It’s Time for the AFL to Fix its Women Problem

On Saturday June 29, 2013, two teams of women – one representing the Melbourne Demons, one representing the Western Bulldogs – took to the MCG to compete in what the AFL proudly proclaimed to be the first AFL sanctioned women’s game. During their on-field warm up, the stadium loudspeakers rattled off key statistics: over 136,000 women nationwide are registered players of Australian Rules football, including over 12,000 juniors in the Auskick program. 35% of AFL club members are female. What they did not mention was the number of females directly involved with AFL action in either a playing or officiating capacity: one, goal umpire Chelsea Roffey. A Google search of her name returns her Twitter account, and two Facebook groups dedicated to how “hot” she is.

The AFL has long been a bastion of horrendous gender imbalance. The June exhibition game was the centrepiece of the AFL’s “Women’s Round,” one of many self-aggrandising, back-patting, good-on-us examples of the AFL’s capacity to care for a week. (Others in the roster include Multicultural Round, Rivalry Round, Heritage Round, and the recent Lefty Round – a week dedicated to recognising the efforts of players who kick with their left foot, as opposed to their right). At best, this is lip service from the AFL; a way of recognising, but not including, enormous chunks of its supporting community.

Boys Vs Girls

Let’s look at the pathways in football for boys and girls. Gender intermingling happens on a surprising level in childhood development stages. Auskick does a remarkable job of making no distinction between gender and promoting inclusiveness and participation for children up to the age of 12. But from there, it separates.

For the boys, strong, dedicated junior leagues and talent identification can lead to potential elite players being identified, nurtured, and ushered towards the AFL draft, and an exceedingly lucrative career that, ultimately, has the potential to culminate in premiership glory on Grand Final day in front of 100,000 spectators at the MCG and a televised audience of millions worldwide.

For girls, the pathway ends in the established, but un-heralded, women’s state leagues. Untelevised. Unremunerated. Ranked, by definition, as amateur athletes. The pinnacle of which, as of this year, is an exhibition game played in the bowels of June. The fact that this is the only opportunity for women’s sport teams to play on the MCG is somewhat of a travesty. The fact that, in 2013, an all-female team of cooks competed on the MCG for an episode of MasterChef before teams of women were able to play football on the ground reduces it to farce.

What’s The AFL Doing About It?

The AFL, allegedly, has plans in place that will facilitate a nationally televised women’s league by 2020. But why wait that long? The Victorian Women’s Football League has been operating for nearly 30 years; why does it need another seven to integrate with professional bodies, and begin televising? The W-League — the national semi-professional women’s soccer competition — formed a mere five years ago. In 2013, one game per week is broadcast live by the ABC. Clubs carry the same colours, names, and insignia as their male counterparts, and administratively they both operate under the same banner. With participation numbers already in six figures, why then does the AFL — unquestionably the dominant professional sport in Australia — need seven more years to reach the same goal?

What’s to stop the AFL from working with Melbourne-based clubs at the end of this year, to establish a working six-to-eight team competition — all teams sharing colours, names, and brands with already established clubs — to begin operation for the 2015 season? What’s to stop them from running concurrent schedules leading up to September? What’s to stop them from holding the AFL-W Grand Final on the same day, at the same arena, as the men’s competition? What’s the point in denying players like Daisy Pearce the national recognition she richly deserves? Why is it taking so long?

The answer appears to be that the AFL isn’t in any great rush to adjust its current attitude towards rectifying its inherent gender imbalance. If it were, it would take greater strides sooner to fix a system that’s currently failing to discourage bad attitudes towards women.

Change Needs To Start At The Top

For the privilege of playing a game for a living, AFL players are afforded a number of luxuries. It’s an old-world, gentleman’s club kind of environment. The money, the athletic ability; these things grant the average player notoriety and enhanced social privilege. It gets you noticed. It gets you wanted. It gets you laid. (Particularly in football-mad Melbourne.) The Brownlow Medal count, the AFL’s annual best-and-fairest dinner, never fails to begin with a litany of bewildering nonsense as players parade down the red carpet with their partners (and are all quick to point out that it’s “their night”) before the women in attendance are universally posed a bafflingly objectifying question: “WHO are you wearing?”

Men in society are largely expected to atone and reform for misogynistic behaviour if (and only if) they are caught and called out on it. But it’s different in the football world. The St Kilda Football Club has had two extremely similar rape charges levelled against two of its players recently. One  against “club legend” Stephen Milne, and one against the (at the time) recently-acquired Andrew Lovett. Milne was dropped from the senior side for a grand total of three weeks. He has since been reinstated and continues to play top tier football, despite the charges still pending. Conversely, Lovett’s contract with the club was immediately terminated. The difference between the two players? Milne had played some 260-odd games for the club, whereas Lovett, who was cleared of the charges in 2011, was yet to step on a field for the Saints, and had somewhat of a reputation for bad off-field behaviour.

The disparity between the punishments demonstrates that the longer the career that a player racks up, the more bulletproof they become in the eyes of both the public and club administration. If Andrew Lovett had been a tenured 200-game player with the club, and a permanent fixture in its best 22, would he have been afforded the same benefit of doubt they gave to Stephen Milne? Based on the evidence down at St Kilda, you’d be inclined to suggest yes.

A football club’s priority number one is to protect its public image at all times, and they know where their supporters loyalties lie. But when a club legend is backed at all costs in order for the club to save face — portrayed as a good and honest man, despite the gravity of charges laid against him — the result is an adoring public that turns its vitriol against the other half of the equation: the complainant.It’s a shockingly cavalier attitude, which breeds a culture of victim blaming and misogyny that goes unchecked league wide. This lack of a strong voice on the issue trickles down to fans. Football players, like it or not, are role models. And if a role model doesn’t provide a model of social equity, what happens to the people who follow them?

What’s The Real Source Of The Problem?

A big part of the problem stems from a fundamental lack of education and support. For young players entering the draft, life becomes a whirlwind if their name is read out by an AFL club. At 18 years of age (and in the cases of players such as Jaeger O’Meara or Jesse Hogan, at 17) they are taken from Year 12 students to professional athletes literally overnight. Playing contracts are lucrative from day one, and become even more so over time. In 2011, a player selected in the first round of the draft was immediately awarded a base salary of $59,200 per annum. This is propped up by senior match payments of $2,900 per match, with bonuses earned for the amount of senior AFL games played in their first year. A first round selected draft pick who manages to play 12 games in his first year (admittedly, no mean feat) stands to rake in somewhere in the vicinity of $102,100. And that’s a figure contractually obliged to grow year-on-year, thanks to the AFL Player’s Association’s particularly shrewd negotiating abilities when it came to the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.

