#SydneySiege Trolls And Racists Abound – A Personal Response By Bill Quinn, Overheard Productions

Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions, near Liverpool New South Wales, Tuesday 16 December 2014, 6:36am
Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions, near Liverpool New South Wales, Tuesday 16 December 2014, 6:36am

♪♪ Oh, it’s true; I find myself avoiding looking in the mirror. ♪♪

It’s a line from a song by Ann Vriend (Canada) that I first heard in 2008 that goes:

“Oh, it’s true, I could be feeling better
And oh, it’s true, I find myself avoiding looking in the mirror
And oh, it’s true, sometimes a sad song comes on the radio
But otherwise, I’m feeling fine.”

From ‘Feelin’ Fine’ off the ‘modes of transport‘ CD

Recently I’ve stepped out from behind the radio microphone and have been doing videos, increasingly turning the camera on myself. Not in a selfie, me me me way, but more of a semiotic, body language, non-verbal communication way.

I hate text-based inter-personal communication — ironic for a writer, yes/no? But if you can see the wrinkle of my forehead or the rising of my eyebrows, or my scratching my face (one of my tells that says I should never play tournament poker), then you’ll get a sense of what drives this cultural communicator: communication.

Call me old-fashioned.

Last night, Monday 15 December 2014, after I’d finally found out nine hours after it started, what was transpiring in Martin Place in Sydney, I called a halt to my work day at 14.5….12.5 hours. No, 14.5 hours.

(I could never be in the military. Apart from anything else, I suck at 25….that was an actual typo….I suck at 24 hour clock.)

Bega Valley musician Jay McMahon was despairing with his friends of trolls and racists and xenophobes and such coming out to play in the duration and wake of the siege and eventual death of the lone gunman. I repeat, lone gunman acting alone.

If I shot up a cafe, took hostages and killed two, took myself off the planet in the process, and at one point held up my Arsenal scarf (pictured), would you burn down Ashburton Grove, set fire to the Islington train station? Or go to Arsene Wenger’s home town in France and start spraying footballist slogans over churches and patisseries?

Non.

Son of a bitch. I’d been avoiding this score for two and a half days, hoping to catch it on replay. Damn you, Google and your helpful summaries on search pages!

Arse Arse Arse
Arse Arse Arse

So last night I tried five times to record a coherent response after Jay asked me: What can be done?

After four hours of deep, replenishing, refreshing slumber, this:

Check back here soon for video. Currently loading aaaaaand…. here’s Billy!

Today, I have the luxury of doing everything and nothing.

Part of me wants to go in to Martin Place and start metaphorically bitch-slapping the losers who are standing at the barricades taking selfies with the emergency service personnel in the background.

Part of me wants to go to Punchbowl and just sit and absorb. I may yet do that. Merheba.

Part of me wants to go to Kingsgrove and do the same. Buon giorno.

Part of me says I have a week’s worth of busy work to do right here. Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

My jury is still out, and a lot will depend on how hot it’s going to get temperature-wise today. I’ll check that soon.

I suspect I’ll be going about 4kms to the west for starters. We’ll see. It’s a wide open road, and now you can go anywhere, that you want to go.

Bill Quinn
Overheard Productions
#36dC launching tomorrow (Wednesday 18 December, or Friday 20 December or or or…)

P.S. Oh, the mirror thing. In 2005, about three months after my first National Folk Festival, I was sat on the beach at about 2am at Rosedale on the New South Wales South Coast. It was 21 July 2005. My 39th birthday. Or maybe a day or so after. Or before.

And I realised two things: the moon and the sea were magnets for me. I’m drawn to them and always have been and always will. I also decided I was in love, and I rang her to tell her. Four months later I would return from a trip, pause Spicks and Specks that night and ask her to marry me. Mistake! We never got down the aisle. She’s married to the sound guy and good luck to them both.

Only recently, I looked in the mirror and realised: my face is shaped like a crescent moon. Hmmm.

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