Wednesday, January 21, 2009

what do you want from life?

In 1979, we had a student teacher whose name I don't recall, who was obviously this amazing idealist who wanted to unlock the kidz from their rigidity conformist vibe. He was short and intense, with (now I'm painting a picture of his vibe rather than recalling what he really looked like, because I can't remember) big teeth and a squarish jaw and short, almost frizzy curly hair. He wore striped t-shirts and jackets and denim jeans rolled up a bit, in a way that probably makes sense if (I know what this is like) you are generally a little too short for your pants, though it was also something of a fashion.

For one lesson, an English lesson, he had a tape of a song by the Tubes called 'What do you want from life'. He had typed the lyrics out and roneod them and gave us each a copy, then played us the song on one of those tape recorders, you know, 1979 style tape recorders. I knew nothing about rock music at the time but I knew this was shit (listening to a bit of it now, I realise neither he nor I nor any of us knew a thing, it is much more i-ron-ic than it seemed in that Hawthorn classroom in 1979). I remember one suck student pretending to be interested in The Tubes as if ingratiating oneself to a student teacher had any validity.

A week or so later the student teacher lost it in class because he wanted us to write an essay on 'plastic conformity and barbed wire of the mind', and someone said they didn't want to because it was shit and he yelled, 'OK so it's shit right, you still have to do it'. Whoever our normal teacher was at the time confided in us (!!!) that he wasn't going to get a very good mark, primarily because of that. This was from a time when teachers tended not to say 'shit'. (Not the same thing, I know, but still to do with mention of taboo bodily function; I was amazed when I was included in a conversation with the librarian at high school who mentioned that the name of the organisation 'Mensa' reminded her of the word 'menses'.)

Anyway, I have to concede now, thirty years later, that 'what do you want from life' is not a ridiculous question. I suppose most of all I want sufficient material wealth to be able to pay someone to extract a grass seed from my dog's nose (the Tubes did not include this possibility) and in fact I would like this as often as necessary, though I might have to get her a facemask if this happens that often; or pay someone to take a branch down that has half-fallen on the house, as happened a few days ago (eventually we called the SES as it was dangerously playing the electric wires).


Ann oDyne said...

we don't find out HOW HEAVY a tree branch is, till we have to get one off the damn fence.

3 of us couldn't move ours so we sawed it into bits with handsaws.
it cost $100 for a guy to haul it all away too.

what we want from life is contentment with what we have been dealt.
MONEY isn't helping John Travolta this week.
FAME didn't help Heath Ledger.
TALENT hasn't helped Michael Jackson.
BRAINS hasn't helped Steven Hawking.

We need music and cars mate, and a shelter that's an efficient Machine For Living.

Ann oDyne said...

This guy quotes a Paul Kelly lyric to illustrate Planetary Thinking
Contradiction: East and West, by Colin McNaughton

Why do I mention this?

because I am watching Superman III on FTATV and when the floozy reading Emanuel Kant said
"but what about Synthetic Unity" I Guugled it and was led straight to a melbourne blog. hilarious.

that link has onward links to discussions
"Can we live well without money?"

which transport me back to 1969 hippie-dom


Greg Wadley said...

In the mid 70s a student teacher had us analyze some Bob Dylan lyrics. And I'm pretty sure it was Blowing in the Wind or Mr Tambourine Man. What was going on at teachers' college then? Our normal teacher gave us Porter's "Your attention please", which later turned up as lyrics to a good Scars song. A religious education teacher got us to draw a timeline of our lives, ending at our predicted date of death. I don't mind that Tubes song.