We ask The Big Questions:
What is more scary,
Jihadis with bombs or Yanks with guns?
Salt or sugar?
Fires or floods?
Politicians or unionists?
God or climate change?
Sharks or Adolf Hitler?
Church Bans Christmas!
In the latter half of the 1500s the Puritans took over much of Europe, urged on by Queen Elizabeth (the first, of course, quite a different woman to the second, renowned for her hedonism)
They did not believe in having fun, not dissimilar to the Taliban today.
They first thing they did was to ban Christmas altogether, claiming, accurately that it did not get a single mention in the Bible. Claiming, correctly again that it was a pagan ritual of indulgence based on the Roman Saturnalia. The Saturnalia was a bachanal of debauchery and depravity where the poorest peasant was made the king for a day and all his foolish decrees were to be obeyed, such as; everyone must remain naked. The slaves were waited on by their masters. Absurdity was the order of the day.
Xmas was banned from 1647 till 1660- anyone found celebrating was fined 5 shillings- a king’s ransom in those days. The baking of minced pies was also banned. Upon the promulgation of these onerous edicts there was rioting in the streets. Blood was spilt. Lives were lost.
In New England (what was to become the United States) Xmas was banned until 1870. In Scotland it was banned until 1958 (l kid you not)
A key item of worship in the northern regions is The Yuletide log that once burned brightly all of Xmas day, a custom that has withered here in the antipodes for some unknown reason, whilst in the U.S. it has been contemporized: There is a Yultide log channel on the television so one can watch it burning all day long.( Believe me, l have seen it with my own eyes, but l can tell you, it is not a real log. It burns all day without diminishing. Perhaps this is one of the many miracles of Jesus Christ our Saviour?)
So that is Xmas or Saturnalia, a northern midwinter festival, absolutely nothing to do with the Midsummer Festival that we all celebrate around the world at the Summer Solstice. As we have very little record of traditional midsummer festivities here in the Great Southern Land, having exterminated the participants before documenting their amusing habits. ( something the anthra-apologists are very annoyed about) We must refer back to the habits of our European ancestors. These were people who knew how to party, not yet having invented Public Liability Insurance and Risk Assesment Protocols. It was a time of respite between the sowing and the harvesting, a time of healing and a time of fertility. 77 ½ herbs were gathered to cure all the known diseases plus The Unknown Disease.
A bonfire must be lit of immense proportions (No Total Fire Bans in those days) Once everyone is sufficiently inebriated they are required to leap over the fire and even run through the glowing ashes. Those who pike out will not have a good harvest and their house will burn down. Witches were traditionally placed on the top of the pyre but now-a-days that is considered a breech of O,H & S.
Young maidens find this an ideal time to pick up the usually catatonically shy young men. The idea is to remove ones vestments beside a pool in a quite glade in the forest. Pearing into the waters, your future husband will miraculously appear out of nowhere.( l am assured this time honoured practice still renders similar results to this day)
So what were some of the other weird cults doing around this time of the year?
The Jews, the Muslims, the Zoroastrians, the Yazidis. Well it turns out the dates of their festivals vary from year to year and over the millenia have long ceased to bear any relation to the solar year (how long it takes the earth to go around the sun – 365 days 5 hours 49 minutes 12 seconds)
The Christians however, under the astute rule of Pope Gregory rectified the problem way back in 1582. The Julian Calendar had become hopelessly out of sink with the solar year, by a whopping 10 days. This was simply rectified by erasing 10 days from the calendar year. Alas, those who missed their birthdays were not amused, there was rioting in the streets, blood was spilt, lives were lost.
The Gregorian calendar uses this simple and effective formula:
Every fourth year is a leap year – we add an extra day, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the year 2000 is. Thus we keep in sink for thousands of years. Neat huh!
So here we are today, 5 centuries later and no other religion is yet willing to adopt this very practical calendar, simply because it was started by a rival religion. Therein lies the problem of religion itself: When faith and common sense collide, it is common sense that invariably loses out.
Ben laycock 2015
Cam Walker spends most of his time running. He is run off his feet running campaigns at Friends of the Earth, running around Victoria helping angry people get organized: People in Anglsea who are sick of smog from the coal fired aluminium smelter at their doorstep, that is now closed, tick that off the ‘things-to-do’ list, well done team, running around Gippsland helping farmers oppose fracking. There is now a moratorium on fracking right across Victoria, tick that off the ‘things-to-do’ list, well done team.
In his peripatetic wanderings, his ceaseless circumnavigation of Gippsland, one fine day Cam found himself in Mafra addressing a hall packed to the rafters with angry farmers and loggers. A scene that whisked him back to his misspent youth some 30 years ago, when, upon arriving in this very same town to stir up trouble and ferment unrest, as is his want, he was chassed down the street and given a kicking by an angry mob, possibly the very same loggers and farmers who were now cheering him on.
Change is in the air. People who have never protested about anything in their whole lives are suddenly defending their land with a passion, threatening to blockade the roads with tractors and build walls of flaming hay bales. Loggers are standing shoulder to shoulder with ferals. Potato farmers are joining the Greens for Crist’s sake. Immovable rocks are getting up and jumping the fence.
