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Look Pip; I wrote some words

I always struggle with the start bits.

But as I look around the confines of my blog page I’m suddenly reminded of a glaringly obvious fact – my last post was nearly a year ago, and it was a quick update about my podcast.

A podcast that only exists because a podcast I had planned to do with Pippa had fallen by the wayside.

We planned it for months; she would call me every day at around 1am and unload on me for hours at a time about all the things she had meticulously mapped out during her off-time from work. At some point we even tossed around an idea called ‘Hooker Math’ that involved taking a well known scientific or mathematical doctrine, and trying to explain how sex workers used it in their everyday lives to even greater effect than scientists.

I remember struggling with the concept, and suggested another podcast segment instead, one that involved breaking down the ins and outs of why sex workers charge ‘X’ amount of money for different services.

“Maybe we can call it ‘Just the tip’, because it’s about money? Eh?”….

…There was silence on the other end of the phone…

“No”, she said stoutly, before her mind wandered off and shifted into another gear, and she began to talk about how earlier in the day she was feeding a flock of birds that had taken up residence on her balcony. At least, I think that’s what she was talking about, because if you never had the pleasure of hearing Pippa speak then you probably wouldn’t realise she sounds like Speedy Gonzales after a three day caffeine and amphetamine bender.

Pippa was proof positive of Einstein’s notion of relativity; she existed in a different frame of time that operated at a different speed than the rest of us.

Of course as I look around my blog page further, I’m reminded of the first time I had learned of the extent of Pippa’s problems. During one of her first stints in rehab we would text for hours at a time, where she usually would show me the blogs and journals she had written while there. One had so perfectly summed up her experiences I was a little flawed for words; through all of my praises of her journal I was silently seething underneath.

This is because she was a far better writer than I ever could and ever will be, and I prided myself on my literary abilities. This particularly journal was so beautifully written it seemed more like poetry than regular prose, and had a wonderful pace that made me understand her problems for the very first time.

I had finally realised that Pippa wasn’t just the alter-ego of Grace, she was the Bruce Banner like figure that bounced around inside the hulking green shell she had built for herself on the outside.

‘Pippa’ was an existential crisis; a scientific conundrum that showed the universe that two people can exist in the same place at the same time.

Before this moment I had adored her….

…after this moment I had loved her.

Naturally I told her how I felt about her writing, and she told me something that I’ve never forgotten. She told me, “I want you to write more, because I love your writing”. And here we are.

Look Pip, I wrote some words, and this time they’re about you.

I ummed and arred about taking to social media like so many have, because the stories I have with her aren’t the kind of thing you want to etch into the zeros and ones of the internet forever. Most of them involve either being drunk, or listening to her tell me about the ghosts that she thought were haunting her apartment. In our big podcast finale we were going to record a séance, and do a live ghost hunt in the confines of her tiny apartment space to prove once and for all that the ‘other side’ is real, and among other things, is responsible for moving her keys around during the night.

In the end she also taught me a lot of about atheism, more so because as I rolled around in bed this morning trying to come to grips with how I really felt about her death, speaking to myself aloud, it dawned on me the importance of an afterlife.

It’s important not so much for the departed, but more so for the people they leave behind. Atheism brings with it so much finality, and it doesn’t seem right or fair that we never get to say how we truly feel about someone in the wake of their departure. So instead we whisper to shadows and put our feelings into prayers, hoping that a passing wind will take them to where they need to go.

It makes sense to me now, because ancient people never had the technology to forever immortalise the people important to us; and thank goodness, because the exploits of Jesus wouldn’t have seemed so  impressive if he was on Facebook.

Mary Magdalene is in a relationship with Jesus, and it’s complicated.

So here is my engraving on a wall, my epitaph on a digital plaque.

Goodbye Pip, you finally got me writing again; you were a campaigner for the rights of women, sex workers, and people with depression. You were a far greater person than I am, and as long as I keep writing, a part of you will always be here with us.

It’s what you deserve.

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Confessions of an Agony Aunt 2 – Sex with hookers and camera angles

Syntax Header Rap

I’m quite surprised at the support for my previous piece; I somewhat expected it to be gloriously overlooked – at the best of times I treat my social media pages like they’re the testing ground for a rival to an Ernest Scribbler joke (that’s a Monty Python reference there – you probably won’t get it), and so it’s easy for myself to be confined to the ‘unintelligent joke telling wanker’ category.

Above all things though I’m a writer, and my compulsion to finish what I started burns deep inside me like a nun’s first Vindaloo.

I haven’t waned in my desire to man the battle stations of S.S Agony Aunt – and every day my workload steadily increases under the weight of a dozen new ‘help’ based applications that offer advice over a multitude of different disciplines and lifestyles.

My examination of the religious applications continues – you can read about that here. My conclusion stays the same – our religious upbringings do little to help individuals fit into a world that is slowly losing its grip on godliness. More importantly, our religious social networks don’t offer people enough support when dealing with real life issues; when God is the only thing you’ve ever known, it’s difficult for someone to talk to their family or friends about, for instance, homosexuality without one’s worth being brought into question.

Leaving religion alone for a second, my other duties include overseeing a range of Relationship apps, with characters I portray ranging from metro male hipsters, all the way up to flamboyantly professional single mothers, aimed at catering to an audience of confused and hard working single parent families.

Very rarely do I question my own ability to answer the multitude of questions that get flung in my general direction – more often than not the need for qualifications is a moot point; when people want advice they do so because they want it to fly under the radar, that is, to be unrecorded in professional channels.

