Fondrie 2010 winner "Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories".

SamIAmNot mutters...

Posted July 26

Nowadays, you can't even tune a television to a dead channel. This line's meaning may be lost on children of the future.

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JBtoo reckons...

Posted July 25

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man, in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted July 25

Two hundered years later, and that's still a great opening.

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TC ducks in to say...

Posted July 25

Aligning with both the content of your post and our special guest (comments), my favourite opening line has for many years been:

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

I (finally) came up with my own opening line the other night after muddling through ideas for about 7 years, and it's absolutely perfect. Now I just have to work out how to make the rest of the story good and I'll have a winner.

Do you think you can combine an opening line with a tag line of some sort? Say, for example, Star Wars started with "I've got a bad feeling about this" - would it dilute the power of the line in either or both contexts, or would it work to build it up even further? I know that it depends on many things, but do you think it could be made to work well?

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Big Willie Style has opinions thus...

Posted July 25

I've always liked, "They're out there", opening line in ...Cuckoo's Nest. Bob Geldof's autobiography, Is That It?, has "Frank Lahiffe loved Mary O'Dwyer as well" as it's opening line. I like that very much.

In movies, my favourite opening line/s is Mr Brown's in Reservoir Dogs. "Let me tell you what "Like a Virgin" is about. It's all about a girl who digs a guy with a big dick."

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Big Willie Style reckons...

Posted July 25

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

Sadly, that opening line is as good as One Hundred Years of Solitude gets. I remember having a tete-a-tete with Sweet Jane Says on Blunty a few years ago about the merits (or otherwise) of that book.

damian mutters...

Posted July 26

I really enjoyed that book actually. The ending creeped me out a bit, of course.

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Rachael reckons...

Posted July 25

"Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three."

Opening line of Billie Holiday's autobiography "Lady Sings the Blues"

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yankeedog puts forth...

Posted July 25

Best opening line ever?

'Are you religious? Do you believe in the hereafter? Well, then you know what I'm here after...'

What?

Oh. Not THOSE opening lines.

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted July 25

Wasted Youth - Meatloaf. " I remember everything I remember every little thing As if it happened only yesterday I was barely seventeen and I once killed a boy with a Fender guitar."

Dick reckons...

Posted July 26

Sorry, don't mean to be picky, but that was Jim Steinman, "Love and Death and American Guitar", who wrote most if not all Mr Loafs songs as well.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted July 25

The incipit of a text, such as a poem, song, or book, is the first few words of its opening line

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bastardfromthebush would have you know...

Posted July 25

Anthony Burgess from Earthly Powers: "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."

Bunyip would have you know...

Posted July 25

Ninja'd. But I'm happy I read through this thread before posting. Nice choice, bfb.

damian reckons...

Posted July 26

Yes I actually ran Ctrl-F on "Earthly" to make sure before mentioning it myself. It's a winner, because it has "archbishop", "catamite", and Islamic name and a reference to advanced age all in the same sentence. William S. Burroughs would have bitten off his own left testicle to have written that sentence.

robW is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27

Yes, yes, Earthly Powers was an amazing book. The vocabulary alone was mind bending if not mind stretching. And the narrator's slip 3/4ths of the way through the book when he lit the cigarette with Ali's lighter, which wouldn't be given to him for another 30 years...and his acknowledgement: "I told you I'm a liar."

damian has opinions thus...

Posted July 27

It's about 20 years since I read it - must refresh that one of these days. I forget whether the narrator is inserted into the actual plot for Ulysses or just the real-life background to it, for instance.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted July 25

I also loved the opening for Michael Herr's 1977 collection Dispatches "Going out at night the medics gave you pills, Dexedrine breath like dead snakes kept too long in a jar".

Not sure what real soldier's like Murphy thinks of the book but as an 14 year old boy with no real experience of life when I was reading it I thought it was fantastic.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted July 25
"Dinh Tran's city was dying." Works for me.

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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted July 25

'Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor' ...oh wait that's not a book at all. My bad.

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Sparty would have you know...

Posted July 25

Great piece by King.

Strange with the Bladerunner voice over- Ford did it deliberatly disinterested because he didnt want it used - but ironically that fitted the "future noir world weary priviate dick" type thing perfectly and I think really adds to the movie!

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Dino not to be confused with ducks in to say...

Posted July 25

http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/18140258/australian-scientists-join-international-fight-against-the-next-human-pandemic/

Pandemic?

What's that?

Keep ya cordyceps and ya biceps gym junkies cause I am talkin' 'bout viruses and genetically engineered molecules/RNA?

Did I mention the pallet I unloaded by hand today?

Lordy knows what was in dem boxes...

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Kate would have you know...

Posted July 25

Two of my personal favourites:

"The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." Jim Butcher, 'Blood Rites'.

and

"It was the day my grandmother exploded." The late much lamented Iain Banks, 'The Crow Road'.

Jacques Stahl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 25

Ah, you beat me to to It Kate, I was too busy getting my Moo Brew Stout organised and there you are with Iain Banks! Well done.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25

Kate, I agree that's probably Banks' best opening line and it is a cracker.

One of my favourites, because I love the book so much, is this:

'The convoy winked in, the carrier Norway first, and then the ten freighters - more, as Norway loosed her four riders and the protective formation spread itself wide in its approach to Pell's Star.'

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Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." - Gibson, Neuromancer.

"This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesn't pretend to answer all or any of these questions" - Pratchett, Equal Rites.

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Dave Sag mutters...

Posted July 25

I always quite liked "The sky was the colour of the TV set, tuned to a dead channel," by William Gibson in Neuromancer.

Sudragon would have you know...

Posted July 27

And with changes in technology, the colour of the sky changes. When Gibson wrote this a dead channel on a television was grey static. Readers would haver understood overcast, bleak, cold grey conditions, a cyberpunk staple.

Now, a 'dead channel' on a television is 'monitor blue'. And if the sky is that colour, there's probably something really wrong.

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pi is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25

Hard to go past the opening paragraph of snow crash by Neal Stephenson :

The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He’s got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachno-fiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.

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Maddoug asserts...

Posted July 25

"It is a sin to write this." Ayn Rand's "Anthem"

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Blake asserts...

Posted July 25

You hear people talk about "voice" a lot, when I think they really just mean "style." Voice is more than that. People come to books looking for something. But they don't come for the story, or even for the characters. They certainly don't come for the genre. I think readers come for the voice...

There's something to that. I put off till recently reading a particaly series of books based ont he blurb indicating that the genr was soem kind of americo centric post apocalyptic thirller thing. "What kind of self-respecting author writes that fantasy Tom Clancy nonsense? Those yanks will swallow anything with a bit of splodey and useless military trivia."

But i was in an airport recently and four book stores later my curiosity got the better of me. Two weeks and three books later....

Turns out the genre snobbery was probably unwarrented, but moreso the voice was what made it enjoyable for me. After all the unlikeable sobs in the bookclub books lately, i'd forgotton how much a series of simple-yet-developed-and-lovable characters could make for an enjoyable read. On the surface, the voice reminded me of an episode of buffy or the star wars extended universe stuff i read as kid.

So yeah now i'm just feeling foolish because i'd spent so long convinced i wouldn't like these books, and yet seem to have time to read pretty much anything else in the same voice....like uh...this blog...for example.

I'm not sure i could sit through any more Clancy or his mates, but the same kind of stuff written in the right voice? Sign me up for the baseball cap and t-shirt i've gone all fanboi on this shit.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25

Rofling. Yeah. It's funny.. I'm the same way about Abercrombie's series. The voice dragged me in.

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Wayne reckons...

Posted July 25

The one opening line that I always remember is that of "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry: "When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake - not a very big one."

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted July 26

My Barbara Hambly fangrrl stripes are showing, but she can do a kickass opening line. Three of my favourites are:

"Had Cardinal Richelieu not assaulted the Mohican Princess, thrusting her up against the brick wall of the carriageway and forcing her mouth with his kisses, Benjamin January probably wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss later on." From A Free Man of Colour

And:

"Sun Wolf’s capture, as Sun Wolf himself reflected at his execution, was sheer, stupid ill luck, which Dogbreath of Mallincore would have told him was only to be expected under the circumstances." From The Dark Hand of Magic

Finally this:

"Had the Icefalcon still been living among the Talking Stars People, the penalty for not recognizing the old man he encountered in the clearing by the four elm trees would have been the removal of his eyes, tongue, liver, heart, and brain, in that order." From Icefalcon's Quest

Lulu mumbles...

Posted July 26

Squee! I love her January series!

