Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Australian Psycho

 



Watching American Psycho for the 7th time I get it, 
why selfies are the rule of 21st century habits,
narcissism and self-interest are the key concern,
others are just burger meat, bloody, raw and burnt.
A neoliberal brainwash has produced a populace
greedy for status, celebrity and a perfect face, 
sacrificing humanity for designer clothes and homes,
environment exploited with a flag of skull and bones. 
Compassion is for fools, love is commercial crap,
politics virtue signalling while food and booze distract.
War explodes, neo-nazis march, the world is burning down
and anyone who protests and fights is just a boring clown.
I feel a fucking idiot crying in the wilderness,
I'm just a dumb consumer contributing to the mess.
Australia is utopia in lotus eating land,
and I'm a screaming psycho, my ego out of hand.





Friday, August 26, 2022

The Poverty of Violence, The Violence of Poverty.

 

Please excuse my constant raves about my book "Punk Outsider" but daily I can't helping thinking about what my underlying themes are. One of them is "violence" as experienced in living in the late 20th Century, particularly for those in the lower strata of society, the poor, the marginalised, the rebel, the disaffected.

Each story in Punk Outsider can stand alone and also is connected to the next story, like glass beads on a necklace, the whole giving a picture of the protagonist's life and journey, with no destination and no conclusion. Each story depicts some form of violence, all the variations inflicted upon the unlucky, the unwary, the unstable. The first story, "At the Cafe of the Fool's Nemesis" reveals, for me, the greatest and ongoing violence perpetrated upon us street level citizens, the constant harassment by the State and the Police.

 



 















To be continued

 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Manifesto of a Mad Outsider..


(If you can be bothered prepare yourself to read a long treatise on my theory of what it is to be an Outsider, my harrowing tale of woe, honest, from the heart, and before I give up the ghost.)

Every city has a million stories and some, when written down in exasperation, have the feel of a suicide note. For often the story is about humanity tearing at each other's throats, but it can also include the miracle of an occasional hand reaching out to help from that rare compassionate soul. Eight billion people on the planet, every one of them hoping to survive, fighting to thrive, screaming into the silent void, "I'm alive!" Each wants to matter, to have meaning, to leave a mark in the face of ever-present death. Posterity, immortality, eternity, celebrity insanity, "Don't let me be nothing!" 

Wars, torture, rape, traffic of children, drug addiction, money-god, religious fervour, millions getting trodden on, humans will turn to cannibalism if they have to. A nuclear bomb can fall at any moment and vaporise that city of a million souls, and in that holocaust the individual means nothing.

Lost in this existential nightmare the unenlightened individual will pull any dirty trick to get on top. I know I am nobody, possessing nothing, simply working hard at getting a life, and I got a life, of adventure, knowledge and ecstasy. And yes, I've had ugly thoughts, done a few dumb deeds, though nothing vicious, mostly naive childishness of stepping on toes, yet always with the hope that everyone I met would be a friend. I was open, giving, never ripping any one off, lending succour when I could. "Oh yes," you laugh, "that queer boor, sucking dicks when he could!" 

Sadly, all along the way a thousand doors got slammed in my face, not because I was a bastard but because I was fearless, brash and I wouldn't take shit. As an innocent child I had to be crushed because of the human history of terror at the sight of vulnerable beauty. Certain uptight, mean-spirited souls found intelligence and bravura offensive no matter the long, hard road I had travelled to get wise. In the cruel 1950s that small child had his thumb crushed by a rudely slammed gate when he reached out asking for friendship.

When I crash-landed in Sydney in 1977 the doors kept slamming, that vicious penal city where the elite whip-masters have engineered a permanent chain-gang to keep us peasants in our lowly station, my fellows willing to play the screw if it meant extra rations and a soft bed. In that year I made my first posters at the Tin Sheds with imaginative drawing using fluro acrylics and heavy black; from then on, astonished at my temerity, my art overseers excluded me from every group show they organised, but they couldn't ban me totally, against their exclusion there was always that kind soul who helped anyone who was downtrodden as that was their nature. In this instance the empathic person was Chips McInolty who supported my practice regardless of his overly competitive fellows. Now my posters are in many private and National collections. 

1979

After I made those posters at the Tin Sheds it wasn't only the Earthworks Gang of 5 who resented the competition from me. The poster that caused a big splash, Garibaldis Benefit, enlisted the aid of a group called "Cabaret Conspiracy." A certain 'impresario' I'll name J.A. resented someone stepping onto his turf to organise a benefit using his gang of performers, and also create a fabulous poster which he could never accomplish. I only recently flashed that he has held a grudge for forty years and occasionally slammed a few doors in my face just to show me my low place in the Sydney show-biz pecking order. But more about him later.

This snooty treatment has repeated non-stop through my long travail, it seems a common trope, the wannabe artist getting fucked over, for they are without a wealthy family, good school connections or relatives/friends on the grants board. Oh well, I was never in it for the money or upwardly mobile career. I was in it for the joy of creation, the fun of putting on my own shows in halls, shops, cafes, schools and squats; painting the city in fluro rainbows, it was something to do when you don't want to only be a wage slave 9 to 5. Oh, and I thrilled at giving my finger to The Beast, fuck you for fucking me!

I don't care if you think this is the usual grizzling of a defeated old dick, I must tell the facts of my undoing before the dark night takes over. Why should I let those cunning, sapient rats get away with their Machiavellian backstabbing and lies? I will recount my downfall in all its sordid details, naming those creeps who cruelly put the boot in no matter that they professed themselves saviours of the hard done by and heroes of the minorities.

It amazes me that I got my arse kicked more painfully even after I told my unwarranted adversaries of my terrible background of intense domestic violence in a pauper household; that I was beaten constantly and rejected because I'm queer; raped and excluded by my fellow gays because I'm vulnerable and low class; chased, brutalised and framed by corrupt cops; condemned to dark parks and toilets looking for love and comfort from mostly callous, exploitative men and a bigoted society; rejected by family because of my deviant difference; never to find love and peace because I have been twisted by a violent, ruthless world. I related all this to those I thought were friends, who had comfortable childhoods, lived in mansions, rarely given a slap, about to inherit millions... and they turned on me, for no good reason except their weakness of character, meanness, resentment that I fought for and still got a life while they remain dopes, losers, no hopers.