Most people want to remain anonymous – even on a backwater and barely downloaded advice app people are afraid to give even their first name, lest by serendipitous circumstance their local clergyman happened to reading it over the shoulder of a passing ruffian in their local shopping centre.

“Betty? I have a Betty in my church group. I wonder if that’s her? I didn’t know she was actually a lesbian. I better fetch my holy water and tell the pope at once”.

What seems to trouble people the most is love; unsurprising really when Hollywood has created a false sense of reality for many people – love and relationships are the most popular of all the topics I encounter, and very rarely does it stray from an overall theme of pettiness and uselessness.

My aim in this particular blog is to help come to grips with the mindset of people that experience relationship issues, and why most of those that reach out for help all seem to be weaved together in a single theme – a complete lack of wits and logical thinking.

And indeed, how much the idealism of Hollywood has destroyed common sense in young adults.

For you readers, hopefully it’s also a chance to laugh at the stupidity of truly stupid people saying really stupid things.

Burn Hollywood, Burn

I’ve never been to Hollywood, but I get an overall sense that it would probably be exactly like Surfers Paradise if Starbucks had come to town 20 years earlier, and all the locals had ditched their morals and town pride in an effort to sell nothing but knick knacks, Elvis wall clocks, and themed Marilyn Monroe leather jackets.

That part of California holds no interest to me – the Hills, Valley, Gully, Crest, Plateau, Plains type of vomit inducing consumerist environment that 99% of the world truly reviles, yet somehow still provides 80% of media outlets with its stories.

It’s where movies are filmed, but not where movies are created.

Movies are created on buses, they’re created in conversation, they are cobbled together by truly unique and amazing individuals in one bedroom apartments in the middle of New Delhi, India. Movies are limited only by imagination and the unique environments that writers used to draw their inspiration from.

Except romantic comedies.

Romantic comedies aren’t created, they’re found; romantic comedies are small crusty globules of bauxite that are winched up from huge wells that scrape the bottom of an ever deepening barrel – bauxite that movie companies recognise has the potential to be something else, profitable Aluminium. Aluminium that certainly isn’t as valuable as golden nuggets like James Cameron’s Avatar, but is still more highly prized than dirty coal like Kevin Costner’s The Postman.

More often than not they remain as bauxite – unopened and untreated potential, something that unless it’s processed, cleaned and polished won’t ever be turned into Aluminium.

Rom Com’s unfortunately do however make an impact on the ‘relationship audience’ – more likely than not because after a month of dating, most couples suddenly realise how truly boring their partner is, and instead of finding new and exciting ways of exploring each other’s character, they spend their Friday and Saturday nights watching movies because it sure as hell beats having to actually talk to each other.

Women primarily do the movie picking too – in the democratic society that is “the relationship”, both partner’s need to agree on the film. However it soon becomes apparent movie night is a far cry from democracy – it’s more like one of those far east Asian democracy’s that have “The People’s Democratic Republic of…” in the title, where on the outside the illusion is a truly unified society, but clearly one person is at the top of the hastily assembled government pyramid. Women rig the elections, and sweep themselves into power with all the pomp and pomposity of a soviet era show of arms, ending with a coordinated march past the Kremlin.

In the end it’s easier for men to agree with Kim Jong Un, than it is to face a wall of barbed wire, cold machine guns, and even colder sides of the bed.

I would bet a hefty amount of money on the fact that Cloverfield, Looper, or Prometheus have never been watched during a sitting of a relationship movie night.

Relationship movie night is the sole reason that Matthew McConaughey is still able to feed himself, it’s the sole reason your boyfriend loves going to his mate’s place to drink beer and watch sci-fi, and it’s the unmistakable death nell that rings loudly for me letting me know that on Monday morning when I open my inbox, I have to wade ankle deep through a slew of questions that could be easily avoided with the application of common sense.

Here’s why.

Camera angles, smiles and clever editing

Relationship joke

“If a guy comes really close to you, leans in, makes a joke, takes a few steps forward, turns back to look at you, smiles, then takes a few steps, turns and smiles again does it mean anything?”

It means you were doing the hokey pokey.

Talk about semantics – how does one even begin to answer this question? My response was thus:

“You mean he leaned over, told you a joke and walked off?”

Welcome to the world of rom-com camera angles, where those ‘look to the floor then look upwards smiling’ coquettish glances are examined in such excruciating detail and helplessly tacked on to every social situation in an effort to make something mundane look excessively romantic.

I can’t glean an age from this question, but my best guess is they’re a helpless pre-teen, waiting hopelessly in vain for the boy they like to walk into the room with their backpack slung over one shoulder, effortlessly flick their perfectly manicured fringe, and glare in their direction in slow motion.

It’s not going to happen.

Relationship Smile

“If a guy looks down and smiles to himself when he sees me, could he possibly like me?”

Another wonderfully lit and shamelessly flaunted camera angle, this time set to a hideously blood curdling Hillary Duff soundtrack. He could like you, absolutely, of course it could also just be your stupid haircut he’s laughing at, or maybe it’s the fact you’re adorned with Twilight memorabilia and spend most of your time fantasising about vampires swashbuckling you away to various romantic locations instead of spending most of your time assessing life in reality.

Most of the time I want to answer “There’s no handbook to men – there’s no user guide that I can reference using a clever index system to help you. We’re not robots or tricky VCR systems; our moves can’t be catalogued and plotted on a flow chart to adequately predict future actions”.

