In the pub one
night, Tom announced to all who would listen the answer to his dream.
I know the problem with this
country. People don’t count. They should, but they don’t.
Here he goes!
Said one of the regulars.
So you want to hear my solution
From the back
Shut up dickhead !
OK, seeing you asked so nicely,
This is not good news for
people of your lowliness, but I have had a brilliant idea .
From the side
That’ll be a first!
Rather than wasting precious
environmental resources expanding the Village as we have been, I thought
that we could build a Tower out of people.
If each of person in the
Village were to stand on one another's shoulders, we could create a tower
entirely of human flesh and bone (although you would need to keep your
clothes on so as to not bone one another, and thus destabilise
This would have the following
1. I thought of
2. I would have to crawl
over the bodies of my friends to get to the top (very witty, don't you
3. The people would spend
all day shitting on one another (not dissimilar to the current situation).
4. The people would finally
find out what it is like to have one's arse so high up in the air (if not
one's air so high up in one's arse).
5. When storms make things
difficult, my friends would have to strain very hard to support me, whilst
I just sit there.
6. Being made up of people,
the Tower would be completely organic and, thus, environmentally friendly.
We could throw away broken parts and they would simply rot back into the
soil, ready for reuse (ashes to ashes etc).
7. Whenever low-flying planes
from the Airport come near, we could all collectively duck.
8. Whenever fumes eminate
from the Toxic Waste Dump, we could all stand on our toes.
9. Whenever there is a flood,
you could all swim, whilst I breath (and continue to think) for the rest
10. When they build houses
where there used to be forests, and the urban sprawl becomes too much,
we would be above that anyway.
10b. By exploiting otherwise
useless bodies, the Tower would make a world-class work-for-the-dole-scheme,
and solve unemployment in one hit. All the prerequistes for employment
would be there (being put down, people treading on you, being shat on,
bum licking, the pointless climb to the top), and because people would
simply participate till they carked it, there would be no need for expensive
and unnecessary social infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, public
housing and social security (we would have to re-train redundant funeral
workers however). Capital would thus be released for priority infrastructure
projects such as Olympic Water Ballet Pools, Equestrian Accommodation,
Casinos, Parliamentary Pay rises and Yachting events. (Indeed, in a pique
of economic rationalism we could house all these at the local Sewerage
Treatment Plant, and have all the shit happen in the one spot).
The Tower would even work
in times of war. I would be so high off the ground that my arse couldn't
possibly get shot at... I'd watch yours
though, it is expendable
(I don't mean I'd watch yours, you should do that. Besides, it would be
beneath me! yuck yuck). And we could have a concert. If you all sang
for your supper, I might just hear you (no Country Music bullshit, though).
11. See 1 (ad infinitum).
And, in reference to
bodies being piled one on top of each other, you must be standing. Definitely
‘no’ to lying on top of one another... this sounds like sex to me, and
I am not having the people enjoying themselves on the job (or any other
time for that matter... if there is any enjoyment to be had, I am having
it). Nor am I having them lying down on the job!
The population of the Village
might just be enough to keep my head above the pollution (and closer to
heaven... where it belongs).
I might just be playing with
myself here, but I've always thought the answers were just at my fingertip
It's nice to know that the
problems of the Village are so simply resolved, after all !
Sit down ya mug!
Ever since he had
been very young, Tom had experienced a recurring dream. Each occurrence
of the dream built on the one before; a story unfolding that never appeared
any closer to conclusion. At first the dream had been a novelty, a lollipop
of imagination to be savoured in those precious hours before the dawn became
the day, before dreams gave way to reality.
The dream of child had centred
on a pool, to which many whom Tom had known at that point in his life had
gathered. All were engaged in a frenzy of recreational pleasure. There
was nothing violent or carnal in this pleasure though. It was, after all,
the dream of a child. Yet the atmosphere was framed with a sharp edge of
forboding and anticipation.
Those around the pool were
urging others to ascend a ladder at one end. The ladder seemed not unlike
that of a diving tower at the local Olympic Pool. Somehow, Tom became engrossed
in this game of encouragement, despite a strong sense that he should not,
and found himself in the wave of bodies moving towards the ladder and the
From beside the pool, the
ladder seemed quite short, and Tom could not understand the feeling of
dread knawing its way into the pit of his stomach. He began to climb the
ladder uncertain as to why he should be concerned and, indeed, the first
few rungs were as simple as they appeared.
Yet, as Tom climbed, he became
aware with each hand hold that the ladder was indeed much higher than first
seemed. First minutes, then hours seemed to pass as he climbed. He tried
to look up to ascertain how far he had to go, only to be thwarted by the
proximity of the body, or, at least, the posterier, in front. He now could
not descend, this option being made impossible by the steady stream of
those who rose on the ladder behind him. He could not jump, because all
that awaited the careless climber was the considerable fall to the cement
Just as all seemed lost,
and the faces of callous old men priests had begun to drift into his consciousness
to chide him for his sins of neglect, Tom made it to the top of the tower.
