Thursday, March 27, 2014

The True Hooha

On March 12, 2013, James Clapper, Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, appeared before the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence. Asked whether America’s National Security Agency collected “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,” Clapper responded: “No sir. Not wittingly.” This answer was unsurprising. If Clapper had said “yes”, he would have been convicting his agency of activities that almost certainly violated the U.S. Constitution. 

A 29-year-old NSA contractor named Edward Snowden was watching Clapper’s testimony with an especially keen eye ... [read more]

AC/DC and me

I was an aficionado of cock rock long before I ever heard it called that, and indeed well before I possessed a discernible cock of my own. At the age of nine I was an authority on KISS. At the Faulconbridge Primary School talent show in 1979, three mates and I performed a dramatic mimed rendition of “I Was Made For Lovin’ You.” We wore all the relevant face makeup, painstakingly applied by my friends’ sisters. Where appropriate, we wore capes. We wielded nylon-string guitars borrowed from teachers who used them, by day, to accompany group renditions of “Frère Jacques”. My friend Matty W., portraying Peter Criss, played fake drum rolls on the school’s minimalist kit. I was Gene Simmons: the demon. Whether I did the tongue stuff I don’t remember. Actually I do remember, but I’d prefer not to dwell on it. 

A year later, at the talent show of 1980, we put away childish things. Unmasked, dressed in decidedly more casual threads, we appeared as AC/DC ... [To read more, buy the handsome book Rock Country, edited by Christian Ryan, published by Hardie Grant.]