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted July 26

My Barbara Hambly fangrrl stripes are showing, but she can do a kickass opening line. Three of my favourites are:

"Had Cardinal Richelieu not assaulted the Mohican Princess, thrusting her up against the brick wall of the carriageway and forcing her mouth with his kisses, Benjamin January probably wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss later on." From A Free Man of Colour

And:

"Sun Wolf’s capture, as Sun Wolf himself reflected at his execution, was sheer, stupid ill luck, which Dogbreath of Mallincore would have told him was only to be expected under the circumstances." From The Dark Hand of Magic

Finally this:

"Had the Icefalcon still been living among the Talking Stars People, the penalty for not recognizing the old man he encountered in the clearing by the four elm trees would have been the removal of his eyes, tongue, liver, heart, and brain, in that order." From Icefalcon's Quest

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Shell puts forth...

Posted July 26

'Some people find within their fragile, ephemeral hearts the kind of courage it takes to sail around the world in a tiny yacht, alone.'

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monkeymind mumbles...

Posted July 26

Have always loved the opening paragraph in The Big Sleep

“It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark little clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.”

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted July 26

Ah, yes, one of my faves too.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 26

Funnily enough, I am currently re-reading this since I saw the Penguin Modern Classics edition is available to Kindle. Actually got all of Chandler's novels sitting on my Note now, racked up and ready to read.

But yes, one of my favorite openings too.

BTW I still urge all here to take an interest in Crumley. One of his novels, not the best one, starts with: "When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon."

Sekret Sekret puts forth...

Posted July 26

Oh yeah.Monkeymind, that's one of my all time favourites. It's a killer.
Speaking of killers, JB, about the opener to Blade Runner--- Really? I think that's a terrible line.All subjective, of course.I think it's because of the cult status of the film that people fall for that partiular opening.

damian mumbles...

Posted July 26

Of course, that novel contains probably at least 5 of my top ten favorite sentences written in English ever, so the opening is just average in that context :/

damian mutters...

Posted July 26

I looked down at the chessboard. The move with the knight was wrong. I put in back where I moved it from. Knights had no meaning in this game. It wasn't a game for knights.

Sekret Sekret swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 26

Smooth like velvet.

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted July 26

It's a poem but still a favourite first line of mine, especially as I do love Christmas.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Sekret Sekret reckons...

Posted July 26

Gotta agree. Magical poem

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LenniMack reckons...

Posted July 26

"When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him." The Road

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Sekret Sekret would have you know...

Posted July 26

Great book, great writer. IMO
My mother is standing in front of the bathroom mirror smelling polished and ready; like Jean Naté, Dippity Do and the waxy sweetness of lipstick. Her white, handgun-shaped blow-dryer is lying on top of the wicker clothes hamper, ticking as it cools. She stands back and smoothes her hands down the front of her swirling, psychedelic Pucci dress, biting the inside of her cheek. ’Damn it,’ she says, ’something isn’t right.’”

Augusten Burroughs, Running With Scissors

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yankeedog asserts...

Posted July 26

Not a book opening line, but an opening line that I'd bet all of us know anyway.

'Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship 'Enterprise'. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.'

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 27

Call me old fashioned, but I just hate split infinitives.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27

"To boldly split infinitives that no man has split before"

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 29

1st the atom, then the infinitive.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 30

I suspect infinitives were split long before the atom gave up its radioactive goodness.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 27

Thank you, Damian. My umbrage feels a bit less solitary.

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AkaSlymann reckons...

Posted July 27

I started reading Winnie the Pooh again to my son and thought it was worth a mention:

'Here comes Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.'

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w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted July 27

An especially good opening line that gives you a strong sense sense of voice, story and style is the first sentence of Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It".

"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."

A very good book. You might have seen the 1992 movie directed by Robert Redford, with a cast that included Brad Pitt. I didn't like the movie much. Tried to hard to be lyrical and beautiful. I am a little surprised that it got 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 29
“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.” Acccept no substitutes.

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You can call me 'Master'

Posted July 23 by John Birmingham

As in Master Brewer.

Last week in August I'll be heading down to Byron for a a day or two to 'supervise' the crafting of a beer to my specifications by the expert brewmeisters at Stone and Wood. It's something they do every now and then, getting outsiders in to knock up a limited reserve run.

I attended a tasting afternoon the toerh day, coincidentally enough at the offices of the architects we used to renovate our house. Owen and Vokes. They've also been, ahem, tapped to design a brew of their own.

Initially I just wanted to have my own line of Bintang - a fave from Indonesia - but having invested the time in drinking lessons I'm going to spend a few days pondering alternatives.

At the moment I'm taken with the idea of a big, meaty bitter beer with a deep red colour to it. Something to welcome in the barbecue season which is when the brews will be released into the wild.

21 Responses to ‘You can call me 'Master'’

Bangar mutters...

Posted July 23

So can we get some?

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23

TAP KING NEXT WEEK RELEASE MUST BUY

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Moko mutters...

Posted July 23

TAP KING NEXT WEEK RELEASE MUST BUY

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DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23

Envious. YOU FROTHING BARSTEWARD.

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Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted July 23

[Warhammer humour]

I shall call you Mister Bugman.

[/Warhammer humour]

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pi reckons...

Posted July 23

The problem I've always had with limited edition beers is 'day two'. As in, they're so good, they're all gone.

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sibeen is gonna tell you...

Posted July 24

A stout. A large fucking meaty stout. There can be only one.

Black as the armpits of a roman galley slave. An alcohol content that will send Presbyterians scouging* themselves. A creamy head that is so creammy...no, let's not go there, this is a fucking family orientated site after all.

A brew that can be drunk all year round, and also be used to scare off the neighbours, or other miscreants, by a mere waving of the bottle around.

*OK, made that word up, but it fits.

A

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted July 24

I am relieved you clarified that you mean brew master. For a brief moment I feared you might have some kind of S&M thing going on.

Greybeard puts forth...

Posted July 24

I thought he was going fishing. They say he's very good at attaching bait.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25

I am trying to think of something to say in response, but I can't.

Greybeard puts forth...

Posted July 25

It was a pretty sad implied pun, even by my standards.

Dick ducks in to say...

Posted July 25

JB hasn't been a baiter that long, I think he might just be a journeyman baiter. In a few more years, however....

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Abe Frellman would have you know...

Posted July 24

I think there is a growing market for low carb beer. Burleigh's Big Head isn't bad. But maybe you could design one of those with some actual flavour.

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Stevo 73 has opinions thus...

Posted July 24

Bintang?

Ale or Lager JB? Start with that, then determine which class you are really after.

Watch that "Low Carb" stuff, it is normally associated with lower alcohol, and it is hard to have flavour without the use of a good balance of malt (carbs) and hops.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted July 24

Arsehats! Now if I was in such a position I'd be paralysed by choice. Would I go a Pale or a dark? A pilsener or a bock. Nah, forget the fkn bock. And if you do anything called a witbier I'll send in the wankbadger response team.

James Squire's 150 Lashes Pale Ale wouldn't be a bad start for investimigations.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 24

John should attempt to brew an IPA that tastes as much like Fat Yak as possible.

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Phil reckons...

Posted July 24

From another brew master, this is awesome. A fat red ale sounds amazing. Talk to the boys at Stone & Wood about the differences between Irish and American style reds. Both absolutely brilliant for meat marinating. Irish more malty = richer caramelisation on a braised cut. Seppo more hoppy and citrusy = spicy and good for steaks.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted July 24

only when weather patterns in hell change mate.

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Jacques Stahl puts forth...

Posted July 25

It might be a hop too far JB, but I have had a couple of very interesting brews lately labelled Black IPA.

Just saying........

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Trowzers has opinions thus...

Posted July 28

I dunno, JB. Stone and Wood's Pacific Ale is already my favourite brew, so I can't make any suggestions to improve on that. However it can be tough stuff to get hold of, even from the acres of shining aisles at the local Liquorland superdupermegastore. I suffered through the Great Ale Shortage last Christmas where nobody anywhere had any just at my prime beer drinking period of the year, so while you're down there can you please have a word in for me and make sure they're well ready for Christmas this year? I don't think I could last through a second Christmas, wandering forlornly from bottle-o to bottle-o, stubby cooler clutched in a fist, searching for maybe one last forgotten carton, nay maybe a hot sixpack... before finally clutching desperately at three lone frosty bottles that had snuck behind the cider at the back of a fridge, and having to nurse those three lonely bottles all the way through the Boxing day test match and the Sydney to Hobart... that horror should not have to be repeated!

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Snowpiercer

Posted July 23 by John Birmingham

I always meant to read the Patrick Tilley Amtrak series, and of course never got around to it. There's a movie coming, Snowpiercer, which seems to owe at least a debt of inspiration to Tilley, and maybe to The Day After Tomorrow.

This animated short starts out as a conventional End of the World story, but becomes strangley compelling probably to due to the 3D stop motion effect the illustrators employed. I haven't seen anything like it before. Closest would probably be the old SciFi TV animated show Afterworld, but that was much more rudimentary than this.

