12/25/2008

On This Christmas Day, 2oo8. By Uncle Monty.

On This Christmas Day, 2oo8.
By Uncle Monty.
+
Though England has now lost so much of
her spiritual character with her growing
disrespect and rejection of the religious
Epiphany of Christ in much of today’s
Broken Little Britain,” the fact remains
that the Birth of Jesus still echoes and
shines all around the world. And, in the
open minds and glad hearts of millions of
faithful believers on this, yet another,
good Christmas Morn--at the eighth
year of The Third Millennium.
+
+
No birth, not even that of Islam’s legend of
the birth of their Prophet Mohammad, can
compare to the immaculate conception of
The Prince of Peace. There He was born in
a manger with hands and feet just like you
and me. Born with all of humanity’s frail
conditions of love and fear and hope and
joy. And above all, born that man shall
no more die.
+
+
His name stands beyond all of those who
have lost their way through their secular
ignorance and non-religious or lukewarm
belief. Their loss is their’s, not those of us
who very much believe in His Holy birth
and His Sacred name above all names.
+
+
On this Christmas Day, 2oo8, I sing in the
heart and mind of myself some carols of old.
Traditional Anglicans and lowly-born Pro
test-
ants, like me, also turn to John Jacob Niles’
1934 Appalachia “Songs of the Hill-Folk -to
sing among its other old carols the wonder-
ous "I Wonder as I Wander." For indeed, I
do oftentimes wonder as I wander around the
world and also wonder at the never-ending
death and decline of what was once my
beloved England that is now so ghettoized
and so foreignized it is almost beyond my
own recognition of it. Plus, I also wonder
why Christ is so removed from Christmas
by so many of my own fellow country-
men and women of today:
...
"I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I ...
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
...
"When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God's heaven a star's light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.
...
"If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heav'n for to sing,
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King.
+
What more can I now say? Nothing ...
Wishing you all then a Very Happy Christmas
and a Blessed New Year, 2oo9.
Uncle Monty.
+
Ahmadinejad's Christmas broadcast sparks outrage
+
World woes due to rejection of God: Ahmadinejad
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE4BN3DW20081224
+

12/24/2008

Rare Elvis Xmas Card, 1959. By Uncle Monty.

Rare Elvis Xmas Card, 1959.
By Uncle Monty.

In J. Simon's Traditional American
clothing shop on Russell Street at Lon-
don’s Covent Garden, I noticed the Elvis
Xmas card in the window and promptly
recorded it (has shown above) for
all Elvis fans and admirers to see.

The Xmas card is rather small and printed on
white card. It seems to be in excellent condition
after close to 50 years since Elvis undoubtedly
sent it perhaps to his friends and his fans. I
suspect the Elvis card is worth quite abit of
money to avid collectors of Elvis memorabilia.
...
Each time I was in Memphis, I was always
struck by the packed crowds still visiting the
Presley Mansion. There, "Elvis The Pelvis"
resided until his 1977 death. From nearby
Mississippi's Tupelo was where "The
King of Rock" was born and reared.
...
I’m not an Elvis Presley fan myself though I
think I understand his draw as a cult figure
and as a rock and roll legend of the world. I
still prefer The Beatles myself, mind you …
...
Christmas cheers, Uncle Monty.
+Christmas Eve, 2oo8.
...

12/22/2008

Pulling A Fast One On Its Own Big Issue Vendors. By Uncle Monty.

