Australia Day & why the national hangover needs a cure all

With the billious nationalistic excess known as Australia Day looming large in the next 24 hours, fuelled as it is by bogan bushranger pride and goon bags at 20 paces, I find myself a tad melancholic that our country’s identity is languishing in an uber-lazy-arsed default position when it comes to the most revered of all Australian pastimes … the almighty hangover.

Let’s cut to the chase. An international study has revealed that, along with Britain, Australians have voted the ‘fry up’ as the ultimate culinary panacea for our self-indulgent ills.

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Really? I’m sorry, but, really, is that the best we can do?

What does this say about our creative currency on the world stage when Namibia, Mongolia and even New Zealand have hangover cures of singular, exotic and more extravagant distinction?

Australia, behold, here are some inspired cures from both past and present cultures that should see our heads hang(over) in shame.

Come On Aussie Come On and get your sore and sorry act together while you’re at it.

Hangover Ancient Rome

Nothing so bland as a Caesar Salad for Ancient Rome. It’s Birdy yum yum.

Hangover Ancient Greece

Not to be outdoner kebabed, the Ancient Greeks’ equivalent to Surf & Turf … the Hoot and Holler.

Hangover US

On a wing and a prairie oyster.

Hangover Scotland

For a well-Irned hangover, or if you’ve just got Bru-ers’ droop.

Hangover Mongolia

Perhaps best served up with a Visine slammer.

Hangover Hungary

Good grief. Now there’s Birdy bum bum!

Hangover Sicily

Otherwise known as phallo-illogical.

Hangover Peru

It was all going so well until they mentioned scraps!

Hangover Namibia

If the hangover doesn’t kill you, the coronary will.

Hangover Philippines

Poached …. with some ffffava beans and a nice Chianti?

Hangover NZ

Even our bros across the Tasman have something truly their own to nurse the next day.

So what have I got to offer by way of alternative?

The great Australian hangover cure, as far as I’m concerned, involves the lick of a cane toad’s skin followed by a Passiona chaser.  For those unfamiliar with either, the first is psychotropical and the latter is, well, just kinda tropical!

But hey, I’m no expert. What’s the great Australian hangover cure lurking in YOUR medicine cabinet?

Like Wow Wipeout: The wild, brief ride of surfing’s ultimate playboy

Bunker Spreckels sounds like the kind of name you’d find on a Wall Street lobby listing.

But the great grandson of sugar baron Claus Spreckels and stepson of Hollywood icon Clark Gable had altogether different ideas, spurning Hollywood for an ascetic life in Hawaii building surfboards and eating the fruit that grew freely off the shores of Oahu.

Clark Gable, Wife No 5, Kay and the Spreckel kids.

Clark Gable, Wife No 5, Kay and the Spreckel kids.

His ancestral connections gave Spreckels privileged access to Hawaiian royalty along with rare insight into the deep cultural and spiritual secrets of its people’s surfing history.   He became a fearless rider of great skill as well as a lover of martial arts and hunting. He was also a nationally ranked archer.

Bunker credited Gable with piquing his interest in his non-surfing pursuits. ‘Clark was from that ‘no crap’ school of acting and that’s the way he lived too.  I learned from him what a fuck-tit the acting business is.  He also taught me how to shoot, use knives and bullwhips … and how to use a dictionary’.

After Gable’s death Bunker used his Oscar as a doorstop, which one can only assume Gable would have thoroughly endorsed.

In his late teens Bunker’s simple, almost monastic existence in Hawaii saw him evolve into an early pioneer of revolutionary short, hard-edged surfboard design, which many consider the forerunner of today’s ubiquitous fish surfboard. bunker_spreckels (1) But then suddenly in 1970, everything changed.

At the age of 21 Bunker unexpectedly inherited $50 million due to a sequence of family deaths.  Bunker turned up to the bank in an armoured car and picked up the entire amount in cash, which he secreted in a coastal hideaway he likened to the Batcave.  Bunker’s bunker, if you like.

And then the Party On switch was flicked and overnight Bunker’s life read like a scene out of Boogie Nights. Bunker set up ‘branch offices’ around the world; The Hotel George V in Paris, Hotel Edward in South Africa and Sunset Tower in Hollywood and proceeded to launch himself into a feverish rampage of psychedelics and sex. bunker-spreckels At his most debauched he was taking LSD daily and claimed to bed sixty four women in a week. preview_bunker_spreckels_480x368_1012281502_id_403701 Inevitably surfing started to take a backseat to drugs, sex and wild road trips.  Becoming increasingly delusional about his rock star-like persona, Bunker recruited photographer Art Brewer to document his days. No salary, but all expenses paid.  Brewer described the experience as ‘pure 24/7 crazy shit. Anything could happen and it did.’