Of course it would be a pretty useless app if I did that – logically however that answer seems to fit most questions:

Relationship help

“What does it mean when you have talked to a guy a few times but then one time completely ignores you? But mite [sic] look at you a few times”

It means he didn’t like you when he met you the first time.

Relationship help

“What does it mean when a guy smiles at you, then looks down while still smiling, and then looks up at you again, with his head still down but eyes on you and still smiling?”

It means I need a minute to mime this one out, hang on a second. So, he’s sitting down, or are you sitting down? Wait. What?

Relationship help

“What does it mean if a guys eyes flick back and forth between yours from one to the other? So from left to right and back again and he does it several times?”

Have you ever seen The Walking Dead? You know in season 2 there’s that guy that Shane shoots and leaves for dead so he can escape? The guy with the crazy eyes that played that kiddy fiddler on the X-Files that ended up being the dude that killed Mulder’s sister, even though they spent like 6 seasons beforehand setting up she was taken by aliens? Yeah. Well, that.

This is why Hollywood and romantic comedy needs to die slowly with sharp things protruding from their heads – it’s created a set of predictable falsities that we now associate with romantic situations. The questions are fielded from an audience that is 95% women – women that seemingly have been deluded by the promise of romanticism. Those of us that are either in or have experienced in-depth relationships before know full well the Hollywood version doesn’t exist – as Jerry Maguire stood on the doorstep, I scarcely remember Renee Zellweger emphatically belching “What do you want fuckhead?” as her eyes darted between the door and the episode of My Kitchen Rules that the doorbell had so rudely interrupted.

No Jerry, you didn’t have her at ‘hello’, you had her during the ad break.

Somehow everything has a meaning – somehow even stigmatism with a poor unfortunate sufferer’s eyes is a precursor to a romantic interlude, as though stuffed on a shelf somewhere is a body language handbook that’s to be used in the same manner as that unofficial gay ‘Handkerchief Fetish’ manual, the one that told us that hankies placed in certain pockets denoted whether you were a top or a bottom.

Seemingly what drives them to ask questions is the unknown; a bevy of young love enthusiasts that had been promised the world by Zac Effron, trying to make heads or tails of their current situation – a situation that clearly doesn’t involve a date to the prom (what does prom mean anyway?), a love triangle between the class cool guy & the cute but heartbroken nerd, and a pair of travelling pants.

They are given false hopes – a generation of young minds that inevitably never stood a chance because the romanticism of Hollywood took them to new heights that reality could never even dream of coming close to rival. It’s like Karl Pilkington’s story of the chimp that went into space, and inevitably committed suicide because it could never regain its former glory.

Picture a sea of a thousand chimps, heartbrokenly typing into an iPhone app, waiting for me to patiently plug the hole in their twisted reality with rhetoric stolen straight from the pages of an episode of Friends.

Fighting fire with fire.

The Bleeding Obvious

But where along the line did we lose the batteries to our “Um, Duh” detectors? Even when we truly love someone, the ability to spot bullshit isn’t lost on us – scrolling through the pages of said relationship apps one can come to the conclusion that the people asking questions certainly never grew up on a farm; their inability to spot bullshit is painfully obvious as they traipse muck laden boots throughout the confines of their middle class homes with finely manicured carpets.

The following people not only never grew up on a farm, clearly they’ve never even heard of the concept a farm, a cow, or even the letters C, W or O.

Relationship sex escort

“My fiancée have sex with escort and he said he need my help how can I stop him”

A delicate issue; one of two things is happening here – either she’s in a relationship where the fiancée is excessively controlling, or (more likely) he’s milking her stupidity for everything it’s worth. Either way she’s being deluded into believing that the fiancée is in desperate need of help, like he wanders through local shopping centres with his cock out screaming at young women that pass by, “I can’t help it, I need to have sex with you immediately. Seriously, it’s for health reasons”.

Needless to say my response involved seeing forests for trees, rising from slumber and sniffing coffee, and setting a place at the dinner table for the imminent arrival of captain obvious.

It says a lot about the nature of love and how closely it ties together with gullibility – as though common sense is merely a backseat passenger in the college road trip of ‘relationships’. The sacrificial pawn we throw in front of a passing bishop, so our Queen can devastate to her maximum effectiveness.

Relationship jail

“My bf has been to jail three times, is it time to call it quits?”

Well I’m sure he went to jail for NICE things, like helping old ladies cross roads, rescuing kittens from immensely tall trees, and paying wait staff at cafes excessive tips. Wait, no.

Relationship help

“My girlfriend dumped me what should I do”

Learn to use punctuation? Dude, go forth and spread your seed. Throw yourself head first into a table filled with inexpensive beers, cheap wiz and side boob. What can a stranger on the other end of an iPhone application tell you that your friends can’t? Buck up, pull your pants higher, slick back your hair, and launch yourself into so much rebound pussy that both the words “rebound” and “Pussy” lose all meaning.

Relationship help

“If a man emails you does it mean he still thinks about you”

Technically yes – well, I mean at some point while writing the email he was thinking about you. I scarcely think he opened up his email account and typed in a random mish mash of letters into the recipient window, and by pure lottery evoking happenstance the haphazard grouping of numbers, letters and @ symbol magically happened to match your email address.

What did the email say? Surely the content of said email is an indication of how much your lost lover is thinking about you? Why didn’t you fucking tell me what he said, because unless at some point my name has miraculously changed to ‘The Great Mysterio – Psychic Extraordinaire’ I have little to no chance of being able to decipher his level of involvement in your wayward love life.