Pulling A Fast One On Its
Own Big Issue Vendors.
By Uncle Monty.
...
Without giving a damn or without any ex-
planation or without any warning or apology
to its street vendors, The Big Issue has now
saddled them with being forced to sell last
week's Festive Special (shown below) for yet
another week or until the issue itself is com-
pletely sold out. The specially-commissioned
No. 827 Big Issue comic that was set to
appear today – December 22nd, 2oo8 –
has not appeared for sale to the vendors.
They had expected to see the comic issue
ready to sell at the last three critical days
of selling before Christmas Day. Instead,
they’re now struck against their will with
trying to get rid of the old Festive
Special until further notice.
...
What this means is it has not only compound-
ed the difficulty of vendors already chafeing
under poor street sales and the Christmas
economic turndown, but it also means they
now have nothing new to sell to the Christmas
public other than what they've already had
for the past week that hasn't been selling well
at all. It's like trying to flog a dead horse. But
The Big Issue "Big Whigs" don't give a damn
as long as they can force their hapless ven-
dors to sell what appears to be a huge stock
of leftover and unsold copies of last week's
Festive Special with Leona Lewis on the
front cover. She's not a good sell or an en-
ticing cover, anyway ... in my opinion.
That's why it hasn't been a good seller un-
like the previous week with the Christmas
Big Issue No. 825 with Paul McCartney
gracing the colourful cover.
...
Below: The No. 826 Issue In Question.
...
While the local media reports of a late shopping
spree at the West End by millions of Xmas

shoppers spending estimates of between £250
and £450 million, The Big Issue vendor is rele-
gated again to play second fiddle not only by
the economy and late shoppers, but also by the
self-centred attitude and arbitrary decisions of
The Big Issue itself against its own vendors
at this Christmastide.
...
If The Big Issue really wanted to help its
vendors during the Christmas crunch, surely
it could have given say 5 to 10 copies of the
Festive Special to each vendor for free or at
least at cost? Especially, if it's a situation of
where they have thousands of unsold copies
to dispose of. But the botton line is always
profits over the welfare of the vendors.
Thus, no Christmas gift for those trying
to sell on the streets for the corporate
profits of The Big Issue itself. That's why
the vendors are now stuck without a new
issue to sell this week or whenever.
...
Within an hour at my own pitch this
morning, I lost four sales to my first four
customers because I was forced to try to
sell the old Festive Special that they had
already bought from me last week.
...
First word that The Big Issue was going to pull
a fast one on its own vendors came Saturday
when its Covent Garden distributor Steve Farrell
made mention to me that vendors would be stuck
with still flogging the Festive Special beyond its
original print date. Quizzing Steve to find out why
was like hitting a brick wall and getting only a
very vague reply about an “overrun” or “reprint”
of the Festive Special. I thought perhaps by today
– Monday morning – the previously announced
and then upcoming Big Issue comic coupled with
its “One Man’s Journey: How The Big Issue
saves lives,” would somehow miraculously appear
despite what Steve Farrell had told me. When
Steve appeared on Monday morning by 9:00am at
Covent Garden to start the new week’s distribution,
all he had were bundles more of those old copies of the
Festive Special to sell to vendors like me. Vendors
came fuming to me later when they asked me if I
knew what was going on. I didn't, I told them,
because The Big Issue never tells its vendors
anything it doesn't want them to know
no matter what.
...
Steve Farrell was also coy about when the next new
issue – whatever or whenever it may be – would be
available for sale to both the public and street vendors.
He seemed to be so coy about the whole situation.
Thus, I and other vendors were left in limbo not
knowing precisely how many to buy of the old
copies until the new issue appeared … I didn’t want
to be forced to buy old copies and then get stuck
with them if a new issue was to suddenly appear
over the old one. When I asked Steve if more
could be bought of the Christmas Big Issue with
McCartney, he said that he had none with him. I
would have gladly bought more of the Christmas
Issue than the Festive Special with Leona Lewis,
despite the extra cost of buying the Christmas
edition over the Festive one. Though its certainly
confusing, the Christmas and Festive issues are
separate editions and not the same. It’s all
part of the smoke and mirrors that The Big
Issue tends to play with us all for whatever
reasons it wants to play its big head games …
The difference between the terms "Christmas"
and "Festive" is a misnormer in Britain
thesedays. Both terms mean the same.
There's no difference other than the
semantic use by the editorial gang at
Vauxhall to sell us their street magazine.
...
Like most other charities in UK and USA,
The Big Issue has been hit no doubt by
this year's declining corporate donations
and individual giving that was headlined
on the frontpage of Saturday's London
edition of The Times entitled "Charities cut
services as donations start to dry up" by
staff writers Jill Sherman and Parminder
Bahra. I suspect that may also be a reason
why we're struck with those old copies of the
Festive Special because buying the magazine
on the street has also dried up this Christmas-
tide for all too many Big Issue street vendors
and thus bringing about declining revenues
and profits at The Big Issue and its own poor
gathering of its usual charity donations. It's
so easy, therefore, to stick the vendors first
and not those cushy HQ staffers and their
buddies. The ripple effect of the global
economic downturn always hurts the
poorest segments of society first
and the most.
...
There are simply too many charities in Britain,
anyway. They’re all after the same charity
dollar, so to speak, and their bad investments
have come home to roost for many of them, too.
Some British charities have ploughed millions of
dollars into Icelandic bank investments. Such
have since collapsed with disasterous impact
on such charities and their inabilitiy to now
fund their own services and puffed-up staff.
Many charities, too, are over staffed
and overpaid for what they do.

