JustClik News and Blogs

Views, news and features about the Goulburn Valley. Showcasing a variety of local writers and their views.

D.A. Cairns

Follow author Add as friend Message author Subscribe to updates from author Subscribe via RSS

Heavy metal lover and cricket tragic, D.A. Cairns lives on the south coast of New South Wales where he works as an English language teacher and writes stories in his very limited spare time. He has had over 50 short stories published (but who’s counting right?) He blogs at Square pegs http://dacairns.blogspot.com.au and has authored four novels, Devolution, Loathe Your Neighbor, Ashmore Grief, and A Muddy Red River which is available now from Rogue Phoenix Press.

A Voice in the Wilderness

A Voice in the Wilderness

In the tradition of the great Charles Dickens, I present to you a tale of two television shows.
 
I'm watching The Voice Australia season 5, and although I am well versed in the ways of modern television vis-a-vis self promotion and cross promotion, I still find it irritating to have to endure the 'coming up after the break' previews, and the 'before the break' reviews. At the beginning of the show, there's a recap and a preview and then a review and a preview at the end of the show. It's hugely repetitive, and for people like me who watch it all rather than dipping in and out, it's maddening. In my opinion, it minimizes a lot of the potential drama, and diminishes interest and excitement.
 
Classic case this week. All the advertising for the upcoming blind auditions on The Voice featured a dramatic moment when a singer collapsed on stage. Every single promo, both during the program and between episodes, showed her falling down. I had seen her fall down 47 times before I actually saw her full audition. There was no shock or surprise, no drama at all really. Had I seen it not knowing what was coming I would have been stunned, as were the coaches and the live audience, but I was only relieved that I would not have to see it anymore. Not for a while anyway.
 
I was reminded of a time I was watching The Footy Show (NRL). They held an arm wrestling competition which featured some current and ex players. Ben Ross and Wendell Sailor met in the final, and during the struggle, on live television, Sailor broke Ross's arm. The audience fell silent, horrified, as were the show's hosts and the television audience. Producers quickly cut to a break. I could not believe my eyes.
 
No one knew that was going to happen. It was an incredible and horrific moment. I've seen the accident a number of times since, and each time it has less impact, as was the situation with the Iranian singer who collapsed. I was ready for it, and she was perfectly fine not long after her fall, which I knew was the case as well because if she wasn't, we would have heard about it. The event was pre-recorded and as I said, I had seen her crumple on to the stage 47 times already.
 
I think the way shows like The Voice is produced and presented to us as viewers, as consumers, says something quite poignant about us as people. What do you think?

878 Hits
0 Comments

That's Amore

That's Amore

“I am in love and there is nothing in all the world which produces as much suffering as love. Hate or even indifference do not inflict as much damage to the heart as love. For to love is to expose one’s soul to penetration by the fiery arrows of betrayal, of deceit, of disappointment. To love is to make oneself vulnerable. Love can weaken and diminish a man as readily as it can strengthen him. The stampeding herd of my emotions which has left me crumpled and useless on the ground is of infinite number, and cannot end its rampage until I close my heart. I refuse to concede.”
-          from the prologue to Lovesick
 
One of my fondest memories of the wonderful Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis partnership is them singing That’s Amore. When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine…that’s amore. Amore is the Italian word for love, but what is love? Surely it is more than the feeling you have when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie. Love has been the subject of more songs, poems and stories than any other, and is impossible to define simply. There are different kinds of love, and they usually operate together to varying degrees; sometimes seemingly inextricable from one another.


 
What Martin was singing about was the rush of warm fuzziness which characterises being in love. This intensely nice feeling overwhelms those who are in love, and colours their world in happy, hopeful shades. In Lovesick, Angus is afflicted with lovesickness, an obsession which drives him to extreme misbehaviour.
 
Have you ever been in love? What was the major symptom of your lovesickness?

1001 Hits
0 Comments

Accidental Queue-Jumping

Accidental Queue-Jumping

Good social skills are essential. The understatement meter in my pocket just exploded, but seriously, good interpersonal communication skills are primarily the oil which lubricates relationships.
 
When the giant standing next to me at the counter of the local takeaway place delivered his order over the top of mine and then said he was next, I realised two things immediately. One: the man had poor interpersonal skills and two; I had inadvertently jumped the queue. I apologised and made a quip about how I had never seen a line at this particular fast food venue. (In fact, people typically stand parallel to the counter and take note of who was already there when they arrived.)

The man's response to my apology was delivered in a gruff and aggrieved tone. "Just don't jump the queue mate. I don't want to argue about it."