For instance if the email content read, “Don’t talk to me again you ugly bitch”, then perhaps we can both save ourselves the time of continuing our iPhone application based discourse and move on to more important things like gaining weight eating pizza while playing endless Death Matches on Battlefield 3.

I must admit, it’s taken me longer to come to grips with the relationship side of the Agony Aunt series I’m writing – for religion it was easy to identify the repression; deep seeded anger and self loathing at the inability to express our feelings the way the rest of society are able to.

Relationships on the other hand are multi-faceted – however I think I’ve finally been able to reach a conclusion.

Daddy’s gone, and he’s not coming back

In a terrific eureka moment while standing in my kitchen, nonchalantly filling a side plate with olives and feta, it suddenly struck me like Sarah Jessica Parker’s inability to act – what we are truly seeing contained in the blog above us are two distinct phases in the breakdown of relationships.

The first is the disillusionment of fantasy; the sad and weighty moment when Zac Effron doesn’t emerge through the door holding a bunch of flowers, and a bevy of cheering onlookers and jealous cheerleaders refuse to emerge from the side entrances of the school cafeteria.

With fantasy dead, the poor hapless souls are left confused and bewildered, reaching out to faceless and supportive comforting words leaping out at them from the screen of a second rate relationship iPhone application.

Their friends could never truly understand, “I mean, they all have boyfriends and long term relationships with ups and downs that hardly mirror the perfect and amazingly romantic world that me and my soon to be boyfriend solely inhabit”.

But their friends truly do understand, because they’ve come to grips with the second phase observed in the blog – the acceptance of reality.

With the disillusionment of fantasy still in full swing, the hopelessly lost souls lose grip on reality, forcing acceptance further and further away into the incandescently lit distance. Their refusal to accept leaves them oblivious to how things truly are, and they ignore the bleeding obvious.

They refuse to believe that their fairytale wedding isn’t going to happen, so they delude themselves into thinking that their fiancée ‘needs help’ to stop having sex with prostitutes.

They have been told so many lies that they put their life on hold for their boyfriend a fourth time while he is incarcerated, because they refuse to accept that they can move on without him.

They are so comfortable with the idea of a girlfriend, something they probably strived so hard to attain, that once that figure leaves them they still don’t feel free.

They get so caught up in the notion of love that the fact he emailed at all is more important than the content of the message.

And there lies the conclusion – that Hollywood has created a monster that some people interpret as gospel, because the fantasy of perfection takes us away from the acceptance reality, and when it all goes to pot they’re bewildered and can’t find a suitable shoulder to cry on.

Because let’s face it, speaking to a complete stranger on the other end of a cheap and excessively tatty iPhone application is far less embarrassing than telling our closest and dearest friends that we are hopeless romantics.

With hooker addicted boyfriends.

Prometheus – Views from extreme nerdism: A complete analysis

Prometheus explained definitive

I’ve spent the last few months awash in a sea of inanely written and useless “Prometheus Explained” articles, that inevitably do about as much to explain the movie Prometheus as  Burt Reynolds DVD commentary does explaining any of the movies it has the unfortunate circumstance of being attached to.

I’m an Aliens fanboy – it was probably the first Science Fiction movie I remember being insanely passionate about; it’s hardly surprising when 20th Century Fox have assigned the most notable movie directors of the last century for continuing its franchise: Ridley Scott (Alien), James Cameron (Aliens), David Fincher (Alien 3), and even at-the-time “it” boy Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Alien Resurrection).

I had it all: the comic books (developed before Alien 3, exploring an alternative timeline in which Hicks and Newt make it back to Earth), the Wall posters, the VHS and Special Edition VHS; even the Aliens Board Game – quite possibly one of the best board games I’ve played; a synthesis of ‘Space Hulk’ (for Warhammer fans) and Risk.

Lest we forget it was James Cameron who, with Aliens, pioneered the idea of releasing ‘Special Edition’ re-mastered movies. The additional 17 minute sequence involving the captain from Red Dwarf, and the discovery of the Alien ship by Newt’s family was pivotal in setting the scene for the destruction of Hadley’s Hope. With that scene re-inserted into the movie, we stop thinking of the settlement as just being a refinery filled with workers, we suddenly understand that all the people killed on the station were families – it recreates the entire mise en scene.

Shit, I even named a song on the DeathStarrs EP “Hadleys Hope” in honour of my love for the movies.

When watching Prometheus therefore we find it hard to link the events of the movie with everything that we’ve seen before. Made all the more confusing by setting a movie in the same universe, with the same canons as the Alien franchise, and then telling the audience that it’s “Not a prequel”.

It is. And here is why:

The name, Prometheus

Weyland (as in, Weyland-Yutani Corp, “the company” that employed Ripley, built the Nostromo, and built Hadley’s Hope) explains it himself within the first 20 minutes of the movie.

Everything you need to know is right there, everything else is just icing on the cake.

We have to look back in history to understand who or what Prometheus was – Prometheus, as a historical reference point plays a huge part in understanding the movie. You see, for the ancient Greeks there was a distinct lack of what we could call ‘spirituality’. They believed in the notions of a spiritual afterlife, however the ‘Gods’ were more than just their creators, they were physical beings that regularly made their presence known in the physical world – even physically walking among us.

To the ancient Greeks, you could actually SEE and HEAR the Gods; in some cases, even be impregnated by them.