House property left to them in wills and
bequests have sunk and srunk in value
or cannot be converted fast enough into
liquidity if they wish to sell such property
to now raise needed money to pay their
own weekly operational expenses,
so indicated The Times report.

Many of the charity operations, I suspect,
are economically inflated and/or are internally
mismanaged very badly. They also seem to
have forgotten that because they get free money,
they can freely waste and spend it without any
thought of a rainy day ever occurring to them.
The Rainy Day is now here and thus they cry
like babies not for others but only for them-
selves because of their innate greed and
wicked waste of the huge amounts of money
they’ve had in the past like hands over fists.
So many British charities are little more than
a bunch of overgrown college kidz and little
amatuers and stupid "experts" running
"big" charity things ...
...
In the meantime, The Big Issue vendors are
clobbered one way or another by circumstances
beyond their control and the actions of those
who don't really give a damn about them even
if they work for the so-called "betterment" of
the homeless and marginalized of our times.
To understand the kinds of money The Big
Issue has gotten until recently, read its
compulsory annual reports to The UK
course, the reality of "Pulling A Fast One On
Its Own Big Issue Vendors." What The Big
Issue has done is just NOT right nor fair to
its own vendors at this time of Christmas,
especially - period.
...
Your's, Uncle Monty.
+Three Days Before
Christmas, 2oo8.
...
:: BIG UPDATE ::
Finally on Xmas Eve, the deliberately
embargoed new Big Issue No. 827 appeared
for sale to vendors and the public. Thus, after
two days of lost and needed Christmas sales
with the new "Comic" issue - thanks to The
Big Issue itself forcing its own vendors to get
rid of last week's glut of leftover Festive
Special No. 826 - we were then allowed to buy
the latest issue. Ironically, the so-called "comic
issue" wasn't so comical after all due to The Big
Issue having pulled such a fast on its own vendors.
...
And with even more irony was the fact that the
same "comic issue" was also dubbed on the front
cover "THE VENDOR ISSUE." Yet the vendors
couldn't even get their hands on it until the last
day before the end of the Christmas sales per-
iod for them on the streets. Many vendors lost
out, yet nobody at Vauxhall gave them a damn
- be it Christmas or no Christmas. They're so
bloody smug at Big Issue H.Q. They need to
spend alittle time themselves selling on the
streets to experience a good dose of street
reality for a change. A reality check would
also then do them some good ... Maybe?
Again Uncle Monty. Xmas Eve, 2oo8.
...

12/21/2008

SHAMBANI REVISITED. By Uncle Monty.

