Friday, April 15, 2011

In defence of the gutter

Well, it is there right under the big fucking slogan that reads: "An Alcoholic's Guide to Modern Life". A further statement. It reads: "We are in the gutter, but some of us enjoy it."

Now this statement, which I am told is a "play" on some sort of thing some prick called Oscar Wilde once said, was not actually something I personally came up with.

It was something that was once said about Carlo Sands by someone who, for reasons that escape me, calls herself "Amy".

The details of how it came to be said are a little hazy, but I believe it involved Canberra and a bad hangover.

And it is an accurate enough summary of the ideology, nay philosophy of Carlo Sands.

But I would, on reflection, go further and state: "We are all in a gutter but some of us DON'T EVEN FUCKING REALISE IT!"

No, some of us live in denial. Some of us think we can escape the gutter. And they think this is an easy task and one to be actively pursued.

The way you do this is you go some place to do your drinking, as we all must, that involves a greater wanker-per-head ratio than, say, some place with no one else there.

These places, for reasons that completely escape me, are usually full of people. And the way you can tell this is a place that its inhabitants think is above the gutter is, as well as the unseemly crowds, that the fucking beer costs more.

And sometimes, it even comes with a twist of some sort. Like if you hand over to the poor, overworked bastard behind the bar twice the cash for a standard beer, they'll kindly throw some fucking tabasco sauce into you beer for you.

You know, just for fucking kicks.

God knows why anyone would drink beer with tabasco fucking sauce in it, unless they were being force-fed it in Guantanamo Bay in the latest horrific torture technique invented by the Land of the Fucking Free as part of its bid to spread democracy one poor fucking tortured concentration camp prisoner at a time.

But apparently, the very possibility of ordering such a monstrosity, such a crime against humanity in blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, is a sure sign you have taken a step out of the much-maligned gutter.

You know, as opposed to all those places that just serve fucking beer straight without the foresight of offering, for a just few extra hard earned dollars, a dollop of hot fucking sauce that renders your beer undrinkable.

And the worst thing about such places is they are never located anywhere fucking decent. By which I mean, located somewhere not overridden by fuckwits and wankers.

And yet, such places, in locations overridden with prats (to say nothing of very uptight bouncers) are considered, in some way, to be a step up from some dive in nowhere in particular.

That is, nowhere overrun by prats. Or, indeed, much in the way of anyone else.

And seriously, what is it with the bouncers in these areas? All you want is another fucking drink and you can't walk in to some place without being harassed by some meathead asking very impertinent questions, such as: "How much have you had tonight, mate?"

Ah, how about you mind your own fucking business is what you want to say. Or, clearly not enough as evidenced by the fact I am trying to walk into another fucking pub.

But you don't say that, because your chance of another drink is dependent on the goodwill of the giant slab of beef with an earpiece asking the question.

So you try and sound coherent and mumble something about "maybe a couple" and you get refused entry by the coked-up, steroid-ridden monstrosity who sees fit to judge your drug use.

That is the sort of neighbourhood where you find these "beer-with-tabasco-sauce" joints.

And, apparently, this is a step up from the gutter.

Well here is the thing. It really, really isn't. It is still the fucking gutter.

It is no less the gutter than some near-empty squalid pub with an old, drunken, redfaced Irishman behind the bar who insists on playing Kenny Rogers "The Gambler" on repeat on the jukebox.

It is still the gutter, only with more wankers in your way.

You can't escape the gutter. Not by choosing a different joint to try and kill the pain of late monopoly capitalism in.

The gutter is where we live. It is the place we are assigned to by our benighted rulers. Who, by the way, also live in the gutter — only with much more expensive booze and better views.

Or, in the case of those puppets the rulers like to pretend are allowed to rule, in Canberra.

The gutter is life in this society.

And by all means "look at the stars", as that absinthe-drinking Irish bastard once said.

Which means, as Wilde himself spelled out in The Soul of Man Under Socialism, dare to imagine a different society is possible, one in which we are not enslaved to some form of degrading labour, not alienated, not subjected to the horrors of war, exploitation and Justin Bieber.

And by all means, organise to overthrow this fucking system that threatens total destruction of all life on Earth.

Carlo Sands is for that. Hell, I even started the important work of scoping out a potential wall to put the motherfuckers up against.

But, within this nightmare, it is all just a nightmare.

That is why people drink, no matter how many times the government, who are all fucking alcoholics, or the media, who are all fucking alcoholics, warn us about the dangers of alcohol abuse and come up with insane, laughable formulas about four or more standard drinks is binge drinking.