"I don't want to argue about it" is in the same category as statements beginning with "to tell the truth" and "I don't want to say I told you so...". Like the positive onset with an obvious inflection broadcasting, a big "but' will follow.

Whether the big man with serious indignation at the take way joint was naturally rude and ungracious, or whether he had merely exhausted his reserves of bonhomie at the end of a bad day, I do not know. I've been unjustifiably short with people too on occasion, but I reckon a sincere apology ought to extinguish the flames of ire. Most people have varying degrees of serious drama and affliction in their lives. Why bother straining at gnats?

It's pretty easy to be nice, even to people who aren't kind to you. It is not difficult to back down and walk away. The offended behemoth and I left the car park of the takeaway shop at the same time: I was on foot, and he was safe in his world on wheels. He might have looked at me, or he might have simply been checking for oncoming traffic, but, in any case, I threw him another smile. His stony face was the epitome of recalcitrance. As he drove away, I wondered if he was a blogger like me.

809 Hits

What the Dickens?

What the Dickens?

“Mr Chadband is a large yellow man with a fat smile, and a general appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system.” (Bleak House by Charles Dickens)
 
In literature caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics or over simplification of others. Men do not have gargantuan noses or elephant ears, not do women possess bird faces and hourglass figures, but these description paint potent pictures in the mind.

Continue reading
779 Hits

Birds of a Feather Poop Together

Birds of a Feather Poop Together
Birds are indiscriminate poopers and it really gives me the...feeling of strong annoyance. D.A. Cairns In some ways, I quite like birds of the feathered, small brained variety. Many of them are really pretty, and one cannot deny the grace with which they move move through the air.Like many others, I admire the freedom birds have,apart from...
Continue reading
618 Hits

A Stone for My Head

A Stone for My Head

Despite my best intentions to avoid the almost irresistible lure of the bright lights of materialism, I do occasionally fall victim to its polished seduction. When I saw the Miracle Blade advertised in an infomercial, I was gone: compelled to call and place my order before the full spiel had been delivered.
 
It has proved to be a good buy: a very high performing knife of which I am proud, but lately a new concern has arisen courtesy of more advertising. This time it was a radio ad which I heard on the way to work, and this time, unlike the aforementioned purchase of a fancy cutting tool, the need came before the ad. That is, I already knew I had a problem and one which needed urgent attention, before this radio commercial grabbed me by the ears and confirmed my desperate need for a new pillow.

Continue reading
531 Hits
0 Comments

To Be or Not to Be ... Connected?

To Be or Not to Be ... Connected?

In the digital age where everything is computerised and all tasks may be accomplished online as long as you can remember your login details, it strikes me as very strange that a simple thing like activating an internet service, could be so hard.

In the digital age of instant connection and immediate gratification how can a man be told that it will take 2-4 days to activate a phone line, and a further 4-10 days after that to connect the internet service?

iPrimus, an internet and telephony retailer, has been providing good service to us for over a year now except when it comes to relocating. We had a similar problem when we first moved to 2527, but I excused the delay because we were moving the huge distance of 20 kilometres.

Our recent move, which resulted from a totally unexpected eviction notice, saw us transport all our worldly possessions to a new home three doors down from the old one. Yes, three doors: not even 100 metres, and yet here we are, eight days in our new residence, without internet or any immediate prospect of it. We also don't have access to free to air television, but that's a different story.

February 4: I received a text message saying that a technician was required to connect the telephone and that one had been booked for the 18th of February. I called iPrimus, to say this was unacceptable and I was asked if I wanted to request an earlier appointment. I swallowed the large furry ball of sarcasm in my throat and said, 'Yes, please.' They're coming on Monday.

I am thankful for hotspotting. Although I only have 5GB of data on my phone, it should suffice until we have our internet service activated, if I avoid downloading videos.

I'm really mystified by the delay in connecting us to the World Wide Web. It's as simple as pushing a few buttons, isn't it? Or am I hanging my naivete out on the line for all to see? This could only happen in Australia, right? The land of exorbitant charges, and pitiful excuses for poor service.

661 Hits
0 Comments

It's Just Cricket!

It's Just Cricket!

Cricket is the national sport of Australia, and I am a cricket nut. I've loved the game since I was boy, and with each passing year I love it more and more. So, it seems only right to me that I should introduce this game, which in truth is so much more than just a game, to my students regardless of whether they are interested or not.

Most of my adult migrant students know nothing at all about cricket, but as I explained to them, cricket is a part of Australian culture. Even those who (gasp) don't like it, still know about it and understand its significance.

Continue reading
589 Hits