Monday, March 14, 2011

Not Such a Radio-active Fool.

On Friday 11th of March I was at the Sydney Opera House listening to a young Japanese virtuoso named Sayaka Shoji playing Mendelssohn's violin concerto and I detected a deep note of sadness in the sweet melodic strains of the music. Perhaps she already knew of the natural disaster that was just then striking her country, with the loss of many thousands of lives, much destruction of property and hardship to come. My heart went out to her nation and I could only say a prayer of sorrow with her which matched her beautiful music.

Only recently at the Newtown Library, when I gave a talk before the screening of my film "Virgin Beasts", I lamented the fact that the Nuclear Power Industry appeared to have pulled off a fait accompli in convincing the world that nuclear reactors were a clean alternative to coal-fired power plants, and thus had spread like a skin-cancer across the world. In my film "The Thief of Sydney" I depict a nuclear missile hitting Sydney and a mutant running from the wreckage with a "Ban Uranium" sign. A major subtext of the movie "Virgin Beasts" was that there are long-term dangers involved with the Nuclear Industry, one of which was the thousands of years it would take to deplete the radio-active wastes, decommissioned reactors and wreckage from any accidents, and that it would be up to our distant future ancestors to clean up any of this genome-destroying trash.

At the beginning of "Virgin Beasts", first shot in 1988, I depict a television newscast beaming upon a nuclear-industrialist dying in his hospital bed and on the news is this item, "There has been another accident in a nucler power plant, this time in Japan, with the death toll in the hundreds and many thousands injured." I don't need to read as much Speculative Fiction as I do or gaze into crystal balls, for most of us anti-nuclear campaigners of the '80s knew what was coming in the future. I didn't win that World Trash Movie Prize in 1996 in France for nothing, those French punks knew a hot artwork when they saw one!

From then on I got no help, no encouragement or film-industry introductions from anybody, especially the Australian Film Commission or Film Finance Corporation, to make any further movies even though I very much wanted and tried to, I was persona non grata and met with cold "go away and die" vibes, for the Govt. Arts funding bodies have to toe the line of the ruling political ethos, (money is god) with its economic elites (multi-national cos) and paid-off politicians, and thus uranium can be sold and anyone against the sale is censored, starved, crushed, disappeared. And arts bureaucrats, as low paid lackeys, are directed to fuck off any hot, informative artist, critical of the "profits at any costs system", his/her art branded subversive. They support only the mindless, vacuous, empty shit of robopathic middle-class brats, wallpaper and bric-a brac makers.

I was almost apologetic and felt a naive fool that I protested, along with a few hundred other concerned activists all those years ago in 1977, about the selling of Uranium. Many of us got arrested and while we didn't stop Uranium sales we did stop the shipping of yellow-cake out of the port of Sydney, (it got shipped out of Darwin instead!) The Australian Labour Party, real lefties, were the ones who first flogged Uranium to the world, only recently crowing about cracking Saudi Arabia for further sales, the Saudis desirous of nuclear reactors for all that they have oil for their energy needs. Multi-national cos like Westinghouse and General Electric, (the latter represented by Ronnie Reagan for many years), plus big French and Russian cos, make a fortune in flogging the machinery and have made sure they've influenced, bribed, arm-twisted the world into buying their radio-active line instead of investing in alternative energy production like solar power. And Aussie govts have been accomplices in this process, supplying any tyranny with Uranium as long as they filled out the requisite paperwork.

As reported in the Daily Terror newspaper today, there is no "Failsafe" technology invented by man, and especially not Nuclear Power Technology. As the horrific incidents in Japan have clearly showed, natural disasters make the nuclear industry unsafe over the long term, forgetting accidents from human error and equipment failure, and the strong possibility of terrorist strikes. It is on record that the technocrats at the exploding Japanese reactors have lied on several occasions in the past about radioactive leaks and they will no doubt spin the bullshit again, no matter the tons of poison spilling into the sea, and the world will forget and go back to sleep, maybe. To my dismay, it seems it's Australian Uranium burning out of control in those reactors and maybe the radioactive plumes and currents will flow our way down under, as well as to the rest of the world, so chew on that dear consumers while you sleep and dream of "electric appliance paradise" and mining share dividends.

Let's not forget the question of nuclear proliferation: I'm still paranoid that China supplied its puppet states of Pakistan and North Korea with fissile materials made from Aussi uranium for their atomic weapons programs.

As I've moaned and bitched previously, (to no effect, free speech in our class-ridden Democracy is a delusion of the poor and unconnected), much of my protesting art has been removed from the Public Domain, buried in vaults or destroyed. The powers that be, the Liberal and Labour Parties here in Auz, are in the pockets of the elite rulers of the world and do their bidding, and THEY can't stand even the slightest criticism lingering in the Public Eye. Like Nazis burning books THEY removed my mural from the Woolloomoolloo Railway pylons because it spoke too clearly of the horrors of Uranium sales and the hypocritical complicity of certain politicians in the trade, like Bob Hawke who started the whole process back in 1985, sucking up to Ronald Reagan. And recently Peter Garret, who once was an anti-uranium campaigner but recently gave the go ahead for a fifth uranium mine to be opened up in return for a French Medal of Artistic Merit.

My anti-uranium mural was one of the best artworks I've done in my long arduous non-career and it's ironic that the meritorious arts minister of the time had my work destroyed on his watch, (he had posed in front of it with his shit band Midnight Soil for his video-clip, "The Power and the Glory" and probably now wants all memory of such a gaffe expunged.) He and his power-mongering superiors think it would not be noticed if THEY destroyed such a crass artwork from a scungy queer nobody like me but history always tells, and if not, then this bloody Blog will!

Recent history has vindicated my fears, Japan is in real trouble, for all the swallowing of iodine tablets, the world is taking note even tho the Spin-masters will jump on it and hoodwink the gullible with much bullshit about little radio-activity released and the safety of most modern reactors. My Art rang true, and all that flaky shit called art that fills the national and regional galleries is meaningless, worthless rubbish that can burn in a nuclear conflagration and no one will miss it, and the gray arts bureaucrats who lived off it (and still do) can burn in Hell with it all.

I am no longer ashamed of my stand against the Nuclear Industry, even if it means I risk being jabbed by a radio-active umbrella tip while waiting at a solar-powered traffic light.

P.S. In the news recently, December 2013, there's been a spill of thousands of tons of radioactive slurry from a uranium mine in the Kakadu National Park. The indigenous Australian landowners are furious as they say the mining company has been lying to them for years over the number and severity of these spills, the company always with the propaganda claiming they have "world's best practices" but forever covering up the truth of the problem.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.