SHAMBANI REVISITED.
Story By Uncle Monty.
Photos By Myrna Hancock
and Alex Albion.
~~~
Standing miles away from nowhere and
full of grace is “Shambani” at what is surely
God’s Big Acre among the Adelaide Hills of
South Australia. To find Shambani is an
adventure all by itself aside from staying
there with my gracious hosts Carl and
Myrna Hancock and their nurse-trained
daughter Rosiland and their gym trainer
son-in-law Perry.
~~~
Myrna Hancock With Her Beloved Horses.
~~~
Dare I also mention their host of beloved pets
from fine horses to friendly dogs to curled-up
cats along with even passing families of brick-
red kangaroos from time to time at the 50-acre
Hancock hobby farm or homestead that is more
than 12,000 miles from their native Wales.
To spend human time at Shambani is like
having one’s soul and body and mind re-
stored to its former health and glory and
everlasting joy. And whoever said there is
no paradise on earth, surely must have
never laid their open eyes upon such an
expansive and wonderful place called
Shambani like I did.
~~~
View of The Hancocks Home at Shambani.
~~~
Powered by solar engery panels, Shambani is a
self-contained and isolated oasis from the buzz
and hub of the noisy and clamorous world out-
side. Carl and Myrna do their shopping just
once a week at the nearest town of Mount
Barker at where the intially greeted me upon
my first arrival via Firefly coach after my 12-
hour ride to get to Shambani from Melbourne.
When they go to Adelaide itself some 25 miles
away they drive and park their car outside the
city and then hitch a local bus ride to the down-
town territory capital of South Australia that is
Adelaide. Their daughter and son-in-law
work there and commute to and from
Shambani during their week days.
~~~
Shambani landowners Carl and Myrna Hancock.
~~~
For me, Shambani was such a nice surprise
since I had no real idea of what kind of home The
Hancocks had invited me to stay at. I assumed it
would be a regular size house and not one with
more than 12 nicely spacious and well-appointed
rooms and furnished with many personal mom-
entoes of their family upbringing back in Wales,
of their professional standing in Africa, and of
their happy retirement life at Down Under.
Nor did I expect by far to gaze upon such a
vast amount of Aussie farmland of their’s that
is bigger than London’s Covent Garden itself
or beyond the size of The French Market at
Louisiana's New Orleans. Plus, never did I
expect to be completely encircled by their
delightful pets who are treated with the
love and care of “All Things
Great and Small.”
~~~
Uncle Monty at the garden shed with
Shambani's co-owner Carl Hancock.
~~~
I felt truly blessed to be a part of the peace,
quiet and human decency of Shambani, if only
for all too short a time at these ever closing years
of my own worldly yet unworthy and unremarkable
life. What Carl and Myrna Hancock have personally
achieved, I couldn’t even come close to. Thus to
briefly share in their achievement that Shambani
so clearly represents of both of them, and is also
an honest and living testimony of their good and
Godly character, then I have been truly
privileged to dwell with them and their
goodness for one brief shining moment
at Shambani. No wonder I didn't want
to leave for my heart is still there.
~~~
Uncle Monty Horse Petting At Shambani.
~~~
Myrna and Carl at morning breakfast.
~~~
Myrna and Carl at their Shambani
Computer/Library Room.
~~~
Uncle Monty Saying Goodbye To Shambani.
~~~
Now far, far, far, away from Shambani, I
send my deepest Christmas greetings to
Myrna, Carl, Rosiland, Perry, and all of the
Hancock pets and even to those passing
families of brick-red kangaroos just days
from Christmas Day itself. And wishing
for myself, too, that I may again one
day return and bathe in my joy
and love of Shambani.
~~~
So Christmas here we come, Uncle Monty.
+Shortest Day of the Year, 2oo8.
~~~

12/19/2008

My Big Xmas Wishes To All My Big Issue Friends. By Uncle Monty.

