THAT LONG TRAIN RIDE

I was right
About all the little things that didn’t matter.
I was wrong about all the big things that did.
But youth is for foolishness and mistakes.
The concept being that you will eventually learn from mistakes and your heart will grow a harder layer of protection. This can be a lifelong education of regrowth if you don’t pay enough attention to details.
One theory is that we keep falling in love with the same person, over and over, like some weird drunkard’s dance in a Groundhog Day scenario. Even if that person was all wrong for us in the first place. So is it familiarity that attracts? The devil we know is better than the saviour we don’t? Perhaps we just tire from the waiting and settle for what we know. Attracted to those who remind us of ourselves? Or marry for money and security even though that brings in its train a lifetime of boredom and unrequited dreams and hopes? But surely that is not a living, but a dying? For money proves to be a cold companion and takes more than it gives. Doomed to buy all the toys and trinkets to impress others whilst your subsequent depression stemming from your inner knowledge that nothing purchased brings any lasting pleasure. You are a compromised person and although you can lie to your conscience your sub-conscious knows the truth, and forces you to spend most of your days sleeping. Hiding from life. Avoiding waking to the horror of who you really are. A prisoner trapped in a cell of your own making. Spending all your approved allowance on the best drugs to dull yourself to the harsh reality that you are already dead.
I took myself to Disneyland today.
Why?
I wanted to return to a simpler, safer time when I believed in dreams and heroes.
All around me was the sound of the laughter of children and the look of wonderment in their eyes.
They are years from cynicism and reducing the world to something they can understand.
I had a photo taken with Mickey but my idol Donald Duck was nowhere to be seen.
Disneyland was conceived and built by a sad and lonely man who acted childish at times. Because the truth is he was still a child and needed to build a romanticised version of his childhood town – a place where it was always clean, and wholesome and safe. And contained no tyrannical father. Ironic huh? Was he insane? In most people’s terms, yes. But at least his dreams were safer than those of young Adolf Hitler, a failed painter from Austria. Y’know, if young Adolf had’ve sold three or four landscape paintings the whole Second World War may have been avoided. I always say, “Be careful about pissing off creative people. That creative light force once turned back on itself can become very dark and destructive.”
On the other hand, all of the world’s great accepted visionaries were a little looney tunes. Some, very much so. Fortunately their insanities were focused towards something more publicly palatable than the Third Reich or the NWO. They risked everything thinking outside the box. Their own lives became secondary to their dream. And many died in their footsteps upon that lonely highway. They sacrificed romantic relationships, friendships, their dignity (as many were publicly ridiculed), their personal happiness, and a comfortable safe life. Why? And what for? A higher calling? Immortality? If there is no God and no afterlife why do people do this to themselves? If we’re just here marking time until the long darkness, why not just put the tools down and embrace the fairly interesting train ride to nowhere?
It’s the same with love. If it’s not a God-given gift to share then what exactly is it? Why care so much about it? Or anyone else?
I pondered all these things as I sat in my chair looking out the window that was shaped like Mickey’s head on the Disneyland Express on my train ride back to somewhere.

(C) Frank Howson 2018

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GINGER BISCUITS

We told each other we had a good life full of ginger biscuits and roast dinners. I suppose it reminded me of my youth waking up Sunday mornings to the smell of something cooking and the excited anticipation of a family gathering.

I’m all that exists of that family now. So, in my defence, I will plead guilty to attempting to bring this ritual into our lives in the hope of a shared familiarity or perhaps the conjuring up of ghosts from the past. Futile dreams were our dessert. Big serves to disguise the cold reality that the best in us was gone. All that remains are the broken pieces of empty dishes. And the broken after dinner stories of broken lives that harbour in my memory and things I dream at night.

There were glimpses of great love in my family but thinly wedged between slabs of anger, recriminations, abuse, guilt and tears. Perhaps that’s what makes those glimpses glow so warmly in my heart.

You wanted a feeling of family and so did I but we were loveless refugees on the run and our pantomime of make-believe was a farce that didn’t hold up to intelligent scrutiny. But the first thing to die in such a delusion is intelligence. We played our roles with conviction but were hopelessly miscast, or perhaps just too old for believability.

We had a life of ginger biscuits and roast dinners but that was all. There we were, unarmed, falling where we stood in the small talk and repressed resentment that neither of us got what we had wanted. The past can’t be repeated, excluding the bad bits, by acting out the good. There is no cutting room floor anymore. Gone. All gone. My youth. My dreams of love. My good will to others. My mistakes of the heart. My misplaced loyalty to all the wrong people. Gone. And soon I will be gone, and all that will remain will be words. And people’s rushed and conflicting judgement of who they thought I was.

