Sunday, December 16. 2007
Hazy, nothing’s clear today.
Everything’s coming in without a filter on.
Aperture is stuck on the widest setting.
How many mistakes do you have to make,
Before you learn to see them coming?
Since Jess cut my hair on Thursday, I’ve been really happy with the way it looks. It wasn’t a major change, the only major work was getting rid of the mullet (hey, it grows faster at the back, man, Jesus had long hair) and a tidy up. By her own confession, Jess is more of a colourist than a cutter, but she was cool with doing it. And I’ve never had such indie rock looking second day hair, I look like I did nothing the day before except stand in front of a mirror and get it looking just right. And that’s not just the hangover talking, either.
Last night was a friend of a friend’ housewarming party. I found the place, arriving on my own, and walked in to see a guy on the couch with a giant mohawk. Right then I knew it would not be awkward at all, it was my kind of party. Everyone was cool, and drunk enough that when I got there all the social tension had melted away. Getting there was a bitch, an a great advertisement for why Melbourne’s public transport is a steaming great pile. It was in Coburg, and a look at the map told me it was a way down Bell Street – no more than twenty minutes by car, if the traffic is against you. But there’s barely anything running from my end to there, especially past eight on a Saturday. I could have spent more than an hour on the train to get there, going all the way into the city and back out again – but really, who can be bothered? I just took a taxi, underlining the fucked-ness of it all. I’m never living the suburban life again, man.
I had this blue pill lying around for a few weeks, and because the colour of the thing weirded me out, I was pretty remiss to try it, especially since there’s been a lot of talk recently about the kind of stuff that goes into some of the batches. But no-one showed up dead on the news after that weekend, so I figured I would be OK, but still I wanted to at least show it to someone who knew about these things. The housewarming was for Cat, who I’d known of for a while, but hadn’t managed to squeeze my way into a meeting with yet. I knew of her from before the party and our mutual friend had expressed concern at her appetite for the less-than-legal stuff, so I guessed she might have the 4-11 on it. She’d seen them before and were fine, they just had a lot of blue dye in them. Won’t kill you, they’ll just make your teeth blue.
Sunday has been hazy, then, for good reasons. It’s been well over twelve months since I did anything like that. Does that make it any better? No, nor does it make it any worse. If I felt ashamed at all about doing it, I sure as hell wouldn’t write about it here. My straight edge days are behind me, or possibly just on extended hiatus. They will be back someday, and you can bet your house I’ll claim I was like that all the while – you just watch me, I do love the moral high ground. As fun as being a guru is, preaching down is better than preaching from the gutter.
I don’t know how I must look, or at least I can’t judge too well, or maybe the two gay boys were hitting on anything and everything, and I just got caught up in their path. Either way, I was so flattered by their advances I damn near said yes to joining them in the upstairs toilet. Would I tell you all about that kind of story if it ever happened? I like to think I would, but all that – that’s for another day.
I’ve been thinking about Kosovo a lot lately, what with it being in the news and all. Here’s a half-chewed posting I got caught up in writing, before it turned into a corpulent obese train wreck and I couldn’t be bothered fixing it. I like to think it’s insightful.
Kosovars and Russians, and how they learned to stop worrying and love the bomb all over again
A small corner of a small corner of Europe, a piece of land that’s really little more than that, echoes of the Great War, and divisions that could crack the plaster, crack the foundations, bring down the carefully laid plans. Monday saw the passing of a deadline for reaching an agreement on the future of Kosovo, and the events that start now could potentially be the rocks at the top of a mountain that cause a landslide.
The last piece of the former Yugoslavia to break away and begin its own story, Kosovo has long been a province of Serbia, and in the glory days of Tito the ethnic divide wasn’t a matter worth fighting over. But as the world saw, the latter days of Milosevic and rampant Serb nationalism made it all too clear that men like Tito are rare, few and far between, and tensions between neighbours are all too tenuous in old Europe. Milosevic started it, and the Croats were not entirely blameless for their part in the events which led to the war in the nineties, while it’s easy to see the Bosnian Muslims as caught in the crossfire and the Montenegrins as entirely complicit in their support for Serbia – the mess is incredible, and it can’t be said long enough that Tito must have been an incredible person to hold all the cards in the right order. For the longest stretch of the dividing of Yugoslavia, the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo looked almost as good as their cousins in Slovenia, waiting for their moment and taking control of their fate when the time came. I wonder what old Slobodan thought of the Slovenians leaving so apparently easily, and taking most of the industrial workings with them, but apparently he was busy murdering people.
While the Montenegrins went their own way last year, the Kosovars had a historical burden on them. The Serbs, while a minority in Kosovo, remembered all too well the nation-forging event of losing to the Ottomans there, and being so nationalistic as they’ve become, took that as reason enough to scour any Albanian who thought it might be his home too. A land belongs to the people living on it, and both sides need to agree on conditions if they’re going to get along. Enough had happened that I now agree with the Kosovars, that a peaceful arrangement with Serbia is no longer possible. Give them their independence, make sure they do it right and don’t go killing any more Serbs, and be done with it. It’s an incredibly dense topic to sum up this way, but there’s only a black and white response here. Do it or don’t – more people will suffer if it doesn’t happen.
But rather than making it about Kosovars and Serbs, old alliances have come into play. Old friends, treaties, agreements in play on a map that’s changed so many times since they were written and forged, that it no longer makes any kind of sense. Why do the Russians even give a shit about what goes on there? They line up with the Serbs not out of any kind of sensible rationale, but because they always lined up together. They lined up together against the Austro-Hungarian empire when Franz Ferdinand was killed in Sarajevo, and again when Hitler’s tanks rolled across the borders (not a great success that time, but who’s counting) and again now, over what is really little more than a rental disagreement in the grand scheme of international diplomacy and politics. Only now the cold war has been won and lost, only now the old Soviet Bloc is mostly EU territory, only now Russia feels more and more like the bear backed into a corner with more and more hunters lining it up in their scopes – only now Russia has veto powers in the UN Security Council and insists on using it not for what’s plainly right, but to throw its weight around and score points for its more beleaguered friends. Serbia has had a bad run these last 20 years or so and it’s not looking like turning around now. Russia continues to curry favour with its old ally and probably deliberately turn a molehill not into a mountain, but a wedge to further drive into the handful of cracks it sees in its enemies.
The chain reaction this could all cause is incredible, looking just at the base matters – but who thought that a few bullets in a street in Sarajevo would ultimately cause two world wars, who might have known? I’m not going to get entirely hyperbolic on you here, but the greater issue is how much weight Russia is throwing around, and the direction they are heading into. True democracy is once again an illusion there, with powerful thugs running the show at any cost, it all looks very twenty years ago.
Done. And now the block of text it complete, so I shall leave it. I was going to add a few notes on what I remember about the place, but once again, I’m over it.