My Big Xmas Wishes To All Of My
Big Issue Friends And Customers:
Both Past and Present.
By Uncle Monty.
Photos By Alex Albion.
-=-
I wouldn’t be at all surprise if I’ve missed some
names here that should be included among my
Big Xmas Wishes to them. If I have, please let
me know so that I can happily add your name.
So let me start to list such people purely from
memory perhaps some 60 to 70 names that come
immediately to my mind. There should be around
85 or 90 names, I am sure. But for now, I’ll list
the following good folkz to say thank you to and
along with sending my 2oo8 Big Christmas
Wishes to each and everyone of them:
-
- Nora RodrĂ­gues – Carol Cable – George Pennock –
- Jonathan Stolerman - Graham Simkin – Isabelle Wojcik –
- Shelia Aarons – Jill Ferguson - Sion Turner –
- Tony Lewis – Peter Roberts, Ph. D. – Colin Campbell -
- Stephan Schultes, Ph.D. – Nicholas Jeffries – Nick Alfrey –
- Laurie Edmans, CBE. - Joseph D. Smallman – Fiona Sloss –
- Annabel Hartley – Eric Chemphill – Sham Jagpal –
- O. Zack Oppenheimer – Carl and Myrna Hancocks –
- Cameron Smith – James Bradbury – Michele Zini –
- Bronwyn Curry - Franco Bennini – John Stroughair –
- Alex Cox – Lady “M” - Zakia Sharif – Paul D. Cackett –
- James A. Higgins – Andy Rogers - Joan Barker -
- Paul Martin-Davis – Grant Tannenbaum – Richard Offer -
- Sophie McElligott – Jamie Gunning – Jean McCarthy –
- Preveen and Sagoonia Mandalia – Jenny Webster –
- Richard Henwood – Agnes Bonnet – Sharon Till –
- Aoife Kilkenny, M.Sc. – Nigel Millinson – Tony Haimi –
- Michael Barrisford – Heidi Johnson – Christine Baker -
- Ruch Pathirana – Jeannine McQuillian - Mozagan Saninia –
- Jan Mol – Gareth Dawson – Jon and Linda Annetts –
- Alex Prior – Shirley Ginesi - Professor Brian Dunnigan –
- Juliet and Megan Strachan – Jan Allen – Seth York -
- Marion Josop, M.D. - Gary Wren - Jack Irvine -
- Russ Robertson - Clive Pickering - Maggie Walters -
- William David Brohn - Taylor Ford, III - Nancy Debs -
-=-
Big Santa At London's Drury Lane.
-=-
This year of 2oo8 has been a seismic change of
my Big Issue customer base at where perhaps 40
percent have either left to go to work elsewhere or
have moved out of town or even headed abroad.
I have had to try to replenish my customer base
over the past 12 months to replace those I have
so sorely lost at almost one continuous go.
What was worse is that the majority of those 40
percent who have now gone were for the most part
my most generous cusomers turned close friends.
Furthermore, most of them were my earliest
supporters when I first hit Long Acre as a new
Big Issue vendor going on now at almost 4
years. It isn’t the same at my pitch without
those old familiar supporters and friends of
mine. To endured their loss has been no fun at
all. What I also discovered about being a vendor
is that things are always in a constant flux with
folkz and circumstances always coming and going
at my pitch. Things aren’t negatively stagnant
nor positively stable since each day is liable to
bring about good, bad or indifferent changes.
Slowly but surely, I see a new customer base
emerging over the old one. New faces and
new personalities add flavour and character
to the mix at my Big Issue pitch. I thrive not
so much on change, but rather on wanting
to always establish new friends both on
and off my Long Acre "domain."
-=-
British Big Issue Vendor Simon Hart, 44.
He’s originally from Aldershot at where his late
dad served The British Military for 22 years.
-=-
Looking at this year’s dire Christmas economic situation
for many of Britain's Big Issue vendors can be summed
up in two unhappy words – “BLOODY AWFUL.” With
less than a week to go before Christmas, it’s looking
more like everything BUT –Christmas.
I fear for those vendors who have not established a
customer base or simply show their pretty face a few
weeks before Christmas in the mistaken belief they’re
“entitled” to some Christmas cheer from those walking past
them on the winter streets as they hawk their street paper
to the masses of cold people that don’t care a hoot for the
most part whether you’re homeless or not. To be poor
sends the non-poor folkz ducking for cover to avoid those
who might want some of their “bread,” as the countercul-
ture Hippies would say. So the prime concern of most folkz
today is focussed on how they’ll get thru this Christmas
themselves without having to give an extra dime to
anybody else like those Big Issue street vendors.
Otherwise, "to hell with everybody else …," they
must mutter to themselves. That's the reality I
see from my pitch ... Maybe its me, not them?
-=-
The Freemasons’ Arms at London’s Long Acre.
:: That Nice Sunday Roast ::
To be invited to a traditional Sunday roast was
right up street (or alley) and on the same street
at where I park my Big Issue pitch, regularly.
It was my friends The Annetts who kindly invited
me to their first-class Freemasons’ Arms for last
Sunday’s truly good English Roast with traditional
Yorkshire pud, plenty of nicely-cooked beef and thick
gravy and good roasted spuds, etc., etc. I gladly
stuffed such, of course, into my ever growing belly
with all the Xmas glee I could muster. With their
tasteful Christmas decorations surrounding me
with such a traditional glow that it made me feel so
welcome like I was at home-sweet-home. There, too,
did the young Aussie lad Ryan Tucker and Essex’s
super Andy serve me so happily with my Sunday
roast that I wanted to thank them publicly so much
for their kindness to me along with my thankz also
to Linda, Jon, and Rob for all of their moral sup-
port they've given to me during much of my time
at London’s Long Acre. Good food is far better
given than simply cold cash, I believe. And,
even more so is good food most welcome
against the dire economic times on the streets.
Having friends like those at The Freemasons'
Arms far outweighs whatever the dulldrums
are of an otherwise downturned Christmas
for many so stuck on the streets or in hostile
hostels. So that's what good friends are
for to be there for you. That's makes me
the most happiest of all.
-=-
Love At First Sight? You Bet. It's
Stefarno and Gulliana again of Italy.
They’re mates of mine, you see.
-=-