Legendary skateboarder Tony Alva added ‘I don’t think anyone was too stoked about the way Bunker lived his life, because he basically carried himself like a fucking rock star. He was like a big party coming through town.  He’d wear the most bizarre shit; really tight capris with crazy Chelsea boots and huge ass ‘70s shades.  When he stepped out of the car, people would freak out because he looked like a cross between Bruce Lee and Elvis’. Bunker_Spreckels_interv_Oahu_Nov_1976 In just six years of inheriting the family fortune, he was dead, aged 27 as a consequence of his excesses. _bunker_spreckels_07_0706081429_id_7891 That Spreckels had become a pompous B-grade caricature more fitting for a Hollywood condo or Palm Springs timeshare is not only ironic, but also a tragic tale, given that he was clearly capable of much greater things.

A man of substance indeed … sadly, in both senses of the word too.

Bunker77 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp8Co0XCVII

The Facebook friend I always wanted (but didn’t realise until last night)

Out of the corner of my eye I clocked her profile picture sitting in my ‘follow’ section; a young, dignified face with a gracious smile pushing out from the edges of her lips.

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Curiously she’d signed up for my public posts rather than having sent me a friend request. I was confused. I don’t know anyone in South Africa. Who was she?  Why would she start following me?  It all seemed so random. My mind momentarily U-turned towards other possibilities; Mistake?  Fake?  Scam?

But her face intrigued me.  The smile almost suggested an in-joke, as if she knew something I didn’t.  It was also her name; Andile.  It seemed to mean something but I had no idea what or why.  So I just sat there silently, my eyes see-sawing between her face and her name, back and forth, back and forth.

And then, somewhere in the deep dark recesses of my brain, a neuron sparked and slowly, very slowly I felt a tsunami of incredulity hurtle my way until it broke over me and I bobbed up, gasping with unadulterated joy in the foamy wake.

It was Andile, the little girl from Zimbabwe who I’d sponsored some 17 years prior through World Vision.  Our ties had been severed out of necessity when the sponsorship ran its course after five years and we’d lost all contact.  I was offered another child to sponsor but politely declined. Call me crazy but it felt as if I was trading Andile in for a new model.

Andile was from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, although I had always assumed her to be living in a small village on its outskirts, judging by the pictures of she and her family posing in their vivid Sunday best, in stark contrast to a landscape leached of its colour and looking thoroughly exhausted.

So why Zimbabwe? I have my ex-husband Roger to thank for that.  I was given an alphabetical list of countries I could choose my sponsorship to reside in and he said ‘Choose Z … most people won’t get that far down the list’.

Understandably the agency had strict rules about gifts. Only small tokens were allowed, so I’d send coloured pencils and stickers along with photos of myself and my own family.  In return Andile would send me back drawings of her family and village, the countryside and wildlife. They, along with the quarterly letters, agency updates and photos, were eagerly anticipated and a joy to receive in the letterbox.

And then one day I was told the sponsorship was fulfilled, and that was that … or so I thought.

There she was last night. Andile smiling back at me on Facebook twelve years later. Perhaps she was too shy to contact me directly with a friend request.  Whatever the case, I messaged her immediately to say how wonderful it was to see her profile. She responded quickly with news that she is now a 28 year old married woman happily living and working in South Africa with a four year old child (she also has 328 friends on Facebook).  She asked me to say hi to Roger and still has all the photos I’d sent her.

Last night I shed a little tear of happiness thanks to my new-found friendship, reminded once again that life can be beautiful.  And, if only for a moment or two, that so can Facebook.

Postscript: Thanks also to my friend Julie B for encouraging me 20 years ago to create a bucket list (long before the term existed) of 100 things I wanted to do in my life. That’s where the sponsorship seed was sown and pivotal to this wonderful experience.

Importantly, this blog also has Andile’s blessing.

Needless to say I encourage you to sponsor a child yourself. I could not have wished for a more fulfilling experience, then or now. Sponsor a child at World Vision’s website

Eyes wide shut at the world’s only Penis Museum

The weirdest museum collections around the globe provide intriguing insight into a country’s predilections and preoccupations; there’s the Instant Noodle Museum in Yokohama, the Barbed Wire Museum in Kansas, Dog Collar Museum in Kent, Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame in Hollywood and the Museum of Toilets in New Delhi.