More to that, it takes young men out of home for the first time in a lot of cases — often from rural and insular communities — and relocates them in big cities that are sometimes thousands of kilometres away from friends and family. That’s not to say that the system merely dumps boys in to the deep end and demands they swim. On the contrary, AFL clubs have long held systems and structures in place that see drafted rookie players live with older members of the club lists, or with more mature mentors who can continue to teach them essential life skills. In the case of Melbourne legend Todd Viney, whose son Jack is a current first year player with the Demons, his house has taken on a number of rookies as boarders, effectively extending the period of time they live in a family environment.

But this program of mentorship doesn’t necessarily equate to breeding better males. After all, it’s young players being taught by established players who only learned from the same broken system. It’s a cut that runs deep. When fielding audience questions during a recent charity luncheon run by the AFL Player’s Association, Hawthorn legend Robert DiPierdomenico was asked by a female member of the audience for a picture. His knee-jerk response? “Clothes on, or off?”

It was a quip made with jovial boys-will-be-boys intentions, but one that smacks of the rampant male privilege associated with this cult of personality. There needs to be education, constant and ongoing, for all players entering the AFL. As much work as the AFL does for the under-privileged, for immigrant and indigenous communities, and for the disaffected, the same needs to be done for victims of sexual and domestic assault support organisations. Along with the requisite media training, clubs need to focus dedicated attention on teaching and developing players’ awareness of the impact of “off-handed” quips, gaffes, and misused language in general. The AFL needs to do more to support and back organisations andmovements, and help eradicate a culture of victim blaming and casual misogyny. They need to work towards getting more women involved at football clubs, in administrative, operational, and officiating roles. And they need to do this for the simple reason that they, by virtue of dominating such a vast percentage of the Australian media landscape, are a voice that is impossible to ignore.

Why Not Be Better?

The AFL, with its wide-ranging influence and wealth of resources, could be blazing a triumphant trial in the all-too-important battle to build better blokes and foster a kinder, more tolerant community. Instead, they remain content to exist in a comfortably sexist world that treats rape culture on a scale of relevance, seemingly dependent on how many games the accused has played. In an increasingly progressive society, sport has always had the capacity to be pioneers for more humanist and less inherently privileged attitudes. It’s high time the AFL saw this responsibility as a badge of honour, and not an annoyance.

This article appears on Junkee.

Seven Songs that Might be Used During the Election Campaign

Politics and popular music go together about as well as an ice cream in the desert. But that hasn’t ever stopped politicians from trying to connect with the masses through the majesty of song, particularly when election campaigns roll around.

The Whitlam Government famously employed ‘It’s Time’ – a jingle written specifically for the campaign — to help topple a Liberal Party that had been in power for 23 years. Bill Clinton’s affinity for Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ was a consistent feature throughout his presidency. And when George W. Bush used the Foo Fighters’ ‘Times Like These’ without the band’s permission, it compelled Dave Grohl to get vocal about his support for Bush’s opponent, John Kerry, and look how well that turned out.

The point is, music has the potential to speak the words that a campaign sometimes can’t find. With the looming federal election staring us all down, here are seven songs that could well be perfect fits for our current class of campaigning.

Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs – ‘Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)’

Palmer United Party

Clive Palmer. Mining magnate. Pie enthusiast. Mental gymnast. After launching the Australia United Party, Clive found himself in a tough spot. That name simply wasn’t projecting the message he was after. It didn’t grab the public by the scruff of the shirt and yell his platform right into their gobs. It needed a change. Now known as the Palmer United Party, Clive is setting about showing Australia his vision for the country. And that vision is Clive Palmer.

Sure, the nation at large might think he’s a complete loony, but Clive’s spinning that around: he’s owning that label! And what better song to do that with than Billy Thorpe’s classic hit? What better way to project the ‘us against them’ vibe that Clive so desperately wants to cultivate? And, most importantly, what better song to unite Palmer’s voting base? You know, both of them.

Split Enz – ‘Six Months In A Leaky Boat’

Liberal Party

Desperate to ram home his fervent ‘Stop the boats’ message, Tony Abbott entrusts his campaign team to find him a song — ANY SONG — with the word ‘boats’ in the title. He’s well aware of the media’s propensity to latch on to keywords, and he wants to put that word in front of as many people’s eyes as possible.

It’s a solid strategy, except that, without realising it, he’s subtly highlighted the plight of asylum seekers travelling for weeks and months across raging seas in less-than-adequate transportation. When the media points this out to him, Abbott initially responds with restrained silence — he’s a man of peaceful aggression, after all. Then his spin team goes into overdrive. He didn’t actually mean the boats! He meant the Labor Party! THAT’S the real leaky boat.

Divinyls – ‘Boys In Town’

Julia Gillard

Used as Gillard’s final middle finger to the party that built her up only to tear her down, Julia rides out of Canberra and into political retirement with the cries of the late, great, Chrissie Amphlett — another iconic Australian redhead — poignantly summing up the treatment Gillard herself received during her Prime Ministership.

Tired of being “just a red brassiere to all the boys in town”, Gillard, like Amphlett, screams “Get me out of here!” And away she goes, off to enjoy her life with partner Tim Matheson, a bloke who, despite all media speculation to the contrary, secretly harbours the ability to split wood with his bare hands.

The Replacements – ‘Unsatisfied’

Kevin Rudd

Prior to last week’s spill, this was K-Rudd’s private anthem for three years running. Through countless media interviews, he’d deny that he wanted the job of Labor leader back. But when you looked deeper, right into those pale, wispy eyes, you could tell that the mere sound of those words was tearing him up inside.

When the cameras switched off and Kevin went home for the day, he’d trudge solemnly up to his reading room, close the door, swing the needle onto Side B of Let It Be and let Paul Westerberg scream the words he wished he could in public. “I’m so! I’m so! Unsatisfied!” We all knew you were, Kev. There was never any shame in hiding it.

War – ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’

Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, Andrew Wilkie

With the end of a long and at times trying partnership, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor publicly extend one last olive branch of friendship to their fellow sitting independent, Andrew Wilkie. With all the poise and grace of your 78-year-old grandad hitting the dance floor at a wedding after three sherries, Rob and Tony call a press conference to ask Andrew to finally join their ‘Best Friends Forever’ club. They promise Andrew barbeques and camping trips and days spent gazing up at the clouds talking about their hopes, dreams and fears. It’s kind of sweet and endearing in the dorkiest way possible. Wilkie, for his part, merely rolls his eyes in exasperation, before turning back to his computer where he’s in the middle of the eighty-seventh draft of his pokie reform legislation.

