Epiphany

Patrons of The Pub, it is my pleasure and privilege to introduce yet another delightful, thought-provoking reminiscence from Jaycee.


(Image credit: Skydive Ramblers)

An interesting phenomenon can happen to a young person when they reach their mid to late teens: there is a moment of awakening to the situation around them, the life they are living, the social circle and familial surroundings that guide their every-day movements and decisions. They can have a sort of psychological epiphany and either fall totally in-line with the accepted dogma of society, or they can totally rebel and reject the boring-as-batshit lifestyle of their parents and peers and go off in a completely different direction. Some of the baby boomers famously did just the latter. I was one of those.


(Image credit: obamawerds.com)

Now, let me explain the three different phases of baby-boomers. There are those born directly after the second world war, The more inflexible of these grew up with the mind-set of their parents – conservative, militaristic, socially servile. The second wave from the start of the fifties to the middle fifties were expected to follow such sentiments as their older siblings, but they did not. Oh, they did for a while, as tender youths, but then they rebelled! The third wave, till the early sixties, are the misguided conservatives we have in power now. They have leapfrogged back to the fifties in a caricature of what they perceive as their parents control mechanisms and are an exaggerated version of that conservatism. Hopeless!!

I am of the middle set of boomers, and man! did we ever rebel! It wasn’t just a case of, Oh, I think I’ll go in a different direction. It was an emphatic I’m outa here!, and I can remember the exact moment when I stopped being the aspiring apprentice carpenter and became the son from hell.

There were three things that awoke the liberating spirit within me, the first was a book, the second was music, and the third that sealed my fate was an incident.

Let me enlighten you.

I was an avid reader of books in my early teens. You probably know the type of books: crime, mysteries, war, adventure – that sort of thing. I was a regular “young boys own” kind of fellow, till one day, in the mid-sixties or so, whilst about to catch a train, I was looking at a bookstand for something to read, and in a hurry, I bought this book that had on its cover a war theme. I bought the book and caught the train. The title of the book – Catch 22. I fell in love with that book. I still love it! I’ve consumed it so many times, like one consumes a lover, a hunger unsatiated till you next see them, when touching is not enough and total immersion is demanded. A beauty!


(Image credit: Fin Fahey)

In 1967, The Beatles released their Sgt. Pepper’s album. Talk about a bombshell! Never, never before in the world of music had such a magical mix of bizarre and sublime sounds been cast upon the masses. You cannot honestly tell me that you can listen to that album and not be swept away with the mesmerising musical magic. And that moment when the calliope lilts in Being for the Benefit of Mr. KiteAnd of course Henry the Horse dances the waltz. Glorious, magical, marvellous! To HELL with Elvis! And then came Hendrix and The Stones. Fucksake!! who wants the crappy crooners!? Pass me the joint, maaan!


(Image credit: EMI Music)

The third incident was the defining moment, when the combination of the first two awakenings jelled with the third and I went home to sleep on a new and exciting desire.

Again, it was 1967. the end of that year, I was nearly seventeen, it was summer. I don’t suppose the name Bodo Skrypek means anything to you? Why should it?. But just roll that name around and off your tongue a couple of times – obscure? abstract? intriguing, isn’t it? But I kid you not – it is a real name. As a matter of fact, he nearly got into a punch-up with a copper one night who thought he was having him on giving a name like that!

Bodo was a Rocker – these were the days of Mods and Rockers – and Bodo was a Rocker of the first order. The BSA Golden Flash motorcycle, the black leather jacket and chrome chains, black stove-pipe jeans with Ripples shoes, the tatts, the snarl, blond flat-top haircut, and the sartorial exactness of a Jimmy Dean but with the aggro of Chopper Reid, if Chopper was around in those days! You’d understand what I mean if I tell you that he used to clean his motorcycle, engine and spokes, with a toothbrush! That machine was a black and chrome beast, an android extension of his personality: he could toss it around like it was a twirl of his fingers. It was totally phallic. Bodo WAS the fifties personified. We adored him. We feared him!


(Image credit: Sophia Akrofi)

One summer night, at the top of Brighton Road, three of us gathered near the monument: a column, still there but moved a little to one side of the road, a testament to war. Three of us were there. Pommy Len with his Honda, Ron Parker with his 350cc Beeza, and myself, the youngest by a couple of years, with my Yamaha. It was the early days of the emergence of the Japanese motorcycles, themselves a bone of contention amongst the motorcycle purists who mostly scorned the Jap-crap for British machines, of which, amongst the Rocker brigade, Triumphs and BSA reigned supreme. Norton was acceptable, but just – the intellectual’s choice. The rest were, in the vernacular of the times, poofter bikes.