There is no "step up". There is no "better class of joint". There are only more expensive drinks and more wankers in your way at the bar.

What do you need from a pub? You need available booze and a place to sit and talk to a small group of people about shit to in a bid to forget about the nightmare that is the world.

And maybe play a game of pool.

The best thing a pub can be is close. That is the best characteristic a pub can have, after "cheap" and "not overridden with wankers".

The worst argument that can be made is that going to some joint located in the middle of some wanker-ridden suburb is it means you have "more of a social life".

Jesus fucking christ, you want a social life go see the fucking theatre. Go and watch the goddamn ballet. Get up at 6am on a Sunday morning to join a bushwalking society. Go to flower shows.

But if you just want a drink to relax and forget the world, then just go and have a fucking drink. And pick your company with care.

But do not engage in illusions, nay delusions about where you chose to do your drinking.

And if you must enter one of these hubs of wankery, of pratness — let's pick a place at random and say Newtown/Enmore — then it is much more enjoyable if you assault the place in the company of someone, let's call him "Ben", who has been drinking goon all afternoon and is staggering up the street to the pub dressed in a suit for no reason other than he has been drinking goon all afternoon and it seems a good idea.

And, in between some decent, coherent discussion on the relative prospects of the Bulldogs or Bombers in the 2011 Premiership Season, you have to try and convince him that stealing one of those big, moveable heaters is not wise, nor is it advisable to stop random passerbyers to ask whether they like to wear condoms or just shout out, to the beer garden, "Woopha!!!" every half-a-minute.

You get to test out important life-phrases such as "C'mon Ben, don't do that..." and "for christ's sake Ben, SHUT UP!".

And wonder in amazement at how long it takes before the bouncers make their way over to advise that leaving sooner, rather than later, may be in everyone's best interests.

And at the fact it took some bastard at a nearby table to rat Ben out to the bouncers after he hid an empty jug in some bushes to pick up on the way home — especially as he completely forgot he put it there anyway.

And that he scored a free glass when, after the bouncers' "time to leave" message, he staggered out of the premises with half a schooner in hand - only to find out later it got confiscated five metres down the street. But, anyhow, it didn’t matter as he had another stuffed in his inside suit pocket he had forgotten about but discovered to his surprise the next day.

If you must drink in these places, best approach it in such a way.

But ok. I mean, you know, what difference does it make? Drink where you fucking like. It doesn't matter, you know, just drink.

But don't pretend where you drink is any better than anywhere else. It is still just the gutter with some fucking booze on tap. And *that* is all that fucking matters.

"Nine-to-five is eating us alive, eating us alive. We're not kings, we are footsoldiers. We are walking the road to nowhere ... Is there any other place for us to go? Or is there even anywhere we know? No, no, no, no ..."


  1. Conehead the Barbiturate16 April 2011 at 13:04

    Can't imagine who the person you call "Ben" is what he'd be doing drinking goon in the Newtown/Enmore area but that kind of sounds like fun. But then again, anything sounds like fun at the moment as I've spent the last week & half sick as a dog in the most boring town in Europe (which has an uncanny resemblence to Canberra, but without the Phoenix).

    Haven't been to a pub for a couple of weeks. The last pub I was in was fun. The bouncer had an armalite. I was told it was a "better class of joint" than others in Cotabato City which means fewer gunfights.

    That's the charm of Cotabato City, a sort of "Old Wild West" ambience but with up-to-date weapons. Stayed at a hotel with a security guard who when I arrived was slumped in a chair, fast asleep, with an M16 assault rifle across his knees. Like a modern day Clint Eastwood.

    THey also have guards with assault rifles outside conveniance stores.

    In Cotabato City you'd definitely be ill-advised to accost random people asking about condoms or shouting "Woopha!!!" There's a seven out of ten chance that any random person has a gun so best not to shout "Woopha!!!" at them in case they're feeling jumpy.

    Still, would be fun.

    To get from Cotabato City to the most boring town in Europe involved 4 airports.

    All I can say is that Cotabato City Airport is cute. Not as cute as Tindouf, but better guarded. There was security at Tindouf airport, but less than you'd see at a Cotabato City conveniance store.