Kylie Minogue – ‘Better The Devil You Know’

Labor Party

The Labor Party’s campaign is in tatters even before it’s begun. Leadership instability, factional infighting, sitting members resigning at the speed of light. So it’s important for the party to focus on what their real message needs to be: they’re far, far better than the alternative.

Just like Kylie Minogue’s 1990 hit, they told the Australian public that they wouldn’t leave us no more, and we took them back again. And now we don’t want no more excuses, because we have indeed heard them all before, at least a hundred times, maybe more. So, this campaign, the Labor Party will tell us that if we forgive and forget, then they’ll say they’ll never go. After all, it is true what they say: it’s better the devil you know.

Lily Allen – ‘Fuck You’

Green Party

Through all this bickering and pissing and moaning and backstabbing, the Green Party has been, somewhat uncharacteristically, rather silent. Maybe they’re just biding their time, waiting for the right moment to launch an almighty campaign that could well see them on level pegging terms with Labor at the conclusion of a disastrous federal election. Or maybe they’ve seen the writing on the wall and simply decided it’s better to sit this one out? No matter the reason, they’ve got every right to let Canberra know exactly how they feel. And what better way to get all that vitriol out in one magnificent burst than with a catchy pop banger. The Greens may well realise that we’re heading down a socially dark path, and if that’s the case, fuck it, we’re all gonna do it dancing.

This article appears on Junkee.

Six Reasons Why You Need to Watch “Under the Dome”

You’ve seen it advertised. Don’t pretend like you haven’t. Channel Ten has been putting promo in every spare nook and cranny it can find, and trailers for it have been making their way onto streaming services all over the web.

Tonight comes the premiere of the much-hyped drama series Under The Dome. The show is set in the town of Chester’s Mill, which suddenly finds itself trapped by an invisible and impenetrable dome, cutting the townspeople off from the rest of the world. As the citizens become gripped with panic, a small group bands together to try and restore peace and civility, and find out what’s caused the mysterious dome, and how to escape it.

Maybe it’s coincidence, maybe it’s advertising taken to extreme levels, or maybe it’s mild psychosis settling in, but I swear I’ve been having dreams that feature this dome recently. But what on earth is the deal with it? And why should you care?

1. Stephen King is writing it.

Boom. There it is. That alone should be enough to get you on board. The man knows a thing or two about suspense — and this is certainly not his first attempt at having one of his works adapted for the screen. Are they all classics? Absolutely not. But you’d be hard pressed to find any ‘Best Of’ critics lists that didn’t include either The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Meor The Shining. The story itself has been bouncing around inside King’s mind for the better part of four decades, and was finally released in novel form in late 2009, to widespread acclaim. Neil Gaiman is a fan of it, too.

2. Stephen King isn’t directing it.

King is many things: Prolific writer, master of high-concept, deft controller of literary tension. But of the many strings on his creative bow, the directing one is the weakest. Like all screenwriters, actors, sound technicians, caterers or just about anyone else who’s ever worked in the film industry, King has long held ambitions to step behind the camera. In the early ’80s, he not only got this opportunity, but he got to do it from a script that he himself wrote, adapted from a short story that he himself wrote. To cap that off, he was handed a cast headlined by Emilio Estevez — fresh off the sets classics like Repo Man and The Breakfast Club.

But thanks to King not really knowing what he was doing (coupled with a self-confessed raging white powder habit at the time), the resulting film, Maximum Overdrive, continually ranks as one of cinema’s all-time great stinkers. And King has not directed since.

The flip side to this is that the fellow they hired to direct the first episode of Under The Dome, a Danish lad by the name of Niels Arden Oplev, just so happens to be fantastic, having helmed the excellent Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. So visually, the show is in much safer hands.

3. Brian K. Vaughan is the series developer and co-writer. BRIAN K. VAUGHAN.

You hear that? That’s the sound of every Comic-Con attendee the world over weeing themselves a little bit at the mention of that name. Vaughan is the series developer and, with Stephen King, co-wrote practically the entire show. Vaughan’s experience in the world of comic books and graphic novels is extensive and extremely impressive. Y: The Last ManEx MachinaRunaways? All products of Vaughan’s creation. He’s also penned issues for just about every superhero under the sun, in both Marvel and DC camps. But his prior work is not just limited to the realms of comics. For three seasons, Vaughan wrote and edited for a little TV series with a niche audience you might have heard of: Lost. Helming a series that has both fantastical elements, as well as impossible intrigue, tension and mystery? Under The Dome is in the right hands here.

4. The Simpsons Did It

The similarities between Under The Dome and the major plot line of The Simpsons Movie are well documented. It’d be impossible to NOT draw comparisons between the mysterious dome that appears around Chester’s Mill, and the enormous, town-sealing bubble that got dropped over Springfield.

Both sides have vehemently denied taking influence from the other, with King going so far as to publish excerpts from his original manuscript written in 1979 to prove his originality. At this stage it’s absolutely plausible to simply write this coincidence off as a case of great minds thinking alike — and in any case, if it was good enough for The Simpsons…

5. You love disaster porn

We all like seeing stuff crash or blow up. It’s in our nature. It’s the reason why Roland Emmerich gets to make films like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, and it’s the reason why World’s Wildest Police Videos remains a ratings hit. We are, to our very core, a species of rubberneckers. We can’t help it.

And when a small town is suddenly cut off by an invisible and impenetrable barrier, things are going to crash into it. The centrepiece of the trailer features a truck smashing into it at full speed. And it looks AWESOME. Birds, cars, trains, planes, all of these exist in the world ofUnder The Dome, and none of them are going to be safe from horrific, fiery, magnificent collision. Plus there’s that whole intriguing narrative thing, too.

6. Channel Ten is fast tracking it

So confident are Channel Ten that Under The Dome will be a hit that they’re not making you wait months on end for a local screening date (or force you to seek out other, less legal means of acquisition). The show will go to air on Australian TV mere hours after originally hitting US screens. Whether or not this is a smart move or simply blind panic is yet to be fully determined; Ten has had poor results from fast tracking in the past, whereas Channel 7 continues to tightly control its international programming successfully. The bottom line is that if the show takes off, Ten will be claiming fast-tracking to be a success, and more shows will follow. Reducing gaps in broadcast dates across international borders?  Yes please.

This article appears on Junkee.