Interesting that they chose an animated prequel. The movie itself will be live action. The trailer's below and it gives you a really strong sense of how setting a sci-fi apocalypse within the confines of a train structures the story in a linear fashion. Not that you couldn't jump around within the narrative, but that the story world itself is a straight line.

Really interesting.

21 Responses to ‘Snowpiercer’

Blarkon asserts...

Posted July 23

Odd - I just wrote a summary of Amtrak Wars and it seems to have disappeared ...

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted July 23

Looks interesting! But, and some of my American colleagues might back me up on this, I'm reminded for some reason of the Coors Light commercials from a few years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oae_VllHVi4

Bunyip reckons...

Posted July 23

The end of the world: light beer...

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted July 23

At the risk of me repeating myself

There isn't much in common with Amtrak Wars.

Amtrak Wars tells the story of three factions, 1000 years after a global nuclear war. The main character, Brickman, comes from the Amtrak Federation. They live in big underground cities with Texas being the center of it all. They survived the war in large bunkers. The also started the nuclear war as part of a right wing plot to "cleanse" the US which they felt had been overrun by nasty ethnic types. They get around in Wagon Trains - giant multi story trains with massive tyres http://amtrakwars.wikia.com/wiki/Wagon-train that are able to launch ultralight aircraft.

The second faction are the mutant survivors of the apocalypse. They've developed some magical ability and some of them can control storms as well as have psychic powers such as the ability to read minds, wipe memories, and implant thoughts.

The Wagon Trains go on extermination missions, cleansing the "overground" of the mutes so that the "good ole boys and girls" can oneday take their rightful place on the surface. Which unfortunately is still a tad radioactive, so the mutants can live there, but the trackers end up dying early of cancer after a few tours of duty.

The third faction is feudal japanese. They trade iron age weaponry with the mutes in exchange for slaves (usually captured from rival tribes). They get about the great lakes in massive Steamboats.

Tilley writes a fantastic battle. He stopped at book six and although he promised another 6 books, never wrote the 7th. Six was a good enough end-point - though given the awesome massive battles the guy writes, it would have been fantastic to see the sand burrowers driven back into their cities.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 23

Pfft, what would you know, Space Lizard? You've only read the books. I saw the cover in a bookstore once about thirty years ago. The cover. In. A. Bookstore.

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted July 23

Like that kick arse A-10 that was totally in Angels of Vengeance

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23

My school friends and I fucking loved the Amtrak series (as did a lot of people here, apparently - there's a special acknowledgement to his Australian readers in one of the later books). I remember the tense waits for the latest book in the series to arrive and earnest discussions of the tech specs of the Tracker armoury or analysis of Mute customs. Biting the arrow. "Pipe steam!" Steve and Roz and that weird sympathetic/epideromantic bond. Cadillac, Clearwater and Mister Snow. Good times.

Tilley's never really equalled it to my knowledge. Mission and Fade Out had interesting premises but were less than the sum of premise and prose. Star Wartz, his alleged comic space opera, was rather, uh... imperfect.

That said...

+++He stopped at book six and although he promised another 6 books, never wrote the 7th.+++

There were going to be more? Six more? I suppose it justifies all the buildup and prophecies in the existing series. It's funny, though, that series is one of the few where I don't find the Chosen One premise annoying (it's one of my least favourite fantasy tropes) because the Chosen One isn't actually in the picture - it's six books of his heralds, as it were, helping the prophecy get all the pieces in place. I liked that. Sort of like Bram Stoker made Dracula scarier by keeping him offstage for most fo the book. Most of the time the supporting players are more interesting than the Chosen One anyway.

Funny to find out it wasn't planned that way at all. So we really were going to actually see the Plainfolk be a bright sword in the hand of Talisman, then? Huh.

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 24

I met Tilley at a signing at Minotaur in 1991 - and he had a forum off his site where he answered questions in the early 2000's. The first book of the next six was to be called "Ghost Rider".

Tilley said that Ghost Rider was Steve and that he wasn't dead (he was even saying that back in 1991, though in more of a "you'll have to wait and see" approach). He mentioned on his forum that he'd looked into getting someone to co-write with him but it had fallen through.

Then one day the forum disappeared and there was a note on the site (the site's still there, the note is gone) saying that he was going to be spending time writing and wouldn't be hanging around the forums anymore. Given he's in his late 80's and the note was put up about 10 years ago, I'm not holding my breath.

(An Oz company had the film rights at the turn of the century and did a teaser trailer for Cloud Warrior - but again it's faded into the ether)

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Lucian_Ventris swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23

Another Bong Joon-ho film to look forward to? Yay!
Everyone should check out, if you havn''t seen it, one of his earlier films "The Host". He fiddled around with the moster movie genre in quite a few fun ways in that film. Cannot wait to see what he brings to a post-apocalyptic film. Besides the obvious mega-train of humanity driving through a blizard...

Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted July 23

That was a great movie. There's another one coming out too. Clip is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN-oldoxPyY

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 23

I thought the animated trailer was a nod to the origins of the story as the graphic novel (comix) Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette. I like the trailer and its a cool concept (cool, I crack myself up) and I am looking forward to itgiven how much I was suprised by Joon-Ho earlier work The Host. But I have a terrible fear that thinks aren't going to end well for humanity in this one. Its to narrow an evolutionary bottleneck and as a species in this stituation we are going down.

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Trashman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 24

It reminds me of 'The World in Winter' by John Christopher.

Looks OK, though.

Have seen 'The Worlds End' at the cinema - brill!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 24

I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like the animated short.

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted July 24

I remember the books fondly as well - and it must be 20 years since I read them ...

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted July 24

rather liked the Amtrak wars series although the last qtr or so of the 6th book was a bit weak.

This looks a good movie

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 24

I thought Earth Thunder was a return to form. Iron Master was the only one I found a slog. I still have my signed copy of Earth Thunder.

Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted July 25

I liked SB's last scene in Earth Thunder, but it did feel like the author was trying to clear the decks a bit too much. But then it's been about 10 years since I last read it so i could be misremembering !

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AkaSlymann puts forth...

Posted July 24

I read the Amtrak Wars way back when, one of the first post apocalypse stories I read. I can't remember too many details of the story, it was 20 years ago, but I recall that I really enjoyed it. Because of my fondness for it I have always had in mind that I would read it again. I have done this with a number of books and have generally been disappointed (ie Battlefield Earth), not necessarily because the stories were bad, although on some occasions they were, but because my expectation was so great.

However, maybe it is worth giving it a go as an audio book. Strike me down if you like but because audio versions of books are more about the story telling and performance, the quality of the writting is and less critical.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25

You read Battlefield Earth?

You have my respects. And pity.

AkaSlymann mumbles...

Posted July 26

Yes and I even gave the movie a go, 'after all it couldn't really be as bad as the critics claim' I heard myself say and off i went; it was a long time before myself was allowed to voice an opinion

Oh the shame the shame

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MD is gonna tell you...

Posted July 26

I read Amtrak. And Battlefield Earth. The former because Tilley wrote great characters, the latter because...well, nobody warned me. That thing made me realise: a book doesn't have to be good to be published. A valuable lesson.

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Scariest picture I've seen today. All the water in the world

Posted July 23 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Via The Atlantic.com. If every drop of water on the planet, including all the watery goodness in you, was collected in one big drop, "it would have a diameter of about 860 miles and a volume around 332,500,000 cubic miles."

Suspiciously, all the water seems to be in Murph's back yard.

14 Responses to ‘Scariest picture I've seen today. All the water in the world’

Anthony asserts...

Posted July 23

Are you implyng that Murph might be a bit wet?

The scary thing is that it makes all those cliched plots about aliens stealing our water seem more reasonable when you look at it like that...

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23

Get it right, Anthony. Moist, not wet.

Moist.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 23

It gets even scarier when you compare it with the bubble for fresh water. Its the tiny smaller bubble. Earth will have to resign the title of waterist planet if you compare it to Jupiter's Moon Europa.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23

"If every drop of water on the planet, including all the watery goodness in you, was collected in one big drop, it would have a diameter of about 860 miles and a volume around 332,500,000 cubic miles."

I am so tired of your lies.

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MickH asserts...

Posted July 23

Really?

That doesnt sound anywhere near big enough

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted July 23

seems like enough, maybe too much?

332,500,000 cubic miles is 1.386 x 10^18 m^3

surface area of the earth is 5.101 x 10^14 m^2 of which 70% is 3.571 x 10^14 m^2

dividing the m^3 by the m^2 (70%) you get 3.88 x 10^3 m or an average of 3880 m depth over the current watery area of the earth

Barnesm reckons...