The gods WE know are of course the Olympians, the reigning monarchs of humanity that only became so after a long and costly war against their long time rivals, the Titans.

Prometheus was a Titan, and according to Weyland actively sought to bring humanity and the gods together on the same plane – Prometheus treated mortals as though they were equals, something that angered the Olympians immensely.

In honour of this, Weyland named the first ship to make contact with our creators (the Engineers) “Prometheus” – we had reached a developmental level in our history where we could finally meet the beings that gave us life, on an equal footing. We had ascended beyond the idea of ‘the created’ – we were now equals.

The divine will of Prometheus finally come to pass.

The Importance of David

Prometheus explained david

David, the android created by Weyland, plays the next most integral part of the story – from the beginning we understand he was tasked with supporting the crew of the Prometheus as they propelled themselves through deep space to reach their destination. We’re given a glimpse into the day to days of David’s tasks through a small, but incredibly significant montage at the beginning of the movie.

David was learning; not only was he absorbing ancient languages, but along the way he picked up certain eccentricities that can only be attributed to human behavior – he displayed vanity and mimicry, styling his hair after his favourite actor in his favourite movie, all while reciting lines trying to mimic human behavior and coolness.

David was more than an Android; he was evolving – more importantly, he had evolved far beyond what he was merely created for; just like humanity elevating themselves to a Prometheus evoking level of enlightenment.

Through an obvious sibling rivalry with his ‘sister’ Meredith (Charlize Theron), we also see that David is capable of contempt – he hated Meredith; Meredith represented the obstacle that stood in the way of David loving his creator like a true son.

Not only did David mimic humans, in many ways he believed himself to be truly sentient. Note his adverse reaction and hurt feelings when Weyland, while giving his initial holographic presentation, remarked that David didn’t have a soul.

Humanity had taken themselves across the universe to prove to their creators that they were a worthy species, and David too had evolved far beyond the confines of his initial construction. The Engineers were humanity’s Gods, and Humanity was David’s God.

We did it because we could

prometheus explained engineers

I’m always asked, “So how come the Aliens wanted to destroy Earth?”

Well, the truth is it doesn’t actually matter – it’s a moot point; in a drunken exchange between David and Charlie we come to grips with the true reality of being a creator and the created:

“Why do you think your people made me?”

“We made you cause we could?”

An important moment in the movie was nailed right there in this brief but important intercourse. Humanity, broken hearted at the reality behind their creators were unable to see that David felt the same about the beings that created him.

Just like we ordered David and every other synthetic life form around to do our bidding, we failed to see that the Engineers could pro-actively do the same to us.

Why did they create us? Because they could. Why did they want to destroy us? Because they could.

Humanity, was their David.

They didn’t need to explain their actions to us the same way we don’t need to explain to a cockroach why we don’t want it cohabitating with us. This explains the outrage of the Engineer in the final stages of the movie – Humanity had visited a place we were never meant to visit, seen things we were never meant to see, and when it realised David was a synthetic, sought to destroy the creations that believed themselves to be on par with their creator.

The Engineers had become Olympians, humanity were now the Titans.

Hence, as David stared across the pool table at the broken and drunken shambles of humanity, the ultimate awe inspiring beings that had created him, he realised it was his ‘Prometheus’ moment – why did David murder Charlie?

Because he could.

So how does this tie in as an Alien prequel?

The movie tells us lots of interesting things – in fact, I would go so far as to say it explains the entire Aliens franchise completely.

We know from the very beginning of the movie that the events of Prometheus take place on a different planet to those of Alien and Aliens. The planet designation ‘LV’ remains in Prometheus, leading us to believe that it is in fact taking place in the same ‘universe’, just it’s a different planet entirely.

The events of Prometheus take place on planet LV-223, while the primordial world of LV-426 is the staging area for the beginning of the Alien series of events.

However, the spacesuits of the Engineers and their ship design definitively tell us that the Engineers are in fact the same species that act as the protagonists for the creation of the xenomorphs. Here is why:

We now know that the Engineer base on LV-223 was designed specifically for the purpose of evolutionary experimentation – we are even offered a glimpse of ‘Bomb’ like structures that indicate the creation of weaponry as well.

The result of this experimentation had exceeded their expectations, and inevitably, like humanity, turned on their masters. David, wonderfully impersonating the characters of the movies he came to admire, eloquently remarks that it all “Went to pot”.

The creatures loose in the facility started off as small slugs, an evolutionary bi-product of the mysterious black goo, a complex and refined substance that we are shown (at the start of the movie) has the ability to create life. Over the course of the expedition’s time in the engineer facility, the slugs evolved into snake like creatures that inevitably attacked those in their presence.

prometheus explained alien

With concentrated acid for blood, the ties that bind both the xenomorph protagonists of the Alien movies and the strange creatures in Prometheus are suddenly apparent. With the added Xenomorph mural on the wall of the engineers chamber, we now know that the birth of the ‘Alien’ species was right here – in an engineer laboratory that was designed to experiment the very limits of evolutionary understanding.

The ‘Aliens’ were weapons, designed by the engineers for whatever purposes they wished; a weapon that inevitably was accidentally let loose on LV-426, creating the alternate ‘Aliens’ movie timelines.

A brilliant piece of writing – it sets itself up that Prometheus is the main narrative upon which the ‘Alien’ movies were merely a side story.

And WHAT a side story.

It also makes us re-think the very nature of the ship that crashed on LV-426; until Prometheus we understood that the giant elephant headed aliens had fallen victim to a xenomorph outbreak the same way the crew of the Nostromo did.