Fatman Scoop’s “Be Faithful” is Secretly the Greatest Protest Song of All Time

In time, history will look back upon the post-millennial era as a time of great social and societal upheaval. The benefit of hindsight will clearly identify those walking among us who are the great heroes of this tumultuous time. The problem there is that the benefits of powerful words and actions cannot be felt retroactively. It is imperative we seek them out now. But in a world that’s entrenched in a digital revolution, finding clarity in a sea of infinite information becomes problematic. It becomes increasingly difficult to identify a single important voice when an entire planet is screaming at a wall. And thus it’s far too easy to overlook works of mass importance. With a keen enough eye, great songs of protest can be identified, even from seemingly unlikely sources such as mildly successful turn-of-the-century pop hits.

Fatman Scoop’s “Be Faithful” is a loving allegory for societal equality. Far beyond being merely a guaranteed filler of dance floors the world over, Be Faithful represents a bold, and oft-unrecognised, early champion for a populace born out of compassion and inclusion, and not out of intolerance and segregation. In a mere three minutes and twenty-six seconds, Scoop rebels against a conservative, God-fearing ruling class, and promotes radical ideas of peace, love and equality of class, gender and race.

Scoop’s first target is that of the money-driven class system. Long before the Occupy movement railed against the so-called One Percent, Fatman Scoop had identified that the majority of resources goes to a privileged minority. Indeed, the rich getting richer. He calls for peace, calm and unity. “You got a hundred dollar bill? Put your hands up!” he exclaims, immediately singling out the wealthy. “You got a fifty dollar bill? Put your hands up!” he continues, urging those with means and aspirations of greater personal wealth to identify themselves. “You got a twenty dollar bill? Put your hands up!” he pleads, urging the middle class to make themselves known to the congregation. “You got a ten dollar bill? Put your hands up!” Here, perhaps identifying a childhood spent living below the line, Scoop demands those suffering the pitfalls of poverty be heard and counted. He identifies that class division is present, and in one deft swoop asserts that money should not be a tool of division, rather it should aid and benefit all. It should exist not as a goal or symbol of status, rather as a blessing of which all should feel the benefits. It should assist the greatest number, not only by way of food and housing, but also in public infrastructure –  “Engine, Engine Number 9. On the New York Transit line. If my train falls off the tracks, pick it up, pick it up, pick it up.” By demanding people from all walks of life raise their hands in unison, Scoop demonstrates to the world that money might be green, but we all bleed red.

But his vitriol and protestations do not end there. Far from being content to rest on his laurels, Scoop reveals his feminist ideologies: “Single ladies! I can’t hear ya! Single ladies! Make noise!” This is a furious battle cry for the females in his life. Tired of patriarchal oppression, Scoop implores them to not simply be a head in the crowds. Rather, he realises the need for women to boldly claim their identity; to state that traditional ideals of relationships and marriage do not necessarily apply to everyone; to assert that choices and responsibilities for monogamy and sexual behaviour rest with the individual, and should not be subject to ridicule, shame or public dissection. Later, he questions the media’s proliferation of unattainable beauty: “If ya got short hair make noise/If ya got more hair on your head/If you got long hair on your head/From your ear to your sleeve/Even if you got a weave.” Scoop reverts here to the role of gentle reassurer. It’s clear he’s speaking directly to those who feel disaffected and disenfranchised by society’s prioritising of aesthetics. No matter what you might look like on the outside, everyone is beautiful. Fatman Scoop knows this. And he hopes, in time, you will learn this too.

Scoop even dances with philosophy, positing the question “What’s your zodiac sign?” – a query he repeats thrice. He leaves this lingeringly open ended, opting to not provide an answer. And, in doing so, he challenges his audience to think for themselves. What IS your zodiac sign? Why do we put so much stock in them? Are our fates pre-determined in accordance with the periods of our births? Or do we, as a people, look too much for answers in arbitrary star positioning, often at the expense of our own self-reliance? It’s clear that, in asking this, Fatman Scoop is presenting himself as one of modern society’s great thinkers, worthy of holding in regard alongside luminaries such as Kant or Heidegger.

Fatman Scoop saves the crux of his message for perhaps his most impassioned stanza. As his masterpiece slingshots out of one verse and into another, Scoop roars “To all my niggas who wanna hit it from the back” with all the conviction and fire of a nuclear explosion. The common man may make the erroneous assumption that Scoop is merely making a light-hearted shout out to his more promiscuous contemporaries. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if it’s for a brief split second, Fatman Scoop leans heavily on the word “my.” And it’s this possessive, fatherly nod to his masses that defines Fatman Scoop’s revolution. As the figurehead for a social uprising that perhaps the world simply wasn’t ready for at the time, Scoop preaches togetherness. He is the Pope at his pulpit. The hero we need, and the one we deserve. To paraphrase The Fresh Prince, he is the driver, and we are all on a rap ride. Every single one of us. Together.  Fatman Scoop’s vision for the world is one of love, respect and compassion. As Be Faithful rumbles to a close, he repeats over and over “Stop playing. Keep it moving.” And he makes no mistakes in this insistence. Life is perpetual motion. We must never sit still. We must never allow ourselves to idle. We, as a people, must continue to move forward in order to realise Scoop’s dream. He insists that all of us be faithful, not only to each other, but also to ourselves. And it’s that that provides the most compelling of Scoop’s arguments for equality. If only more of us had recognised the hidden messages of Fatman Scoop and took up arm-in-arm for the Crooklyn Clan, then maybe, just maybe, we’d all be a little bit better off.

Perhaps it’s not too late just yet. Perhaps we all just need to be faithful.

This article appears on Junkee.


It’s been one hundred and eighty three days since I last talked to another human being. The last words I will ever speak to another living soul. I know this because one hundred and eighty two days ago the engines failed midway through a routine course adjustment. I didn’t know that that would be what they were. I don’t remember what it was I said; probably something procedural. I don’t know exactly where I am now right now. The ship’s computer cheerily refers to this area as “Unchartered.” It’s dead silent here. Last I calculated I was roughly three parsecs off course. This means I’m well beyond the range of satellite communication, which also means that I’m well beyond the range of any rescue fleet. It’s so deadly, deadly silent in here. But that silence is broken for now. Somewhere behind me a warning siren is going off. It does this, routinely, every twenty minutes. It’s been doing this, routinely, for the past one hundred and eighty two days. And its’ only purpose is to routinely alert me to a fact that I am already acutely aware of: I’m fucked.