(Image credit: MidAmerica Auctions)


(Image credit: Motorcycle Specifications)


(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

We were there, at the S-bend, at the monument, just milling about, dead-still night, nothing to do and no intention of doing it! and then Bodo rolls up on his Beeza. Sees us, does a U-ee and pulls up and parks with one automatic quick-flick of the side-stand whilst simultaneously dismounting. He lit up a cigarette. (Where did it come from – magic! there it was, the lit match already somersaulting away into the night). He stands, we gather around to the flame. Moonlight and streetlight, phosphorus, man and machine – memory fixed to time and place. Did I know it was the end of an era? Jacta alia est! My senses were alert. I don’t know, something was stirring in me, a portent? Did we talk? Don’t remember. Did we animate? Don’t remember. But next thing, another motorcycle comes around the S-bend and pulls up. I do not know him, but Bodo does – even some sort of respect. He rides a Suzuki Hustler, the quickest bike off the mark for those days.


(Image credit: Suzukicycles)

His pillion is a blonde girl – long blonde hair. They are both about nineteen or twenty, no crash helmet, no shoes, just T shirt and casual denim jeans. But maaan! they looked so cool and relaxed, they didn’t get off the bike, just straddled it and conversed with Bodo who, after some little time in discussion on the merits of particular motorcycles, tired of the conversation and tried to hit on the blonde girl pillion who, with a disdaining toss of her blonde hair, seemed to scorn him. A new ideal, a new generation! I saw it – the vulnerability, the loss of attitude. The young man started the motorcycle and with a casual adieu – and that’s what it was: an adieu – they turned and accelerated down Brighton Rd with such amazing speed and unity of line that even Bodo paused in the action of putting his cigarette to his lips. I Iiked that look of cool denim, the girl, the bike, the attitude. An Epiphany! I wanted it!


(Image credit: Favim)

There seemed like a long, long silence between the departure of those two prophets and any action on our parts. That machine and its passengers just went whoosh – no thundering roar of engine, no aggro from the young man toward Bodo’s facile attempt on his pillion, just a swift, smooth departure from the point of disturbance toward serenity, the red tail-light a point of distinction fading into the distance.

“I wonder,” said Bodo suddenly, “how fast I can get up to coming down that road?” He was turned, gazing up the new stretch of bitumen of Ocean Boulevarde. None of us commented, it was a rhetorical question, for he had no sooner said it than he had flung his smoke away and mounted his bike and still with the kick-start at the nadir of its stroke, the motor throttling, the side-stand snapped as he leapt the bike out onto the road.

We three moved our bikes and ourselves down the road a little to where the bend straightened out toward Seacliff. We stood on the edge of the kerb and waited.

You could hear him before you could see him as he came thundering down that boulevarde. that Beeza was screaming, a throaty howl. Christ he was flying! Then he appeared just as the road went into that long, broad sweeping bend. He was already pitched at a low angle as he went into it at a speed of at least a hundred miles an hour. He floated toward us, the bike howling with a spraying shower of dazzling sparks shooting from the muffler and foot-pedals as they bounced and scraped on the bitumen, Pommy Len and Parker leapt from the road edge to the back of the footpath. I stayed where I was. I don’t know why, except I was mesmerised in the theatrics of this performance. For that’s what it was – a statement of bravado in the face of total rejection. Bodo had lost face with that girl, with that young man, with us, certainly with me. I wanted nothing of it, no more big-noting, no more aggro, no more warrior tactics. I wanted liberation from that whole social network – screw them all! Though of course, I couldn’t voice those specific thoughts as I stood there rooted defiantly to the kerb. I wasn’t going to respond to the automatic fear. I know now: with mortality being the only certainty, the whole world runs on bluff.

Sure enough, Bodo swept past so close to me I could smell the engine oil and feel the heat of that motor. He was still braking as he neared the Seacliff junction. but I couldn’t care less, for I had already mounted my Yamaha and was quietly making my way home. I had a lot of thinking to do.


(Image credit: Zazzle)

As I lay abed, thinking about that young man and his girl, the fact that they didn’t get upset or angry, they just “walked away”. And that is what I did to that life back then. To my job, to my parents, to my home, to all the expectations of that boring-as-batshit society. It’s what we all did, a whole generation, almost spontaneously. I didn’t get angry, I just walked away!

