Thursday, November 8, 2012

My thoughts on Australian cricket

A reason why I barrack for any cricket team playing against Australia.....

 The Dismissal and the Grubber

You may call me un-Australian, a turncoat or a traitor,
Or the coarser, (contradictory!) term for “copulating masturbator”,
Because as I will now confess – and I do it with some pride –
When it comes to Aussie Cricket, I support the other side!

When I was just a wee lad, I lived within a mile
Of “The Great” Sir Donald Bradman (now said with sardonic smile),
In Kensington, in Adelaide, both named for English royalty,
But Australia at Cricket had my own unquestioned loyalty.

I don't pretend that I was such a wonder at the wicket,
But I had a clear idea of what was, and wasn’t, “Cricket”:
If you knew you were ‘out’, you ‘walked’, without a backward glance,
And in any game you gave your foes a proper sporting chance.

This code of decent conduct wasn't just for flannelled fools:
It was central to our culture, in unwritten ancient rules.
To protest unfair conditions, it was fair to strike and picket,
And many of our best traditions trace their roots to cricket.

For chivalry was at the core of Cricket’s conduct code,
And rivalry was moderated in a civil mode;
You don’t kick folks while they are down, or hit a kid with glasses;
Where not wanted you don’t hang around, or make unwanted passes.

There were “gentlemen’s agreements” which were very rarely breached;
Most preachers (though with grave exceptions!) practised what they preached;
And in Parliament, a hostile Senate wouldn’t stop Supply
To a Lower House majority, no matter what or why.

But two things happened, un-Australian, very deeply felt,
That finished Nice Guy decency – two blows below the belt –
For both of which I feel I'm not the one who should to be blamed,
But so many of my countrymen upheld them, I’m ashamed.

You may tell me The Dismissal was from another age,
But by the grace of Gough I swear, I do maintain the rage,
And Fraser's grubby deal with Kerr and Bjelke, (now in Hell),
In the Chappell Brothers' Grubber found a perfect parallel.

Perhaps one day I'll write about those shameful acts in verse,
When I've stewed and brewed the necessary Venom for my Curse . . .


But right now I'll tell it in simple prose because it's so much less difficult and I want it done by today.

Lest We Forget the Dismissal of November 11 1975

Whitlam Govt elected 1972, re-elected 1974 with majority of 1 in the Senate Labor Senator Milliner from Queensland died early in 1975. Bjelke-Petersen, (oh sorry Limpy, SIR Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, the REAl Thing Knight!)refused Whitlam's request to replace him with, wait for it, Mal Colston, (later himself famously called by Senator Robert Ray "the Quisling Quasimodo from Queensland" for ratting on the Labor Party for purely mendacious reasons); instead, against Parliamentary usage, and through a tortuous and devilishly clever series of pre-emptive and pro-active manoeuvres Bjelke-Petersen, the evil bible-bashing bastard, appointed the slimy Albert Field as the replacement Senator . . .

 He claimed to be a Labor man, but immediately made his intention clear, to bring down the Whitlam government. The loss of Labor's working majority in the Senate was used by the Coalition (The same old bloody Coalition eh!) to deny Supply through the Senate, again flying in face of long-established Parliamentary practice, and eventually leading to the Kerr-Fraser coup.

 Lest We Forget. November 11, 1975.

In 1981 Australia was playing New Zealand in a series of one-dayers. Each team had won once. In the third match, Greg Chappell, the Australian captain, was caught by outfielder Martin Snedden when he was on 52, as the fieldsman himself claimed and as photographs confirmed, but Chappell refused to walk, he was given not out and went on to make 90 before being caught by Bruce Edgar, later to score 102 as the not-out batsman at the non-striker's end during the infamous incident that followed at the very end of the day.

With just one ball left to be bowled, NZ was trailing by six runs, a sensational situation indeed, with Brian McKechnie, the Kiwi on strike, bracing himself to try the almost unthinkable task of hitting a six off that last ball, to tie the match. Greg Chappell then gave the most disgraceful order of all time by a cricket captain, "ordering" his younger brother Trevor, who was bowling, to bowl a grubber - euphemistically called an "underarm bowl", technically legal, absolutely illegitimate.

Just like the Fraser-Kerr coup.

Brian McKechnie patted the impossible ball away from his wicket, and walked from the field throwing down his bat in disgust - an act which saw him censured for bringing the game of Cricket into disrepute . . . 

Australia won the game, but were booed off the field.

And ever since then this Turkey has barracked for every other team to play Australia at cricket, the Kiwis in particular. I used to seethe at sledging by any side (but Australia was always the champion sledger anyway) and it was a red-letter day when Shame Warne broke his finger, I'm nasty like that, but really all that's left for me now of the game of Cricket is a lingering feeling of betrayal and loss of innocence. Thanks to the Chappells, now iconic idols of rewritten history.

So before you call me traitor to the country of my birth I'd rather live in Australia than anywhere else on Earth, . . .