They stabbed me in the back, spread lies, gaslighted me, insulted and tortured me, same as all the fascist brutes I've met in my life who didn't feel to pretend "niceness." I don't get it, why? I've done nothing bad to them, I've worked hard and gotten very little recompense; for all that I'm talented I won't get fame and riches, I'll die a pauper and ignominious. Why join in the fuck-over? Does that little bit of power to oppress, to negate, to reject, give them a thrilling kick, a one-up sense of betterment, someone lower than them they can crush and laugh at? 

Humans can be so pathetic, stupid and nasty. No wonder our species is heading towards extinction. Wars, pandemics, climate chaos, environment pollution, drug epidemics will do us in and we deserve it I guess, though it is a pity for we were capable of so much more: beauty, knowledge and love. But we had to shit on it, crush it, perversely, as in Freud's Death Wish, Thanos. So many scumbags surround us, it's a miracle when you meet a truly good person, they almost make up for the bad, at least give one a break from the relentless indifference and cruelty. I guess I'm a misanthrope. I'm also infantile, I never got past the age of 7 emotionally, I even draw like a kid. What the fuck!?   

I am an outsider, pure and simple. Since Camus gave the term cachet it's become synonymous for hip, cool, dangerous, outrageous, freak, outlaw, unacceptable, alienated, unwanted, excluded, pissed-off. Now it's been appropriated by fashionistas, wankers and wannabes for that extra edge of anarchic cachet. To be a smart-arse, naughty and rebellious, how cute. It's bandied about by artists hoping to add to the lustre of their fame: painters, writers, performers, filmmakers, poncey poseurs and ruthless careerists, they ignore that a famous outsider is an oxymoron, a paper-tiger fake. 

An outsider is exactly that, OUTSIDE, never allowed IN, on edge. Every door is shut in his/her face by the Cerberus dog on the door, the officious twirp on the committee with one cent worth of power. Is it the outsider's cutting genius that gets the oaf's shitty knickers in a knot?  Or his/her scabrous critique of society that rocks the boat and insults the conservative? Does their rainbow colours outrage the grey, stick in the mud, untalented drabs? I'm sure intelligence confuses the dumb, rude style annoys the conformist, and dare-devil stunts overwhelms the old biddies and limp dicks.


The true outsider dies outside, in the cold, on the road, as I will! Australia is particularly callous at keeping its outsiders in the wilds, each mindless slave on the chain-gang snitching for an extra lick of the boss's boots. My work has shown all around the world yet got little encouragement at home from those who had the wherewithal to help push it, the old "tall poppy" trope. Jealousy is such a pathetic disease and so Australian. I did it alone, with no money, no connections, just guts, brains and heart, and help from my friends and the few well-wishers I met up with, the punks, thieves, hookers, junkies, paupers, fellow outlaws and outsiders. Thus I made my films "The Thief of Sydney" and "Virgin Beasts." 

I came up with the title of my book "Punk Outsider" 7 years ago and broadcast its immanent arrival on social media, in Blogs, FaceBook and Instagram, little realising it was an "IN" tag. After reading 3000 books and seeing 12000 movies I created a story where the villain, "Toby the Punk Poofy Cat", the jail-bait punk, takes it up his badarse for favours such as spliffs, protection and a helping hand. What fashionista would admit to that?
         

These days the "outsider" is the darling of the Establishment, adored  and welcomed into every citadel of shit and given a million dollars, (I recently sold 7 prints to the State Library of NSW but only got $400 for a year's hard labour. It was bought by a gay friend, the one out of 7 people who will reach out to help, the other six being cut-throats.) To me those IN outsiders really are "bum boozers and poncey poseurs" for they are not able to withstand the pain, fear and ignominy of truly being shut out in the cold, ever hungry and degraded as the detritus of slums, a nobody peasant from social housing. Yet I made films that won world prizes! Plead sincerely as I did many snooty Aussies sniffed "NO!" when I asked them for a show or assistance, they told me to exit thru the toilets, the Thief ripped off by shit-heap climbing pigs!

The outsider is always made to run the gauntlet for her/his notoriety. From the very beginning of the rat race when I washed up in Sydney  I met the artsholes who would plagiarise, backstab, exclude, rebuff me till I wonder how I managed to survive and progress down that boulevard of broken arses.  I swear the shit acts I now relate are true, this is the cruel treatment the true outsider receives in a world where money and fame rules.

2011
When I made Super 8 films and showed them in halls, schools and cafes I was applauded for my social realist nerve and community regard but then a gang of abstract dicks took over the Super 8 Film Group, and I was ejected from the screenings and festivals they infiltrated. Their leader, Warner Brother-Fucker, wormed his way into the Film Commission to be the demi-god who handed out money to his Super 8 suck-arse cabal, promptly refusing funding for my musical doco "Darling It Hurtz!" Thankfully there was one person who helped to defy the machinations of the rats, Chris Tillum, who found me the money to finish it, and this film is now an underground classic though still shat on by the Powers That Be.

In 1981, in the middle of my animated film project, "The Thief of Sydney", a gang of art students wormed their way into my studio and were impressed with what they saw. With the bullshit name of 'The Animation Co-op' they eventually walked off with most of the equipment and my techniques and designs from my project. They lied about the antecedents of their films, the animation camera and my involvement in initiating the studio with its builder Eddie vander Madden, bragging they invented it all. They got lifetime jobs teaching animation while I got thrown in the gutter.

In 1983 I submitted a short story I called "Welcome to the Mens" to a queer anthology titled "Edge City" edited by Gary Dunne. It was about the various influences on growing up gay in Melbourne of the 1950s and '60s. While he used a line from my pitch to get my story published, "blood on the lino," as the title for his next book of short stories he never asked me to contribute again in any way. My story was controversial in its description of domestic violence and the seduction of myself as a schoolboy in the toilets of a movie theatre by a much older man.

In 1984 that story was noticed by a historian at Sydney University, Gory Witherspoon, who told me it enthused him to put together a volume of such "growing up queer" stories, set in different Australian cities and eras, and asked if I would reprise my history, only take it further, from puberty up to young adulthood. I improved my tale and ended it with a plea for "marriage equality" which I hoped would give queers more social acceptance, the happy gay couple welcomed at the family dinner table. He put together 6 tales with him as editor calling the tome "Being Different." When the book was published in 1985 it received much praise and went into reprint. I got singled out as having written an entertaining and poignant story by the literary review in the Sydney Morning Herald, the other stories considered tedious and mundane,

On publication I discovered dear Gary had decided to put his own story in as well as being an editor and he placed it just before my story. He ended his boring growing up story in a safe North Shore family with a plea for 'marriage equality', very similar to my own, thus attempting to pre-empt me. He never asked me to contribute writing to anything again nor has he ever offered to suggest or connect me with a publisher for my further writings. Nor was I ever asked to participate in the tidal wave of growing up queer volumes and seminars that followed in the next 40 years. That ever present cone of silence descended upon me and did so up to 2022. Is it just that I'm not connected or is it that Sydney feels it's had me and I need no further coverage? Perhaps my work is just too outrageous or was my old mentor Compassion correct when he told me ,"People won't like your work if they don't like you?" What the fuck did I do to get continuously shat on?

1978

 I slaved for 10 years to make a short feature film, 'Virgin Beasts', 1986 to 1995. When it finally surfaced it won Best Trash Film 1996 at Freakzone, Lille France (with Japan.) A part-animated sci-fi burlesque rock opera, "Beauty Meets the Beast at the Masque of the Red Death on a Quest for the Holy Grail to Beat Brand Rights for Grey Males." It was a trip into the male Unconscious to critique patriarchy, its central icon of the penis and its promulgation of war-financed capitalism, with the power to destroy equated to the ability of women to give birth. 

Halfway through production the Lesbian Mafia running the Australian Film Commission refused me any further funding and dumped me. They went on to give themselves one and a half million dollars to make their own part-animated feature, "Pissing Under Water" about a trip into the female Unconscious to critique patriarchy and praise the feminine mystique. After a year of begging on the 7 floors of the AFC building I finally cracked the new boss, a cool British guy named Peter Sainsebury who gave me the funding to finish my film, a budget altogether of $210,000. To this day the dykes bad mouth me around town, accusing me of misogyny and male aggression but I was the one who got dumped and they were the ones who got a million and a half dollars from insider graft.

1985

Yeah yeah, "BORING!" you say. I don't give a fuck what you think, I'm already disreputable. I am so fucking fatigued, depressed, destroyed here in 2022 that I'm considering suicide and this could be my suicide note. There seems no hope, I've worked so hard, people tell me my work is excellent, edgy, explosive, yet I can't get a break from any of the power brokers out there. It's as if I represent some existential threat, or maybe they're simply jealous I got this far without much establishment help: no old boy network, no elite hand-up, no clique club. Good thing I got myself an exciting life, of travel, creativity, music highs, friends' love, and I've danced my way nirvanic through the despondent muck-heaps of shithead fashionistas and pea-brained queens. For what it's worth, in the the long run I'll get where I want to go for I'm tough as well as bright.

Another way to describe the Outsider is to remind you that he/she is situated on the edge of the herd, not belonging to 'normal' society because of some difference, abnormality, disability, divine madness, eccentricity. Because of this freakishness they are able to see things alternatively, provide creative solutions, see new pathways, devise new methods, heal wounds, inspire artistically, soul search, enlighten spiritually. I myself had a traumatic childhood, a disabled youth, and after an attempt at brainwashing with heavy psycho tropic drugs, (LSD), I've been on a continuous vision quest, wandering the world, studying many disciplines and arcane texts to inspire, to warn, encourage, consolidate, expand, educate, heal, dare whoever needs something "other" to go for it and eschew this consumerist, neo-liberal capitalist society and try a "different" way of being. I could be kidding myself, I'm no wise seer or perfect prophet, but I certainly got the pagan, universal uplift that has been imparted over the millennia to the willing initiate, from charismatic babas, wise mentors and clever wizards. For good or bad, celebrity or ignominy, it's made me the quintessential OUTSIDER.

1985

An honest Outsider doesn't have to worry about being recognised by the entire world, collected by the rich, hung in the State or elite galleries, approved of by the respected critics, adored as a celebrity by an army of fans. He/she can get joy from a smaller audience of hip cognoscenti, people with brains, sharp taste and cool style, progressives, dreamers, dancers and fellow Brights. This is what I've aimed for over a lifetime of hard work, creative inspiration and vision questing, living on the edge. I've painted public wall murals, drawn comix, shown films in every venue imaginable including public television, handed out flyers from countless street corners, stuck thousands of posters on innumerable walls, written books and pamphlets, performed on funky stages, hung my paintings in many galleries and hundreds of households whose visitors discuss their meaning avidly.

A typical example of ground-breaking artist getting ripped off by a talentless moron would be the tale of Richard the Dickhead at a hole in the wall venue called the 'Record Crate' in Glebe. I did a couple of shows for him for no pay or even cab fare. I told ribald stories with a couple of musicians and a slide show on the same subject projected above our heads. After I returned from holidays in India he contacted me to do another show for him as nobody else had come forward. I begged off saying I was too tired. A week later he rang me again and pleaded with me to please perform my hot act as still no artists had applied. I again said I was too tired but he whined and cajoled until I gave in and said I would do it. I lined up my musicians, wrote out my story and put a slide show together ready for the big night.

The night before the gig he rang me and said he no longer needed my act as the bill was full and there was no room for me. In reality he wanted his act to be the star attraction and what was it? Him playing scatty music and telling a dumb story while he projected slides upon himself. Oh, and they were my slides he'd kept on his computer from my previous act. I was furious and told him what a limp dick, bastard arsehole he was for fucking me over so egregiously. He paid me back by trolling me online in his promotion for his show and calling me a tizzy-throwing prima donna because I couldn't get my way. Thanks Dickhead Richard.