So it’s inevitable that Iceland, renowned for its spouting geysers and volcanic eruptions, plays host to the world’s only museum dedicated to penises.

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That 60% of its 11,000 annual visitors is female surprises only for the fact that the gender skew isn’t much higher, given that my ticket appeared to include a complimentary speedball of awkward discomfort that, if I’m anything to go by, should see male visitors suffer on a Belushi-like scale.

It’s not just that there are over 200 species of appendages on offer, but that the first one taking pride of place on entry is a veritable assault to the senses.

Had I been invited in times past to view a blue whale’s penis in its prime, I suspect I would have politely declined.  That my first (and by the grace of god, only) experience of the aforementioned member was slowly decomposing in formaldehyde – a blanched, mangled monster of a thing that resembled a giant turnip with a nasty case of psoriasis – will haunt me until my final breath.

Lurching past jar upon jar of tortured specimens floating in aspic was, well, jarring to say the least.  (The good news for dieters though is that the whole experience is a terrific appetite suppressant)

Jar Jar … blinks!

Thank goodness then for the mood lifting effect of a glass case housing sculptures of 15 human penises immortalising Iceland’s victorious Beijing Olympic silver medal Handball Team in an artistic style I found reminiscent of wild mushrooms swaying side of stage at a Flaming Lips concert.

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Unsurprisingly the museum has garnered international media attention, including a reportedly ‘side-splittingly funny’ Canadian documentary called The Final Member, which charts the museum’s quest to obtain its first human penis.

The Final member

The founder Sigurdur Hjartarson has been on a mission to procure a human penis for years, saying that ‘without the human, the collection is not complete’.  In 2011 his wish was granted by Pall Arason, a 95-year-old Icelandic man claiming to be an adventurer and ‘Iceland’s biggest ladies man’ who bequeathed him his posthumous penis.  However things take a turn for the worse when Siggi fails to preserve Pall’s remains properly, rendering them ‘unflatteringly shrivelled pickled parts’.

Tom Mitchell.

Tom Mitchell and his Elmo schematic.

Enter Tom Mitchell, a middle-aged Californian horse farmer who’s so keen to be the owner of the world’s first celebrity penis that he’s willing to amputate ‘Elmo’ while he’s still alive.  Getting a tad carried away with what I like to refer to as his Pickle-Me-Elmo project, Mitchell goes on to get an American flag tattooed on its tip, commissions a fancy display case for it and seriously contemplates launching a comic book called The Amazing Adventures of Elmo, which features the penis in a cape (the cape bit being, to my mind, about the only predictable part of the proceedings thus far).

But that’s the kind of high weirdness and freakish devotion you’re bound to attract with a concept like a penis temple.  For the more pedestrian of us who remain thoroughly bemused at best and otherwise vaguely traumatised, it’d probably make more sense if the museum called itself Phallo-Illogical.

As the Daily Beast website notes, Iceland is home to many celebrated and much loved wonders. Volcanic mountains. The Blue Lagoon. The best lamb on the planet.  Musicians Björk, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós. Four-time “World’s Strongest Man” winner Magnús Ver Magnússon and the evil ice hockey team in D2: The Mighty Ducks.

The Penis Museum, by contrast, would do well to keep it in its pants.

Jon Gnarr – world’s coolest politician

When your mayor is a former punk bass player, chooses to protest the incarceration of Russia’s Pussy Riot by riding on top of a van wearing a pink dress and balaclava and calls those in France protesting the gay marriage bill ‘assholes’, you can only hope that Iceland’s Jon Gnarr is also running a finishing school for would-be politicians.

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Gnarr in drag for Gay Pride

assholes tweet

While Gnarr’s roots may be in comedy as he rightly points out, ‘Just because something is funny doesn’t mean it also can’t be serious’ and his bio serves up exactly that as a veritable gumbo of travails and triumphs.

Misdiagnosed with severe mental retardation at the age of five and treated in a psych ward in his formative years, Jon determined at the age of 11 that school was of absolutely no consequence to his intended future as a circus clown or pirate and essentially went on strike, refusing to learn anything further.

By 13 he’d joined Reykjavik’s punk scene, graduated to vocals and playing bass with The Dripping Noses, and along the way becoming pretty tight with members of Bjork’s early band The Sugarcubes.