And one day I'll finish this story in verse, with the middle bit filled in. But before the current Ashes series is finally dead buried and cremated I want to say how delighted I am that Australia is finally getting its comeuppance for all the stuff in cricket that has made me ashamed of my countrymen, the sledging and slagging, the refusals to walk, the gloating and self-importance, the outrageous behaviour . . .

Monday, July 9, 2012

A review of my work by Mr Seth Bareiss

A generous appraisal of my work from a respected member of the world tessellation community.
Mr Seth Bareiss.


I'm now on Twitter!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Submission to Australia's Independent Media Inquiry

It is said that Rupert Murdoch's worldwide empire includes 70% of Australia's print media, and a great deal of the rest of the media here also. In Adelaide as in some other cities there is only one newspaper, and where this is so, it is because Rupert Murdoch has killed off the original opposition. That he, a man who traded his Australian nationality for the greater wealth he could make by becoming an American citizen, can through this media domination virtually prosecute a war on this or any Australian Government is outrageous and intolerable.

Murdoch's own organisation is deeply corrupt, and he is not a fit person to control such a huge proportion of the means by which people receive information. I ask the investigators to use all means at their disposal to loosen Murdoch's stranglehold on Australian media, and to make those who foment hatred and misinformation in all media much more subject to being held to account.

Elsewhere in the world many are calling for the Murdoch dynasty to be dismantled, or at least diluted, and the voice of Australia, the most heavily murdochratised of all nations, should be at the forefront of this chorus.

[As I write Murdoch is being described on ABC 24 as "The media Sun-King"! ]

This brings me to the other half of my concern: the downgrading of the ABC during the last decade, and in particular since the introduction of ABC 24. Never mind the inexpertise and glitches, the fact that when the Prime Minister is being interviewed at press conferences one can almost never hear the questions; it is the poor quality of many ABC journalists’ reportage, their trivialisation of serious issues, their acting as an echo-chamber for the mainly-Murdoch mainstream commercial media, their fascination with the skin-deep, that angers and saddens me. In particular the habit of giving prominence to antiscientific points of view – Monckton being but the most staring example – amounts to sabotage of Australian unity, and mischievous treachery on the part of the ABC. Despite repeated and reasonable objections over time, the Insiders show has insisted on including such as Andrew Bolt, the accredited racist hate-monger, and others who are equally bigoted, who make no secret of their extreme Rightist stance, and who time-out-of-mind have been permitted to interrupt and browbeat others who may have contrary views.

No such extreme Leftist points of view are ever aired, (and none are wanted), but there is no equivalence between the screeching from the Right, and the reasoned tones of everyone else. Why the ABC has continued to countenance and feature and indeed thereby promote discredited and divisive and hateful viewpoints and individuals is for the Inquirers to consider, but it amounts at least to mischief counter to the public good, and beyond that, an absolutely intolerable abuse of this our public broadcaster to promote anti-(Labor)-Government points of view.


The Political Sword is a blogsite set up by a certain Ad astra three years ago with its avowed focus being to hold politicians and journalists to account insofar as the blogosphere allows. He is, I may say, very well struck in years, eminent in his original profession, experienced in matters of life, and articulate, considered, prolific and sensible in all his written deliberations, which are to be found in hyper-abundance on his site. He is universally regarded as a ‘sage’!

The archives of TPS record the thoughts of Ad astra, and of many like myself who day by day think we might have something to contribute to the political and journalistic discourse. Most of us are mildly Leftish, but extremism of any kind seems to wither on TPS when it does arise. That is as it should be in the society also, but I accuse the agenda-driven mainstream media of prospering the hate-spitters rather. It is a pity that such as Ad astra and other social educators do not receive that sort of coverage. Unlike those who, through the media, arouse such mindless frenzy as those who stormed the galleries of the House of Representatives recently, Ad astra thinks matters through carefully before ‘speaking’. Unfortunately he doesn’t get to speak as do the shock jocks, a matter with dire consequences for the level of information in the public in this country.

Having read his work carefully day after day and month after month I realized just how fair and useful were Ad astra’s observations in matters political, and several months ago I prevailed on him as best I could to offer his services, by way of advice, to the ABC Board. I do think he was tempted, but he declined by reason of time constraints. He might yet be persuaded to give of his wisdom to those of a truly proactive and inquiring mind, and I do hope that might include yourselves. As for his bona fides, they are there for all to see.

The point is that Ad astra’s archived site itself is the body of my submission. All we good-willed and thoughtful people, we are not just writing in a momentary whim, this is the single issue that binds us, concern with the quality of the Media and its dynamic relationship with the Politics of this country.

We cannot say it any better than we have been saying it all along. The concentration of media is a disgrace and makes a mockery of any notion of egalitarian democracy, and the trivialization, misrepresentation and disinformation in matters of grave national interest is a dereliction and a serious mischief. The ABC seems to have taken sides as Ad astra and others have contemporaneously pointed out in specific and exhaustive detail.

I entreat you to do whatever you can to bring about action to remedy this generally parlous state of affairs.