1987

Dickhead's low act has been repeated throughout my non-career in show-biz, arseholes see my act, admire it, then copy it after getting rid of me. I used to tell the tale of the travail of making my art in galleries with a wimp named Peter playing the violin. An obese, gay rich-kid I call Charles the Vampire, who had the grand pretence of being a poet in the mould of Oscar Wilde, watched my act with wide eyes, thinking "I want that." He bribed Peter the pot addict with bags of bud and $50 to play for him while he sonorously intoned his arsewipe poetry while I got side-lined. This kind of betrayal is a common trope for the original but broke artist.


 1992

In 2019 a downwardly mobile woman I'll call Furfagin approached me to submit some art to her "radical" festival 'Sedition.' She waxed ecstatic about how revolutionary her show will be and "You Toby, as the edgy rebel, is a "must inclusion" in my radical line-up." She kept it up, as if on a soapbox, badgering me, "For the end of the world is nigh and us artists will rescue it!" She promised me a shop window at World Square on George Street in the centre of the city with hundreds of thousands in foot traffic passing by.

On opening day she hid my seditious work, (about the armaments industry and how the majority seem to be sleep-walking into a nuclear war), in a theatre foyer down the back of Darlinghurst that was only open for one night. In the shop window on the main thoroughfare she put 'name' artists, as it was all about cachet and cash, not passion and trash.

When I asked a friend why she bothered to enlist me with such fervour, putting my name on her illustrious list of grandees, he said, "Because you have street cred Toby, the others don't!" This surprised me as I've never thought about such tags though I've been a street artist for 50 years.

2014 - Psychopath Inc. - My Submission for Sedition.

Here in 2022 I had the misfortune of running into a drip I call Mor-Gue who thinks he's a great writer but is in fact a boring hack. He dresses like a rock'n'roll dag, skinny black jeans and a black t-shirt with some gronk-fan rock band on his chest. He's about 50 with long greying hair hanging in his face hoping it looks smart and groovy but actually it makes him look like the walking dead. Thank no god it hides his pinched face as it reminds me of a crocodile's arsehole.

Because I've got some kind of bullshit reputation as a "rebel artist" up and coming fuckwits like Mor-Gue see me as hot property to be somehow controlled or played with like a cat with a vulnerable mouse. Two years ago he contacted me and asked me if I'd like a show in the gallery that's in the community centre where he works. I said ,"Yes, why not, I'm up for spaces cool as that. When shall we do it?" He replied, "I'll work on it." "OK, fine." A few weeks went past and as I like to prepare well in advance I rang him to see what was happening. To make a show a success I prepare old and new works, get flyers printed, study the layout of the gallery room, advertise the show, to have my arse covered. He replied again, "I'm busy but I'll work on it. I'll ask the gallery people." "Ok, Do your best, I'm preparing to make it a good show."

Another few weeks went past, two months after he first approached me, and I was restless. I had other projects on the boil, writing, painting, performing, distributing, meeting collaborators, I couldn't wait forever for Mor-Gue to pull his finger out. I rang him again, "What's happening? Have you arranged a show for me or not?" "Oh, I'm still working on it, maybe later in the year, I'm not sure." "Oh, Ok, I won't sweat on it, See ya later." I only ever give people three chances, after that I'm pushing shit up hill. I let it go. I didn't think much about it, it was a gronky affair and I had other things to do. But it was a bit weird, I wondered why he bothered, then I forgot about him.

A couple of years went by and November bore down upon us. After forty years of thinking, research, writing and rewriting I self-published my book "Punk Outsider." I advertised the fact online and Mor-Gue, the incisive reviewer of all things hip and holy, got wind of it. He contacted me and said, "I like to do an interview with you about your book. Perhaps up at the Cross, sitting at the Fitzroy Gardens?" "OK, sure, I'd like the story out well before Christmas as it would make a good Chrissy present for all the deviants. Let's do it! When, tomorrow?" "Oh, I'm busy these days but I'll work on it." "Sure, what the hell!"

Believe it or not, I'm an easy-going guy and often agree to things others suggest, as long as it's not wearing a white hood and lynching Asians. I was puzzled by his choice of location, an infamous beat for queer pick-ups and male hustlers. Does he believe the urban myth that I'm a retired gay prostitute and town bike and he salivated at doing a salacious expose? A few weeks went by and I got anxious, I needed publicity and soon, the book was now hot off the press, so I texted him. "When do you want to do that interview, I need coverage ASAP?" "Oh, I'm working on it, I'm busy, I'll get back to you soon." Again I waited by the phone, depending on his heart of brass. I needed coverage, my book launch was around the corner, Christmas fast approaching.

So for the third time I asked him for an appointment, "Please, I need help with this." "Oh, I'm busy. I was thinking of the Sydney Morning Herald, but I haven't got onto them, and the other newspapers are taking a break for Christmas, maybe in late January we'll get onto it." I grumbled, "Umm, it's cool, I don't want the SMH, it's a mouthpiece for the Liberal Party, Channel 9 own it and Peter Costello, the ex-LNP treasurer, is chairman of the board. Forget it, I'd prefer to put it out on the underground, it's a radical text and only freaks and rebels will go for it. See you later, alligator." I heard him gulp, "But the Fitzroy Gardens would have been so hip!" "Sorry, I'm not a hustler any more, I'll chill."

For several months he had been planning a writers festival at the community centre he worked at and he failed to mention this little titbit to me. What he had been doing fucking with the punk who two years previously had dared to unfriend him on Facebook, some jerks find this the ultimate degradation, I think it's laughable. I think he was hoping to make me crawl to him. There have been many such arts-grifters in my long non-career as this diatribe attests, I can see them coming from a mile off. Maybe he was unconsciously toying with the infamous Toby Zoates, similar to taking a tiger by the tail and thinking he will get away unscathed. Sorry, I'm not such a dope. I'd rather starve in the gutter than crawl to the likes of him, though I did give him one last call two days before his grand "writers festival" and politely asked if I could set up a trestle table in his foyer and sell my books. I got the usual middle-class brat reply, "SILENCE" as his type is too scared to say "No!" No reply will simply make me disappear.