:: Then There’s Oli Brown ::
A pretty young man by his age I’d say of perhaps
in his mid-20’s at most. Before he became a Big
Issue Outreach worker, he worked in advertising
at its Vauxhall HQ on Wandsworth Road. His
name is Oli Brown and a friendly fellow was he.
He stopped by at my Long Acre pitch the other
day to basically introduce himself as he showed
me his white wallet-size photo ID. We chatted
together for awhile and Oli then informed me
that his big boss, Big Issue co-founder John Bird,
had moved to Cambridge and presumably out of
London. As far as I know, John was last living with-
in the Putney postcode. I wondered if by moving
to Cambridge, John is aiming at semi-retirement
aside from perhaps moving there to nurture his
young son and to be closer to family members
of his. Whatever, Oli said he found working on
the streets more of a challenge than simply
working in the ad department. But for him to
be dealing with street vendors will require a
few hard lessons for Oli to understand home-
lessness and the physical and mental conditions
of some of them. Many will be alot older than
him. In fact, by his age alone Oli is young enough
to be my grandson. I just hope he doesn’t be-
come cold and cynical like I have seen among
some other Big Issue staffers in the past almost
four years as a Big Issue street vendor myself.
Cynicism is like a deadly cancer. It destroys
meaningful interactions and relationships like
nothing else. It's hard to cure, too. Cynicism
engenders disrespect to others from those
who deserve no respect themselves from
such others.
-=-
Oli Brown has a kind of childlike innocence
and buoyancy that is so very refreshing to
see. I pray he will stay that way. Compassion
once lost is not easily regained. I see it every
day as I watch thousands upon thousands go
by my Big Issue pitch each day and offer not
even a kind word let alone a lousey dime.
So many are only full of themselves. And,
have not been taught to give or to consider
others. Their sole consideration is always
for themselves first and be damned to
all the rest. Cold and frigid they then walk
on the streets of London and never see a
thing outside their own self-centredness
and cooky conceit. The more people we
have, the less most of them care about
others. It’s what David Riseman called
“The Lonely Crowd.” I’d add to his – “The
Me Crowd,” Too. They’re a bloody aw-
ful people with so many millions of
them around thesedays.
-=-
I come, I know, from a different time and
place that was once lovely England than do
most folkz I see today. But I am glad I do.
I wouldn’t want to be them for they are so
personally detestable to me. I want to live
in my world as far away as I can from their’s.
That’s why I very rarely watch TV and listen