Fortunately there will be no one to play act the glimpses of my failed Quixotic quests to harness some joy in myself, and in others.

 

(C) Frank Howson 2018

ANNOUNCING THE OZ INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

In November of last year Richard Wolstencroft felt it necessary to resign as Director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. At that time he asked me to take the reins and chart M.U.F.F’s overhaul and new direction. I accepted because I felt that the festival is an important outlet for emerging film makers to find their feet and their audience.

My acceptance of the top position was on the basis that I would have total autonomy to make changes and lead the festival into a brave new future.

Unfortunately after prolonged negotiations it has become apparent that the severing of the past and what is needed to create a totally free new system proved more complex and time consuming than either Richard nor I could have possibly envisaged.

So, it is my decision to not continue as my feeling is that M.U.F.F should be handed back to Richard, its creator, who will run it as a free speech absolutist event.

But, on the other hand, having put a lot of time and energy into a new look festival, as well as commencing negotiations with several legendary international film identities to visit our shores to as festival guests and share their experience and wisdom with us, I have decided to go ahead with a totally new film festival that will be clear to create its own identity and reputation as well as serve as another much needed outlet for young local and international film-makers. This I hope is not seen to be in any way competition with M.U.F.F but quite the opposite, another important spotlight that will include some categories not covered by M.U.F.F. It will also be run at a later date, in our summer months, at some very prestigious venues already locked in.

The Oz International Film Festival can assure you of a very exciting premiere season.

We welcome film-makers here and abroad to visit our website and submit their latest works for consideration of inclusion in our inaugural festival.  Your films will not be judged on any bias to politics, race, gender, sexual preference or content, but purely on the execution of your film-making abilities, and a diverse and experienced jury of industry veterans will be announced within the next few weeks.

The festival will honour the bold, brave and adventurous new voices in the world of cinema and hopefully help some go on to be the new vanguard of the next generation of important film-makers.

I will be the Festival Director and ably assisted by Executive Producer Barry Robinson.  Other appointments will be announced shortly.

Good luck and welcome aboard what we feel will be an exciting new chapter. We look forward to your submissions and you can trust that they will be very carefully considered, each and every one.

Kindest,

Frank Howson
Festival Director.

THE PEOPLE OF DARKNESS

The living are always under attack from the dead. As night follows day so do those of darkness target those of light and stalk them with words of hero worship when,  the truth is, the mere existence of those with a spark irritates them and they consciously or, in some cases, subconsciously,  work toward the extinguishment of that flame. Wilhelm Reich writes about this condition in detail in his book The Murder of Christ.

The people of darkness use many tools to bring down the envied. Negative rumours, stories that are unfounded in fact, and a whole range of politically acceptable words to discredit their target i.e., Narcissist (this applies to anyone who is successful in showbiz who uses social media to promote their latest ventures) because the fact that someone may actually be getting off their fat ass and doing something reminds the person of darkness how meaningless and unfocused their own life is; Nazi (it is acceptable in today’s politically correct world to call anyone with an opposing opinion this and get away with it. This is disgustingly outrageous and unfair to their target whose only crime may be to have an original thought, as well as, obviously, making light of what the real Nazis did). But let me not bring logic into this lest I be called names. Anti-Semitic is a good one too in some cases. I have even witnessed Jewish people being called anti-Semitic because they dared to have an opinion that didn’t sit comfortably with the party line. Such is the out of control world we live in where the militant wheel gets oiled first and the logical debate is not only not considered it is condemned. Here we have a perfect storm for the people of darkness to not only hide within, but thrive.

Bob Dylan has predicted for some time now that we have entered the end game. Anyone who has studied theology and the predictions of the old prophets would have to concur. In my opinion we are currently engaged in the final war between good and evil, darkness and light, and the shadow people are only going to get more and more hysterical as things don’t go their way. They are currently very confused as to why things aren’t going the way of the Polls. Could it be divine intervention?

It is difficult to untangle yourself from a person of darkness because they are cling ons – spiritual vampires sucking your energy. And the more you give them the more resentful they will become towards you. For even your kindness is an irritation. A reminder of what they are not. They will insult you by praising strangers and even abusing and opportunistic ex-partners above your efforts to help, give and support. This is to make you crazy and so confused you will cease to be able to function and end up zombie like staring out a window into the light that was once your source. Do not under any circumstances feed them. Let well enough alone. Danger and madness this way comes.

