Harold Bishop has a posse

The Rae St Institute > Blog archive > Wheat; POSTMODERN BLOGGING

Well well well.. the things that happen when you leave town for a bit.

Welcome The Age readers; the bit you're looking for is here: The Zero Dollars (yet) Movement

.. yep, this humble old crock of sh-- blog got quoted in the paper, while I was off dragging my way up hills in NSW.

In the past ten days, I've come to a strange and terrible realisation: THIS COUNTRY GROWS WHEAT. ABOUT EIGHT HUNDRED BILLION SQUARE KILOMETRES OF IT. I have seen so much wheat since I started on my crazy odyssey that I think I'll never be able to eat Weet Bix or even look at dry grass ever again. This is not a country in which to be a Coeliac.


Some wheat.
The wheat started just after Seymour, and was pretty much constant all the way via Condobolin to Orange (apart from some Orchards or similar around Griffith). Shepparton to Penrith via Condobolin by bike is fucking rocking, and highly recommended to the loony, unhinged and not-gainfully-employed among you. Though I'd probably do it in reverse next time (prevailing headwinds aren't the greatest thing ever).

Some more fucking wheat.
And yes, that is the moon.


Though what is the Greatest Thing Ever, is eight days of constantly riding yourself into the ground, eating a heinously large pub meal, then sleeping for a few hours and getting up at some savage, dark hour of the morning to start the whole process again. I know it doesn't really sound like it, but trust me on this one. It's just like Zen Buddhism, but without being smacked with sticks or set on fire.

Such vast repetitive distances are conducive to writing reams and reams of occasionally good, often disjointed, sometimes stupid, regularly nonsensical material.. like musing on the weird proliferation of Chinese Restaurants in country NSW.. in fact in Australian country towns in general.

This in a context where, in the main street of Griffith, a Chinese man stands in the searing heat looking at a map, having just put his bags down -- a 40ish woman in tracksuit pants and a t-shirt bounds right up to him, stares him straight in the face, starts bowing and barking weird random Japanese-sounding syllables at him. Then she loudly and repeatedly asks Where He's From. Then starts barking other random syllables that sound like she's trying to speak Korean.

I think she was trying to be friendly.

I *think*. But it was a strange and tense moment. And the sort of baking hot day where everyone turns a bit batty. I'd just ridden 160km, was walking funny, and ravenously hungry; I was in no mood to see how it all turned out.

Strange stares in the pub when I don't order beer. (ok, that was only *once* that I didn't order beer, but it was an odd moment)

Weird dreams about hijacking trains to ship clandestine supplies of Kebabs through Geelong, and a church service conducted by Stephen Fry.

Dodgy buttfuck-nowhere pub accomodation where you find random hairs in the bed that aren't yours.


Yep, more wheat.
A constant flow of mosquitoes auditioning to steal your blood and infect you with the latest drug-resistant strain of Hepatitis recently obtained by them from the junkies staying in the next room.

That burning feeling in your legs.

The subsiding sense of complete exhaustion hung over from yesterday after you break through the first 15km of the morning.

The other side of the burning feeling in your legs; a strange groggy endorphin rush, laying on a well-made bed in an unfamiliar town miles from anywhere.

Kicking yourself in the face, repeatedly (metaphorically speaking) for leaving the camera battery charger at home and having no photos after day 3.

In memory of the Veterans of the Borneo
Shopping Trolley War (1959-62).. I presume.

The point in the journey where it becomes more comfortable to ride than to walk (lesson: don't buy new bike shoes and then the next day start a 1000km ride in them)

The silence.

Stopping halfway between Rankins Springs and Lake Cargelligo in a weird, primal looking valley and hearing absolutely nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing.

Turning off the GPS on the realisation that watching numbers count down on a screen turns any remote area into a 1980s video game.

Finally crossing that last hill into town, where thoughts of the fact that you're completely fucking exhausted and running out of water subside and your mind implodes into a triple-singularity: food, beer, bed.


Excess Technology

First seeing the lights of Sydney shimmering in the murk, coming down the Blue Mountains in the pre-dawn gloom.

Coasting down the highway to Penrith.

The poetic justice of the fact that after Bathurst, the weather sucked, and in Sydney it rained constantly.

Staying in Sydney just long enough to get cranky (appx. 9 hours), then coming home to drink beer on a rooftop in beautiful Sunday evening sunshine.


Absolutely rocking. Now I'm confronted with the fact that the film I'm trying to write has blown out to 130 pages of scribblings, and still isn't in one piece. I don't *feel* any fitter, but I've got a slight tan and a placid look of contentment on my face. I've had time to think everything through and this year smells like it's not going to be half bad.