But an odd thing had always struck me, even as a child when I watched Ridley Scott’s Alien with my brothers – Kane (John Hurt), the Nostromo crew member originally infected with the alien parasite, remarked that there was a field over the top of the strange egg like structures found in the bowels of the alien ship.

A huge sea of eggs, like a field of pineapples, lay strewn out in all directions, all of them protected with a strange blue mist that seemingly was there to keep the occupants of the containers in place.

If the Alien ship crashed due to an outbreak, why was there a protective field across a vast sea of Alien eggs?

While watching Prometheus it suddenly struck me – the Engineer ship from the movie Alien had indeed crashed there after an outbreak, but just like the ill fated scientists manning the Engineer facility on LV-223, they had fallen victim to the machinations of their own creation.

It tells us that the events of Prometheus were pre-destined; albeit occurring prior to the events of the original Alien movie, this is probably what Ridley Scott had intended all along. Concealed within a smaller narrative was the true story behind Prometheus, one that had probably existed as early as 1979 during the creation of the original film.

A narrative that never came to light because, well, all the Engineers of LV-426 were long dead before the Nostromo arrived. What we were treated to was an alternate tale in a greater and more expansive universe than we anticipated.

Star Wars was the fourth episode in a story that was much greater than we anticipated – it went beyond a boy learning to become a Jedi Knight, it was a story about a rebellion that came to prominence after an evil dictator dissolved a galactic council – it was a civil war the tore apart the fabric of a huge and far reaching republic.

Prometheus explained alien kane

When Kane was brought back aboard the Nostromo with an alien parasite on his face, he was merely kick starting a side story that belonged to a greater and more expansive narrative – one that was about humanity coming to grips with its own position in the universe, and how far it had come to rival the gods that had created them.

Kane was the product of Prometheus’ will, brought low by his evolutionary relative – and as the xenomorph rolled itself out of the engineer’s body in the final scene of the movie, it was the sign that both engineer and alien were indeed one, and that we belonged somewhere on that evolutionary spectrum.

The Olympians were finally defeated, and the Titans had won.

Confessions of an Agony Aunt – Humanity, Religion, and Shepherd’s Pie

Syntax The Musical PBS Cypher

I’m somewhat blessed with a multitude of jobs – Marketing Manager, app developer, graphic artist, copy writer, website designer; but none are more eye opening or indeed as fun as my daily adventures in other people’s private lives.

You see, I’m an agony aunt.

Albeit far removed from the gin soaked graying lesbian man eaters of community radio, or their polar opposite, the overt blonde 40 somethings, whose lives revolve around discussing erectile dysfunction and justifying copious amounts of liberal sex with anyone or anything that has two legs or a strap on.

I’m the man up front and centre for a series of ‘help’ related iPhone applications, ranging from relationship issues, through to the mind numbing mundane-ness of sport and trivia.

I already know what you’re thinking; yo dawg, sport? What do you know about sport? You’re about as sporty as an Albanian washing machine, and about as knowledgeable on the subject. Well, when it comes to sport there isn’t really much to know – I normally just rattle off a list of muscles that I invented (Bleets, Trutes, Biffords) and mention something about monosodiumhypertention – the lack of electrolytes in the underlying muscles of your running and lifting mass index areas.

The more attuned of you will realise that last bit was nonsense.

A steaming pile of number two in a broken toilet; a pork pie 400 miles high, filled to the brim with whoppers. Absolute bollocks so large that a small army of Chinese child workers will have grown up, raised a family, suppressed capitalism, and died long before they get a chance to sew together a pair of pants large enough to house them.

I was fibbing.

That goes to show the value of my counsel. It also shows the value of those receiving the advice; most of my rambling is met with positivity and admiration. Like we’re so eager to pass on the burden of bettering our own lives, we blindly leap into the suggestions of people that have absolutely no pre-conception of who we are.

However it’s not the sport, the trivia, the science, or even the relationship issues that disturb me the most. One such app I oversee is responsible for fielding questions from the religious community; I play the part of a Preacher, with my character firmly supplanted deep in the roots of the American Baptist Church ideology.

“But, you’re an atheist aren’t you?”

I am. I’ve made the definitive leap across the agnostic divide. But deep down I understand the folly of religion; ordinary people experiencing ordinary problems, interpreting them in a completely unique, and sometimes misguided way.

This is how you deal with questions regarding religion – the same way you deal with any question from a rational and desperate human being.

But before this careens off course into a long lost Shakespearian monologue, let’s dive into the meat of the article:

In the Confessional

I’ve come to understand a lot about religion while working as an agony aunt – not so much about the blindness of faith, but more so about redemption and concept of the soul.

Example: “The Bible says if you don’t believe in him you won’t go to heaven. What if as a kid I didn’t believe in him?”

God Kingdom of heaven children

I’m confronted by these confessions daily; individuals anxious and concerned about the mortality of their souls. My conclusion is that the concept of heaven has had a negative impact on those who were taught to fundamentally believe in the concept. Amid the lessons and selflessness evidenced by Jesus, are stapled on the selfish idealism of saving our souls. We witness it each day – confession itself was designed to absolve people of their sins, surely a pursuit that only has the motive of selfishly saving the soul of the wrong-doer?

Heaven has become something to attain, like a promotion at the workplace, with better pay, a better view, and the overwhelming knowledge that your mortal soul has been cleansed of sin for the express purpose of ‘keeping up with the Jeffersons’.