By the 90s he’d swung into comedy radio, tv and film writing, a stint as creative director at Icelandic ad agency EnnEmm and then starred as a bad-tempered Marxist in his hit television series Night Shift, Day Shift and the final installment Prison Shift.  Having had the rare privilege of watching all three series I can vouch for it being some of the best television comedy I’ve ever seen.

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Gnarr – far left in his series, Day Shift.

Gnarr’s foray into politics in 2009 was driven in equal parts by satire and an unsettled country upended by a financial crisis, political cronyism and  four old parties that had dominated Iceland’s political scene since the 1930s but no-one was more surprised than Jon when Gnarrs’ Best Party won comprehensively on what was essentially a comedy ticket.

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The Best Party’s logo

The Best Party’s election campaign included:

  • To improve the quality of life of the Less Fortunate: We want the best of everything for this bunch and therefore offer free access to buses and swimming pools so you can travel around Reykjavik and be clean even if you’re poor or there’s something wrong with you.
  • We promise to stop corruption. We’ll accomplish this by participating in it openly.
  • Cancel all debts.
  • Take those responsible for the economic collapse to court: Felt we had to include this.
  • Listen more to women and old people: This bunch gets listened to far too little. It’s as if everyone thinks they are just complaining or something. We’re going to change that!

Upon being elected, Gnarr announced that he would not enter a coalition government with anyone who had not watched the HBO series ‘The Wire’, he posted a video holiday greeting wearing a Darth Vader outfit and regularly posts memes to his official Facebook page.

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Two words Jon …. Totally Gnarrly.

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The Hemp Olympix; where the drug testing’s mandatory

Nimbin, a lush patch of earth 780 kilometres north of Sydney, has long been known as the dope growers’ capital of Australia.

It also plays host to Mardi Grass, where 10,000 hippies converge every year for a two day festival of all things combustible.

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The high point (if you’ll excuse the pun … and brace yourself for more to come) is the Hemp Olympix, the catalyst for which lay in the objections of left wing radicals to the ‘commercialised, corrupt and corporatised circus’ that the Modern Olympic Games had become.

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Grass Artia Gratis

And so the concept of the ‘alternative games’ took root in the town that put itself on the map in 1973 for Australia’s version of Woodstock and has been synonymous with green activism, flea markets and long-bearded alien spotters ever since.

Roll on some 30 years and The Hemp Olympix continues to impress for upending well-worn stereotypes on three counts – the first being the fact that the event even exists, given that pot smokers are hardly renowned for their organisational skills.

Stoners can also be an utterly humourless lot and yet The Hemp Olympix has some playful touches:

  • The Joint Rolling competition (two categories). Speed and my favourite, Artistry for the ‘most original and beautiful with as many papers as you like within ten minutes’.
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1999 Artistry winner

  • The Bong Throwing competition (male/female categories). Interestingly this category has an educational function at its heart as organisers have long been concerned for the health of young bong smokers who use plastic bottles and garden hoses known to release toxic fumes when lit. Incidentally the bong throw must not exceed a run up of ten steps and must conclude with a yell which the rules rather superfluously indicate ‘must contain at least one sound’.
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Be gone evil bong!

  • Irongrower Person Event (male/female categories). This obstacle course mirrors the real life feats of cultivators by demanding that competitors carry a 40kg fertiliser bag (20kgs for women) and water bucket between marked points without spillage. Damage to the lantana tunnel obstacle on the way through results in instant disqualification.

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  • The Furry Freak Brothers lookalike competition. Enough said.

And finally, perhaps the biggest surprise of the lot, police participation. Seriously. The Hemp Olympix includes a Tug-O-War competition between the Police and the Polites (aka hippies) which is all the more remarkable for the fact that as recently as 2006, the New South Wales riot squad, accompanied by sniffer dogs, raided Mardi Grass and arrested scores of festival goers.

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But in what appears to have been a win for the Nimbin community, the police have subsequently given up its attack strategy as the poor sniffer dogs were, quite literally, losing the plot, particularly as villagers had been scattering marijuana leaves all over Nimbin to lead any sniffer dog ambush astray.

Happily these days the police presence is an altogether more supportive one. As local area commander Superintendent Matt Kehoe has said ‘The community supports the festival so our aim is just to ensure a peaceful festival and target anti-social behaviour’.

It’s good to see then that thanks to the cops, the grass is indeed greener at The Hemp Olympix these days.