It’s tiring being up here alone. It was tiring when the mission was still active, and it’s even more tiring now that all I’m doing is waiting for the end. The waiting is the worst part; the not knowing. Being able to see the end coming, but not knowing when it will strike; when it will take me. It’s no longer a matter of if, it’s when. I know it’ll be soon. It’s got to be soon. It has to be. It’s an eerie feeling watching it gradually get nearer. That chilling, blinding white halo growing larger, spreading out from behind the ships’ enormous sun shield; slowly threatening to swallow it whole; dragging us towards it relentlessly. The maps say it’s a dwarf star, but right now it’s the one that’s dwarfing us. It’s a strange feeling knowing that the end is coming, staring down the barrel of the thing that will wipe you out of existence, but not knowing exactly when it will occur. And here I sit in the rear of this ship, staring out into vast, impenetrable nothingness, trying to simply ignore it as best I can for the time being.


I don’t know why I accepted this mission. I don’t really know what I was thinking. Part of me is beginning to suspect I was never meant to survive, but I doubt that those in the know would have intended for things to go so horrifically wrong. The ship they gave me, the Prosperitas II, is a clunky old galactic transporter. It’s a piece of shit. The idea was that I’d pilot a load of supplies and resources to the site of a prospective colony planet. There is more than enough equipment on board to get the colonising process underway; enough food to last until we could start growing our own; enough of everything for the first people there to survive on. And now all of that, the future of that entire colony, is hurtling out of control into the waiting jaws of a burning hot star, where it will be completely incinerated beyond trace, along with me. By now I’ve no doubt been declared legally dead back home. The search effort long since called off. Maybe it wasn’t even mounted in the first place. It’s too great a risk to send a team into unchartered space to recover just one single man, isn’t it? In their eyes, I am that so-called brave soul who will pay the ultimate price for a greater good. In their eyes, I am a martyr. In their eyes, I am a hero. But in my eyes, I am none of these things. In my eyes, I am fucking petrified, and I do not want to die. Not here. Not now. Not like this.


This isn’t fair. Why me of all people? Why? Have I not been a good man? A humble man? A penitent man? Did I not please God? Was I not kind, or caring, or charitable? I know I’ve committed my share of sins, but what human hasn’t? What crime is befitting of this punishment? This is inhumane. This is torture. This is cold, callous cruelty. It can’t end this way. It just can’t. I won’t allow it to. I can’t allow it to. Not when I’ve got so much more left to prove, and so much more left to accomplish. I’ve still got more left to explore. I’ve still got more left to create. I’ve still got growing up to do; growing old to do. Why does it have to be me who sacrifices so much for so little? Why does it have to be me who endures such a needless, prolonged demise? Why me? God damn it, why me? I am wrecked with fear and I am shaking and I am in a ball in the corner of this godforsaken room staring out into the nothingness that I will disintegrate into and I cannot take this anymore. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die like this. I don’t want to die this broken, frightened shell of a man. I don’t want my last thoughts to be of fear, or of regret, or of lament. I don’t want to let this cruel fate get the better of me, to mock me, to toy with me. I do not want to be the last dangling thread waiting patiently to be plucked whilst my maker laughs in my face. That is an insult. That is unbecoming. That is a fate worse than death, and I cannot allow it to happen. In here, right here and now, I only have control over one thing. I am to die in here, this I know. But I am the one who can, and will, dictate when. I can force its’ hand. I can stare death in the eye and urge it so gloriously to take me that it will have no choice but to do so. I won’t allow it to do with me what it sees fit. I won’t allow it that satisfaction, because that satisfaction is what it wants. It wants to take my mortal body, but more importantly it wants to take my pride. And now I am kicking myself for not having seen that earlier.


I am angry. No, fuck that. I am furious. I’m beyond any rage ever felt by any human man ever. I am fuming. I am ready to explode. And I am sprinting to the viewing deck where the halo glows out from behind the ships’ enormous sun shield. I am sprinting like my life depends on it. My life does depend on it. There is nothing more important to me than this very moment. There is nothing that will ever be this important. I am sprinting and I am in the room and I am face to face with my maker at long last. I am fucking ready this time. I am ready for it to take me, but yet it still refuses to do so. And then I am shouting.

“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?!” my words piercing this barren chamber, echoing relentlessly, “COME ON. I’M READY.” My maker does not reply. I am pacing back and forth and I am banging, pounding on the window. My maker does not reply. I am ripping at the earthly clothes that adorn me and I am showing it that I am mere flesh and blood and bone. My maker does not reply. And now I am screaming and I am ripping at my throat and my lungs and my vocal cords until I am blue in the face and spitting up blood. My maker does not reply. I am frantic. I refuse to let it dictate my terms anymore. I cannot allow it to. I will not allow it.


My maker does not reply.

Again, my maker does not reply. I am pounding at the ship’s control panel, and I am lowering that piece of shit sun shield, and the ship is screaming at me to stop. It is screaming at me and I am screaming at it. I am ignoring it. I know exactly what I’m doing. I am forcing my maker’s hand. I am deciding my end, not it. The shield is down and the room is flooded with blinding, burning, intense light that rips the air from my lungs and strips layer upon layer of skin clean off me. It peels at me, rips at me, tears away the fabric of my body. But it does not end me. It lights every nerve ending in my being ablaze with the most magnificent, all-encompassing pain imaginable, but it does not end me. It strips away at the sterile sheen on the ship surrounding me, but it does not end me. It doesn’t even knock me off my feet. It leaves me standing. My maker leaves me standing and I am furious.


My maker does not reply.


My maker does not reply.





Charlie had always been an avid scuba diver. Throughout the years he’d explored wreck after wreck, reef after reef. Such was his love of diving that when he retired he used his superannuation to move to a humble shack on the remote east coast. Every morning he’d wake up, sit on his back porch and marvel at the sweeping seascape that greeted him. To the untrained eye it seemed a simplistic existence, but to Charlie this was paradise.

As the first rays of sun pierced the night sky on March 28th 2011, Charlie prepped his gear. On went the wet suit, the breathing apparatus, the mask, and into the blue abyss sped his trusty boat. On and on he went for hours, hugging the coastline to the north until he arrived at a lone island that shot out of the sea like a giant fist punching the sky. The anchor dropped and Charlie eagerly dove into the water. And what a sight it was to behold down there! Scores of fish swimming in perfect unison, phosphorescent algae curling in the most fantastic of patterns, and coral as far as the eye could see. Suddenly, Charlie came upon a most curious of scenes. At first, only one buzzed past him, and Charlie dismissed it as a mirage. But then another, and another, until a thick, spiraling stream of them were buzzing by. Charlie shook his head. How could this be? They appeared to be bees! Bees of the sea! The glowed bright gold and were all heading the same way. The buzz rippling through the water making Charlie’s head swim. Curious, he followed their path. On and on they lead him, until he reached a sheer rock face with a hole no bigger than a man right in its centre.