He breathed with ease, again, until suddenly finding himself with an impossible
drop to the water below, and no chance of retreating. Tom had left all
his options back at the foot of the ladder, except one: to jump.
Trembling, in part in fright
at the drop, and in part at his own foolhardiness in taking this course,
Tom, for the first time, looked down. An eternity of air separated him
from the water below. The water itself was dotted with the heads of a multitude
of swimmers. If he jumped, it would be impossible to miss them, but he
had no choice.
And the water itself was
covered in a slime, seemingly of oil, bacteria, and fungus mixed together
in a sickly broth, which formed circular patterns across the surface of
the pool. Tom resolved that if he was to dive, he would do so with the
aim of landing in the centre of the circle, and, thus , avoiding the slime.
Any head that found itself inside the circle when the water and his body
became one would have to fend for themselves.
Trembling, he left the platform
feet-first. The air blasted past his body as the surface of the pool rushed
closer. The last thing he remembered was being completely out of control,
and it was a feeling of Horror…
Then he awoke.
The Festival had
been designed as a Celebration of the Village, and although the people
who first proposed it were not sure what to celebrate, the Festival worked
It had first appeared at
a time when people were looking for some way of saying that the Village
was their place, their home. It was a way of announcing to the world that
the people of the Village liked where they lived, and that they wouldn’t
live anywhere else.
It surprised the people of
the Village because when it was suggested that the Festival was a cultural
event, it finally occurred to them that they had much in the way of culture.
They were as creative and proud as any other people.
Thus skills that had remained
unpracticed for so long, and trinkets that had adorned sheds and backyard
dunnies for so long, suddenly became the focus of activity for the people
of the Village.
Although the Festival itself
was spread over a week, the highlight of that week was the Saturday morning
parade that snaked its way from the Holt Road, down Main St, and concluding
in the Showgrounds. For the first few years the Parade was dominated by
groups from outside the Village, but, eventually, the locals got the hang
of the idea. Now families all over the Village had to decide each year
which of them were going to be the spectators and which were going to participate.
Thus on one day each year, members of families from across the Village
waved to one another across Council barriers.
Tom was a little different
from other people in the Village, some would say a lot different, in that
he most enjoyed walking the length of Main Street in the very early hours
of the morning of the Festival.
Before each Parade for a
couple of years now, he had found himself gliding past the mist-shrouded
shop fronts as Councils workers sprouting fog as they breathed, erected
stalls, signs, bunting and speakers in Main St. Although he could never
work out why, these experiences seemed spiritual to Tom. He and this place
close together. The workers like phantoms beyond the fog.
Tom remembered a similar
experience when his mum had given him a Panadine Forte after he was concussed
Through the mist the bitumen
appeared to turn to glass, framed by the white kerbs so that a mirror seemed
to stretch down Main St. And in that mirror Tom glimpsed memories. Tom
saw himself walking this street in another place and time. Tom the child
crying because he had lost his mother, then crying because she had smacked
him when she found him; Tom the school boy loosening his shirt collar as
he proceeded fitfully to the Station to meet his first love. At the end
of the Street was Nan’s gravestone by the Lake.
Tom felt as if his head had
floated from his body. It wafted above the mist as the feet below kept
up their stride. Tom floated above Main St and realised that he was one
with the Village and it was one with him. It was an experience that stayed
with him for the 2 miles of Main Street. Then the horn of an impatient
milk truck broke through the comfort to Tom’s ears. And Tom, regretfully,
was released from his vision.
And this time, no Panadeine
Thus the Saturday Parade,
with all its sound, sights, colour, and smell, never held the romance of
the night before. The shapes of the floats were harsh in the daylight.
They lacked the form of the mists that could form any shape they wished
and create any reality they desired.
Sure, Tom went to the Parade,
but that was because everyone else did. Walking Main Street alone at night
was spiritual experience, walking along Main Street whilst everyone else
walked Main Street was not.
It was great to
see you all at the Res. I find it a real lift to beensconsed (even temporarily)
with such a gifted group of people!
As part of
my PhD (entitled "Eco Urbia") research process, I have written a novel
("The Village"), in which I attempt to espouse some of the features (virtues?)
of Social Ecology, in narrative form. The novel is set in Greater Western
Sydney, but may have broader application.
To this end,
I am seeking the help of colleagues who may wish to read/comment on/edit
some or all of the novel.
The work is
232 pages long, and split into roughly 3 equal sections. You may like to
read the whole, 1 of the sections, or a chapter/chapters. If the latter,
please list you interest(s) for me, so I might send the appropriate goodies.
covers topics ranging from the environment to urban expansion, indigenous
language and fractality, so I probably have something for everyone.
I need a bit
of a boost, and any help you can provide would be most appreciated.
am attaching 3 chapters for your web site and, I hope, your enjoyment.