Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht
We’re really pawns in The Great Game

Musos war on tyranny: Sand Spiders rampant

A sj
Simon Jackson - Productivity as a songwriter is vast. He also has quality of musicianship and writes lyrics of intense social substance


NOOSA – My eldest child Simon, now old enough to be my father, was born at Taurama Base Hospital (as it then was) in Port Moresby in the middle of the night in October 1967.

I well recall that midnight hour because I was a participant in a new scheme - the presence of fathers at childbirth - but had been shooed away because of some medical complication just as the tip of Simon's head appeared .

So I strolled the darkened grounds of the hospital growing increasingly worried, especially when the lights of the birthing suite were extinguished.

Eventually I summoned the grit to find out what had happened, to be told simply that I had been forgotten.

Fair enough, more important matters had to be attended to.

I was working for the ABC then and lived on its Wonga Estate, not far from the hospital and not far from Korobosea at whose primary school Simon was to begin his education.

We all (Sue, Simon, Sally and I) left Papua New Guinea in 1976 after I got into a nasty squabble with Michael Somare about radio advertising, but Simon was to return to PNG briefly, I think it was the early 2000s, as an employee on a Highlands' gasfield until he reckoned that, if you wanted to waste your life, there were better ways to do it.

These days, as he has for many years, Simon works for Microsoft in Auckland as a software expert and trainer, his beat covering much of Asia and the Pacific.

What I write about me here, though, is his other passion.

big boy
Union Pacific Big Boy
Prince of Wales loco
UK Prince of Wales

By night, Simon is a prolific songwriter and musician of the Sand Spiders clan – whose output is reminiscent of the gates of hell opening and the first to exit being Johnny O’Keefe and Johnny Rotten amidst a melodic cacophony that leaves the air shaking as if a US Union Pacific Big Boy has collided head on with a UK LNER Clan Class on the Bridge Over the River Kwai.

If you get my meaning. (Foregoing metaphor valid only for readers ancient enough to recall and young enough to still draw breath.)

On reflection, I think the word ‘prolific’ may be an understatement as a description of Simon’s musical output.

His productivity as a songwriter and musician over the last half dozen years has been vast, his musicianship is of high quality and his lyrics of intense social substance.

This is due to its increasing focus on politics and its traitors, two-bit self-seekers like Scott Morrison, and what these dysfunctional oxygen burners fear most – which is the public exposure of their selfish souls.

Let’s face it, who is it that can expose perfidy and slovenliness better than songwriters, artists, dramatists and poets.

_Pix - Morrison CO(R)ALNo wonder, when Australia’s prime minister Morrison handed out free billions in 2020, he left out in the cold, left out to be stone penniless broke if necessary, Australia’s creatives.

And of course, Palaeolithic that he is, Morrison threw unrequired largesse at others who did not threaten his worldview, who would not alert the masses to his corruption and who would repay his increasingly klutzy political party with donations to try to prop it up for another three years.

So works the unvirtuous circle.

Qantas ($700 million),  Crown Resorts ($200 million), Flight Centre Travel ($150 million) and Seven West Media ($33 million). You should see the full sick-making list of mendicants, wide boys and rent seekers.

And of those writers who are journalists, who should be amongst our heroes…. we can dismiss many of them as toadies to power and shaman (glasman) seeking largely without success to persuade us that lies are truths.

They are now representatives of a diminished profession that has lost any claim to our esteem, or the right to legitimately speak on our behalf.

But for the truthtellers - said songwriters, artists, dramatists and poets - who know that only the truth can save us, not a zac. Let them rot.

Amongst this group of truthtellers, protected by his day job from unemployment, was Simon and the Sand Spiders, a musical force of great talent and good ethic and who, because of that, are generous in sharing their work, words and ideals.

Which means in practical terms that there’s plenty of Sand Spider composition of real substance online – you can link to it here.

I’d estimate this treasure trove offers around a couple of hundred original tracks covering a spread of genres in which rock and punk (60%) predominate.

Sandies clash topI don’t know what you think of punk – I was no fan when The Clash let London’s Burning escape in 1977 – but a meditative view has it that punk was a cleanser, that it “revitalised culture”.