May I say that were you to take the initiative and contact Ad astra directly via his blogsite, you would earn a great deal of credibility and respect from the many who follow his essays and posts on his site, merely by the goodwill it would engender.

I intend to send this submission as a post on The Political Sword too, (so there is no confusion.)

Ad astra himself has as I write not the slightest idea that I am so volunteering his advice.

He might be a bit embarrassed, as he would, but his wisdom is assuredly there for the asking.

An Afterthought:

Yesterday Ad astra said “Folks

I thought Insiders was a reasonably balanced program this morning.” . . .

He might well have put a ! after that!

Yours faithfully

Bruce Bilney

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Here are a few examples of my work.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Story of Me and Rory

The Story of Me and Rory!

This is the story of one of the most remarkable little coincidences of my life. It might not sound so extremely amazing in the retelling, but it still blows me out when I think about it, now, years later. And I now have the photograph to go with it. Courtesy Kira Tombs. All the names, places and events are true.

Right, I’ve driven up-country, north, about fifty miles, to a tiny hamlet of eight, yes eight houses, called Julia, yes Julia, near Eudunda in the Barossa Valley. (Colin Thiele, South Australia’s best-beloved author, and my one-time English tutor, was raised in tiny Julia.) I’ve gone to see an old friend Erick, but he’s not home as I get there. So I’m waiting only a few minutes, and a green Datsun station wagon drives up and a little bloke I’ve never seen before gets out. I take one look at him and the first thing I say is, “You look like me!”

The bloke is a little taken aback, “Do I?”

We look in the car mirror, Yep! We sure do look alike!

Similar glasses, gingery hair (what’s left of it), beard, expression, everything. He’s just a bit taller, and a bit younger, but I’m a bit better looking, naturally.

The bloke’s name is Rory Tombs. We get along so well that later that day he invites me to his house, at Australia Plains, another tiny settlement of just a few dwellings on the very edge of absolute dry sandy desert.
[This is desert with no knobs on, flat sand, the desertiest edge-of-desert I’ve ever been at, and it starts at the other side of the road. I’m impressed. The world of men, and every visible living thing, ends here. It is pure.]

Rory shows me his work: he’s a silversmith, he makes trinkets, some of them very pretty. He calls his little operation Treasures from the Tombs. Nice. We have a pleasant parting.

One week later, to the very day, I’ve gone South this time about 50 miles, to the seaside township of Aldinga, where the local pub is holding a music and poetry festival. There’d be, say, 200 people there. I’m now 100 miles from where I met Rory, with the whole length of the long fair city of Adelaide fair in the middle between us.

I’m there doin’ my thing, I’ve read my poetry, now I’m flying a SKYTE, my little flying wondercraft, for the delight of the kids who infest the area. One particularly graceful girl of about 11 (graceful in the way she herself flew the Skyte, as kids love to do, and graceful in her manner too) has meanwhile been looking at me hard, with a really puzzled, perplexed look on her pretty face. After a while she says to me, “Do you drive a green Datsun?”
“No,” I tell her, “I drive a silver Mitsubishi station wagon.”
“Oh . . .” she says . . .
but her puzzled expression deepens . . .
She hesitates, but she’s too puzzled to let it go -
Then she asks,
“Are you a silversmith?”


(It just takes my breath away!)

“RORY TOMBS!” I almost shout at her.

“I met him last week! At Julia!”

“He’s my grandfather!” says the little lass simply. “You look like him!”

“I KNOW!” I say.

Her name is Ebony Tombs.


Her aunt is Kira Tombs. I think I must have met her there too. My memory of some of the events since then are a bit hazy. I’m not quite sure how or when we actually did meet but I went to visit her once and she had a little red-headed boy child, Jordan. A dawning Tombs head!
What I had not remembered is that Kira took a photo of the two of us, Rory and me, together. Anyway, having found me on Facebook, she some months ago sent me this astonishing photograph, and you can see what I mean. Doppelgangers!

As I say, I’m the good-looking-er one. Naturally. I won’t say which one that is. It’s obvious!

An old friend took one look and reckoned there was some skulduggery about it all . . .
Something about my Dad . . . who had red hair too.

Since writing the above I’ve contacted Kira who now has 3 kinder, Jordan 7, Gabriel 4, and Aurora who’s a baby girl. Turns out we have long-term close friends in common, Erick Monier’s family, the people who live at Julia that I went to visit. We have plans to go and visit Rory, whom I haven’t seen in quite a few years, and I would love too to catch up with the graceful 11-year-old Ebony, who is now 17! Her mother, Kira’s sister Mischkha (sp?) I think I might’ve met too but my mind is holey. (Greetings to both of you.) (Oh and I had a Samoyed named Mischkha, Russian for bruin, a nice term for bear.)

Notice, this story would have been just as amazing to me if it hadn’t been for Kira having taken that photograph, after all I knew how amazing it was, but it wouldn’t have been nearly so dramatic to everybody else without it, Kira proved our uncanny similarity for posterity! Thanks Kira.