Posted July 23

which radius of the earth did you use? Using a mean radius of the earth of 6371.0km(2) damn your Birmo, get the Wah onto being able to enter scientific notation here.

This provides an surface area of a sphere of 4/3piR(2) giving 5.10 x10(8)km(2).

If the volume of water is 1.386x10(9) (wolfram alpha also provides this value) then assuming a regular solid volume = area x height (depth) then I get a depth of 1.06kms but I admit this is back of the envelop sketching.

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23

I did get them from wikipedia and wolfram alpha, but we seem to be using the same figures (5.1 and 1.386), just different units (m v km) but I'm still 10^6 and 10^9 orders above you which should be right as it's 1000x1000 and 1000x1000x1000 as a conversion from km2 to m2 and km3 to m3.

I assumed a flat earth covered by a uniform layer of water, although I did only take into account 70% of the earth's surface. Without that restriction I get 2.7 km.

Maybe spherical volumes changes that because you'd be using 4/3piR(1)^2 - 4/3piR(2)^2 = the answer (too lazy to work out)

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted July 23

fair enough, I think 1km is close enough for government work and you at least checked the figures.

Most citizens don't bother, so much for a numerically and scientificly literate population that we need for the 21st century.

You would agree with me the burger ould benifit from being able to enter math and science symbols and record numbers in scientific notation in these comment boxes.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted July 23

i agree, even if it means losing the other formatting stuff.

Words ... the poor man's excuse for not knowing scientific and mathematic notation.

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yankeedog would have you know...

Posted July 23

Yayyy! Someone waxed the planet! Look, the water beads right on the surface!

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted July 23

Surely most of you know that Murphy, when traced back to the original Celtic, translates roughly as, "Sea Warrior."

Of course the water is in my backyard.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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theangrywarden would have you know...

Posted July 23

So how come the trees are still green, huh? HUH? So they sucked all the water out of the people but left it in the trees?? I knew those big green fuckers were up to something.

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Name of the Wind to be the next Game of Thrones

Posted July 22 into Telly by John Birmingham

Unless they fuck it up, of course. Details are pretty sketchy so far, but Fox has confirmed the option on the whole trilogy.

Interesting to see how they'll do it. Unlike GoT, the Rothfuss novels stretch over decades, not just a few months. It's a first person story too, of course, and although there is a cast of hundreds, the focus remains tightly on Kvothe the narrator.

Not sure how many peeps here have read the books. I could happily spend hours teasing out the various threads that could make any number of hour long episodes, but I'll spare the nonbelievers.

18 Responses to ‘Name of the Wind to be the next Game of Thrones’

Legless mutters...

Posted July 22

Seeing it was you good burgers who introduced me to Name Of The Wind I thought I'd return the favour and point you in the direction of The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Excellent read and really weird twist on how magic works in that world.

Anyone here read him?

Cheers

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted July 23

Yes, finished them, I think at your recommendation previously.. Enjoyed it a lot. Also read the Name of the Wind books - will be interested to see how it is adapted.

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted July 23

Have you had a go at the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks? Not a bad read either - different world but similar in some ways.

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murray ducks in to say...

Posted July 22

A bit torn about the TV adaptation of name of the wind. Kvothe is kind of a smart arse kid for a long time there. It's a great read, but it could be rather annoying on screen...

and ... ERMAGHERD SANDERRRRSOOOOONNNN!!!
The Way of Kings is easily one of the best fantasty novels i've read. So looking foward to the second in the series!

Legless is gonna tell you...

Posted July 22

I only found him last week. Reading the final book in the Mistborn trilogy as we speak. Then I *have* to ignore books for a week or so and concentrate clearing the decks and finishing two software projects. All the hard, fun, stuff is done. Programs are functional - they do what they say on the tin - but I now have to make them look good, clean up the code and take out most of the debug stuff. It's the boring shit that I hate. Polishing the turd. But it has to be done so I can put them in the finished pile and start on the next two projects. And they're going to be fun.....

Cheers

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 23

Stop the blog. It's not going to get any better than that.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 23

I always thought the name of the wind was 'the wind'.

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Big Willie Style is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23

Let me know when they make it into a TV show, so's I can torrent it.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted July 23

Its Fox so expect it to struggle in its first season, be moved around and the number of epsiodes changed half way through the season only to be cancelled before the series had finihsed airing.

Drew has opinions thus...

Posted July 23

So cynical, Barnesm. You sound like a Browncoat from Firefly..... ;)

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted July 23

and we aim to misbehave

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dewpoint mumbles...

Posted July 23

Yay I'm half way thru.

and so far, no twisted micks

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Peter Bradley would have you know...

Posted July 23

Well we can expect some serious GoT style blood and violence especially with the Chandrian and the nudity and sex with the Felurian sequence. I suppose it really is there to be stuffed up.

Interesting that as an analogy to GoT Rothfuss still hasn't finished the last book just like Martin.

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Spanner would have you know...

Posted July 23

Not sure it's achievable as a TV series. Kvothe is a brat. I love the audiobooks. It does have all the elements of the heroe's journey (thanks Glove & Boots) to make it just that bit cliche'd. I love the story but the tropes keep cropping up and I notice them.

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Surtac mutters...

Posted July 24

Coincidentally, I started The Name of the Wind on audiobook just yesterday, having finished World War Z. The reader is excellent.

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Respond to 'Name of the Wind to be the next Game of Thrones'

Look, lots of refugees read The Australian

Posted July 22 into Politics by John Birmingham

Dateline, Indonesia.

There was consternation this morning amongst refugees drifting into the many water front cafes dotting the shoreline of this idyllic refuge when bad news arrived with their latte and croissants.

“Have you seen The Australian this morning?" asked one voice over the rattle of bone china and the sizzle of eggs and bacon.

“Never touch it,” another replied in a distinctive Kurdish accent. “I’m Fairfax man. My father was a Fairfax reader, and his father before him. Until they had their daily dose of Gittins and Ramsay they simply could not set off into the foothills to herd the goats though mountain passes above our little village where it always rained and nobody ever had enough to eat.”

But no matter where these starving, illiterate refugees chose to read their news over banana and blueberry pancakes, washed down with lashings of genuine French vanilla tea, the news was bad.

All of the weekend papers, express couriered to the charming little refugee settlement, carried large, full page advertisements warning the would-be asylum seekers that if the vast sums of money they had saved while being tortured and occasionally beheaded by the Taliban, or the Iranian government, or you know, whatevs, were spent on passage by boat, they would be sent to Papua New Guinea and probably eaten.

“Oh dear,” said a Tamil gentleman whose village had been destroyed by Sri Lankan air strikes. “I had so been looking forward to that long, hazardous voyage and high chance of drowning or being dashed to pieces on the rocks of Christmas Island. It’s why I chose to go by boat and not just fly in which would have been much more comfortable now I think about it.”

He folded his copy of The Sydney Morning Herald and wandered off to see if anyone knew of rumours the Australian Government was also no longer handing out cheques for eighty thousand dollars on arrival and a guarantee of full time employment as soon as a local worker could be displaced from their job.

There were mutterings amongst the émigrés about the reaction to the news in Australia, but wiser counsel cautioned against expecting any support from that quarter.

“The government has obviously spent a very great deal of money advertising this new regime in every paper in the land,” said a withered old Hazari man whose eyes had been put out for reading to his daughters, “and then even more money airlifting all the millions of copies here so that we might be informed of this policy change. It’s quite likely nobody in Australia even knows of it this. After all, the information is of no concern to them.”

68 Responses to ‘Look, lots of refugees read The Australian’

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted July 22

Look it's not to deter those refugees (sorry illegal immigrants) it’s obviously meant for those who fly in on visas and then overstay. All those European and New Zealand backpackers will be rounded up and shipped off to PNG.

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 22

No no, you've got it wrong - the problem isn't with people who come by plane but with the *boat* arrivals. So obviously all those wealthy people on cruise ships will be sent to PNG.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted July 22

I wish I could argue we, as Australians, are better than this PNB.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 22

It comforts me not at all that you cannot.

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beeso mutters...

Posted July 22

I'd vote for a PM that sent press gangs down bondi beach, checking visas and sending them off to PNG

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 22

How bad can PNG be? I mean, come on. Really. Tropical climate. Low cost of living. Colorful cargo cults. Although it has the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS in the Pacific region, cannibalism is rapidly improving. Not a bad place to end up.

pi ducks in to say...

Posted July 22

I've lived in PNG. It is only place in the world I will never set foot in again.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 23

Have you ever been to Billings, Montana?

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted July 22

Oh you'll all want to go to PNG, not just us Aussie-job stealin' and Aussie-women defilin' Kiwis, if the Coalition win the election

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted July 22

It's ugly, no doubt about it. What's going to be uglier are the right wing nuts saying 'Its not going to work, and we need a better plan'. Not that they'd be saying that to win votes in an upcoming election . . . .of course not. Nor have a bipartisan plan either.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted July 22

You could tweak this a bit replacing Kurds with Mexicans and setting the locale just south of the Rio Grande, below the Grand Wall of Democracy (translate: fiasco) some of the nuttier, nativist types of my country like to take pride in.

Hell, everyone is an immigrant/migrant/boat/tunnel person at some point or another in Australia and the Americas.

Sad, really. Like Latinos are really taking jobs away from meth cooking, honest, tatted white guys in Harry Truman's old stomping grounds.

Bah.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 23

George Lopez observed that, if a Mexican took your job, then you had a really shitty job to begin with.

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 22

While it appears most Australians support a refugee program, a plurality seem not to support intake of asylum seekers (otherwise the issue wouldn't be as electorally potent). If the electorate, government, and opposition was as racist as some would claim, surely they'd move to withdraw the country from the appropriate UN conventions (because if the electorate, government, and opposition were all that racist, who would care if Australia was a party to those conventions or not?).

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted July 22

There is an annual study done by one of the universities. I haven't been able to track down the link.
Covers a variety of social and political issues in Australia.

As I recall, the results have been fairly consistent. Something like 70% of Australians support Australia having a large refugee intake.
When asked about what countries the program should favour, the overwhelming response is none, and that it is rather a silly question.
But very consistently, across the supporters of all political parties, about 70% are not supportive of a 'boat people' asylum seekers intake

Miss Maudy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 22

Is this the report you are looking for?

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted July 22

Brilliant, Miss Maudy! That is exactly the study I was looking for.
Though it was the 2012 version I heard about, accessible from this page.

http://arts.monash.edu/mapping-population/

The stuff I was trying to recall is also on this related Asylum seeker fact sheet, below.

75% are positive to asylum seekers who arrive after being assessed overseas.
But, to the question of the best policy for dealing with asylum seekers arriving by boat, only 23% said they should be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

The Fact Sheet
http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/mapping-population/asylum-seekers.php

Blarkon reckons...

Posted July 22

I think the notion of "consent" (however ephemeral) has a lot to do with acceptance of immigration policy.

For example: A refugee who arrives in Australia from a camp in Sudan or from somewhere else has in some way "been invited".

I suspect that the 70% that agree with the policy of accepting refugees see accepting as part of an ethical obligation. Where we see 70% opposed to asylum seekers arriving by boat (where we assume that 40% who feel ethically obligated to take in refugees reject the acceptance of asylum seekers) may in part be a reflection of the "uninvited" nature of asylum seekers.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted July 22

Loved the Queensland Govt MP who became all alarmist about the asylum seekers then getting on boats from PNG to cross the Torres Strait. Tony Burke apologised that there was nothing he could do about the geography of PNG.

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JBtoo puts forth...

Posted July 22

And listen to Triple M too (it's on at the office - nothing I can do - except maybe complain on human rights grounds. It qualifies as torture).

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Anthony ducks in to say...

Posted July 22

On the positive side, PNG is going to get some pretty good skilled immigrants out of this.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted July 23

Yes! Always look at the bright side of life!!

(All joking aside, that is a fairly good point with potentially important geopolitical implications, albeit a generation or two from now.)

Anthony would have you know...

Posted July 23

I was aso only partly joking. I have a close friend who spent a considerable time in PNG in a very senior position on secondment from Canberra. It will be interesting to hear his views on this subject.

JBtoo is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23

And they'll soon be a world power in cricket

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Dino not to be confused with has opinions thus...

Posted July 22

Beautiful JB,

Remember the Eighties.

The Silver Budgie (Oxford drinkin' champion who promised no child will live in poverty in dis country) workin' with the French clock collector (who only wore Italian suits cause the Aussie ones were shit)?

Pushed dem Liberals so far to the Right they could only get half a bum cheek on the seat?

Yeah the Labor tactic of being so right wing the Liberals look so wet der nipples are showing.

Onya Labor.(Waves Flag)

Dats da solution.

Dats why Aussies died in Afghanistan.

Send de reffos to PNG.

Nice Australian mines dey can work in der.

Ok Tedi?

Or is dat OK Teddy?

Take the bloody teddy bears cause dey could have WMD from Iraq in dem.

Remember WMD's.

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AllyOops asserts...

Posted July 22

Mmm just a thought but perhaps if the 70percent of us wjho support a large refugee intake could well swing a little more come election time .......

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ShaneAlpha would have you know...

Posted July 22

We need a nice welcoming gate at the new camp with a inspiring slogan.

Perhaps Arbeit Macht Frei.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted July 23

"Es Könnte Immer Schlimmer Sein" would be more approriate.

Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted July 23

"Aber nichts viel schlimmer".

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted July 23

Kennen sie Billings, Montana?

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Stevo 73 ducks in to say...

Posted July 22

Hmmmm so sad. The Labor party has surpassed the Libs for crazy ideas about boaties......

There is an argument that if we have dropped large amounts of ordinance on a country, and following this the people of that country run (or float) to our home we are morally obliged to take them in.

And then there is the second verse of that anthem thingy (the verse that most Strayuns do not know)

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;

Oops, perhaps it is time to change those two lines, oh the embarrassment!

pi ducks in to say...

Posted July 23

> Hmmmm so sad. The Labor party has surpassed the Libs for crazy ideas about boaties......

No they haven't.

Stevo 73 is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23

You think?

Let's put them all in another developing country with its own set of social problems and a distinct lack of infrastructure,.... yeah that will work.

Vs lets tug the sinking boats back to point of origin.... yeah that will work.

So which is more nuts? I cannot tell.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted July 22

Everything about this is farcical.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted July 22

A Straw Man, never intended to survive the coming High Court challenges, just the coming election. The only positive that will come out of it is the fine people of Manis Island will get about 1/8ths of a new facility at the expense of the Aussie taxpayer.

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pi puts forth...

Posted July 23

This is the price that must be paid to keep abbott (stop the boats!) out of the lodge. Sadly, there are too many bogans in australia such that the dog-whistling delivers us these types of policies.

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23

I have wondered a bit at the calculation behind this. KRudd and his advisors would have come up with this knowing that it would outrage a lot of people. But the people it outrages, if they had been planning to vote Labor before, will most likely now give their first preference to the Greens or some other minor party or independent to the left of Labor. These people are unlikely to give their second preferences to the Libs, Nats or LNP (whether they follow party advice or not). So they do not count as a complete loss - even if it leads to a minority government the 3rd largest block in parliament is still likely to be be Greens and they are unlikely to support an Abbott minority government, although they will be almost as reluctant to support a Rudd one after this and will be difficult to get on side for legislation that runs counter to their principles.

However Rudd appears to be counting on winning a fair bit of support to the right with this move. So people who might vote for the Katter or Palmer parties might give their second preferences to Labor. And if a handful of seats go to those parties, they may well be prevailed upon to vote with a minority Labor government on legislation that the Greens disagree with.

In other words, while he knows that on balance this doesn't necessarily gain votes for Labor, it certainly takes votes from the tories. It might win him the election solidly enough for Labor to govern in its own right, but if it leads to a minority government it will make the kingmakers people who would rather gnaw out their own livers without anasthetic than to give Tony Abbott the keys to the Lodge.

I fear my interpretation here, although cynical, isn't quite cynical enough to be realistic. Any improvements?

pitpat asserts...

Posted July 23

I agree Damian, and would add that it is all about the western Sydney seats. Even if he loses it will hard to oust him now that caucus has commited to a super majority for a spill motion. For all the words this is all about Kevin

Respond to this thread

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted July 23

Damian: idealism tempered with cynicism is a powerful thing. There is no strength inherent in the truth. None whatsoever. Conviction isn't enough to challenge those who enrich themselves through human suffereing.

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted July 23

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity - W.B Yeast

damian mutters...

Posted July 23

Wouldn't W.B.Yeast be more suited to the baking thread?

The interesting thing about 'The Second Coming' is that it is sort of in the middle between early Yeats and the older Yeats. The points to remember about the early Yeats are:

  • Obsession with Maude Gonne
  • Mystical celtic stuff
  • Theosophy
  • Obsession with Maude Gonne's daughter.
  • Association but lack of involvement with the more volatile kind of Irish Nationalism

It was the latter point and the first world war that led to 'The Second Coming'. Older Yeats got a bit more measured. We seem to tend to think of the rise of Nazism and that line in particular referring to it, but in all honesty it first appeared in print way too early to have that in mind much, and it is much more a sort of continuation of the despair and horror at the actions of the truly committed leading on from the Easter uprising and taking all the rest in. The worst, who are full of passionate intensity, are the Kiplings, the (more personally painful and poignant) the MacBrides.