“Can a person be saved and still have no desire to read his bible?”

Saving soul bible

What has happened to acts of kindness? Where is this metaphysical rule book with attached yard stick for measuring the amount of times they read their bible, or the amount of Hail Mary’s they’ve recited as a child?

More importantly who are the people interpreting the words this way, and then preaching falseness to a bemused and bewildered flock?

Why has the focus become things that ‘I’ can do to be saved? Like a Titanic passenger in the freezing water shouting to passing row boats “Save ME, save ME, I’ll give you anything you want”.

“Is there a sin God cannot forgive?”

Forgiving sins

You mean apart from selfishness? Apart from the obvious fact that your belief system has become based not on how to better society, but on how to make sure you’re on the right side of the fence when the rapture comes, so you can wave to sinners saying “See you later losers” as you ascend into heaven?

To be honest it’s wrong for me to paint all Christians this way. To be honest, my family is deeply rooted in the Catholic Church – I don’t ever deny their faith or cast the same aspersions upon them. I can only present you with evidence from my place of work and hopefully reach a conclusion on the reality of Christian Baptists and how they seek help.

And why.

These people aren’t reaching out because they’re evil, or even really because they’re selfish, it’s because their religion and the ideologies of the people that taught them values are askew. It’s the only life they have ever known – a life that constantly makes them fearful, not just of displeasing God, but also for fear of displeasing the only Earthly people that love them – their family.

Naivety

My conclusion is that self preservation of the soul is driven by naivety and a misunderstanding of the world that they are connected to, but don’t interact with. It’s an amazing thing to consider; a sub-culture of deeply religious individuals entrenched in the same neighbourhoods and city districts as the rest of society.

Example: “Despite the bible says don’t be engaged with non-christian people, I’m in love with this person. I’m missing the church and I’m not happy about it. What should I do?”

non-christians

A genuine cry for help – an individual forced to choose between the person they deeply love and the notion that their church will turn their back on them for expressing that love. Several examples of this reveal themselves throughout the lifetime of the app.

In this instance the individual was convinced the Bible preaches segregation, making special reference to the notion of ‘Christians’ – an amusing thought, considering the Bible was written before the advent of modern Christianity. But the pain is real.

What we have here isn’t a cry for religious guidance, it’s a heartfelt outpouring of emotion over flying in the face of family to love whoever our heart desires; a cry that is heavily veiled in the cloak of religious doctrine and ideology. Every day people are forced to choose between existing peacefully and happily, and saving their souls from damnation:

“Is it wrong for a female to marry a female no matter how deeply in love they are?”

gay female marriage

On the surface we could easily mistake this question as a folly; the random rambling from a curious mind. But the phrasing “Is it wrong…” makes me instantly think of a cry for help. A young woman that has already committed what she thinks is a crime, and is trying to justify her actions by seeking counseling from the man that can tell her right from wrong, in a religious counseling app that bypasses her need to discuss the topic with her pastor, or even worse, her parents. My answer was thus:

“The Bible is a quagmire of opposing ideologies on the issue – we’re taught homosexuality is wrong, but we’re also told to respect God’s creations. Respect love. Love is a beautiful thing and is God’s creation; they may not be able to marry in a church, but their existence is sanctioned by God”

No, I’m not a Christian, but all I can do is answer these questions with respect to both their religion, and also respecting how society truly thinks. The intention here was to take the argument out of the ‘Gay’ arena, and put it up there with the framework of “That’s how God made us”.

My only hope in all of this is that I’ve helped this person accept that how God made them is who they truly are, and the love she feels for another woman was given to her by who she sees as her creator.

My job isn’t to tell them the truth, it’s to tell them what they want to hear – to stop them from teetering over the tipping point and deliver them to a place that they feel their religion could never deliver them to – being allowed to be what God made them to be.

They turn to counseling for help, for a warm hug that reassures them that they’re not broken, that they’re not freaks that are destined to be outcast by the friends and family that up until now have sworn to care for them and protect them.

“Is gay marriage wrong?”
“ Catholics believe during communion that the wafer and wine is actually the body and blood of Jesus, is that possible?”
“As an umarriage [sic] couple can u hug, cuddle, n even kiss as long as it’s nothing inappropriate?”
“Will marrying a non believer effect my relationship with God and my future kids relationships with God? Will he go to heaven with me?”

Questions from curious minds, all of them completely oblivious to the world changing around them, oblivious to the doctrines of other religions beside their own, and scared of loving someone outside their religion for fear of falling from god’s grace.

I can never judge these people; in many ways I feel pity – the countless souls flittering through the app all seem to share a similar story. That is, a group of individuals trying to justify the values they have grown up with, all while living life in ordinary society.

These aren’t idiots these are real human beings, all of them attempting to answer questions that we see as mundane by objectifying the only reference they’ve ever known; God.

And every now and then you get a message that tears away at your heart – something that brings the stereotype of crazy Christian fundamentalism down to everyone’s level.

Humanity

“I heard on TV that a baby that died before being baptized would not go to heaven, but to limbo or purgatory. Is this true? My baby girl died of SIDS 1 week before her baptism. Where is she?”

baby baptism

And here we come to crux of the article, the meaty globule at the centre of this slow baked shepherd’s pie. Under the slow burning outer crust of religious doctrine and mashed potato is the bubbling meat of humanity – the effervescent alarm that booms loudly in all pre-conceived notion you’ve ever had of religious zealously.

