Wednesday, October 05, 2022
Friday, August 26, 2022
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
(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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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!
"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.
|Order from email@example.com|
or from The Bookshop Oxford St Darlinghurst
Monday, April 11, 2022
(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.
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.
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 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.
If you are interested in my writing please buy my latest book, Punk Outsider. Order from: firstname.lastname@example.org or The Bookshop Oxford Street Darlinghurst.