The collection 'Meditations in time of Civil War' from about 10 years later is pretty good reading for a pensive evening. 'Leda and the Swan' is later too. The downside the later Yeats is that it lacks the fire and fervour of the early Yeats, but that is also the upside.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 24

Either bringing up a somewhat detailed discussion of Yeats at this moment and in the context of this discussion is hillarious or there is something amiss, mate.

I prefer hillarious for obvious reasons.

However...

My personal favorite Yeats poem is Leda not just for its elegance but also because whenever I read it I cannot help but identify with the swan. I suspect it is a "Greek thing."

And I adore the fact that the mysticism that inspired Yeats was based on events and incidences his wife fabricated. My cultural ancestors were utterly wrong when they argued that only what is true can be beautiful.

damian would have you know...

Posted July 24

To be fair Paul, only some of them argued that.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 24

To be fair Paul, only some of them argued that.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 25

I don't care if it isn't true. I want to believe it.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted July 25

How very Mulderesque of you.

damian asserts...

Posted July 27

Oh yeah, and something like this:

Thirty days hath November,

March, July and December.

The point is that poetry, even mnemonics that have the ring of truth can lie, and lie barefacedly (the more barefaced the better actually, which is why you can only trust a man with a beard). Beauty might be Truth and Truth might be Beauty, but when we say that we are really talking about "truth*". But I guess as Colbert says, the truthiness shall set you free.

*Might not actually be true.

Respond to this thread

Blarkon reckons...

Posted July 23

Australian elections are won by capturing the center - and as the figures above show, while the majority of Australians have positive feelings about offshore assessed refugees, the majority of Australians have negative feelings about asylum seekers.

Respond to this comment

Anthony asserts...

Posted July 23

I would imagine that any refugee who reads The Australian regularly would be welcomed with open arms by the Opposition parties as a potential supporter...

By the way, did you know that one of the more endangered birds on Christmas Island is Abbott's Booby?

Respond to this comment

Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23

@theage: Hardline asylum seeker policy lifts Rudd in latest poll http://t.co/ULVI6c0NRs via @theage

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted July 23

Oh FFS!

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 23

So the folks who chat here are as alone in Australia as I am here in the US.

Barnesm mutters...

Posted July 23

I am begining to get that feeling

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23

No, I suspect that the difference is that in the US you'll see similar figures re "refugees" versus "asylum seekers who arrive via boat specifically". Australians in general are fine with the first group but not with the second.

damian mumbles...

Posted July 23

No-one is truly alone, except perhaps Major Tom.

But we are born alone (even twins!) and we die alone. We are deeply social beings, but the edges of existence are profoundly personal.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 24

Blarkon and Damian - I used "alone" to mean that idiots are running the show and, despite shouting out into the void that is the internet there isn't much I can do to change things.

NBlob asserts...

Posted July 24

OI! I resemble that remark Boylan. Shouting into the Void is one of my hobbies. Are you inferring that it makes no real, substantial, long lasting affect on the opinions of movers &/or shakers?

NBlob mutters...

Posted July 24

Damn you and your fancy lawyer talk

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 24

NoBlob - it makes no real, substantial, long lasting effect when compared with clicking 'like' on Facebook. According to the kids these days, that's where the *real* activism is.

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 24

Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We'll change henceforth the old tradition,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
A Facebook Like,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
A Facebook Like,
Unites the human race.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 24

Got to love a bit of Percy Bysshe Shelley and that telling resolute line

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many — they are few"

damian would have you know...

Posted July 24

Again, no-one shouting into the void is truly alone. There are so many of us standing here at the edge of the void, shouting, arguing and in many cases simply reciting poetry into the void.

damian asserts...

Posted July 24

Again, no-one shouting into the void is truly alone. There are so many of us standing here at the edge of the void, shouting, arguing and in many cases simply reciting poetry into the void.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 25

There are voids and then there are voids. This void we are currently shouting into is filled with convivial fellowship of spirit and mind. For fuck sake, we shout poetry into this void and are capable of using poetry to make an argument. Which is why I visit here. I would rather be alone in this void than alone in the void that nudges my back, which, believe me, is far emptier than this particular void that we here are currently shouting into. I prefer a rarified void to a banal one. And this only intensifies my angst and despair.

Don’t get me wrong: I came to adulthood in the 1980’s; I dig angst and despair.

NBlob mumbles...

Posted July 25

"I dig angst and despair." Messers Smith, Gallup, O'Donnel & Cooper of The Cure, Morrisey & the depression fiends of Joy Division would be so proud.

As for your predeliction for rarified void, apparantly there is void being imported from Fiji and the hills of Suranam to satisfy this .

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted July 25

"Smith, Gallup, O'Donnel & Cooper of The Cure, Morrisey & the depression fiends of Joy Division"

Wankers, all.

Respond to this thread

Fiona would have you know...

Posted July 23

Thanks JB. Grim. Very grim. Makes the Fraser years look like halcyon days.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Look, lots of refugees read The Australian'

Spartacast Ep7 - He took his face… off Podcast RSSiTunes

Posted July 20 into Spartacast by John Birmingham

Podcast 7 is out. JB dumps Facebook. Everyone loves Pacific Rim. And this week we're joined by special guest Spartan, Girl Clumsy, trying to make up for Greg skiving off to FNQ.

Sponsored by a mad dash to get @DNAbeast some more followers, and bracketed by the mighty Hilltop Hoods.

Special props to Dan for this weeks edit which was extra hard because of the Wah's wobbly Skype connection and the continual slurping sound of my wine.

The figure below is discussed.

26 Responses to ‘Spartacast Ep7 - He took his face… off’

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted July 20

I think we should acknowledge Pacific Rim's debt, in both storytelling and its visual language, to the wonderful world of professional wrestling.

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted July 20

w, that is a typically excellent comment. I absolutely agree.

And, given that the director, Guillermo del Toro, is Mexican, where professional wrestling is so hugely popular and culturally embedded, one could see Pacific Rim as a covert declaration of the building power of modern Mexico as a world-wide cultural powerhouse.

Respond to this thread

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted July 20

Ignore that idiot, w from brisbane, and his stupid wrestling theory.

Twitter and it's usefulness as a channel for readers to this blog.
That makes sense.
Fact: Left-wingers read more than right-wingers.
No, this is not an argument about who's right. Yes, I know some right-wingers read a lot. But, left-wingers do read more than right-wingers, that is a fact.

And, if Twitter is a nest of lefties, then it makes sense that twitter is a great tool to get people reading the Burger.

Respond to this comment

Greybeard reckons...

Posted July 20

OK, OK I get the message(s). Listen peeps, the man just wants two things - a fan page and a blue tick. If I check the dog and get busy with the Nikko I can probably do a blue tick but one of you will have to do a fan page. Anyone? Oh come on, there must be someone who'll admit to being a fan? You could use a sock-puppet so the rest of us don't point and laugh.

Dino not to be confused with swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20

Greybeard,

I used to be a JB fan before he got all popular and commercial.

His old stuff was really good.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 20

And hurry up with it.

Respond to this thread

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20

Facebook throttling only applied to people with large follower counts.

It wasn't the western suburbs of Sydney getting crushed. Look at this picture. http://i.imgur.com/BO3dM.jpg - Birmo correct. Birmo's Nerd Minions incorrect.

Respond to this comment

Sudragon asserts...

Posted July 20

Pacific Rim:

Herc: (grabbing the flare guns) We have a choice: Either we stay here, or we grab those flare guns and do something really stupid.

Respond to this comment

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted July 20

Girlclumsy had coke? Is this alternate-reality not-drinking-pepsi-Max Girlclumsy?

Respond to this comment

Respond to this comment

she_jedi asserts...

Posted July 20

I dashed out and saw it today. I'm not afraid to admit that I do enjoy me some Merchant Ivory/Pride and Prejudice period stuff from time to time, but OMFG Pacific Rim was fun. SOO much fun.

*Spoilers*

Halfway through the Hong Kong battle sequence I was wondering why they hadn't equipped the Jaegers with some kickass stabbity weapons to fight the Kaijin with, and then Mako came to my rescue. That girl kicked some serious ass. My hero.

Respond to this comment

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21

But . . .but . . . I NEED TO BE LIKED!

sniffles

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted July 21

Morning everybody. My name is Greybeard and I'm a Twitterrageaholic.

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted July 21

Twitter rage makes me so angry.

damian puts forth...

Posted July 21

I find Twitter loud and confusing.

All those 140 word children lost, like tears in the rain.

Respond to this thread

ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted July 21

And in more movie news out of comic con. The next Man of Steel movie is greenlit, and will have Batman in it. (probably NOT Christian Bale though).