Needless to say I’m holding my breath for the announcement of The 2014 Hemp Olympix, but evidently they must still be mulling over the programme. I can only hope that they have even grander plans of a joint venture with the Bong Bong Races.

http://www.nimbinmardigrass.com/2013/

http://www.bongbongprc.com.au/

The Aboriginal tightrope walker who duped Hitler & Mussolini

Few people are aware of the fact that in the 1930’s, Adolf Hitler issued an Aboriginal Australian tightrope walker with a German passport so he could come and go as he pleased. Moreover Mussolini awarded the same man a medal for his death-defying performances, declaring him to be ‘a beautiful stud of a man’.

How do I know? Because the man in question was my great uncle.

Con Colleano started life as Cornelius Sullivan in Lismore in rural Australia in 1899, one of ten born to an Irishman and his Aboriginal wife. The circus was in their blood and it soon became apparent that Con displayed a rare talent on the high wire with his confounding dexterity and balance.

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Seven years to perfect a stunt (mustn’t have been much on tv!)

The teenage Con spent seven years perfecting what was considered worldwide to be an impossible feat on a tightrope  – a forward somersault, the act of which deprived the walker from being able to sight the wire on landing.

He became a sensation at Sydney’s Tivoli theatre, where he met my great aunt Winnie, who performed as one of its coquettish soubrettes.  While Con was a handsome man with matinee idol looks he was somewhat of a rough diamond, so Winnie played an integral part in teaching Con to dance, swirl a Spanish cape and add panache to his routine and in doing so transformed his act from one focused on mechanical landings to charismatic entertainment that incorporated daring flourishes with the sublime grace and speed of a ballet dancer. Con was then able to pass himself off as an exotic Spaniard and Winnie’s WASPish looks would no doubt have helped act as a decoy to his indigenous roots.

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Con and Winnie: Look into my eyes, look into my eyes ….

Con made his mark on the world stage in the most extraordinary fashion at New York’s Hippodrome in 1923. Unaccustomed to a venue of its size and blinding stage lights, he missed the first of his forward somersault attempts, being heavily sliced across the chest by the wire on his way down.  The next attempt knocked him unconscious as he fell ten metres with a thud to the floor. Undeterred he mounted the wire a third time by which point the audience was crying out for him to stop as blood saturated his costume. It was only when the managers turned out the stage lights in an effort to break up the crowd that he took his final opportunity, battered and bruised, to mount the wire one more time, and in doing so sighted and landed the forward somersault.  A ten minute standing ovation ensued followed by several days recovering in hospital.

The legend of Con Colleano was born and he and Winnie went on to travel the world performing for British royalty, the Fuhrer and Il Duce amongst others, earning the jaw-dropping amount of $1,000 US a week from Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Brothers in the 1920’s (alas, we never saw a penny of it!).

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The ups and downs of being the Wizard of the Wire

Apart from his forward somersault, perhaps Con’s most impressive and theatrical feat was removing his matador pants on the wire mid-bounce, and because Con was by that time a rich man he was able to invest in a kick-arse camera and develop his skills as a cinematographer. Fortunately some of his home movie footage now lives on Youtube, including the infamous pants-removing routine.

View more on Con: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAupEIwcYjI

While Con was unquestionably charismatic in a circus environment and was screen-tested as a possible replacement for Valentino in Hollywood, he was a quiet and unassuming man and the closest he got to celluloid fame was as an uncredited stunt double for Charles Boyer in the 1943 film, Flesh and Fantasy.

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Still from the movie, Flesh & Fantasy (not to be confused with the Billy Idol song)

Sadly Con and Winnie ultimately lost all their money indulging in a luxurious lifestyle, giving it away to friends and making a disastrous investment in a pub in outback Australia in the 1950s (what were they thinking?).

Returning cap in hand to the US hoping for some circus openings which never happened, Con and Winnie lived out the rest of their union in Miami until his death in 1973, after which Winnie returned to our family home in Sydney, by which point she had a grating American accent capable of breaking glass and drifted around our house with the air of Blanche Dubois crossed with Carol Channing.  I thought her somewhat of a dolt and I am ashamed of that now particularly knowing how much she saw of the world and the historical figures she rubbed shoulders with.

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I’m thinking of taking a leaf out of Great Aunt Winnie’s book

However one aspect of this story will never stop delighting me.

The humiliation of Hitler’s Ayrian racial superiority at the hands of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is of course etched in history.  The fact that on a much smaller scale some years prior, our very own Con Colleano was feted by Hitler as a righteous example of Spanish Ayrian supremacy is quite the achievement, and one of which Lismore, if not all of Australia can be suitably chuffed, for its impressively subversive qualities if nothing else.

Maximum respect, Uncle Con.

