Gnome Funicular The Critic Flings


Gnome Funicular

The Critic Flings

Passionate Wipe Out

Suffering, filofaxes and surfer chicks

Sydney, Australia
11th June, 2004

The business world burns with open lust.

It's everywhere. Flaunted in logos, in company mottos, in mission statements:

Your passion. Our strength. (Unilever)
...You have a passion for equities
Avail Innovation's winning team is passionate about providing outstanding results
...passionate about using technology to improve the delivery of information...
Ask passionate Mapleā„¢ users why they are so passionate
...the Financial Services team is passionate about helping clients increase their wealth...
Alogent is passionate about processing
...Passionate about statistics?

So much passion! The great halls and counting houses must be full of accountants, engineers, bankers crying, tearing their hair out, beating their breasts, falling to their knees to implore the skies!

Running, yelling, screaming, Take my blood! Take it! See how I bleed! For... improved information delivery...

Word Vampires


The leaders of business are fighting it out, bare chested on rooftops, gouging and stabbing, while their lover falls. Prostrate. Drooling.

Passionate. I don't think that's what they meant at all. The word passion means suffering. So, you can suffer for love. But not, I think, for better accounting processes. They meant dedicated, or industrious or just plain careful. But no, they had to be Heathcliff. They had to take a good word and stick it in the wrong place because they think it sounds good.

Now passion has no meaning at all. They've sucked it dry, these marketing vampires. If Cathy breaks into my room at night, spitting and clawing her passion at me, I shall reach for my FiloFax.

Surfer Heaven

Zeus, the helmsman, decreed we must suffer, suffer onto truth.

Now, I came to Australia to learn to surf. This would gain me a cool hairstyle and a female fanclub. I would follow this simple process:
i) wade into sea
ii) stand on plank
iii) grow hair
iv) wait at bedroom window, FiloFax at the ready

Simple. So why am I lying here, feet bleeding, sea water falling out my nose in a sudden gush, and I can't seem to move my arms?

My first surf lesson started okay. I got a board and a wetsuit. I posed in front of the mirror for a second noting how the neoprene buffed out my butt. We practised the surf moves on the board in the sand. Lie down. Look back. Twist and jump. Twist and jump. Easy.

Confident that I could now surf on dry land, it was time to hit the waves. The waves threw me back. Hold on, I have even got on the board yet! I lay on the on the board. I fell off the board. The wave took me, rolled me and spat me out. I hit the bottom, surfaced, and the next wave smacked me in the teeth with my own board.

Wave Rider

OK. Remember the technique. I lay on the board, watched for the wave, started to paddle. My board caught the wave! I jumped up, missed the stance and fell in the sea. My face is now at the bottom, I'm eating sand. The board is still in the wave, crashing to shore. I'm tied to the board by my foot. And so dragged along the bottom, nose full of sea.

I surface. The next wave is carrying a crashing classmate. His board smacks me in the teeth. My board rebounds on the legrope and smacks me in the back of the head.

Paddle out, jump up, fall in. Paddle out, sit up, slowly capsize. Jump up, twist, fall off. Twist, jump up, stand on the board, be so surprised that I managed to stand on the board that I fall off in sheer amazement.

But I did stand for three whole seconds. The instructor says I'm making great progress. My feet bleed. Sea water drips out my nose for hours after I left the ocean. My arms are so tired I'm not sure I can use them to feed. Suffer, suffer, towards the truth.

Rock Fossil

I'm almost alone, penniless, at a career standstill in a foreign land. Full of spiders. What to do? Only one thing for it? I shall become an unpaid online rock critic. Can't imagine why it hasn't occurred to me before.

I went to some gigs with my friend the unpaid online rock photographer. In between hanging around the bar looking cool, I started writing some notes. Mostly a shopping list including the word FiloFax. Then some girls asked me what I was doing. "Umm... I write articles... reviews..."

"That's interesting!"

"It is?... uh, you know, it's no big deal..."

A new way to be interesting! Fantastic. Rock critic sounds better than unemployed software engineer stroke lawyer. I'll pursue this one.

Sea water fell out of my nose in a sudden gush.

"Did I tell you that I'm a surfer...?"




The Vines


Surf Manly


City Lights
City Lights




Hat & Spoon



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The Facts

Where I stayed
Manly: Manly Beach House. This hostel rents individual rooms at competitive rates. Quiet and clean. I rented a short-let apartment from them in the Waterside Aprtment building, beside the Corso and a stone's through from the sea. Vik and Dev are very helpful.

How I got around: