I am pleased to announce the release of my new song cycle for Soprano and Piano:
17 Incredibly Shocking Haikus for the Modern Age
Divided We Stand
No Single Drop...
The Fiery Rage
17 Incredibly Shocking Haikus for the Modern Age is a song cycle
composed between 2012 and 2020. The text consists entirely of haiku poems, and the cycle as a whole echoes this form, employing a 5-7-5 haiku macrostructure. Sampled four years apart, the texts describe the harrowing events of three trending #hashtag phenomena that imploded after missing their points, but not before accumulating vast amounts of money.
It makes me somewhat uneasy that art is often viewed as a rapier with which to skewer one’s ideological opponents. But, at the time of writing, a post-truth aesthetic is alive and well in Western social and political arenas. As such, rather than preaching to the choir, perhaps aiming to reflect a more unconventional (and hopefully more accurate) perspective is of more use. In this age of the ‘echo chamber’, this small song cycle would make such an effort…
Divided, We Stand references the 2016 plight of Duncan Storrar, who asked a simple question on the ABC programme Q&A regarding the fairness of recent tax cuts that overlooked those who arguably needed it most. The failure of Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer to provide a meaningful and down-to-earth response triggered a massive wave of unsolicited fundraising for Storrar, while he simultaneously became the target for a converse wave of conservative hit pieces. Neither of these polarised responses, or the heated debates on his character that followed did anything to address the issue he raised.
No Single Drop… focuses on the KONY 2012 phenomenon. One of the earliest and most pristine examples of slacktivism, Invisible Children, Inc. created a heart-rending, thirty-minute youtube video pleading for support (in the video shares and money) to help them create ‘awareness’ to inspire ‘governments’ to do ‘something’ about obscure warlord Joseph Kony. A captive audience with rendered hearts shared the video, perhaps brought the KONY Action Pack, but promptly failed to paint-the-town KONY as requested. Most significantly, director Jason Russell’s experienced a subsequent ‘temporary psychotic breakdown’ that is not discussed in depth on Wikipedia. But, like purely hypothetical traffic stopped by a naked masturbator ‘tripping balls’ on the sidewalk, public interest in the issue soon came to a standstill. Lol. Joseph Kony is still at large some eight years later, and was never perceived by the world’s governments to be enough of a problem worth taking action.
The Fiery Rage is partly a direct transcript of RFS Fire-fighter Paul Parker’s tirade levelled at Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the peak of the devastating 2020 Australian bushfires. Disgusted at the latter’s absence, inaction, tone-deaf commentary, and shameless quest for photo ops, Parker’s enraged statements, almost perfect haikus in themselves, resonated with much of the public. As with Storrar, unsolicited fundraising on his behalf ensued. Progressive enthusiasm for this Hero of the Left and potential Australian of the Year quickly diminished once he commented he was a stoic One Nation supporter, regardless of how his initial sentiment resonated.
This movement is dedicated to Julian Burnside in retribution for "Wind Farm Music"