Baggage carouselfie

Have you ever been tempted by boldly patterned luggage that would stand out in a sea of black on a carousel, only to wince at the ‘no turning back’ permanence of its soon-to-be outré design aesthetic?

Enter the Echo Luggage Cover; durable enough to protect your luggage from water and fading (and possibly light-fingered baggage handlers) while standing out from the crowd … but only for as long as you want it to!

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Also a great way to spruce up a well-worn but fully functioning piece of luggage that does as much for your sense of self worth as a pair of Cottontails with the elastic going.

Bags of transitory style for only $29.95 from shopuntil.com.au

Abbott loses to Australia’s Prince Leonard

From Abbott rut to the State of Hutt

5 million+ Australian Labor voters awoke today with a bone-crushingly retrograde hangover thanks to a night drowning in embalming fluid followed by salt rubbed in the wounds and a squirt of lemon in the eye, otherwise known in the bar trade as a Lib Sip Sucks.

Forlorn and disenfranchised, lefties have since been posting and tweeting in droves from their sick beds, simultaneously petitioning against Murdoch and renouncing their citizenship (oh, the delicious irony) while entertaining migration to more progressive co-ordinates such as Middle Earth. And yes, I’ve been one of them.

But really … where to now that we’ve been hoisted by our own retards? How do we exit stage right without abandoning what’s left of a country we still love?

The answer, comrades, is both home AND away.

Australia’s Principality of Hutt River, 517kms north of Perth, was recognised as an independent sovereign state some thirty years ago and has been doing quite nicely ever since.

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The Principality of Hutt River’s coat of arms.

Leonard George Casley, a former mathematician and physicist who worked for NASA in the 1950s and owned a West Australian wheat farm, railed against the draconian production quotas imposed by the government by taking the rather lateral and adventurous step of proclaiming his farm’s secession from WA, anointing himself Prince Leonard and in doing so fairly comprehensively sticking it up the establishment in a multitude of ways.

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HRH Prince Leonard and his faithful consort, the late Princess Shirley.

GrandDuchy.org

As showcased on the GrandDuchy.org website

In an equally impressive case of slackarsedness, the Federal Government failed to submit a formal objection to Casley’s claim in time (two years no less) and so the Principality of Hutt River (PHR) was granted de facto autonomy on 21st April 1972 and recognised as a micro nation internationally from thereon in.

PHR currency, trading at 1:1 with the Australian dollar

PHR currency, trading at 1:1 with the Australian dollar

In the ensuing decades PHR has continued to impress on a number of levels:

  • While only accommodating 23 permanent residents, its principality boasts 14,000 worldwide citizens.
  • Prince Leonard has conferred commissions upon those who have been great supporters; most intriguingly the bestowal of naval commissions, even though the principality is completely landlocked.
  • Registering companies is encouraged; the government-accredited Filipino online university, St Linus, was one of the first.
  • Hong Kong officially recognised PHR in 2012.
  • PHR’s national anthem is the stirring ‘It’s a Hard Land’. Popular Australian band Rose Tattoo is rumoured to be considering recording a version of it.

On a sadder note, Prince Leonard’s long time consort Her Royal Highness Princess Shirley, passed away at the age of 85 earlier this year and accordingly the principality was plunged into a 12 day state of mourning with flags flying at half mast and camping and overnight visits cancelled until further notice.

Prince Leonard working hard for the money at PHR's post office

Prince Leonard working hard for the money at PHR’s post office

While a massive blow to the principality and its monarch, Leonard, like grieving voters, must also look to the future.

So with maximum respect to Princess Shirley’s memory, may I nonetheless suggest that in good time Prince Leonard entertain the idea of starring in a spin-off TV series called ‘The Farmer Crowns a Wife’?

But I digress. This is a rally cry to those who have collapsed under the weight of an election where the best option we could entertain was the least worst and a choice with nothing to rejoice about.

The Principality of Hutt River however provides some much needed light. Dum Spiro Spero may sound like a hapless Greek greengrocer, but PHR’s motto translates as ‘While I breathe there is hope’.

And isn’t hope what we’re all seeking right about now?

After all, the future looks increasingly bright for those seeking an alternative Australia when the authorities are on record as saying ‘The Australian Government tends not to interfere with The Principality of Hutt River.’

So pack your bags and leave the country without having to go anywhere. Prince Leonard and his micro nation await you and your half full glass of reignited optimism.

That’s one nation that gets my enthusiastic vote.

PHR passport

Don’t forget your toothbrush.