I texted him and abused the shit out of him, "You're a fucker, a dickhead poseur, a dag in skinny torn jeans! You've got one cent worth of power and you're running with it, you're a loser and worst of all, you're a hack writer who couldn't even write a sincere 'fuck off" note! Go fuck yourself!" He did another of those reactionary acts, he gaslighted me to my friends, "That horrible Toby Zoates has thrown a temper tantrum because I didn't prioritise him and make him Number One!" What an arsehole! His language gives him away and he's too dumb to realise it. He considers himself as Number One and doesn't want any competition. And he enjoys prioritising desperados, it makes him feel powerful and important, he can say who gets in the door, how fabulous it is to get flakes licking his boots to get themselves "prioritised."

Par for the course of being an Outsider is to be betrayed, by just about everyone, because one is different, vulnerable, an obvious scapegoat and easy-pickings. Mor-gue complained about me to someone I thought was a good friend, at least he said he was, I'll call him K. When he once told me in a conversation three times, "I'm not just blowing smoke up your arse Toby" I was worried, once would've been enough, "the lady doth protest too much." I was also suss when he confessed he'd been a heavy heroin addict for 10 years, that told me he was a character that made bad choices and was morally compromised, possibly even brain-damaged. I don't give a shit what you think about hard drugs, I don't fucking like them!! K had bought my paintings, fussed over me, promoted Punk Outsider and sold my books for me. He was a great help and I love him very much for it. But he's also human, flawed glass with a crooked reflection, and it had to come out when the going got tough.

K has been told he's a great writer, he has 5000 FaceBook friends and they all wait for his wise words from on high. I suspect Mor-Gue offered him a space to read his flowery, purple prose at the grand writers festival at his fiefdom, the community centre. And he possibly promised a connection to a publisher, things he wouldn't dream of offering me. And K did a "cost benefit analysis", what was in it for him if he went with Mor-Gue or with me. I had nothing to offer, no power, no connections, no money, no foot in the door with the Sydney Morning Herald or other newspapers, no crowd on FaceBook lapping up bullshit, (Mor-Gue also had 5000 "friends"; another tenet of mine = never trust a dick with 5000 FB friends, he needs a crowd to sell something to, usually himself.) Thus he went with Mor-Gue, good het, lovely girlfriend, angel of the Community centre, not like me, a deviant, a cocksucker, arrested 7 times for causing trouble, a pauper from social housing, a smart-mouthed nobody.

Next thing I know K is having a book launch in his place of business, for some nice, sweet girl from Melbourne, Mor-Gue will comment upon her novel, he being an astute judge of writing (NOT) and they will play music to top off the night. It sounds mighty similar to my book launch 6 months before, thankfully without the nice girly novel and Mor-Gue's flaky wisdoms. Fuck what cocks, what a slap in the face from my good friend K, Mor-Gue was smirking, he'd "won!" They can get married in hell! K is a good friend, he did me good, I will get over that he betrayed me for the Walking Dead fuckwit; K's nice to everyone, all things to all men, he will help anyone, he probably got sucked in by Morgue. Anyway, the Outsider, me, has split, back into the mist.


This was one of the three betrayals I experienced "on the Sydney scene" lately, it hurt but I've had worse. Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean They are not out to fuck me. The next betrayals felt just as bad, just as nasty.

The tragedy concening this madness is the sad fact that even his fellow queers didn't want him. Though they supposedly epitomise "the different" they did in fact long to belong, to be accepted by "normal" society; I call them straight gays, they're all for consumerism, celebrity, elite status and money power, shit that I despise. A famous queer poet, Sascha Solditow, once read to an irate mob of conformist gays, "What is this gay community bullshit?" Meaning gays are as cut-throat competitive, jealous, greedy and vicious as any toxic Het.

There are various gay mafias in a tussle to rule and over-rule the squalling queers of Sydney, the Gay Mardi Gras committee most ascendant but the disco/pub mob, the govt bureaucrats such as ACON, the ABC television queens, the arts (writing, painting, film and performance) stars, and last but not least the "underground cabaret queens", all pushing and shoving to be the hottest, premminent poofs of Australia. And I'm ignored, trampled and shat on by all of them. Excluded from all State sanctioned scenes branded "GAY" it's as if I'm not queer at all, regardless of my tortured youth and mid-life queer chutzpah that screams penultimate gay sensibility. It's the underground arts scene I operate in and, phew, are they a bunch of jealous, no-hoper flakes, most of them never getting off their street corner. My work has been appreciated all over the globe, in many major cities, and boy, does this put the dried up, snippy queens' collective nose out of joint!




Recently the great impresario, the astute curator of all things underground queer cracked the Powerhouse Museum for a show of contemporary Gay Art.  He enlisted his mafia of usual suspects, those lionised by the System as "safe", and of course excluded me, the punk anarchist. He's long had it in for me, possibly just plain jealous because he's only good at forming committees and choosing whose in and whose out, never having actually created any kind of artwork himself. He shows every year a piece of American video soap, "Vegas Girls in Space", drag queens bitching on a couch, no costumes, sets, props music or story, basically a rip off of Warhol's "Heat." He thinks it's the aunts' pants, for 30 years ignoring my movie "Virgin Beasts', with its original music, wild story, costumes, props, sets, animations, half gay cast and crew, even though it won the International Trash Film Festival in France in 1996. 

What's his problem, it would be a great companion piece to "Vegas Girls"?? Oh yeah, it would show tup the movie that he has the exhibition license for, shitting all over it. He even has the nerve to claim as his best friend one of my leading actors, Simon Reptile, in his only movie speaking role, denying him posthumous glory. It's infuriating, this hang-dog faced moron, who puts the loo in lugubrious, who promotions have absolutely no political or philosophical content, are about nothing but vacuous drag who at best badly lip-synch worn pop songs. That's life in the gutters for you, the shit floating on top races swiftly past to be the first to get lost in the sewers of mediocracy. I guess I should be happy I'm not included in such drab, loser company.