Charlie paused briefly and thought about turning back, but decided against it and pressed on down the hole. On and on it went through an endless blackness, the dim glow of the bees his only source of light. Further and further he went for what seemed like days, until the hole opened up into an enormous cavern. The bees path turned upward sharply and they accelerated at a tremendous rate. Charlie shed himself of his breathing tank and found, much to his surprise, that this water was different to the water back beyond the hole, for Charlie could breathe this water of his own accord. The bees flew up and Charlie swam with them at a speed he thought not possible. Slowly but surely the water begun to grow lighter and lighter, a brilliant rising white, until the depths of the sea became no more and Charlie and the bees burst through the surface. He took off his mask and scanned the scene. Much to his surprise, he was no more than twenty metres from the shore. Even more surprising was the sight of his house greeting him. And yet, it seemed different, brighter, and more permanent than it ever had before. The bees gathered around the lone tree nearby, dancing with each other, creating a hum more beautiful than had ever been heard before. As Charlie stepped ashore the back door of his house opened, and out stepped his beloved wife, whom he’d not laid eyes on in years. Charlie’s jaw dropped and tears flooded his eyes, and he embraced his love with his whole soul. And it was there, together, that they stayed for forever and a day, and waltzed into eternity as the most glorious of sunsets shone.


The first time Tommy Marks stared down the barrel of a gun was on a Monday.

About three weeks prior, Tommy had held up a poker game. He and three other boys had rolled in, cocked and loaded, and had taken off with about forty dollars in cash, some plastic chips, and a man’s pocket watch. They’d also put a bullet in Wesley Nigel Lee’s brain, killing him dead. So it goes. Tommy, as dumb as he is lucky, grabbed the first horse he saw and blew clean out of town. The other boys (as honourable as they were scared) handed themselves in to the Sheriff’s office almost immediately. The assumption being that their prompt admission of guilt would afford them the luxury of clemency. The next day they were strung up by their necks and hung ‘til they were dead and dangling. So it goes. The town’s attention then, naturally, turned to the whereabouts of the other boy, now long since fled. The cries were for blood, and that would’ve been the case. But Tommy, as lucky as he was dumb, happened to have emanated from the loins of the Mayor Chester Marks. This complicated matters to no end. On the one hand Chester Marks had his civil duty to appease the desires of his constituents. On the other he was struggling with the reality of condemning his own son to death. A closed door meeting was called to determine the fate of the absent boy. Assembled around a stately table were an oilman, an attorney, a publican, a respected private citizen, a trader, a banker, the Sheriff, the Sheriff’s deputy, and the Mayor himself. They convened in the morning at half past the hour of nine.

The debate, like the sun that beat through the open window, was hot. Fortunate it was then that all firearms had been sequestered at the door, as there were times where they would surely have been drawn in anger. Through three days and through most of three nights the arguments of both sides were laid out. It was agreed upon that the boy likely had no part in the slaying of Wesley Nigel Lee, and that he’d likely had no prior knowledge of any gun slinging that were to take place. He was generally of good character, but had fallen in with the wrong crowd. But it was also agreed that, for better or worse, the boy was a party to a murder, and that consequences should be suffered for such transgressions. On the afternoon of the fourth day, a vote was finally taken. By a margin of seven-to-two, the boy was to die. Mayor Chester Marks, being one of the two hands against the proposal, was distraught. The panel set about the task of employing a bounty hunter to seek out the boy and deliver his punishment. They found their man in the form of Terrence “Bootleg” Foster; a vile, vicious sort of man who’d spent the better part of his sorrowful life cutting down straying Mexicans with the Border Patrol in South Texas. He was the one that they’d enlist to seek out the boy and give him his swift comeuppance. However Mayor Chester Marks, being a father first and foremost, still had other ideas on the matter and issued a compromise to the board. He would acquiesce to the sentence of death imposed upon Tommy, and the hiring of Foster. But in return, and as a favour for all his years of loyal public service, the board would place the restriction upon Foster that would see him delivered one bullet and one bullet only for use on Tommy. Should that bullet leave the gun of Foster and strike Tommy down, then so be it. But should it leave the bullet and fly past Tommy, leaving him unharmed and still standing then, by the grace of God, Tommy would be allowed to keep running free from fear of retribution. The board, compelled by Mayor Chester Marks’ years of loyal public service, agreed to this stipulation.

Terrence “Bootleg” Foster left the town limits on a Wednesday, setting off to the North. The hushed word was that, hours after fleeing, Tommy Marks had sought refuge in a known and frequently-used hunters’ cabin nestled deep in the mountain range that flanked the horizon. Bootleg, who’d gotten the name from his well-known but never seen habit of bootleg moonshine to taverns across the county in times of waning supply, knew the area like he’d created it himself. He arrived at the cabin in under a day’s riding, and settled in for the night. The rumours appeared to be truthful. There were signs of recent life to be seen inside the cabin. The bed was unorganised. There were coals still in the fire. And the chamber pot, which hadn’t been emptied, had yet to smell the place out. The boy Tommy Marks might’ve been slippery, but he seemed to be sloppy. In the days that would follow, it would be that fact, and that fact alone, that would prove to be his undoing. Foster again checked the barrel of his gun; the sight of only one round greeting him yet again. He knew the boy couldn’t have gone too far. But for now, Foster laid his head down and rested. He’d set off again come morning.

A little ways down the road, about a day and a half’s ride to be exact, Tommy Marks was sitting huddled over a campfire. Above him a full moon shone. He was cold, tired, hungry, but most importantly alone. Tommy had never known loneliness like this before. It was dark and all consuming. The horse he’d stolen provided little comfort, as it’d yet to accept Tommy as its’ new owner and master, which made most forward progress painfully slow. Tommy had had no idea of the intentions of those other boys that night, and now feared the retribution that was surely brewing for him back at the town. He had no idea where he was or where he was going. He figured whatever it was he had coming to him, his running would’ve increased it tenfold, which made turning back an impossible option. All he had to guide him was a crude map he’d found at the hunter’s cabin, and an even cruder trail that had been stomped into the ground through years of hooves treading it. The trail wound through the mountain ranges to the North. Tommy hoped that at some point it’d steer him nearer to water; the ground here was cracking under the strain of the summer sun. It was arid and unforgiving. He had no idea how long he’d survive out here. He knew that he’d have to keep moving. He just knew it. If only he could summon the muster to press on. Too awake to sleep, Tommy roused his uncooperative ride and saddled forward, pressing on until morning, and again through the day with no regard for trail; both the one in front of him, and the one he was leaving behind.

