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  Issue #160

A ruin standing in front of another ruin - Cruddopolis

Mike's Pith & Wind - Greece is the word
The last time I was in Paris was in 1983. Paris was one the first calls we made on WHY's mini-tour around Europe recording video material for the band's stage shows back home in Australia and it hadn't started well with our camper-van being broken into and robbed within minutes of our parking it on a Paris street for the first time.
We were barely in Paris for a couple of days but I was too terrified to try out the French I'd spent a good four years at school learning, as I had the distinct impression that Parisians would prefer not to speak English to me even if they had more than a passing acquaintance with the language. I also got the impression they wouldn't piss on me if I was on fire but I think we can put that down to paranoia.
That's all changed now and not just in France. Most of the younger generation of Western Europeans can and will converse with you in fluent English as well as their native language and a couple of others besides.
I think that it's a very encouraging phenomenon and one which we can only hope leads to more understanding between nations. I'm one of those who believes that a common global language is a desirable thing and that English happens to be that global language (or, ironically, that lingua franca) is pretty convenient for we stalwart English-speaking members of the British Commonwealth.
It's fair to claim, I suppose, that Australia.. read more

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Dick's Toolbox - Rudd's army
I have only won one lottery and that was the ballot to get into the NZ Army. Suffice to say it was not a lottery that I actually wanted to win as it was at the height of the Vietnam War. However it did solve the problem of what I would be doing in the long University summer vacation where I had normally worked in the Dalgety’s wool stores. Not being sure of my military destiny I had applied for Unemployment Benefits which was eventually responded to with typical bureaucratic efficiency after I had been in the army for eight weeks. Whilst engaged in combat bush exercises out the back of nowhere – well somewhere a long way from Burnham Military Camp – I was summoned to the captain with an urgent telegram which made me fear the worst for any member of my family. No, it was just the government turning my application for unemployment down.
What can one say about the fate of a young long-haired, anarchistic, two pack of cigarettes a day art student in the army? A haircut every.. read more

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