For quite a few years now I've thought to myself that the default existential mode for humanity is "betrayal" as that is what I've experienced for much pf my life, many turning on for no understandable reason except the pleasure of hurting and the competitive push and shove of getting ahead in a cruel neoliberal capitalist world. But that's not everyone, or all the time. There are many who have helped me, loved me, stood by me, as altruism is part of the human condition also. Porr humans, lost, desperate, belittled, astonished at being conscious in this awesome, infinite universe, overwhelmed at their unknown place in it.

That betrayal by the supposed best friend of thirty years really shook me, took me unawares. I thought I was strong, untouchable, but I am as vulnerable as any person stumbling upon this planet. And in my hysteria at being so undermined, at a vicious attempt to destroy me and my creative force, I thought many others around me were out to get me and also tear me down. Perhaps they were having little digs, playing little mind games, forgetting me, not so interested in me, all no big crimes, yet blown out of all proportions by my agonised soul.

I only have my friends and the remains of my family as my supports. The terrible tortures inflicted upon me since childhood, beatings, rapes, exclusions, insults, denigrations, because I was from a poor background, a sissy, a queer, a rebel, twisted me, made it nigh impossible to find love. I've never had a boyfriend or partner. My place upon the edge of the herd has not allowed a lover in. My friends are all I've got, they are everything. To have one turn on me freaked me out and, like a man blinded, I've lashed out at what I imagined as danger approaching. This is very difficult to explain to those I've insulted, pushed away, given reality checks to. Oh well, I'll just have to live with my mistakes, struggle on

"Making it" in the System is not really for the Outsider but getting visions across to an appreciative audience is. There's very little money in it but money is not my goal unlike the majority of deluded souls scrambling under capitalism. There are many vampire/zombie/insider covens who are seething with jealousy and resentment that a waif from the gutter can achieve something that their 7 cents worth of State sanctioned committee-power will attempt to kill for. They can try all they like to destroy the Outsider who achieves and communicates but they just can't totally make him disappear, "the cat is out of the bag": with 7000 art pieces created over 45 years it's obvious one is going to appear every now and then to vindicate me. I don't have to worry, it's all a dream, a game, and one day it's over. In the meantime I'll achieve a fabulously wild life.

Keep a lookout for "Dancing in the Garden of Pan", a future show of prints of my 49 most favourite works, along with a screening of a restored hi-res video screening of my movie "Virgin Beasts" with the related ephemera of acetate cells, backgrounds, posters and animation camera, plus original T shirt designs and my book "Punk Outsider" that relates the stories of the making of my films and the life of the artist as outsider'

And before I die I will post this rave upon many online sites as my last testament.

1987

Order from tobyzoates@hotmail.com
or from The Bookshop Oxford St Darlinghurst



Monday, April 11, 2022

The Making of a Punk Outsider.

 

(This is a story I've written for a prison newsletter, Paper Chains.)

Growing up queer in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s was tough, I was criminalised because of my very existence, looked at as less than zero by “straight” society. As a “deviant” I was chased relentlessly by the cops from the few pubs and clubs that gave space for those who were different, and from the toilet-beats where we were relegated like unwanted shit, as if condemned to a concentration camp but not even allowed to suffer there. The only place we felt free were those outlaw lands, dark parks where we hunted for our illicit liaisons and were in turn hunted, by cops, perverts and poofter bashers, hunted like beasts of the night. We were crippled and misshapen by the hatred, fit only for imprisonment, the lunatic asylum or early suicide. Thus I had more than a chip on my shoulder, it was a raging bushfire.

I grew disaffected, resentful, rebellious against this oppression, detested how the world had been organised for an elite to rule in luxury, a middle class to be whip masters for the crumbs that were thrown them, and the lower working class to be the whipped slaves living in poverty and hopelessness. Being working class I was relegated to the lowest of the low, at times in menial jobs, living by my wits, my guts, my nerve, grabbing survival where I could, on the streets and teenagers’ crash-pads, all very Dickensian and Oliver Twisted.

My back-story is that I grew up in social housing in West Heidelberg Melbourne, went to a rough and tumble govt high school, both my parents were returned World War 2 veterans and worked in factories. I left home at the age of 17 and moved from boarding house to couch surfing to an old queen’s chi chi flat, as the kept boy who refused to put out till I was kicked out. At 18 I became a student nurse and eventually specialised in palliative care. At 19 I was conned into having psylocibin therapy to cure me of my queerness, they shot me up with pure Sandoz LSD which tripped me out furiously and changed my life irrevocably, and made me more queer and rebellious.

Unbeknownst to me the therapeutic Acid clinic was in reality run by a cult whose leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne, had convinced a coven of fools that she was Jesus Christ come again. They had recruited me hoping to pair me off with one of their “aunties”, witch-like cult members. Because of my bright blue eyes, Hamilton Byrne wanted me to have blue-eyed babies with the nurse-aunty hag of her choice, a child which she could then kidnap and brainwash into her crazed apocalyptic cult, for she was of Nazi Aryan persuasion. I intuited they were cosmic crackpots and ran away, graduated as a nurse and fled to India where I smoked hash and took acid with the international freak set till I got on top of having nightmare bummers, dancing in the Garden of Pan instead. After 5 years on the road, and relinquishing the LSD lifestyle, I returned to Australia to take on the snooty art scene as an iconoclast outsider.


“Punk” is originally American slang for a guy who in jail takes it up the arse for favours: cigarettes, drugs, extra rations and, most of all, protection. When you hear someone called a ‘punk’ in an American movie it means more than just a dirty fag. It can also denote loser, no-hoper, wastrel, bum, delinquent, fuckwit, bastard, criminal. As the sub-cult of "Punk" evolved, with lifestyle, fashion, music and art, it took on a more positive interpretation as far as freaks in the "underground" were concerned: different, rebel, daring, gutsy, wild, avant-garde, cool. I wanted those tags as well.

I was promised the low-life of the "punk" and more, the boy at school who was voted the least likely to succeed. Every time my father drove us past Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne he would warn, “Watch out Toby, if you’re not careful you’ll end up there!” So I was very, very careful and never got caught at any of my illegitimate shenanigans.