Terrence ‘Bootleg’ Foster caught up to Tommy Marks on a Friday. Tommy had finally sought refuge from another night in a secluded log cabin by the river he’d long hoped to come across. Foster had forgone sleep and had ridden through the previous night from the site of Tommy’s previous open campfire, along the tracks to where the water flowed. There, without much trouble, Foster found Tommy sound asleep. On a small stool inside the cabin he sat and waited, but not before making sure the door was firmly shut and locked should Tommy try for another quick escape. Through the night hours, Foster’s eyes never once left Tommy Marks. Tommy awoke with a start at around daybreak; the sight of Foster at once flushing his face with fear.

“You must be the boy Tommy Marks,” Foster’s slow drawl was partially muffled by his lustrous moustache.

“I am,” was Tommy’s stammered reply.

“Name’s Foster. Mother named me Terrence. Most people call me Bootleg. You can call me what you want; it’s of no concern to me.”

Tommy’s face dropped. He recognised the name, and the reputation that preceded it.

“Are you gonna kill me?” Tommy’s voice was rife with the stench of fear.

“That’d be what I was sent here to do,” was Foster’s assured reply, “Though that said I ain’t decided for sure yet.” Foster struck a match off his boot and masterfully lit the small pipe he’d been tending to. “Truth is you were sentenced to death. Ain’t no arguing that. But you being of Mayoral blood and all seems to have afforded you a liberty.”

Tommy’s forehead beaded slick with sweat, as the mountainous Foster calmly puffed away.

“What liberty?” Tommy stammered, swallowing the grapefruit sized lump that had settled in the back of his throat.

“The instructions I got were that I was to track you down. Which I did. But the men who hired me gave me only one bullet for the task at hand. I figure that to mean I should make my own mind up as to how that bullet gets used.” Foster said, leaning back in his chair a little to let his face soak up the first of the morning sunlight that was beaming in through the cabin’s sole window. Puzzled, Tommy replied,

“How will you know?”

“Couple of days up here and the answer should present itself.”

“What do I do in the meantime?”
“Sweat it out, mostly. The time’ll help you find your peace. Seems wrong to send a Man to his grave without at least giving him the chance to repent. Should the coin not fall your way, that is.”

Tommy, perhaps out of bravery, perhaps out of stupidity, pried Foster further.

“Weren’t you in the Border Patrol?”
“That’s different, boy.”

“How exactly is that different?”
“The Mexicans are not real people, and therefore should not be treated as such.” Foster barked, arching forward, an accusing glare boring from his eyes through Tommy’s. Tommy sensed the fire rearing up in Foster’s mind, and tried to ease off.

“How many men have you killed?”
Foster, perhaps amused by this, humoured Tommy.

“About eighty, maybe eighty-five now I guess.”

“You don’t know exactly how many it is?” Tommy sat up, as frightened of this statement as he was in awe of it.

Foster enjoyed this reverence, and chose his next words with great care.
“It’s best you stop counting after two.”

“That seems ridiculous.”
Deliberately, Foster removed the gun from his holster and placed it on the table nearby, never once pointing the barrel at Tommy, but never once removing his hand from it. “There’s a lot about death that you don’t understand, son.”

Tommy Marks escaped from the cabin on Monday morning. For three days, Terrence ‘Bootleg’ Foster had held him captive, sitting hard up against the locked door, not once taking his eyes off of him, not even to sleep; completely still and unblinking. On Friday, Tommy was overcome with shock. He paced around the cabin endlessly. His mind fogged over, and his body shook with cold despite the heat. Unmoving, Foster just stared. On Saturday, Tommy’s emotions boiled over, and he railed against his situation. He yelled, and he pounded, and he hurled anything that wasn’t nailed down across the cabin. Unmoving, Foster just stared. On Sunday, Tommy huddled himself in a corner and wept through the day. He wept as the sun rose, and he wept as it moved across the sky until it finally settled beyond the horizon. Unmoving, Foster just stared. As the night settled in, and the moon cast its’ dull light across the land, Tommy slumped onto the floor, near the brink of resignation. The hours passed, but Tommy did not sleep. Silently he sat, his back against the wall, and he waited. Unmoving, Foster just stared. At around daybreak, however, things changed. Foster, as powerful a man as he was, quietly drifted off to sleep; his head drooping down, his hands falling by his side. Tommy watched this, and then he waited. He waited until Foster’s nostrils begin to flare and roar with din of sleep, and he waited until the spit began to cascade out of his mouth and pool on his chin. Then Tommy made his move. He stood up slowly, with the greatest of care, and began to push the only window in the cabin open as quietly as he could; one eye permanently trained on the snoring Foster. Without so much as a sound, Tommy slipped out through the window and into the night. Foster had hitched the horses away from the cabin, so Tommy fled on foot. He trod softly, weaving his way between trees. Then, suddenly, the sound of the cabin door pierced the trees as the new days’ sun began to do the same. Foster’s heavy steps boomed on the wooden planks of the cabin porch. Tommy heard this, and ran. He ran without direction, or care. He ran fast, and he ran hard. Behind him, Foster gave chase.

“You shouldn’t have done that!” Foster’s voice cannoned through the dense forest, “Running’s only gonna make it worse!”

Tommy tried to ignore it, his feet now flying, pounding the rough surface of the forest floor. His shoes, already well worn, weren’t standing up to the task. Branches, thickets and rocks were penetrating through the thinned leather sole with ease. Tommy’s feet were bloodied and crying out in agony, but Tommy still ran.

“You can’t run forever, boy!” again Foster called out from behind him.

But Tommy still ran. With panic now flooding his eyes, he ran. He crossed a shallow creek bed, and kept running, his head now forever looking behind him for signs of Foster’s whereabouts. His chest heaved, his heart pounded, his breath whined with fear.  His shoulders slammed against trees as he failed to round them properly, and his foot caught a stray root, sending him tumbling to the ground. As Tommy Marks rolled over and brushed the dirt from his eyes, the shadow of Terrence “Bootleg” Foster loomed large over him. Tommy crawled back, cowering. Foster unholstered his revolver and lowered it squarely at Tommy. His crooked thumb pulled the hammer back with a hellish click, and Tommy, now robbed of all dignity, soiled himself.

“P… please!” he stammered.

“What’d I tell you about running, boy?” Foster demanded, “You can’t outrun fate.”