1,323 thoughts on “Epiphany

  1. Abbott’s travel expenses rorts –

    Last year on 3 November, Tony Abbott attended Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse with Margie, Bridget and Frances. According to Abbott’s Register of Interests they were guests of the Victoria Racing Club.
    http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=pmi/declarations.htm

    Abbott made this family day out ‘official business’ by doing a non-event presser from the racecourse in which he was asked in-depth questions about the celebrities he hoped to meet – Sarah Jessica Parker was top of his list – which Abbott female had chosen his tie and what label the tie was.
    https://engage.wa.liberal.org.au/general/derby-day-changes-to-the-line-of-succession-same-sex-marriage-tony-abbott-doorstop

    The presser allowed him to claim some expenses

    #Overnight accoomodation in Melbourne for two nights – 2 and 3 November – of $429 per night, plus $20 for Margie. A total of $878.
    #Comcar expenses of $83.84 for himself.
    #Family Comcar use of $80.80 in Sydney (Margie to the airport) and $230.44 in Melbourne.
    #’Family Traveller’ airfares of $507.82 on 3 November including a return flight to Sydney the next day.

    http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/parliamentarians-reporting/docs/P31/ABBOTT_Tony.pdf

    All justified by one lousy little presser that lasted a couple of minutes. One has to ask – did Victoria Racing pay any of the Abbott familiy’s expenses as well? Did Abbott, perhaps, claim for, say, accommodation and meals he didn’t actually pay for?

  2. I have to say, I’m stunned by the way the Fibs have turned into rabbits in the headlights since Rudd became PM. They pushed so hard to get rid of Julia Gillard. I was sure they had a filthy ‘Get Rudd’ campaign just waiting to go at a moment’s notice, but nope, nothing.

  3. What planting trees and clearing out waterways has to do with a serious attempt to reduce Climate Change escapes me.

    Sound more like a glorified Clean Up Australia scam to me.

  4. BB

    [What planting trees and clearing out waterways has to do with a serious attempt to reduce Climate Change escapes me.]

    Yep.

    On the other hand – Lost friend GusFace would be cool with the motorbikes so sometimes you have to just keep on.

  5. leone, I suspect they’d become very used to having KRuddPM implicitly ‘on side’, helping to reinforce their attacks on FPMJG with his undermining. There was a couple of times in the past couple of years where I wondered if KR might change parties if the Libs had simply offered him the leadership. The mass resignation (and in many cases, retirement) of those Ministers who were central to the relevations of his incompetence as PM has probably deflected any campaign prepared on that basis.
    Having the election date up for grabs again also means they can’t confidently set up the schedule of their campaign advertising. Perhaps we’ll see more once KRPM reveals the date.

  6. Leone,

    Phil Coorey said (on that radio discussion I heard last night) that the coalition didn’t really want to get rid of JG as the abbott had been so successful sucking up all the oxygen (helped by Rudd) and they didn’t think Rudd would be returned given all the nasty things caucus members said about him. So they were in effect, caught like bunnies in the spotlight, and when they attempted to bring out some of l the dirt they have on Rudd, it fell on deaf ears. Hence the unhingeing that is going on.

  7. On the Nova Peris selection, I’m sure the posters this morning are right that Gillard consulted locally and with the indigenous community.

    Remember that at the NT election there had been the biggest swing ever away from the ALP to the CLP among indigenous voters. The prime cause was probably the Intervention, which was the sh-t sandwich Rudd and Gillard took to avoid the Howard-Brough wedge. Among other things was a fairly large candidate defection to the CLP, enabling them to have a half-credible indigenous policy for about the first time.

    She and others would have been very conscious of that swing (which led to the Labor Party losing government, despite a stable support base in non-indigenous areas. Something had to be done to win back support, or even Snowdon was in trouble.

    Peris probably got the nod, despite no party background, because she was active for community reform, and of course had ready recognition as an Olympic and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist. In addition she was clear of warring factions, which had split internal indigenous voting, which all but ensured the white trades hall insiders dominated pre-selection.

    That it worked can be gauged by the big swing back to the ALP at an NT by-election, I read it variously reported as between 12 and 20%. Yes, I think Rudd would have been told to let sleeping dogs lie.

  8. GD,

    Knowing Territorians (spent the first half of my life there and still have family there), I would say Rudd was told bluntly to “Butt out” or stfu.

    Lots of people who’ve lived and worked in the NT consider themselves an authority on the place and its people, but I can tell you that you have to be one to really know one, because Territorians find it really amusing to lead itinerants and politicians up the garden path. And that includes the indigenous population.

  9. G’day, all.

    My late start was caused by an unfortunate incident between a motor vehicle and a power pole. Result: power outage for a couple of hours.

    AJ,

    Congratulations! Best wishes to OH, new son, and proud(?) Older Sibling.