John Lennon said of the Sex Pistols, who he far from detested, “That’s how we used to behave at the Cavern [Club] before Brian [Epstein] told us to stop throwing up and sleeping on stage and swearing”.

My view is straightforward, punk really suits the mood of our times and in the brains and hands of the Sand Spiders it both punches above its weight and dukes every exploiter and hypocrite whose head pops above the parapet.

Simon’s range of composition is far more eclectic than just punk. His music embraces rock, pop, folk, country, soul and reggae, so there’s real versatility at play in his melodic composition and in the poetry of his lyrics. Slam poetry, I speak of.

There’s also a remarkable talent for creating out of thin air striking melodies which are then stoked with pulse-soaring rhythm all of which frames the agitprop lyrics: political in inspiration and purifying in impact.

Here’s a grab from the lyrics of Commodity, a song on the chattelisation of modern day workers:

do what your told
don't answer back
watch your attitude
you can't afford the sack
you're just a piece
of my machine

A journalismAnd from the earthy, stick it up your jumper rant, Journoganda, a polemic on the treachery that is modern churnalism:

note taker
fourth estate
take it down like a waiter
making air space
for traitors
playing it back
just like they paid ya

And his lyrics also take to task the ol bighet nabaut, those pretentious oafs inhabiting the bubbles of power and who, full of self-entitlement, consider the rest of us to be a lesser class, without clout and without prospects.

Well, Bad Dog reminds us that we can all be empowered if we choose to be:

they think they got me
under control
kicking me down
is good for their soul
bad dog
one day I'll bite back
bad dog

born wild
nobody owns me
my neck don't fit on your lead
bad dog
I'm not your pal
bad dog

Sandies empireAnd The Empire lyrics rotate from the focus of Bad Dog to offer both an indictment of statist power and an acute insight of who our real enemies are:

the empire feeds on war
bloody hands
live by the sword
parade on
fields of white crosses

the empire builds a wall
to purge its race
of the hordes
but the enemies
are all on the inside

And so I come to The Sand Spiders’ newest bun from the oven, Sayonara Sucka - released perfectly baked just on Sunday.

As in sayonara, Japanese for goodbye, and sucka, spiderese for sucker = mug = dumbo.

Sayonara Sucker is not just a roof wrecker, or rafter rattler if you prefer not to demolish the entire house.

The song is all the musical things you would want but, more than that, it’s Simon’s well-aimed headkick at the corruption, and in all likelihood criminality, of the Morrisonian (Scott, not Jim) style of politics and governance.

The lyrics are aimed precisely at Scotty ‘Moskva’ Morrison and his ilk. With the accuracy of a Ukrainian missile they do not miss their target, the sinking warship of a corrupt, self-serving government.

sayonara sucka
sayonara sucka
move over loser
you're gonna suffer
you did the crime and now
you're going inside

arrogant bully
brain the size of a flea
said you were the greatest
but you're just a wannabe
goodbye good riddance
you don't fool me

you thought you were smart
but stupid is hard to hide
got your kicks getting high
on your own supply
you're the runaway winner
of the booby prize

liar liar
you wouldn't know the truth
well I got some for ya
nobody's gonna miss you
oh no hey dude
you're getting the boot

That’s what we want.

And one more time, this link giving you access to a musical bounty (scroll down a wee bit for the full lyrics – believe me, they’re a big part of the deal.


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Bernard Corden

Love the lyrics, well done Simon its up there with Billy Bragg:

The Internationale - Billy Bragg

Stand up, all victims of oppression
For the tyrants fear your might
Don't cling so hard to your possessions
For you have nothing, if you have no rights

Let racist ignorance be ended
For respect makes the empires fall
Freedom is merely privilege extended
Unless enjoyed by one and all

So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song

So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race

Let no one build walls to divide us
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us
We'll live together or we'll die alone

In our world poisoned by exploitation
Those who have taken, now they must give
And end the vanity of nations
We've but one Earth on which to live

So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song

So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race

And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armour
We defy their guns and shields

When we fight, provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by like and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above

So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song
So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race

Simon Davidson

Keith - This is an amazing post about Simon Jackson's prolific songwriting exploits and the music of the Sand Spiders.

Artists - including songwriters, singers, poets and painters - recreate the world with beauty.

Some of the words of the songs are condensed but have profound meaning. Thanks for sharing.

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