(C) Frank Howson 2017

SECRET LIFE OF THE MARRIED WOMAN

once I smiled

and doors opened

now they are shut

and bolted

 

I see a husband and wife

in a sushi bar

he attempts to talk

small

but she ignores his

existence

as if trying to swallow

a load

of

past recriminations

too wise

or well schooled

to bring them up

now

here

perhaps

they no longer make sense

anyway

but this is all they have

now

this was their life

and cannot be

discounted

or forgotten

otherwise

it’s all been for

nothing

 

what would you like to order?

 

watching them

we know that strangers know

some things

no,

strangers probably know

more

about his wife

than he does

she has probably shared more

with

them

opened up

fully

everywhere

exposed

giggled

slap me

he won’t care

he never has before

the stranger can take her

anywhere he wants

she’s all his

it’s easy

she’s not really herself

and knows this is going

nowhere

other than back to her husband’s bed

and

the swallowing of more secret

recriminations

of a damned parade

of meaningless

words

that meant everything for a time

but

don’t hold up

to

examination

in the daylight

 

ah, but the memory of

those dancers

who took her once

to

somewhere

she

would hate it known

she

has

visited

 

he has gone

too

the husband

somewhere else

that other country

called lost in ambition

and

small print

of a thousand deals

that came unstuck

so did he

briefly

pulling himself together

he went on

like his father before him

never acknowledging

that he

died

over dinner one night

still

no one noticed

so he got away with it

 

once

when he was gone

on business

in paraguay

or somewhere

doing something

that would come to

nothing

she put on a dress

in his absence

a red one

to match her lips

a tight one

a low cut one

a short one

so they could see

thigh highs

heels

nothing more

oh, and the wedding ring

just to be naughty

she went out

alone

this night

to a downtown bar

and sat

alone

trying to look bored

drinking

while strangers looked at her

and smiled

even some of the women smiled

she blushed and looked

away

acting her part

knowing they like a challenge

seeing her wedding ring

they approach

hi there

she smiles

acting surprised

soon she’s surrounded by men

all horny

for the conquest of the married woman

asking where her husband was

oh, he’s away

that’s too bad they lie

looking at her breasts

sitting beside her

buying her drinks

joking

flirting

lying

stripping her with their eyes

dropping hints about how big they are

big house

big job

big car

big bank accounts

well-built

she looks up

interested

they’re not sure about what

she dances with some of them

they grind into her

letting her know

the truth

some are impressive

some just big talk

some put their hands on her married

ass

challenging her to object

she does not

and the whole room sees

the wife is burning

on a mission

to feel something before

dawn

her husband thinks she’s at home

watching tv

she smiles

what he doesn’t know would kill him

 

the chosen one

drives her home

to his place

she objects

hollow sounding

he takes control

just because she lets him

he’s too dumb to know that

he takes her

inside

and strips her

roughly

like a birthday gift

finally

seeing the other man’s wife

fully exposed

being offered up to him

to take anyway he wants it

both of them knowing he will

 

on the other hand

he was fully exposed to her

hours ago

she knew everything about him

and knows he’s too stupid

to

ever be a danger

to her real life

he does tricks

in an effort to surprise her

he takes off her high heel and

penetrates her with it

her back against the wall

her dress pulled up at the front

hoping the good wife

will enjoy being ravaged

in a way

her husband would never

dream

or dare

“would your husband like seeing this?” he smirks

“seeing how you respond?”

she represses her urge to laugh in his face

 

“beg” he begs her

 

how far will the respectable wife go

he wonders

she smiles

letting him know there are no limits

tonight

there is something in her smile

that makes him tremble

now

who’s in control?

he orders her to get upstairs

and into his bed

where she belongs

as she runs up the steps

he slaps her sexy ass

with all his might

until she squeals from the sting

 

he makes her lay

across his bed

on all fours

she does so

and hears him open the bedside table drawer

behind her

 

she closes her eyes

 

he will be big

 

he will make her cry

again

and again

 

but she is so pleased

that she chose him

he was just the darkness she needed

before

returning to the

light

of a reality

that is slowly killing her

 

she has defeated temptation

by

giving in to

it

 

she hopes her husband’s trip has gone well

 

(c) Frank Howson 2013