Monday, July 14, 2008

Such is Life

When I was about 14 years old I became totally, utterly obsessed and consumed by The Kelly Gang and the whole saga that went on in Victoria in the late 19th century.
I thought it was the most romantic, adventurous, exciting tale i had ever heard and i fell madly in love with all the boys as well as their story. People thought i was mad as I told of my idol being Ned Kelly; friends felt sick as i showed them pictures of Steve Hart and Aaron ,asking them to pick who was hotter (Aaron always won- he makes Brad Pitt look like the cleaning guy at the MCG) ; my teachers didn't know whether to laugh or cry when every English oral was about Ned and his cruel injustices, every creative story was about the boys out in the bush and on the 125th anniversary of Ned Kelly's hanging I went to the principal and requested him to ask the school for another minute of silence for another fallen (or rather hung) Australian on Remembrance Day (11th of November 1880 for those playing on Mars, in caves with rocks in their ears).
One year I didn't speak for a whole day on each of the anniversaries of Joe, Steve, Dan and Ned's deaths. They were my ultimate heroes, my idea of what men were meant to be like. All the other men around me didn't come close to comparing.
I once told mum that Ned Kelly was Australia's answer to Jesus which saw her face turn three different shades of 'You are not my child!' (I'm supposed to be Catholic, but have kind of rejected the whole institutional notion of religion as most people seem to use it as just a protective blanket keeping them from questioning their true values and selves, with their motivations for doing good seeming to stem only from fear of a vengeful God- but that's another story). I explained to her that like Jesus, Ned Kelly sacrificed himself for the sake of all the poor settlers in Australia who were being persecuted under the squattocracy and police. He alone made the whole world sit up and listen and brought to even the Queen of flamin' England's nose the corruption existing in the police ranks in Australia- causing Australia to launch their first ever inquest into the Kelly Saga (a practise that of course exists and has hauled people of power and authority across the hot coals to this day).
The whole thing is still incredibly complex, but ultimately, it was the Kelly Saga, and the boys uprising to try and establish the Republic of North-East Victoria free from the unfair British Government that didn't answer to laws, as it catered only to the wealthy squatters who wanted the poor farmers out and their land back. I advise everybody to read up on this topic, it is incredibly insightful into the country we once were and I truly believe that being savvy about your own country's history is as crucial as jam on toast, it's our soul, not to mention those unaware of history are condemned to repeat it.
I soon started a Kellyana collection which now consists of around 16 books (mostly non-fiction), two movies (wanna shit bricks? Go see the Ned Kelly movie with Mick Jagger), a couple of (taped) docos, a large plush Neddie (a sense of his pride not included), a small statue of Ned, a sketch based on his photo on the day before he was hung (from a mate who told me to hang it over my bed like a portrait of the Virgin Mary or the Queen), a plush Ned Kelly magnet that I put on my bed head that says "Ned Kelly" on the back (just in case you couldn't work that out from the helmet) a copper engrave of the siege at Glenrowan, Ned Kelly soap and lip balm (birthday presents- my mates know me so well) AND 'Lorna Doone' (the original edition- even bought in the heart of Kelly Country- Beechworth) that was meant to be Ned Kelly's favourite book.
Ned, arise from the dead so I can stalk you, pwettyy please!

I still think Ned Kelly as a 16 year old (pictured above) was one of the most handsome men/boys i have ever seen and if a fella that looked like that (tall, broad shoulders, square jaw, round face, penetrating eyes, serious mouth....... swoons.. ........) strolled into my life I would need a team of wild horses to tie me down to keep me from leaping up to rip his clothes from his hard muscular shoulders and biceps and straddle........... ahh ..... edging towards inappropriateness again.
For a long time I even became convinced that somehow, in someway I was linked to the Kelly story, at first I considered somehow being a distant relative of Ned's, before deciding i was a direct descendant, before I went 'fuck it all' and concluded that I was Ned Kelly's one true love in a past life. Don;t worry, I'm on medication now.
Obsessed really is an understatement.
Now I've found other hobbies, normal hobbies, like..... drinking and picking my nose.
Whilst still rather obsessed and still adding to my collection frequently, I don;t get in blood hurdling fights anymore with people who dare to insult MY man. I simply say "You're just ignorant. I pity you." and walk away the bigger (wo)man while later wishing I had flipped through my bible (Ian Jones' A Short Life) and bahahaed all their transparent accusations with EVIDENCE!!!! AND LOGIC (something most anti-Kelly protesters always neglect when farting out their prejudiced, ill-informed word diarrhoea).

Geeze, guess I still do get my hackles up over this topic.
I still think that North-East Victoria (Kelly Country) is one of the most beautiful places and easy to fall in love with. I've lived there briefly before and plan to live there again, just need to find some sort of means.... other then becoming a bushranger..... god, it's so damn appealing though.
There truly is something incredibly inspiring about Ned and his story; the terrible hardship he endured, the persecution, the loss, the sadness... yet, he came through it all still with this incredible understanding and righteousness, of just knowing he had been wronged his whole life and many people even today reject the notion of him being a remarkable, admirable person, but he was. He was hung with his ''Conscience as clear as the snow in Peru''.
I advise anyone who doesn't know the story to go out and read it. Most historians that deal with the matter remain unbiased through their books as they cover the facts and evidence from the time, leaving readers to make up their own minds- but very few walk away untouched by Ned and his incredible ordeal. I wish I had half the integrity, courage and strength that that amazing man possessed.
I could go on all night but it's 2 am and I have a shit load of school work to do. And I'm getting threatening phone calls from my teaches that have no soft spot for my Dirty Bar-Maid charm (I hate it when your teachers are all chicks). bahaha
Such is life.

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