Oh, and Veronica Mars preview trailer is on You Tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTqIpXh0IAI

Murphy mumbles...

Posted July 21

Good on Man of Steel/Bats.

Hmm, Veronica Mars . . . why am I supposed to like that? Estoy confudido.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

ShaneAlpha ducks in to say...

Posted July 21

I like it. And besides, it's the first ressurected via Kickstarter product, so it will be interesting to see if it's successful enough to inspire more.

Respond to this thread

Anthony mutters...

Posted July 21

Fie on your Pacific Rim Monsters! As a devotee of the genre may I inform people that Fairfax has put free on line one of the classic monster movies. None other than "Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus" http://www.theage.com.au/tv/movie/mega-shark-v-giant-octopus-4282401.html in all its glory. Perhaps not quite up to other SyFy channel classics such as High Plains Invaders or Dinocroc vs Supergator but a worthy effort.

Should you watch it I point out the wondrous nail polish changes of the chick in the sub. I'm sure that Asylum used an intern for continuity...

Respond to this comment

Greybeard mutters...

Posted July 21

And double-Fie on your SyFy creations - at least until they bring out MegaPlatypus vs Deathworms. I'm waiting for true quality. GODZILLA, KING OF MONSTERS.

http://www.godzilla-movies.com/gallery/view/img/132

Filmed in Rubbersuitarama with actual cardboard models of skyscrapers. He's back and he's BIG.

Respond to this comment

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted July 22

Another Great podcast, can verify the greatness of Pacific Rim up to the 13 year old male demographic wanted to know why can we have nice things like Jaggers.

Girl Clumsy a very welcome addition to Spartacast. I have obvious started following DNAbeast on twitter.

Respond to this comment

TC reckons...

Posted July 22

I know I'm late to the party (and sadly, not even to this party) but I managed to see Man of Steel in 3D last night. I'm interested in all of your views on the movie, the impact that 3D has on the movie (or any movie) and whether we really need so many re-boots of popular superhero movies (I mean what the fuck is with another Spiderman series? It's only been a few years since the first one).

In truthiness though, I jest - I don't actually want your views again. I read all your thoughts, arguments and rants the first time(s) and I disgreed with at least half of you then. Just sayin.

Respond to this comment

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted July 22

If we follow DNAbeast on Twitter how much sooner do we get out of purgatory becuase if it comes down to a choice between following the pope or Dan.....

Greybeard puts forth...

Posted July 22

Purgatory? You should be so lucky. Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted July 22

You should have made a better deal.

Respond to this thread

Red puts forth...

Posted July 22

Terrific. Impressed by the panel. First time I've heard you speak, Girl Clumsy. Loved the discussion about social media. I think I'm already following you and DNABeast on Twitter.

Most interesting.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Spartacast Ep7 - He took his face… off'

Why I don't have interns at the Burger

Posted July 19 into Writing by John Birmingham

Slavery was made illegal once upon a time. But then it became cool again and was called internship. Well, it was cool for the slave owners. Not so much for the interns.

Okay, all right. I’ll dial back the hyperbole. Slavery was probably worse. But then most of the past was heaps worse than the modern world, whatever the engorged longing in the underpants of your Neolithic conservatives for the good old days.

Welcome aboard, summer interns!

Interning, the increasingly common practice of making young people work long periods for free, for the ‘experience’, is a scam that I’ve come to believe should be severely restricted and returned to it’s quaint origins in the old school ‘work experience’ programs.

I know that in writing this I’ll upset a lot of young’uns who see an internship as the first step on the happy staircase to success. I know some will characterise it as the fearful whining of rich, old white man who wants to keys to the kingdom out of young and grasping hands.

But kids, as a rich old white man, let me tell you, we rich old white men are having a lend. We’re laughing at you. You should not be working for months at a time for free. Not the way contemporary interning is currently practiced.

You should never routinely work for free unless, like me, you’re a rich old white man who can afford to take on charity gig every now and then for tax or ego purposes.

Notice the use of the verb, to ‘work’. Increasingly internships aren’t a week of hanging around, ‘learning the ropes’, looking over the shoulders of older, wiser eminences. They’re a rort, a shake down racket.

For a while I looked at the possibility of having interns here at the Burger. After all, I don’t mind running the occasional guest post, and there’s no money in the kitty to pay for them. I also had a ready made supply of interns through my adjunct perfessor thingy with the local university. And I know that the potential interns themselves are among the most fervent believers in these programs. But in the end I decided not to go down that path because I can’t help but feel that modern American-style internships are an opportunity for you to be ruthlessly exploited by a profit-making organisation that well understands the surplus value you are putting into their business, but refuses to pay you a damn cent for it. Because, somehow, somewhere, you got the idea your time, and lots of it, wasn’t worth their money.

This idea, that a recent graduate or anyone, really, a business feels like enslaving, is so worthless, so unproductive, that they are some sort of burden to be endured, an obligation if you will, that the business owner takes on, is pure self serving bullshit. If it was true, interns wouldn't be hanging around for months at a time.*

Sure, you might get something out of sticking your nose in where it’s not wanted at the minimum wage, but only for a couple of days. After that, you’re being shafted.

Whenever I’m tempted to imagine what a feckless, unreliable pack of dilettantes Gen Y can be, I try to remind myself what a ruthless, exploitative and unconscionably greedy pack of bastards they’ve often had to ‘work’ for.

And, by work, I mean slave.

I’d like to turn the Burger into a paying site someday. Even if the payments are minimal. Until then, however, I think I’ll have to struggle along find my own kitteh pics and funny videos.

* My GenX innocence really shone through there. Originally that line read 'weeks at a time'. I've since learned that three months minimum seems to be standard and it's not unknown for some kids to be interning for nearly a year. If I wasn't such a rich old white man it'd make me come over all Karl Marx it would comrade.

43 Responses to ‘Why I don't have interns at the Burger’

Murphy mumbles...

Posted July 19

Once upon a time, a science fiction writer, a fairly prominent one in fact, asked if I'd look at their novel.

The payment? Their gratitude and a note in the acknowledgements.

I'm not going to reveal the name of the writer but needless to say, while I was flattered and thought about it, I knew how well I tended to work when I was being paid with gratitude and acknowledgements.

I passed.

Strange, given the politics of said writer is fairly well to the left, you'd think a bit of money, not much, might have been offered.

Not that I asked. I'd never dream of asking.

Ah, in any case, prior to 2007 I suppose you could have sold me on the shit pay for experience/resume building argument. But then again I've been living in Adjunctland for six years. The general story is that we are used as a means to cut costs of offering courses by paying us McDonald's style wages without any rudimentary benefits.

I stick with the teaching mainly out of love for it, a sign of insanity perhaps, not too far removed from the love I have of writing. On the other hand, I no longer buy the pipe dream of working for low pay/no pay leading to a better job.

As for the work I do take on, I generally get paid what I consider to be a professional rate, adjunctland being the exception. Certainly in lifeguarding I get paid more than most in the local area do.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

NBlob puts forth...

Posted July 19

After a 5 year hiatus in hospitality (I still fell unclean 15 years later), I just hung around the 7 newsroom @ Maroochydore*, shooting stories, filing archive vision, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes just like a paid camera op until they gave me paid gigs. I established with the Boss of the Newsroom early on that I'd volunteer at my conveniance & a paying gig at 0.0 notice took precedence. If He wanted me there on any specific day, he'd better book & pay. Of course he tried it on a couple of times, but eventually got the message.

After 30 or 40 days "volunteering" across 4 months or so I started getting gigs covering for Barry in Bundaberg, Mikes in Maroochy or Maryborough when they went on leave. After a year or so below the breadline I picked up a full time gig and I was away.

I never could have done it without SWMBO backing me up.

* Where I er, encountered Rosanna Natoli.

Respond to this comment

Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 19

I got my start in Tv land by working for free, but after a while I got known as the guy who works for free when I was contracting. so basically it was a waste of time and ultimately pointless. Tournament jobs are just full of this bullshit. Jokes' on the employers, They get treated as the employer whether they like it or not, and they are liable for workers comp, insurance, super and tax even if they are a 'voulnteer'. I notice the tattoo industry is similar, work for free and hope you get a break ( or HepC)

Respond to this comment

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted July 19

There's a strain of thought in Silicon Valley that a "reputation economy" will supercede the traditional economy. As this myth grows in narrative power, you'll see more people willing to work for free.

damian reckons...

Posted July 19

People really believe this? Holy moly, it's worse than I thought...

Blarkon asserts...

Posted July 19

Celebrity doesn't depend on achievement. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are examples of having careers that were launched through acts of publicity. The average punter knows people that have worked their arses off and don't earn in a lifetime what Hilton and Kardashian earn in a year.

How many times have you heard "Piracy gives you a bigger audience ..."