  10. A reminder from January why Gillard was right on the NT…

    http://newmatilda.com/2013/01/24/why-crossin-must-bow-out

    federal politics
    24 Jan 2013
    Why Crossin Must Bow Out
    By Adam Brereton

    Trish Crossin and her supporters have long impeded the pre-selection of Indigenous candidates in the NT for federal parliament. Adam Brereton looks at the senator’s history in the territory

  11. foreverjanice,
    When you say you have a 6 week wait to see an optometrist do you mean an Ophthalmologist? If it is the former he will have to refer you to the latter to perform the procedure.. May be worthwhile asking your GP if he can give you a referral, bypassing the Optometrist and saving time.
    Have a good pair of sunglasses for after you have them done . Good Luck.

  12. CTar1

    [The post upstream is tight – the Norton brings back memories.]
    Kiwi cops had a good selection of bikes in the 1970’s

    Norton Commando 750 1970s
    BSA 650 Police Special 1969-1971
    Triumph Trophy 650 1970s

  13. Barry J,

    Thanks for the advice. If I need to see an Opthalmologist, I’d be lucky to get an appt inside 12 months here! Since it is time to have the normal optometrist check (I was stunned to find it was a 6 week wait) I will take that and go from there.

  14. Bushfire Bill,

    What planting trees and clearing out waterways has to do with a serious attempt to reduce Climate Change escapes me.

    Sound more like a glorified Clean Up Australia scam to me.

    This comment from Corinne Grant’s blog post at The Hoopla today covers that issue very well:

    MsLulu July 9, 2013 Reply

    Corrine if you really want to do something for the environment do what we do start at home. You don’t need a tax or an ets to prove you want to help the environment. My kids want to help so they do stuff here at home they don’t understand taxes.

    Wendy Harmer July 9, 2013 Reply

    There is only so much you can do at home, Ms Lulu. We do everything we can, but it will not, in the end, stop global warming. This is action that has to be taken by governments and multinational companies… in concert with a backyard worm farm.

    Dianna Art July 9, 2013 Reply

    Ms lulu, while I applaud any efforts we, as individuals, can make to become more sustainable, until the big polluters clean up their treatment of our environment, our efforts will remain not much more than a feel-good exercise.

    In other words, feel-good local efforts are essentially useless when it comes to affecting the climate. They might make people think something’s being done as they take their daily walks by the river or through the local bush but it is just tokenism when it comes to seriously combating Climate Change.

  15. Kaffee – I had the Commando 850 version. Quick but difficult. The Car Park Attendants didn’t approve as it always leaked oil and they had to deal with that.

  16. foreverjanice
    Good luck anyway and I hope it’s not too long. My OH had hers done and the difference is just amazing. from wearing bifocals to no glasses at all.

  17. As an environmental blog administrator, who has to filter through many, many papers/articles to decide which ones are suitable to publish and which one’s won’t panic the public…my advice to myself and anyone who wants to listen is to simply…; say your prayers!….
    Once the “environmental iceberg” gets too top-heavy and starts to flip…”goodnight, goodluck and goodbye!

  18. Kaaffee

    The thing went but putting it in context my nephew has a Ducati Street fighter ‘R’.

    When it’s not convenient for him to ride it out for a service I sometimes do it.

    No sleek red Itatian car is in the race.

    You are just ‘gone’.

  19. You should all have a browse through the new articles on Kings Tribune. Its Free!

    http://www.kingstribune.com/

    In particular, but not only, check these out, especially the Tim Dunlop one (please read all of it, not just the bit I copied)…

    http://www.kingstribune.com/index.php/weekly-email/item/1840-media-bunnies-become-the-hounds

    Media bunnies become the hounds
    By Jane Gilmore
    10 July 2013

    There was far more to the anti-Gillard campaign than sexism and misogyny. Had Kevin Rudd been toppled by a man in 2010 we’d still have heard all the claims of illegitimacy and dishonesty, so how much of the hatred towards Gillard was because of her gender?

    The debate about sexism and Julia Gillard has been raging for months and it’s likely to continue on for years, mainly because there’s so much evidence, both for and against the idea that innate sexism in Australian media and policies was the cause of her downfall.

    http://www.kingstribune.com/index.php/weekly-email/item/1841-fact-checking-sites-are-a-symptom-not-a-cure

    Fact-checking sites are a symptom, not a cure
    By Tim Dunlop
    10 July 2013

    The appearance of three fact-checking sites on the Australian media landscape over the last few months is quite an amazing development.

    Fact checking has become what’s known as a ‘vertical’, a niche item on the menu of increasing specialisation that is the hallmark of new media. Just as there are now specialist titles dealing with business and finance, sport, real estate and so on, we now have Politifact Australia, The Conversation’s Election FactCheck site, and a soon-to-be-launched ABC fact-checking site.