Quivering in the centre of the pie is humanity – a family that throughout the most interminable hardship anyone can imagine have kept to their faith. They never dared question God’s rule, God’s law, or even God’s existence. It is the summation of everything I’ve spoken about here: Naivety, yard sticks, and the concern for the soul.

This question is merely the justification that an atheist is the best person to take the reins; a delicate situation that requires going outside religious ideology. In this instance we aren’t simply speaking to a Christian, we are speaking directly to a mother.

Ironically I prayed my response held weight:

“I am so sorry to hear that, you have my heartfelt sympathy. This is delicate. There are no rules to God’s love – your baby was innocent, she was loved while she was still with us and is still loved. The concept of purgatory is unsupported; heaven and Earth are truly one and the same. God is everywhere and is everything. So in death your child is with him. Take heart.”

I was angry, I wanted to find whoever made this ridiculous television program and shake them violently. The selfishness of church control had stepped beyond governing the lives of souls old enough to make their own decisions and was busy supplanting fear into the hearts of parents with children that couldn’t even feed themselves.

I wanted to line up the Westboro Baptist churches of the world and shout at them – I wanted them to stop their purile vulgar attempts at righteousness, and as an atheist I wished more than anything in the world that God truly existed if only for him to see just how far the interpretations of his word had sunk into the depths of depravity.

And in this moment it somewhat made sense – I started planning this blog many moons ago, with the intention of showing just how cooky and bizarre religious zealousy can be. But along the way I learned a valuable lesson in humanity.

Before I was filling a role that a more qualified counselor wasn’t available to do, and by the end I realised qualifications aren’t even needed. When we genuflect, touch our palms and look to god for guidance we know the answer will never come, and our prayers are simply a reflection on our own humanity – a way to find a sane voice in a world that religious ideology is finding it harder and harder to keep up with.

We pray not because we think God is listening, but because we hope someone more earthly is.

DeathStarrs – Immortal (Co-Produced by Suffa from the Hilltop Hoods) now available on iTunes, Bandcamp & Spotify

Hilltop Hoods Death Starrs Immortal Aussie Hip Hop

Buy on iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/immortal-single/id570201752

Bandcamp – http://deathstarrs.bandcamp.com/

Or stream it from Soundcloud

[Video] Goonbag Radio – M16 Freestyles #6 ‘Syntax’

So after a few months of setbacks, I finally got a chance to drop my M16

Props to Bwiv on the video tip, Nevs for being a top bloke, and also Bad, Meet Evil for the headwear…

The last two tracks are a little out of sync, but you get the idea

Obesecity 2: DeathStarrs ‘Eulogy’ – Inspired by those that live on in song

I’m in two minds about this blog; on one hand I want to show the emotion and methodology that went into underpinning the entire song, but on another hand by creating this article and promoting it, it goes against everything that I’m about to say.

In many ways it was Hunter’s passing that was the genesis of Eulogy. I would never claim to be more to the man and taint his memory by suggesting our relationship was anything more than artist and fan. We exchanged pleasantries, and even had a debate or two on Twitter about the commercialisation of the local hip hop scene that he had a firm hand in carving.

To me, Hunter was someone to be admired, and when he passed away I suddenly came to a realisation that would come to shape the nature of the person I passively thought myself to be.

Hence, you understand now my dilemma; I would never claim to be more to the man than we actually were, yet, the aftermath of him passing away changed my outlook to the point that I needed to tell the world – I needed to go back and re-examine the nature of the music I was working on, make it better, give it character and meaning, and breathe a greater depth of life into it that exceeded anything that I’ve previously been able to muster together.

This song isn’t about Hunter, it’s about the legacy he left behind. It’s about Syntax, it’s about Mules, it’s about every artist and their struggle to achieve something that the hole left by the death of such a prolific identity created.

It’s immortality, it’s the stone carved solitary notion that even after our body is gone, the soft warm glow of crackle on vinyl, and the aft peeling flecks of paint of murals on walls serves as the reminder that we even existed at all.

Most of us will get a headstone and an ill conceived jumble of rhetoric in the local paper as the undisputed proof that we even walked the Earth – however, if we try hard enough, befriend an army of our peers, and leave behind a trail of music that extends beyond our milk crates and spills over into the hearts and minds of people who need it the most, than we may actually achieve the very thing that Achilles sought by charging headfirst into a cohort of slathering Trojans.

Hunter is what I aspire to be – he was, nay, is more than tangible.

We hardly spoke, we probably differed in musical taste and we certainly never got a chance to share the same stages or even the same venue, but it goes beyond that. Hunter changed my life, not because the earth shook every time I pulled out dusty and scratched copies of his albums, but more so because I trembled at the insignificance of my efforts.

And so this is his tribute – I could never tarnish his memory and hurt his family by suggesting our relationship was stronger than it perceived to be. And so I show my respect and admiration in the only way I know how, but telling the world how much he changed me. By putting down in music the mantra that all artists pray to be reality as we are wheeled from cold unforgiving death into the warmth of churches and funeral parlours.

The song that reminds us that hospitals, Hospice’s and even death can’t contain us, and as we cross the river Styx , the ferryman watches in awe as the ripples on the water turn to waves and crash across the wake of our passing.

“Father Father, Shaman priest/
Tell the Reaper the memories are mine to keep/
Tell the people that cry the least/ The milestones/
And the peaks that I climbed to reach/
Tell the people mid song/ that my body is gone/
But the music will live on/
Tell the people amassed/
That I’m more than a name that’s written on a toe tag/”