So the idea of "Get Reputation" ..... step 2 .... "Get Money" is quite pervasive. It's all Snakes on a Plane (or Sharknadoes) - publicity doesn't equal $. But it will be a long time before we get to that realization because the economy of the internet very much depends on the content generators generating content for free (I mean for reputation) rather than Google(YouTube) having to actually pay them for their time.

Respond to this thread

insomniac asserts...

Posted July 19

On the other side of the argument, I can spend all day with my thumb stuck up my arse if no-one has anything for me to do.

Respond to this comment

I.F. Adams is gonna tell you...

Posted July 20

I'm lucky in that in my field (Computer Science, living right by silicon valley), interns are not only paid, but paid quite well. I had two internships between undergrad and grad and they were both considered relatively low-paying, still throwing out 23 and 35 dollars and hour repsectively. Some of my colleagues (I just finished up in a graduate school lab), made upwards of 50 an hour as interns.

It was and is always shocking to me to see unpaid interns. I think (just my opinion, definitely not a proven fact), that its a combination of factors that cause the unpaid insternship. Oversupply of potential hirees in a particular field, always pushing for better margins, just plain douchebaggery, etc.

And at you Murph, I considered academia after finishing my degree, and I still love teaching, but I couldn't handle the nightmare of applying, let alone the hellish path to tenure. I spent 6 years as a grad student, I don't want to repeat the process... One of my friends in my group, brilliant woman with many publications, sent out dozens of applicaitons and got ONE interview and shot down. Fortunately she lined up a prestigious postdoc (which is another line of nightmare not terribly far from the idea of the unpaid internship...), but its a mess....

I decided to sell out and go to industry and cry myself to sleep with a pillow case filled with money.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20

I got the wrong degree for the cash filled pillow case option, I am sorry to say. Or I'd sell out too.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

NBlob puts forth...

Posted July 20

Want some swee-et primary sources my man? lookin for historiological context? I can fix you up right here, I got dimes, fitties, I got what you need.

No credit.

I.F. Adams would have you know...

Posted July 21

Yeah, I fully acknowledge I'm incredilby lucky in what I chose rather arbitrarily. My other plan was to pursue history. The fortuitous decision was made by the laziness I had at the time in not wanting to walk to the registrar to change majors.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 21

Oh, Murph. If only you'd been a little bit lazier.

Murphy mumbles...

Posted July 21

Yeah.

If.

:)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this thread

pitpat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20

Work is a four letter word with good reason. You work you get paid is my motto both as employer and employee.

Respond to this comment

Conspiracy Cat puts forth...

Posted July 20

The one thing that holds true over the years is this: 'It's not what you know, it's who you know'. Internships were a great way to get to know the right people. But now businesses are exploiting interns, this is no longer the case. Not to worry, though. GenY are inventive. They'll soon come up with a new way to shaft each other in the mad scramble for gainful employment.

Respond to this comment

Conspiracy Cat mutters...

Posted July 20

The one thing that holds true over the years is this: 'It's not what you know, it's who you know'. Internships were a great way to get to know the right people. But now businesses are exploiting interns, this is no longer the case. Not to worry, though. GenY are inventive. They'll soon come up with a new way to shaft each other in the mad scramble for gainful employment.

Respond to this comment

Rob ducks in to say...

Posted July 20

sometimes the law is on the people's side.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted July 20

I was hoping my son could intern with the Burger.

What the hell. There is always http://www.ellistabletalk.com.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted July 20

Ahahahahahaha!

Respond to this thread

S.M. Stirling reckons...

Posted July 20

Nobody will get paid for what other people are willing to do for free.

damian asserts...

Posted July 20

Paul - I suggest Steve is just showing that he has never had a government contract.

Steve: I actually agree - it's an argument that value is socially/culturally constructed. While markets might make use of value when it exists, they don't actually create it in the first place.

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted July 20

Damian
Value may be socially/culturally constructed, if you rightly include advertising in the socially/culturally; but the market prices the value.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 20

w - not disagreeing there.

pi puts forth...

Posted July 21

> Nobody will get paid for what other people are willing to do for free.

If that were the case, there'd be no porn industry.

Dick is gonna tell you...

Posted July 22

Yeah, but porntube and the likes have made a real dent in that industry

Lulu asserts...

Posted July 22

pi - also, no hookers.

Respond to this thread

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 20

I think I understand now. Y'all haven't experienced economic "bubbles" driven by markets that create value from absolutely nothing. The value of bundled mortgages and other derivatives was created out of economic whole cloth by the markets where those imaginary products were bought and sold. Until those bubbles burst, imaginary things were traded back and forth, bought and sold for real money.

Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted July 20

Paul,

Tulip bulbs are not imaginary. They'll come back into fashion and Louisiana will return to 'French' ownership at roughly the same time.

Cheap Real Estate in Motown I hear.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 21

"Cheap Real Estate in Motown I hear."

Fuck you. Fuck you and your entire family. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. And then fuck the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (but for very different reasons).

Everyone is a comedian.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted July 21

Paul

There's some squillionare who's buying up Detroit for very good reasons.

He wants to green up the city and make it sustainable and an example of what good urban architecture can be.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 21

You are trying to confuse me with logic. I won't fall for it! But I will retract all comment other than the sentiments I expressed about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Fuck them and the horse hey rode in on. I am so sick and tired of perfect pitch.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted July 21

OK Paul I'll drop the Tulip Financial Crazy Logic (even though I traded the family home on a particularly rare specimen of bulb, can't wait till it divides, I'll be a squillionarre! Wanna buy into Investment Bulbs'R'S?)but raise you on 'Perfect Pitch' the movie.

Have you seen it? It is out on DVD here and one of the songs made me cry it was so good.

Holy shit!

Maybe Ima Mormon?!

Can I still eat bacon if Ima Mormon?

Mayhem's Mum would have you know...

Posted July 21

No. All ur bacon is belong to me.

damian would have you know...

Posted July 21

(Looks up.)

I'm sure I heard someone mention bacon.

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pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 21

Frankly, I think it is despicable. I work in engineering contsruction, and this american system is anathema to me. It even happens in Australia, especially in the architectural design space. If you want to become an architect working on big beautiful things, you work for a couple of years for free getting coffee and picking up dry-cleaning.

I do it the right way... you get a three month probation. If, after three months, you're a complete ass-hat (as in, you can't do the job for which you're being paid), you're out the door. It is one of the reasons I left an employer was because they had this system. It made me feel dirty.

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Anthony has opinions thus...

Posted July 21

While an unemployed mature age student at university I was asked to do some work on a book my lecturer was writing. I thought great experience for a couple of weeks so I jumped at it. Then I found out I was actually getting paid for it. Even though I was putting a solid effort in, when I realised I was being paid, I'm convinced the quality of my work went up significantly.

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Spanner puts forth...

Posted July 21

Every spring I have to sift though the pile of applications to be my personal slave that are sent in by baby town planners desperate to get their work experience credits up so they can graduate.
I thank all the Universities for the mandatory requirement of work experience for Town Planners. Sometimes I get two of three slaves for the summer.
In reality it is quite a burden on the team and even 4th year students take a huge amount of time to get them capable of wiping their own noses. Some of the best we call back and offer positions. But most are just racking up the time. They don’t really want to work hard because they are not being paid and we don’t expect them to work hard because they are not being paid. We know they have to do it for free, so much of the whole work experience thing is done with a nod and a wink.
A better system is employ them as a Student Planner. Pay them. Assign them a mentor. This intern crap is just that. Crap.

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ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted July 21

We, on very rare occasions, have had work experience kiddies during school holidays. I used their time as an object lession in why they should stay in school and not beocme a mininum wage slave in a warehouse. I judged success by the looks on thier faces by the second day. Bonus points if I thought that they had cried themselves to sleep that night.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 21

I think I did my school work experience week in a similar fashion. Oh Ipswich City Council Records Deprtment, you learned me good.

Spanner reckons...

Posted July 22

A local government records department is a purgatory for the lost souls of pedants damned to spend eternity not giving out the requested file.

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TC puts forth...

Posted July 22

I still stand by my intent to be your intern, John, paid or otherwise. Although given that my current priorities and time constraints restrict me from reading many of your posts simply for entertainment value (let alone taking a moment to posit my own thoughts), I'm fairly sure that you would obtain the same value from me as I would from you. Which essentially just backs up your argument completely. See how supportive I am?

That said, I'm not the average intern - I'm not young, I make plenty of cash already and I'm not interested in using an internship to widen my network or build my career. I just have a love for the written word that I'd like to both expand upon and provide value to others through. I'm the guy that destroys the dreams of young, enterprising, unexperienced journalists / writers...... or I would be, maybe, if I could actually manage to steal away the nonexistent internship they're so yearning for...

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