Something is afoot. Humble people from all walks of life are taking great strides on the long march to a glorious new world. (sorry, got a bit carried away there) And who, you may ask, has cobbled together this unlikely coalition of disparate segments of society, and set them marching as one on the long walk to freedom? Who is it we see striding forward at the vanguard of this nascent movement? Why, Cam Walker of course, doing what he has done all his life, doing what he does best, leading the way. That’s why we call him Strider.
It just so happens that on his travels he will be passing through Castlemaine this weekend, and he has graciously offered to hang around for a while and tell us all about his various, nefarious shenanigans.
Cam will be talking at the Local Lives – Global Matters conference on Saturday 17th October at 2 o’clock at the Phee Broadway Theatre
He will be free to sign autographs after the performance.
Ben Laycock 2015
l want to tell you all about a little surprise some of the local yokels have cooked up for you. A gathering of such immense proportions it could be bigger than the truck show, bigger even than the Monster Meeting of 1854, with similar repercussions.
The midwives of this audacious attempt to sculpt our minds, is a hardened group of seasoned activists called Local Futures. This mob have been putting on these shindigs all around the world for several years now:
Berkley and Byron Bay in 2013 (Soul Sister Cities)
Bangalore in India in 2014, Oregon, Soel and Castlemaine this year. So we are in illustrious company.
All part of a momentous global upheaval taking place before our very eyes.
So, you may be asking yourself, ‘what the fuck is it all about?
Well as far as l can gather with my limited schooling, it all revolves around this word relocalization, a buzz word that seems to mean localization that you do again.
Basically the idea is we all spend a very intense 3 days nutting out the nuts and bolts of how to run our own lives without the ‘help’ of the Corporate Megalomaniacs and Blood-thirsty War-mongering Psychopaths that run the world at this present juncture in time. People, and l use that term loosely, that think nature was put there by god for their own personal use.
At the end of the gig, we shall then send said Powers-That –Be, a terse text message informing them that their services are no longer required and recommending they go home and spend more time with their families.
(if anyone has their phone numbers that would be much appreciated)
As l said, l do believe that nothing as big as this has been accomplished in a town as small as this, by such a rag-tag bunch of rank amateurs, anywhere in the known world.
Where else would you expect to see people milling about in such multitudes, plotting the demise of the Oligarchs? The United Nations perhaps, the climate summit in Paris maybe?
With just a smidgeon of hyperbole l declare this could very well be the seed that grows into the mighty red gum that can withstand the ragging torrent and the endless drought.
This conference could very well turn out to be the founding stone of the most progressive town in Australia, if not the world.
Everyone is welcome!
Attendance is compulsory
Come along and help build a whole new paradigm, one mud brick at a time, then when your grand children ask you:
“Nona, where were you when it all began?”
You can say:
“l was right here in Castlemaine, doing my bit.”
Local Lives – Global Matters
Ben Laycock 2015
We could be living in
According to the Pundits, in the year of 1835, one John Batman Esquire was the first white man to arrive sober in the spot that now beers the boring title of Melbourne. He stuck a sharp stick in the ground and declared grandiosely, “This is the place for a Latte”. Prophetic words indeed. Coming from the bucolic isle of Tasmania and being a prize egotist he naturally wanted to call the place Batmania. However, unbeknownst to him, a far more crafty fellow by the name of Fawkner arrived very soon after in the S.S. Enterprize. (I kid you not) Being a prize Suck-hole he petitioned the Prime Minister of England to call the place Melbourne. Coincidentally the P.M.s name was Lord Melbourne, so being yet another prize egotist he hearltily agreed.
And so began the most livable city in the world. But it was not always quite so livable. Very early on it was plagued with parking problems.
Burke St. in particular was a nightmare. Can you even imagine doing a u-turn with a fully loaded dray and 6 ornery oxen without getting stuck in a bog or caught on the protruding stumps.
So one Henry Hoddle was commissioned to solve the problem. Which he promptly did. Presenting the burgers with ‘The Hoddle Model’. Being a simple man of simple mind he simply drew up a grid with his trusty set-square that he always carried in the top pocket of his trusty smoking jacket. Tragically, a mere slip of the quill inscribed an ugly black line from top to bottom. The said Burgers naturally enquired as to its purpose. Deftly, in a moment of uncharacteristic imagination, our Mr. Hoddle called it ‘The Melbourne Bypass’ Thus was born the infamous Hoddle St., bain of our existence, cursed for ever more as a slow-moving parking lot. To this day any young lass or lad, setting off to Melbourne to make their mark in the world, will receive the same parental advice; ‘Whatever you do, avoid Hoddle St, at all costs”.
Special guest Ian Lilington talks up The Local lives, global matters Conference,
The biggest thing in Castlemaine since The Truck Show!
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Mr. Rabbot says:
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N.Z. Tall Blacks take on the giants of basketball
Part 1 Please ignore first 2 minutes of kafuful