5 October 2013

Blue Sky Mine

I am seated at an outside table at Starbucks in Novena. It is one of my weekend haunts and I am eating some very soft and delicious cheesecake whilst sipping on my second double shot vanilla latte. It is late on a Saturday afternoon and I am nursing a sore mouth after yet another bout in the dental chair where Derek – my dentist - has once again subjected me to great pain.

Derek has been undertaking a series of root canal treatments on two of my rear upper molars for many months and he has commenced the construction of a crown. I became convinced this morning that the college fund for one of his many children must require replenishment for I have surely paid a fortune to the man. In a moment that with the great benefit of hindsight I now consider somewhat rash - I instructed Derek to simply rip the fucker of a tooth out.

Rip he did. 

The fragile tooth shattered into six pieces and my jaw and gums were cut asunder.

I am feeling some pain.

Hence the soft cheesecake.

Whilst I was on my first luke-warm cup of coffee and awaiting the arrival of my cheesecake my mother rang me on my mobile phone. I knew it was my mum before I answered as I have assigned her a special ring tone that sounds like an air raid siren.

Blessed be the smart phone.

I was expecting this phone call as my mum is an avid reader of everything that I write and despite my written pleas for her not to panic – she panics. She was aware that I have just returned from Tokyo where I had some interesting moments with the godfather of a Japanese crime family. The Oyabun was a very nice and hospitable man and I was in no danger at anytime. I went to some lengths to explain this in my writing – knowing that my mother would be reading.

“Hello Mum”

“Is that you dear?” she said.

I could hear the anxiety in her voice.

“Yes it is me Mum”

“You haven’t been tattooed or had any of your fingers cut off have you dear”

“No mum I have not”

“You are not working as a drug mule either are you?”

No mum I am not”

“Are you sure Peter?”

“I think I would know Mum and even if I were it would be unlikely that I would tell you would I?”

“Your father wouldn’t be very happy if you ended up in a Japanese jail cell Peter”

I wouldn’t be very happy either mum”

“I don’t think that you should be writing all this stuff down for the whole world to read Peter I mean Daphne and the girls at the golf club all know that your brother has got a very big penis thanks to you”

“I don’t know who Daphne is Mum and the fact remains that Richard has got a very big penis”

I have been through all of this before with my mum and she seems very caught up on the fact that I once mentioned in an article that my brother is very well endowed. I did not write about it per se – it was just a by-the-by comment. I since discussed it with my brother and he was not the slightest bit concerned about me mentioning it.

He rather liked it in fact.

My mum also keeps mentioning the name Julian Assange and she tells me repeatedly that she does not want to see me seeking asylum in an obscure African Embassy for the rest of my life. I have told her that this is simply bizarre and I am not disclosing any state or national secrets to anyone and I have no association with Wikileaks.

None whatsoever.

I told my mum that I simply observe stuff and I write it down.

I have also told my mum on many occasions that I did not think that either the Swedish government or the CIA would try and track me down on the basis that I revealed that my brother has a very big dick.

It is to no avail.

For still she carries on.

I accept it as I mother’s prerogative.

"What about that ghastly Russian man that kills people with an axe?"

"He uses an ice-pick Mum. What about him?"

"You shouldn't be associating with people like that - your father wouldn't like it"

"I think Dad would like him Mum and he only kills Danish dudes"

My mother was referring to a man I met named Vlad. He is now a Russian Oil and Gas Executive but he was once a KGB assassin. He is quite a nice guy but he drinks a lot of vodka.

"You still swear too much in your writing Peter it is unnecessary"

"What the fuck mum?"

"That's not funny Peter"

"Sorry Mum - you need to chill out though"

"Don't speak your hippy talk to me Peter"

"Yes Mum"

There was a bit of a pause then before my Mum asked:

"You are not going to write about this are you Peter?" 

She asks this of me fairly often now.

"I might actually"

"But why dear?"

"Why not Mum?

There was another bit of a pause before I heard something that resembled a sigh.

I chatted with my Mum for another quarter of an hour or so - where she didn't reveal too much. I eventually reassured her though that I was healthy, happy and I was not yet a member of any Yakuza gang nor was I likely to become a drug mule anytime soon.

When I hung up the phone and commenced the eating of my cheesecake - I noticed that there were two young Singaporean guys who were seated at the table adjacent to mine staring rather intently at me. Their table was overloaded with three laptop computers and a very large folder of what looked like technical notes.

The guys were dweebs.

A dweeb is a studious and nerdy type of person. There are many in Singapore and I like them a lot. These dweebs were fairly typical in that they had bad haircuts, wore thick spectacles and they looked as if their mothers had dressed them. They were likely very smart - as dweebs often are.

“What’s up guys?”

“You are Australian?” one of them asked.

“I am” I replied.

“We are looking at starting up a start up’ the other one said.

“We are thinking about using an Australian name” he added.

“Starting up a start up?” I asked.

“Yes” they said in sync.

“What sort of business?” I enquired.

“Data mining using cloud technology” the closest dweeb responded.

‘Fuck’ I thought – but I did not say this. This was super dweeb stuff that I had no idea at all about.

None whatsoever.

“What is the Australian name that you are thinking of?” I asked

“Blue sky mining” a dweeb responded.

“The song by Midnight Oil?”


Midnight Oil were an iconic Australian band of the 1990’s. Their lead singer was a giant bald man named Peter Garrett who left the band to become a politician. Many of the band’s songs were about important social issues in my country including the plea for native title to be given to the aboriginal people, environmental causes and the atrocities of politicians. Many people think that Peter Garrett sold out the band when he became a politician.

I am one such person.

“Not a good idea boys. Do you know what the Blue sky mine is all about”

I received a blank stare from both the dweebs - which in Singaporean can mean any number of things.

In this instance I assumed that it meant ‘no’.

I then explained to the dweebs that to many Australians the name Blue Sky Mine is synonymous with death because the song was about miners in a small town in western Australia called Wittenoom. Many of these miners and the residents of this town died because they were mining a deadly substance called blue asbestos. I told the dweebs that the ‘Blue’ referred to the type of asbestos that was mined and the ‘Sugar Refining Company” was the owner of the mine – the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. 

This company is better known by its acronym – CSR.

I told the dweebs that many thousands of miners had contracted and died from horrific diseases from digging up blue asbestos in the 1960’s and a generation of families were affected. I also informed them that both the state and federal governments tried to cover up the environmental catastrophe that was Wittenoom and they had even removed the town from maps. There is a much-photographed signpost where the name was first scrubbed out – and then replaced. Wittenoom no longer exists as far as cartographers are concerned.

I let the dweebs know that in no uncertain terms that the Blue Sky mine was an abomination.

“So you think it is a good name for a data mining start up then?” one of the dweebs asked

“My brother has a very big dick” I replied.

Sorry Mum - but he does.

No comments :

Post a Comment