Tommy’s eyes shut tight as his panicked mind spun images through his head at a rate of knots. Foster eyes narrowed, disgusted by the all-too familiar sight of a man reduced to nothing before his very eyes. He’d ended a man like this before, and doing so had made his own soul die a little too.

“Get up,” Foster seethed.

Unmoving, Tommy just wept.

“GET UP!” Foster roared this time and Tommy responded out of nothing but instinct. He shot upright, his legs threatening to give out from under him at any time; tears streaming down his face, and urine down his legs. Tommy’s eyes remained slammed shut, unable to look his fate in the eye. Foster again levelled the gun in Tommy’s direction; his finger poised on the trigger. Foster’s eye locked onto Tommy through the gun’s sight, and Tommy let out single whimper. Foster sighed; his calculating mind had only one end to this situation in mind.

“Say a prayer, son.” Foster sneered, and Tommy’s chest began heaving; sobbing uncontrollably, his lips quivering.

Foster exhaled slowly and pulled the trigger. With an earth-shattering bang the gun exploded, firing its sole round out through the barrel. It curled and spun as it pierced into the light of day, ripping its path through the fabric of the air that surrounded it. It clawed its’ way closer to the frozen Tommy, the tip red with horrific friction. And before the sound could even reach Tommy, the bullet flew past him, not one inch aside his left ear.

The echoes of the shot careened through the woods, and birds in the trees above scattered. Tommy still stood bolt upright, and one eye slowly began to open. There Foster stood, smoke curling from the barrel of his gun, eyes burning holes in Tommy. Tommy felt himself up and down, desperately trying to confirm his own living presence.

“I done a lot of bad things in my time,” Foster sighed, holstering the gun, “But I ain’t never, and will never, kill a Boy.” He leaned on the last word as if it were the worst insult a man could use towards another.

Tommy, confused, remained still. Foster shook his head and turned to leave.

“Get out of here,” Foster yelled, his words trailing off in the distance as his presence faded from sight.

On this Monday, the first time he’d stared down the barrel of a gun, Tommy Marks didn’t need to be told that twice.

An Open Cover Letter to Every Employer I’ve Contacted Over the Past Three Months

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing in application for the vacant position you currently have within your creative industries business. Where I found the advertisement is totally contingent on what you’re looking for in a prospective employee. If you want someone who’s writing their fifth application for the day and it’s not even lunchtime and who’s bordering on losing hope of ever attaining true happiness, I found it on Seek. If you’re looking for someone who sat down to write this but ended up drowning in a sea of pop culture journalism for six hours, then I found it on Pedestrian. And if you’re after someone who not only enjoys unnecessarily extending jokes but abusing cataloguing systems as well, then #ifounditontwitter.

I have obtained the tertiary qualifications that qualify me to perform the tightly specific task you are advertising. I want to assure you that, whilst I did spend far too many years and far too much money studying the sector as a broad academic whole, I did focus intently on the narrow alley of knowledge that you’re adamantly looking for. I think. Maybe. It might have been covered one week. Or maybe someone mentioned it in passing. I’m not sure. Truth be told, I was probably drunk or hungover. Though I did become exceedingly proficient in both of those – A feat of which I am immensely proud.

I must admit I am at somewhat of a loss when it comes to your request for someone with “1-3 years experience.” This mainly stems from the fact that I’m yet to encounter any similar employment opportunities that specify 0 years experience. I’m pretty sure I can go ahead and assume at this point that there is a finite pool of suitably qualified candidates. Is it like some sort of secret club that I just don’t know about? Do they have an awesome tree house headquarters? Do I need a special passphrase to get in? Or do things work more on the basis that there’s always one more job than there are qualified people, and everything operates on a constant cyclical basis, like a never-ending game of Duck/Duck/Goose for adults? But that’s clearly preposterous, because at some point those in the secret club with 3 years experience are going to suddenly have 4 years experience, which renders them unsuitable for the job. Is it fair to assume that at that point the pool is replenished with more people of 1 years’ experience, and those who now have 4 years’ experience are swiftly shipped off to Carousel?

But then how does one obtain this mythical first year of experience? Is it really just an elaborate lie used to scare off tyre-kickers? Or is it more of an existential construct where you do not simply obtain the first year of experience; the first year of experience comes from within; it comes from understanding that modern society is the product of a fractured collective consciousness; that the human ego is the only thing standing between mankind and achieving utopia; that only when you understand this can you truly know peace and love and humility, and that then, and only then, will the twelve months of experience necessary to apply for this job present themselves to you, and you can know and attain them? Perhaps you can shed some light on this for me in the interview.

I notice you’ve used the words “funky” and “guru” in the job description. I’m not entirely sure what they mean in this particular context, but I’m going to go ahead and repeat them here, because when it comes to being funky, I am a bit of a guru.

The ten seconds I spent browsing your website before writing this gave me very little information as to what you, as a company, actually do. But this isn’t going to stop me from inferring that whatever it is you do is exciting and relevant to both my training and aspirations. That thing you did? I’m impressed by it. That client you worked with? Bravo. Those award logos you’ve got plastered on your home page? I’ve definitely heard of them.

I possess a solid, borderline-obsessive knowledge of football, which can be utilised to help your Dream Team get over the line this year. I know enough about TV to bluff my way through conversations about Game of Thrones, despite not having watched the series or read the books. I’ve got enough dorky Dad jokes under my belt to keep the entire staff rolling their eyes at me for minutes on end. Knock knock! Who’s there? I don’t know. Someone funny. Maybe one day you’ll find out.

Here’s the part where I tell you why I feel this position would be an excellent fit for me. It’s not because it’s a chance for career advancement. It’s not because of any genuine want to work in the industry. It’s not even because of the opportunity to engage and expand my network. It’s because I’m in desperate need of a reason to wear pants. Over the past few months, jeans have suddenly become special occasion wear. The radius from my bedroom in which I feel comfortable wearing pyjama bottoms has shockingly increased beyond the boundaries of my own house. Don’t get me wrong. I’d have my now-untouchable Tetris high score tattooed on my chest if I could afford to do so. But when you seriously consider hitting Rainbow Road’s shortcut on all three laps to be your greatest personal achievement for the month, things have to change. So yes, the position in your company in your industry does provide opportunities for career advancement and network expansion in a sector that I genuinely want to work in. But more importantly, it provides me with a reason to regularly wear pants again. Please, give me a reason to wear pants.



Kind regards,

Cameron Tyeson.

This article appears in varying forms on both Junkee and The Vine.