This article was originally published in Frankie Magazine #18

A reliable source (girl in pub) once told me that Astro Boy was originally set in 1995. Whether or not it’s true, it does reinstall the notion that we probably have a right to feel ripped off by the ‘future.’ Twelve years on from that fictional target, and I see no flying cars (Barina’s with wings never took off, didn’t they learn anything from skateboards?) and we’re no closer to living on mars, although I’d like to forward the conspiracy theory that the governments are trying to slowly turn Earth into Mars in a hope to better understand its atmosphere. The 80’s TV show ‘Beyond 2000’ planted the seeds of a hyper-advanced proto-world complete with robots performing an operation (the board game, sure, but they didn’t buzz once), a clothesline that activated a rooftop when it rained, and Virtual Reality everything. (Frogger 2000 man…you ARE the frog). I don’t remember the episode where coal is still our miracle mineral, the world’s population is set to double, and that NASA will call off all space shuttle expeditions due to the issue of foam peeling off the fuel tank. C’mon, are they a work for the dole participant now?

The World’s Fucked. Officially. Apparently. It’s the subliminal catch-cry of the Now generation. We all hear about it, we all kind of know it, but we try not to think about it. Sometimes, we talk about it – mainly at parties at 3am, just before the guitar comes out and everyone asks what the taxi number is. I’ve honed the conversation down to a micro-art – “Yeah, global warming, terrorism…hmmm.” Then I allow for three seconds of pensive face and side-eyes before swigging some home brew and rating the new Josh Pyke album. Does that make me superficially delusional, or pragmatically optimistic? I like to think I’m better than the self-absorbed trendy-tragics yuppying away on public transport – yet I can’t mine the passion to relate to members of Greenpower charities. Am I doing enough to save the earth? Am I the self-absorbed twat? I realise there’s a force in play much more crippling than Al-quaida, climate change or the I.R. reforms of a right wing government – guilt! Lower-middle class guilt. Ow! It burns. The goggles do nothing.

When September 11 happened I was out on my Uncle’s property in Michaelago, NSW, squeezing out my major writing project for Uni, a comedic play about the music industry. For the week previous I’d never been so intensely embroiled in my own art and ideas – one overcast morning I heard the dramatic static of voices on the radio, and spent the rest of the day glued to the worry membrane of the outside world. My play now seemed comical for the wrong reasons, how hilarious that I should sit writing quietly under the delusion that it had any significance at all, when on the other side of the planet terrorists were branding history with a flaming insignia of fear. I finished the play, but since then I barely read the paper or get embroiled in political discussions. My emotional intelligence finds it too bleak, and decides that it is better spent writing, gigging and loving my friends and family. If only that was enough for Centrelink.

The truth is, I do feel powerless to change anything significantly. If my ‘leader’ who I didn’t vote for can’t even sign the Kyoto agreement, then how much power can I gain from buying Safe toilet paper and The Big Issue? Plenty. Life is a daily perspective festival – my protest comes from a determination that I refuse to have my spirit watered down by the hangover of mankind’s thousand year drunken rampage. I refuse to adopt the defeatist attitude of pub dregs, dribbling through another pint going ‘what’s it fuckin’ matter, it’s all gonna end.’ I ride through the muck with a shield of quiet concern, a sword of wit and creativity on a very wonky horse of metaphors.

My main worry is Beck. He’s gone from ‘Two turntables and a microphone’ to ‘It’s getting darker. We dance alone this way.’ When Beck’s depressed, then something really is wrong.