Pipe and Andy // Two types of silence
No-one’s more gutted than Ding Alley about the unfolding dramas faced by the Woz right now, and can only imagine the phone calls Elo’s still making – perhaps, erm, feverishly – as the good ship Woz founders on the rocks mere moments after casting off on the fraught voyage of season 2021.
Poor bastards seriously can’t take a trick.
Our collective response to the scenario on the North Shore has been almost as fascinating as the drama itself. And while the Woz should certainly be hit with a rolled up newspaper and scolded for its sins of silence over the last 72 hours, we should bear in mind that no doubt a fucking diabolically difficult situation has been right in the balance, and perhaps there’s been nothing concrete to tell us.
I dunno, despite all the direness, and the non-existent comms, it seems to me like we might be a bit hasty calling for Elo’s head, and even though it gives us the feels of knowing betterer, maybe it’s a bit shrill and pearl-clutchy?
Guess it goes to show, ironically, how much a lot of us really, really want to have pro surfing in our lives. How important it must be to us, even those who reckon it’s fucked and they’re all doing a shit job, etc.
But perhaps I’m too forgiving of the Wozzle and their Shemozzle. Back in 2016 I spent a year working for a similarly maligned organisation – the local council – who, among the community, were to blame for everything bad under God’s green earth.
Never mind having our shit flushed away daily via the elaborate miracle of underground sewage, our poorly-separated rubbish collected weekly, all the parks and verges and firebreaks maintained, countless services etc – the moment that dog poo bag dispenser runs out at the park, Council are Fucking Hopeless and they should All Be Fired.
It’s often a very different story when you see the reality on the inside, for starters you get a clearer picture of the circumstances and contexts and constraints that people work under, and so with that information you get to see why some things are as they are, and a bit of compassion creeps into your call.
Not saying Council or the Woz are faultless, of course, or should be exempt from scrutiny, but we should always ask ourselves, when calling for dramatic intervention (perhaps the most outrageous example I saw somewhere was that Elo be taken out into the cane fields and executed), is do we really know enough about what’s really been going on to sincerely pronounce our judgements? Or are we jumping the gun?
But while we do well to think before we speak, the Woz would do equally well to simply SPEAK. As the masterful Longtom has pointed out – with the air of a weary schoolteacher going over the basics of the screaming-fucking-obvious to a lazy student for the umpteenth time – for God’s sake, control the effing narrative, boy. What’s the worst that can happen? Nothing worse, surely, than a bunker-mentality-shutdown-void that will inevitably be filled with speculation by the collective of ill-informed idiots (of which I am a proud card-carrying life-member.)
Anyway – speaking of ill-informed opinionizing – in Ding Alley’s day two recap, we passed fairly critical judgement about the tributes to Andy that intersperse the wozcast, reproduced in part here:
“We all love Andy Irons and remember his irreplaceable talent, but gotta say the one-note lionisation of AI through the ad breaks is unsettling. It feels like a missed opportunity to use the power of his story to an effect greater than simply trying to shift Rising Sun merchandise.
“Why not do a spot using Andy’s story to encourage anyone who’s struggling with life to talk to someone, to know they’re not alone, and perhaps take the first step on the long, often hard-yards journey of rigour, discipline and self-love that is healing and recovery. It’d be challenging to execute such a message the right way, especially for an organisation estranged from nuance, but not impossible.
“Imagine if AI’s legacy counted for something vital like that.”
If you’ve missed the Pipe Wozcast so far, basically the AI spots are nice, touching tributes to Andy’s unique, otherworldly, influential brilliance in the water. But as to the story of his life and his struggles, well, there’s another variation on that silence.
After calling the Woz out about their one-note tributes, and suggesting they could also have put something together that carried a different level of meaning, your Ding Alley writer has remembered that it’s harder to criticise once you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes.
And so to that end have put together a VERY lo-fi demo, sketching out what such a suggested ad-break clip might look and feel like.
Hastily written, using pilfered lo res images from the net, generic library music and my unfortunate nasal twang for the voice-over, this effort is not what you’d call slick, but it’s an exercise in putting our money where our mouth is.
It’s not like this message would replace the other spots – you’d only run it occasionally so as not to hit punters over the head with repeated sermonising – but we reckon something along these lines would be a worthy part of the mix.
And, yep, you could accuse D.A of virtue signalling here – not without justification – and, it must also be said that we’re not authorised or qualified to inform or educate about Mental Health, but I’ll stand by it, complete with whatever flaws are within, because even if there’s anything in it that’s offensive, or wrong, it’s got to be better than the mute button the Woz (and the Bong, in this case) seem to instinctively apply to anything challenging or uncomfortable.
Maybe the Woz could take notes from Andy’s approach in the water, and not be so timid.
// DING ALLEY
Ding Alley is Illustrator David @maccatoons McArthur and Writer Gra Murdoch.