By the mid 1970s I was educated in the way of the world and became intensely politicised. I participated in civil disobedience acts and Situationist stunts, protesting all the nasty elements of neo-liberal capitalism: cuts to public services, anti-military/industrial complex, anti-nuclear industry, against environmental exploitation and the fossil fuel industry; like Marlon Brando in “The Wild One”, when asked what was I rebelling against I replied, “What have you got?” If I wanted to get gay lib I had to fight against patriarchy and for women’s lib as it was all tied in. As a queer I had to fight for housing, employment and prison reform for I was constantly threatened with homelessness, unemployment and gaol just because of what I was. And I totally identified with the ongoing battle for Koori rights, one of my great, great grandmothers was an  Indigenous Australian and my blood boiled over at the theft, murder and cultural devastation perpetrated upon my fellow Australians. I participated in the 1978 LGBTQIA riots, got kicked in the head by a cop and never felt right since. Altogether I was arrested 7 times during this long struggle and the State did not approve.

My art practice thus screamed act-up, the acting out of my being pissed off with the cruelty of the world, even if I was pissing in the wind. My posters, paintings, murals, commix, writings, memes and films all obsessively shit-stirred and grouched about the injustices, cruelties and crimes of this neo-liberal, imperialist, war-profiteering, earth destroying, class-bound world. I’ve pasted 49000 posters upon the walls of Australia; handed out 70,000 flyers from many street corners, libraries, halls and shops; showed my films in theatres, cafes, community centres, schools, TV stations and art galleries; flogged my books shamelessly from every possible niche the world has to offer... yes, all of it hair-brained, lunatic fringe, “wild child” bitch-slapping “fuck you happy clapper” straight-laced money-grubbers, “I’m mad as Hell and I want everybody to know it!” And the beady-eyed pigs knew it for sure! (This is not to say I think I’m a hero, I’m a fucked-up sour-puss and I see the world through jaundiced eyes.)

My movie “Virgin Beasts” smacked of this rebellious anger in every frame, a part-animated, sci-fi, burlesque, agit-prop rock opera: an arms dealer on his death bed thinks his money will allow him to live forever = Beauty Meets the Beast at the Masque of the Red Death on a Quest for the Holy Grail to Beat Brand Rights for Grey Males. I wrote the script in 1986 then had all hell struggling to make it for the next 7 years, greedy State sanctioned plagiarists trying to stop it halfway through production. But I persevered, never taking “NO!” for an answer. I premiered it in 1992 at Jelly Headz Punk Garage in Chippendale. I put on two grunge bands with it and sci-fi/horror movies upstairs, it was a riot of a night, the Underground Sydney crew screamed their tits off in enjoyment. And the pigs infiltrated, sure there’d be the dreaded drugs on offer and they could make an easy bust. While there was an assortment of deviants caterwauling there were no obvious drug-deals going down, there was just poor little me standing out like cat’s balls in the crowd, the centre of attention and the pigs zeroed in on me.


They must’ve looked me up in their records, at my history of civil disobedience and fundraising gigs to pay activists’ fines and bail, and spreading anti-establishment diatribes by the truckload, and they decided to get me. Biding their time till the right moment, when they hoped nobody was looking, they did get me.

A year later, in 1993, on Black Thursday, they framed me for an armed hold-up. It was Easter and I went to my local cake-shop to buy some hot cross buns. The backpacker bimbos behind the counter made bugaboo eyes at my appearance but I took little notice, I’ve had a lifetime of moronic eyes bulging in my direction.

Being a chronic cake fiend I went back for a lemon tart and this time one of the shop-girls became somewhat hysterical but the other one perused me closely and said, “No, it’s not him.” I said, “What’s happened here, have you been robbed or something?” To which Miss Hysteria started frothing at the mouth. “If there’s any suspicion of my involvement here’s my address, I can prove I’ve got nothing to do with whatever the problem is.” What a naive fool I was, I could’ve walked away and my life would not have taken a dive over a cliff. The pigs jumped on it; it was what they were waiting for, some contretemps involving me.

I was at home with the lead actress from my film “Virgin Beasts”, about to go to my lawyer for the signing of a contract. Two plain clothes pigs showed up and pushed their way through my door. They started screaming, “Where’s the money  shithead!” as they tore my flat apart. Michelle, an American, a graduate of Yale drama school, spoke up in my defence, “He was with me all day yesterday.”  They growled in her face, “Shut your mouth cunt or we’ll bust you as well!” Her jaw dropped, she’d never seen this side of Australia and she quietly slunk away. The pigs kept throwing my stuff every which way till my flat looked like a garbage dump. They found items they said were used in the robbery and led me away in handcuffs.

I was taken to a convict-era pig station in an alley of Surry Hills, interrogated, tortured, told to drop my pants while they sniggered at my shrivelled cock and kept demanding I confess to the crime which I steadfastly refused to do. They then put me in a line-up, with office-workers in white shirt and tie, me in torn, black punk gear. They brought the cake shop bitches in, me thinking they would surely exonerate me as they’d seemed to agree it wasn’t me back in the shop. Both of the European backpacking moles didn’t even glance at the squeaky-clean fuckwits in the line-up, they straight off pointed their bony fingers at me and said, “Him!” I screamed in horror, “How could you do this to me?” And the clean-cut robot office workers laughed.

The bitches probably colluded with the pigs, perhaps promised extensions on their visas, they couldn’t give a shit if my life was ruined, damn them. And I recognised one of the pigs, the blond one wearing an Armani suit and Rayban sunglasses, he was one of the plain-clothed Nazis who’d infiltrated my movie launch-party at Jelly Headz a year previously and must’ve decided then that they would get this uppity fag who the punk cognoscenti had fussed over. “Fuck him, we’ll bring him down a peg or two, he’s guilty as Hell, all that civil disobedience proves he’s a no good criminal.”

I was then trucked to the cells at Surry Hills Pig Citadel and locked in a cage with a giant, obese Greek youth who was withdrawing from a cocaine habit and who shrieked all night, not just at the pain of drying-out but in fear that I, the punk fag, was going to rape him. On the wall of the cell was a giant swastika in red crayon, quite fitting as a symbol for the milieu. In the morning I was taken to the ancient sandstone courthouse in Liverpool Street, to a musty courtroom and stood before a prim, prune-faced magistrate who’d been dragged in from his holiday and was mighty uptight, for it was Good Friday and he sorely wanted to crucify someone, anyone. While I watched he sent several sorry souls off to Long Bay Gaol for Easter, accused of shoplifting and possession of marihuana, heinous crimes in his piggy eyes. Then it was my turn to be dragged across the hot coals of his displeasure.

