#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!

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2014 Sydney Mardis Gras: Hitching A Ride With RSPCA NSW

2014 Sydney Mardis Gras: Hitching A Ride With RSPCA NSW
2014 Sydney Mardis Gras: Hitching A Ride With RSPCA NSW

And now for something completely different.

RSPCA NSW entered the 2014 Sydney Mardi Gras, and I gladly accepted an invite to come along for the ride (sometimes literally) and capture a little vision.

I'm not gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
I’m not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

In terms of my personal interest and orientation, I’ll turn to the words of another in a picture I pinched off someone’s Facebook wall this morning.

I’ve never understood why humans would choose to exclude others because of the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, body shape, or a host of other criteria.

Among many other things that confuse the stuffing out of me, the concept of ‘exclusion’ grinds my gears probably the worst.

Top ten, anyway.

Having only ever attended one Mardi Gras before (in 2000, standing in very similar conditions to last night, craning my neck to get a glimpse of the Dykes on Bikes over a sea of heads on Liverpool Street), I jumped at the chance to go behind the scenes this year.

I was the archetypical Johnny Come Lately, having had no hand in the weeks and months of preparation that a cast of many from RSPCA NSW had put in.

Put in. Putin. Ha! No, that was Amnesty International. More on them and Vlad the Impaler later.

And while the press today talks about the rain, and the rain, and a little more about the rain, I can tell you there was none of the wet stuff falling from a good two hours before the first float headed out. If it came, it came late, as the bishop said to the actress.

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