    Manila's "Ninoy Aquino International Airport" is what you'd expect of the main international airport of a country whose economy is based on exporting human labour. Lots of queues. Its also got a big new international terminal that's only used by local flights because they never finished building it because the funds kept dissapearing into the bank accounts of the former President & her family. And beware of people outside the international terminal wearing official badges & uniforms. If you make eye contact with them they'll try & extort money off you,

    Dubai Airport is a giant shopping mall — no surprise there. You can smoke but only in a particular coffee shop where they won't let you in unless you spent 35 dirhams. The upside of Dubai Airport is you can by pseudoephidrine-based pharmaceuticals for a mere 12 dirhams. Not like in fucking Australia where pseudoephidrine-based pharmaceuticals have almost dissapeared because some dickheaded moral panic spreading politicians decided that because if you have kilos of pseudoephidrine it can be used to make speed or ice, pharmaceuticals containing a few miligrams must be restricted in case some speed freak buys every fucking packet of Sudafed in the country or something. They could have just made a law saying you're not allowed to by more than 100,000 packets at one time. Fucking Australian politicians are moralistic fucking dickheads.

    Frankfurt Airport can be summed up in two words: racial profiling. SeEuropean looking riously, if you're white you could pull out a bag of smack and shoot up in the customs hall & the customs & security people wouldn't notice because they're too busy hassling all the darker skinned people or noticing that a respectable-looking grandmother is wearing a headscarfe.

  2. Conehead the Barbiturate16 April 2011 at 13:09

    That last paragraph was meant to read: Seriously, if you're white European looking you could pull out a bag of smack and shoot up in the customs hall & the customs & security people wouldn't notice because they're too busy hassling all the darker skinned people or noticing that a respectable-looking grandmother is wearing a headscarfe.

  3. Gutter & Sons Attorneys of Law18 April 2011 at 09:39

    As the legal representative for "ben"- we would like to advise denies any and all knowledge of any supposed goon inspired incidents in or around newtown/enmore.

    Further, my client would like to make the following statement:- "Cotabato City sounds like exactly the kind of place for such activities. The proliferation of high powered firearms would surely just add a level of risk and adventure that is sorely lacking in western societies."

    "but that matter aside, while i do agree with the general thrust of the above piece, that above all else, drinking is all that really matters, and that the biggest curse on a good drink is the modern curse of wankery, which should be avoided as much as one can, the setting in which one indulges can have quite significant input into the overall quality of the evening."

    "as much as i do love the local, can that really compare to a redfern underwear party? Or to stolen scotch on top of the biggest building in rotterdam? or absinthe in the 'ladies college' at a prestigious school? Or smuggling beer to a troop of girl guides in paris? Or goon in the holding cells of the SCG? Or pissing from balconies drinking sangria in spain? or ale on rollerblades in brussels? or midnight wine at the bathers beach in freo on a tuesday? i could continue, but i think i have made my point sufficiently clear"

    "It is about drinking, and it think it would be foolish to put one drinkery fundamentally above another, but in the course of an evening where you go certainly makes an impact on the story one can tell."

    All further inquiries can be forwarded to our offices, which you can find at the bottom of the bottle.

  4. I thank Conehead for his comments and wish to point out, for those confused, that Cotabato City is in Mindanoa, a southern island in part of the Philippines state. But this state of affairs is somewhat disputed and an interesting aticle on this state of affairs can be found here.:

    Perhaps Conehead could have read of it to familiarise himself with the situation, rather than concerning himself exclusively with the state of its pubs and airport - signficant though these are.

    This blog does not exist purely for frivolity, its aims at important commentary on social and political affairs of the world.

    As to "Ben", who has seen fit to involve his lawyers in this matter, all I can say is pubs these days have CCTV footage, should it come to that. Though I am confident that "Ben" is keen to ensure this matter stays well out of any court of law.

    On "Ben"'s statement on drinking and the circumstances surrounding it, well sure. My piece was not an argument against any of this.

    Getting locked-up in a holding cell at the SCG before the fucking first bounce at a game between, say, Sydney and Geelong is no doubt one of those life experience's to be aimed for. A certainity for inclusion in the "top ten things to do before you die of liver failure" list of any person with self respect.

    Of course surroundings have an impact and are far from irrelevent. I mean, there are places such as The Phoenix Hotel in Canberra, that should be actively sought out. Hell, I'd make the trip to Melbourne just to drink jugs at the Stork *if they hadn't torn the fucking place down to build a carpark*.

    But these are places in which the key point is they facilitate the process of drinking, at which drinking is the key point. And they are not places with any pretension to being out of any gutter.

    And that is so very rare in this world of stainless-steel-nightmare-inducing, lifeless, bouncer-ridden bars.

    Carlo Sands (deceased)