only to classical music with my CD’s. I have
long ago refused to listen to the plastic voices
and fart-prone people of radio, too. To hell
with them, I say ... They can all stuff them-
selves like I wish that hideous bloke called
Jonathan Ross would do ... It would do us all
a favour to see him jump in the wet lake ...
or better still to have his big head ducked
in a big bucket of cold water with a big
dollop of carbolic soap jammed in his filthy
big mouth to clean it out big time ...
=-=
As for Christmas, it is what you make it no
matter what other folkz say and no matter
how much money you have or have not in
the bank. We've de-Christianized and secul-
ised the celebration of our once traditional
English Christmases to accommodate all
thingz commercial and non-Christian. No
wonder we're all suffering from a national
sense of emptiness and growing malaise
in what we believe is important to us as a
people and as a nation in the future. If we
continue on the road to cultural, political,
societal, educational, and religious
nothingness, then all our traditions will be
thrown out into the crude wasteland of
multiculturalism and multiracialism and
all the other "isms" that will eventually
kill us off completely. We gain everything,
yet lose our very soul and identity to
accommodate everybody, but us. So
we're already killing ourselves off
or letting others do it for us ...
Shame.
=-=
Wishing you all a Very
Merry Christmas, Uncle Monty.
+20th Day of Advent, 2oo8.
=-=

12/17/2008

Images of Down Under. By Uncle Monty.

Images of Down Under.
Story By Uncle Monty.
Oz Photography By Alex Albion.
:::
Australia is a goldmine of images.
Photography is the key to recording such
images of Down Under. And, then bringing
such to the people all over the world to view
via the all-embracing power of the Internet.
:::
My love for photography is based on my
open belief that such transcends all borders,
all languages, all cultures, all social barriers,
all religions, all political ideologies, and oddly
enough, all weathers. My cameras are my eyes.
And thru those photographic eyes of mine I do
my best to pick and choose the most interesting
and most contrasting images that I can take.
:::
Of the almost 400 photographs I took while
inside Oz, I bring you only a small handful of
such herein. Photographs means nothing, of
course, unless they are shared with others. The
best image is dead, if nobody can see it. The best
of images are those that evoke such emotions as
joy, fear, anger, pleasure, astonishment, dismay,
envy, disbelief, gladness, and/or strife, etc. For
the viewer of a particular image that leaves one
say deadpan, then usually the image is deadpan,
too. But my purpose here is not to lecture on
photography, but rather to show you what
photography can do if you use the camera like
human eyes to record whatever comes your
way by chance or good luck or planned pur-
pose or photoskill.
:::
My images of Down Under are presented
with a brief description of each image. I
do hope you enjoy my selection for you.
:::
Panoramic View of Melbourne from Skydeck88.
:::
Oz schoolkidz Re-Enacting
Life of Aussie Outlaw Ned Turner.
:::
Pro-Palestinian Demo At Melbourne.
:::
You Haven't Been In Australia, If
You Haven't Seen A Real Kangaroo.
:::
Aboriginal Dance At Down Under.
:::
New Parliament at Australia's Capital of Canberra.
:::
My Photoview of the 6th World Homeless Cup.
:::
Big Issue Australia Vendor Cleaning Up at Oz.
:::
Some African Homeless at World Homeless Parade.
:::
Cheers everybody, Uncle Monty.
+Eight Dayz Before Christmas, 2oo8.
:::

12/15/2008

Homeless Vendors On The Other Side Of The World. By Uncle Monty.

Homeless Vendors On The
Other Side Of The World.
Story By Uncle Monty.
Oz Photos By Alex Albion.

Australia’s “Peachy” (shown above) looks and
sounds much like a regular Oz young man with his
well-used skateboard in his hand and his baggy
clothes and his easy fitting green baseball cap.
Plus, his bandaged hand that he got as a result
of a street brawl he says he was in just days
before I first met him. Yet, such belies the
fact that Peachy is actually a homeless lad at
Melbourne among the city’s 85 other Big Issue
vendors. He was among a dozen or so other street
paper vendors that I got to meet, to talk to, and
to photograph during my 18-day Aussie visit
to attend the 6th World Homeless Cup held at
the same city of Melbourne at where Peachy
was, I understand, then born out of wedlock
some 22 years ago. Talking to Peachy was
like talking to the real Homeless
McCoy of Down Under.

Oz Big Issue Vendor Simone Mole, 47.