“Armed robbery is a terrible crime, shocking in its deviousness, so serious as to want hanging. I will send you off to Longbay to await your trial which will be in about three years and you’ll get seven years hard labour for this!” I shat my pants. Michelle’s husband had shown up holding his baby in his arms and he spoke up for my good character. The prick of a magistrate harrumphed and grumbled how “serious” the matter was and Steve continued pleading, promising to go bail for me. The high and mighty Lord of Law hissed and pissed, and finally relented, but I was condemned to report twice a week to the pig shop and forbidden to leave the city until the trial.

For 3 years I dragged myself to the pigs’ dungeons and signed their register while the oinkers glared at me with baleful eyes. I went into deep depression and had to have psychiatric intervention for I was suicidal. This because I’d always avoided hard crime, it would never enter my head to rob anybody, I could always go work as a nurse if I wanted money. Maybe you will throw scorn upon me but I was basically a guy who used his art to shit stir and that was the sum of my criminality, apart from trespass, causing affray and obstructing the law. I went to many of my “leftie compatriots” and told them of my dilemma, they all tut-tutted and said they were “Sorry” then hurried away, the mention of the police gave them the willies and they wanted no part in it.


I’d been a member of “The Prisoners’ Action Group” and “Women Behind Bars.” We’d had campaigns to free Violet Roberts, in prison for 20 years for murdering her bash-happy mug of a husband and she was freed because of the female activists’ efforts. And we felt sympathy for Ray Denning who’d sworn he was being constantly bashed by the screws but in reality was lying as he wanted revenge upon the System that had badly fucked him over. Still we wanted to help him somehow, though he eventually turned dog. I visited him with the PAC many times and felt deep sorrow for him as he’d never been given a chance, his soul twisted since childhood. 

We barricaded ourselves into the screws union office to protest prison guard brutality and were arrested for criminal trespass. Much of this action was instigated by Wanda Bacon, intrepid leader and Boadiccea of the anarchist scene. Three times over those years I approached her to tell her of my plight and possibly get her esteemed succour. I barely got 7 seconds into my spiel when she turned away, distracted by her fans and self-absorbed by her activist fame. I guess I just wasn’t a cause celebre, a criminal star shining bright enough for the wannabe Emma Goldman’s notice. Not that she’s a fake, she’s an admirable fighter for the peoples’ rights, I just didn’t figure. What was I to do? Nobody would help me, nobody was interested, I was merely a dumb, whining fag who deserved to be swept down the gutter for attempting to be above my station.

I had to go to Central Courts every few weeks to beg for small freedoms where I saw up close the brutality of our glorious system of Law and felt vindicated in my opposition to it. Thankfully, through Legal Aid, I got a Queens Counsel to defend me and eventually my court date came up.

At first I was delegated a “hanging  judge” and my lawyer was dismayed because the bastard was a purple nosed, dyspeptic alcoholic and growled in disgust when I stool before him. But he collapsed with delirium tremens and I was given a benign judge, and my lawyer felt relieved when told of the replacement. Such is the blind, impartial Goddess of Law. The pigs said my trial would go for 7 weeks as they had much evidence against me. On walking towards Campbelltown Courthouse I spied a mob of reporters squirming and squalling, hustling and bustling, crowding my path. Again I shat my pants, I thought they were there for me. But my lawyer said “No!” and pushed his way through them, they were awaiting the arrival of Ivan Milat, the notorious serial killer, he was being tried in the courtroom next to mine. They ignored me, thank no god!

Inside my dreaded courtroom the two scrag shop girls sat vengefully, ready to give false witness. The first one said my face was clearly seen and she was positive I was the perp. The judge inquired, “You reported the hold-up man to be about 25, Mr. Toby is 45, do you really think he looks 25?” And the dog said, “Yes!” The judge said, “I don’t think so.”

The next bitch was ushered in by her pig chaperones. She said, “He wore a mask but I’d recognise those blue eyes anywhere!” The judge said, “You say he was masked. The other woman said he wasn’t masked. Surely you’ve had three years to get your testimony straight?” After lengthy deliberations that made me squirm the judge finally acquitted me on a case of “mistaken identity.” The trial had only taken 4 hours. The pigs came up to us and snarled, “You’ve made my witness cry!” It was the one who said I was 24, willing to sell me down the river for thirty silver pieces. “Oh wow,” I smirked, “she’s only ruined my life with nasty lies. I want her tits cut off!” My lawyer quickly hustled me out of the torture house.

All this reinforced my opinion that I lived in a fucked-up world, there was no objective law and honest justice, it all depended on luck, liars and money. Australia still has convict colony mentality, especially Sydney. I gave up filmmaking, it was too bloody hard to begin with, and offered little reward. Australia didn’t deserve my hard labour, its cruelty typical of a devil’s island and the arsehole of the planet. I got no compensation for the ruin of my life, I was told it was all par for the course in the precious functioning of our dear God, the Law. The bastards did me a favour. My life’s path took another direction, I ended up doing what I’d longed all my life to do but could never find the wherewithal to do it, and that is write and paint to my heart’s content with no one looking over my shoulder telling me what to do.


And I've been able to travel the world, having adventures, riding on a flying carpet amongst the peaks of the Himalayas like the Thief of Baghdad to a mystic temple where a goddess promised me that with charismatic character I would want for nothing. Life has been grand since that time of bad luck, the System with its arduous climb up a shit-heap to the big Nowhere can go “fuck itself!” And damn those cops and moles for trying to destroy me, I hope they get their balls and cunts crushed by out of control pig vans. I’m out of here!


If you are interested in my writing please buy my latest book, Punk Outsider. Order from: tobyzoates@hotmail.com or The Bookshop Oxford Street Darlinghurst.