    Interestingly, the first two of these three are openly offering their work to other media organisations to use. Politifact are doing it via a commercial arrangement with Channel Seven, while Election FactCheck is basically offering its work to any news organisation that wants to use it. The site’s editor, Gay Alcorn, told industry mag Mumbrella: ‘Under The Conversation’s Creative Commons [license] we’re hoping other sites will run the Election FactCheck as well.’

    That fact-checking is now being presented as a side-dish rather than an integral part of the normal meal of journalism is a reflection of the gutting of journalism that has occurred over the past decade or so. As Alcorn said on Twitter the other day, ‘Journalists check facts every day. But more are stretched for time now and [the] Internet allows for a dedicated site.’

    I suspect the reasons go deeper than this. It isn’t just that journalists no longer have the time and resources to properly fact-check the information they are publishing (and what an admission that is!); it is that they have adopted certain practices as standard that actively mitigate against them presenting the facts.

  20. Just a couple of thoughts on the issue of voting for caucus leader.

    I note there appears to be some concern within the union movement about the changes proposed by Me Rudd in the process to choose the leader of caucus.

    It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

    If Mr Rudd is keen to make the process more open and democratic then I cannot see why he wants to sideline unions affiliated with the labor party from the process.

    Without a union movement there would be no labor party. Unions affiliated with the party represent over 1 million workers and are the major financial contributors to the party.

    Instead of equal weighting between caucus and party members with the unions excluded why not equal weighting between all three, caucus, members and unions ?

    This would seem to me to be a more democratic approach than the one proposed by Mr Rudd.

    I am also unclear as to why Mr Rudd wants to put the changes to a vote of caucus

    My understanding is caucus cannot change the selection process and any vote by caucus would be irrelevant and non binding so why even have a vote ?

    Would not the changes have to be put to a vote at National Conference for a binding decision to be made ?

    If that is the case then I am finding it hard to see where Mr Rudd can go from here with the time frame so narrow until the election.

    More than happy to be educated on this issue and the procedures required and if I am incorrect then I am more than happy to admit my error.

    Cheers.

  21. http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/07/10/rudd-moves-on-lalor-preselection-clutterham-tapped/

    Rudd moves on Lalor preselection, Clutterham tapped
    ANDREW CROOK | JUL 10, 2013 1:18PM

    DFAT staffer Lisa Clutterham has emerged as a candidate in Lalor.

    Two new Labor preselection candidates have emerged in the ultra safe federal seat of Lalor. Crikey can reveal that a new ‘PM’s pick’ has been thrown in the mix, Lisa Clutterham, and that former Labor treasurer Ralph Willis’ daughter Sandra Willis will also nominate.

    Clutterham, a Labor party member and second secretary at the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea, is expected to be granted special dispensation by the party’s National Executive this afternoon to nominate for the sinecure, being vacated at the election by dumped Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

    Willis, a Williamstown resident who considered running in Gellibrand, is believed to have the support of state MPs Wade Noonan and Natalie Hutchins and former Labor Premier Joan Kirner.

  22. doyleym,

    Initially I thought putting the changes to a vote in caucus would be to test and wield his, Rudds, authority. But, as much as I dislike him, I can’t see him being that egocentrical. Perhaps he’s laying groundwork for some later stage. At the moment, I guess, it’s good headlines and negates the LNP union lackey attack.

  23. ian,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Interesting point you make re the negating of any attack from the coalition re labor and the unions.

    I remember Mr Rudd was very very quick to react to any such attack from the OM and the coalition in the lead up to the 2007 election so this approach now perhaps is not such a surprise.

    Perhaps good politics in the short term leading up to the election but I have concerns beyond that as to where Mr Rudd is intending to take the issue of the relationship between the union movement and the ALP and how hard he really intends to push.

    Any real action would have to be after the election I would assume so I suppose we shall have to see how it all stands post election.

    Cheers

  24. Have tv burbling in the background. Newsbreak headlines spoken. Rudd mishap this morning. Cut himself shaving. Please can someone put me in a nut house, I’ve gone out of my mind.

  25. rgravel, you have hit onto the reason the media has worked so hard to keep Rudd alive as a prospect. They thrive on trivia such as that. So much less troublesome than looking at policy.

    Imagine the excitement when he trips over his shoelace!

  26. Video cartoon. Tony Abbott exhibited some very curious behaviour during yesterday’s pie shop stunt conference. Fortunately, it was caught on high-speed camera. YOU WON”T BELIEVE what is revealed in this EXCLUSIVE footage.

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