Aside from Peachy, I also met Oz street vendors
Simone Mole, 47, (seen above) and who I have written
about elsewhere like I also have on Gordon Pearson,
who is also 47. (seen below) . A nice fellow and
oddly rather Dickensian, I thought …
~~~
Oz Street Vendor Gordon Pearson, 47.

~~~
Inside the Federation Square Stadium I
met Tom, I think he said that was his name,
during the match between Russia and Mexico in
the closing days of the 6th World Homeless Cup. It
looked like Tom was cleaning up and more power to
him, is all that I say. He was one of those homeless
vendors on the other side of the world that I got to
happily meet. And, happy was he to be a Oz Big
Issue seller from what I saw of him, too. Along with
the glorious weather for all of the 56 nations part-
icipating in the world cup with Afghanistan finally
winning the 2oo8 Cup and who then immediately
claimed political asylum to stay indefinitely at Oz.

It was something like A to Z with then the Zimbabwe Homeless Team, which I had photographed days earlier, suddenly disappearing completely from their assigned Melbourne lodgings and to then go on the run and allegedly becoming illegal immigrants inside Australia itself. They’ll no doubt blame diabolical Robert Mugabe … Not that I can blame them for that. Mugabe is a living dirty rat of the African world ... They should hang the bastard. Or he should at least be taken alive and put on full trial at The Hague for the out and out crimes he has wrought upon his own people who have suffered all too long under his brutal and vile regime ...

Above: The Zimbabwe Homeless Team.
~~~
Below: Inside Big Issue Australia office with
staffers Greg and Virginia. She, Virginia, showed
little or no interest in this British Big Issue vendor
visiting her country of Oz. She couldn’t have cared
less … While Greg was such a friendly chap ...
~~~
Here below is Mr. James McQuillian, QC.
I bumped into the courtroom barrister on my
way to the Oz Big Issue office. We were just
around the corner from the Victoria Supreme
Court and I impulsively asked him if I could
photograph him. And much to my great surprise,
he promptly agreed. We had a nice chat, too. Such
a gentleman was he. He told me he was originally
from Northern Ireland. Oddly enough, Jeannine
McQuillian of the same last name was one of my
Big Issue friends and customers until she recently
retired from The Royal Masonic Orphan's Society
at London’s Great Queen Street. Jeannine’s family
is also from Northern Ireland. Perhaps then James
and Jeannine are related some where to each
other … I do hope they are …
~~~
Mr. James McQuillian, Q.C.
~~~
Then, I later encountered this cool Federal
Oz cop at the Australia War Memorial.

My big day of kangaroos also included seeing my “new
mates” (pictured below) of the young kangaroo and the
Cassowary Emu sharing food together when I happened
to bump into them and they allowed me to photograph
them really upclose without running away or dodging me.
It was a delightful encounter I must say. Such doesn’t
happen everyday in my fondness to photograph wildlife

whenever I can at where ever I may just be somewhere
in the world. Australia is full of wonderful wildlife.
~~~

Young Kangaroo and Cassowary Emu at Oz.

~~~

Although when I arrived at Melbourne it was
Springtide, and when I left it was then the beginning
of Summertide, The Melbourne Xmas Tree seen
below heralded the shining coming of Christmastide
for all of Australia. A splendid tree, don’t you think?
~~~
The Melbourne Christmas Tree, 2oo8.

~~~
My photo below of St. Kilda, Australia, really doesn't do justice to the lively scene of the front entrance to the Fun Fair I saw while there. I just loved visiting St. Kilda along with later going onto Adelaide for my warm stay at the "Shambani" hobby farm of my dear Welsh friends The Hancocks of Wales. They've retired to Adelaide and I would love to do that, too ...
~~~

~~~
Please note that I shall take my Christmas and
New Year break from my biggerissue.org blog.
Unless something major occurs where I shall
need to otherwise respond during the 10 dayz
I plan to take my seasonal break from Xmas
Eve until January 5th, 2oo9. So again, let me
wish you all a "Very Happy Christmas,
2oo8, and a Good New Year, 2oo9."
Your’s, Uncle Monty.
Ember Day, 2oo8.
~~~
Sam’s Tom: One of my new stories
coming for the New Year, 2oo9.

~~~