POSTMODERN BLOGGING (or how I learned to stop asking questions and Just Be A Neo)

Got a cool new product? Don't tell anyone
http://www.theage.com.au/.../1137118964038.html

...

Mr Honeywill says Coke's "zero movement" targets the tech-savvy, brand-conscious and motivated generation Ys, or "neos" - those 4.5 million Australians born between 1978 and 1994 who make up 24 per cent of the population and have more than half the discretionary spending power.

"They are an economic powerhouse, so they are very attractive to global mainstream brands," he says.

"But these brands find it very hard to reach and motivate neos through traditional media, because they're not influenced by traditional media. Ninety-eight per cent of them are online, for example."

...

What the neos do respond to is the word on the street, chatter via mobile phones or the web. And corporations are starting to cotton on.

...

But creating a movement or brand that will hook a well-informed and critical market is no easy task. Already this type of "below the line" marketing has its critics, who - not surprisingly - voice their distaste on blogs.

"They're a bunch of advertising wankers pretending to be a grassroots movement," anti-Coca-Cola website thezeromovement.org says.

Another blogger yet to be won over by the Coke campaign describes its "zero movement" as "another costumed incursion of the corporate world into the turned-off sphere". According to the blogger's musings on invisiblegovernment.net: "(It's) pretending to be something it's not, pretending to be 'street' and non-commercial when it's just, like everything else, trying to sell us another f***king product."

The problem here is easy to diagnose, Mr Honeywill believes. And it should also serve as a warning to any brand or corporation thinking about adopting the tactic.

If brand promise and brand delivery don't add up, there'll be trouble.

"These neos are vicious if they are conned," Mr Honeywill says. "If they find out they have been conned, they have better networks in spreading the word than anybody else on the planet, so there is a danger with not being authentic with them."
I AM A NEO. I AM SMSING THIS TO YOU FROM MY WI-FI PALM PILOT WHILE DRINKING A LATTE AND WEARING AVIATORS. I PUT PIXEL ART IN MY DEVIANTART ACCOUNT. I STAND ON STREET CORNERS WEARING EXPENSIVE JEANS AND LOOKING UNIMPRESSED. I WILL BUY YOUR PRODUCT IF YOU MARKET IT TO ME DIRECTLY. MY FLICKR ACCOUNT CONTAINS WEBCAM PHOTOS OF ME DRINKING PORTUGESE BEER WITH MODELS. I AM VICIOUS WHEN CONNED (BASEBALL BAT AND STEEL CAPPED BOOTS). MY NETWORK IS GLOBAL, INSTANT, AND UTTERLY INVINCIBLE. I AM AN INDIVIDUAL™

Marketing people need to put things in neat little boxes. It's how they keep their jobs. Their definition of a "neo" is apparently someone who doesn't want to be put in a box, so you have to market to them differently (see box 94 for instructions). Because everyone obviously will buy anything if you market it the right way.

The Right Way of course being something like the "GENIUS" of viral marketing: Some random attractive human of whatever flavour you prefer starts a conversation with you over drinks at your local.. seems interesting enough, they seem kinda cool, then they break into the conversation with "WOW, I JUST LOVE THIS NEW CAR! YOU SHOULD BUY ONE! Also --> Jesus." Because then you'll want to GO BUY CARS AND JESUS. EVERYTHING will sell if it's sold right!

...

... FUCKIN' BULLSHIT. Yes, people react badly to deceptive marketing, but it's not a "brand promise/brand delivery gap" - Prom-Del issues? Surely someone's got a neologism for this shit - it's not because of some mismatch in how it was marketed, I JUST DON'T FUCKING WANT THE PRODUCT. Pure and simple. PLUS YOU'RE LYING TO ME. I don't care how someone tries to sell me something if I don't want it. And if someone tries to con me, I'll want it even less than I already do. B-grade ad industry creatives pretending to be "one of their market segment" in order to do viral marketing is slimy and underhand... in this case I didn't even want the product in the first place, but if, say, I wanted to replace the forks on my bike, and a fork manufacturer's ad agency went out and made up a fake blog, spammed message boards with hundreds of fake posts to drive traffic to their site, and stencilled street corners, I'd "rule them out of my buying decision". I wouldn't buy their product on moral grounds. Plus, as a friend of mine said, the more something is advertised the less value it must have, otherwise why would they be working so hard and insidiously to convince us to buy it? I'm suspicious of anyone who has to work that hard to convince me that I want something.

"Oh but you'll want it once you've heard THIS GREAT NEW OFFER"

"OK, fire away.. oh, that's great. Yeah, I'll buy, like, five billion of them."

Fuck you, I quit.

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