The Easter Transfiguration of Baz

Ding Alley
Swellnet Dispatch

The East Coast hamlet of Toonalook Waters may soon share the same iconic status as religious hotspots Mecca (Islam), Jerusalem (Judeo Christianity), Varanasi (Hinduism) Kathmandu, (Buddhism) and Ballarat (Remorseless Dead-Eyed Pedophiles), as details emerge of phenomena that many are describing as nothing short of a Good Friday Miracle.

According to witnesses, long time self-proclaimed Local Enforcer and Total Caaarrnt Barry Cornell (if you don’t know Barry, meet him here) copped his board in the noggin after mistiming a regulation re-entry while out regulating at Toonalook backbeach Wednesday afternoon.

While the severe blow to the side of the head from his ToonaStix 6’2” didn’t render Cornell unconscious, it did however render him speechless – which according to local surfers is highly unusual for a man of Baz’s nature.

“Baz runs his gob something shocking, being a Total Caaarrnt and all,” says local stalwart Dean Baildon, “Ya hear the Caaarrnt before ya see him out in the water. When he hit his head we were all bracing for the spray: blaming his fucken board, the fucken wax, the fucken wind, the fucken tide, the fucken blowins, what he had for fucken lunch, fucken China, fucken Council, fucken Scomo, El-fucken-Nino, fucken 5G, fucken whatever… but he just stood there in the shallows, staring into the middle distance with his mouth hanging open for like five minutes. Then he walked up the beach, up the track and went home. Didn’t say a word.”

Upon returning home, neighbours report Barry wrapped his grazed head in tape, removed his wetsuit and spent the next 36 hours, ensconced inside his fibro rental, wearing nothing but a towel and foregoing his usual excursions to his porch for a spliff and extending his middle finger at the procession of cars heading past to check Toona Point.  

With decades of pre-emptive Covid protectionism affording Cornell ‘unofficial mayor’ status among the folk of Toona Waters, Bazza’s uncharacteristic retreat drew a small gathering of curious onlookers, which grew into a full-moon vigil attended by perhaps a third of Toona’s 230-strong population, many bringing camp chairs and blankies.

Shortly before sunrise on the morning of Good Friday, possibly sensing that it would be in Toonalook Waters’ best interests if everyone dispersed, Barry emerged from his cocoon, and addressed the crowd from his doorway. 

The following is a transcription of Cornell’s speech.

Good morning and thank you for your love and concern everyone. As you know I copped a little head knock in the surf the other day! I knew the guys down on the other peak were watching me, I pushed it too hard trying to impress ’em with my closeout reo, front foot slipped and bang. Got me real good!

I’ve been trying to understand what happened to me so I can share it with you properly. I think language – let alone my limited vocabulary – will be inadequate but bear with me. I’ll do my best.

The moment that board collided with my skull, my concept of the world and my place in it was turned inside out, upside down, and back to front in a blinding flash of white light. 

I’ll never forget standing in the shorey, with the treble fizz of the whitewater matching the ringing in my ears, suddenly not knowing who or where I was.  

As my vision returned, I saw what was in front of me – REALLY saw it – for the first time, as part of a living whole. Where moments before I just saw two-foot rip-bowl backoes now I saw the shimmering oceanic sphere; in the out-thrust headland I saw the history of the earth, in the people on the beach and in the surf I saw myself.

I know, trippy right? The closest thing I can think to describe it is like the first Apollo space missions in the late ‘60s. Astronauts back then were test pilots, air-force men, engineers, scientists. But they’d return to earth as philosophers and seekers. They’d talk about looking back at the earth from space – being able to cover it up with their thumb – and realising how idiotic our terrestrial concepts of separateness are.

And I know it sounds like a bit of a wank, and I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand it, but it’s dawning on me that my idea of self has always been a fabrication. And I know that, just as I’ve always been a Total Caaarrnt, we all have a bit of Total Caaarrnt in us: we walk through our vexed, short, precious lives pre-loaded with all the same human instincts, conditions and responses as eachother. 

In a way, we’re all basically cells that make up one living thing, and our individual lives are, to quote Jung, “A luminous pause between two mysteries that are yet one”. Given this and other awakenings, I look at my decades of being a Total Caaarrnt with a degree of sadness, and I am so sorry for whatever harm I caused in the name of an illusory construct.

At this point, Barry fell silent, looking east beyond his perplexed followers towards the sun, now beginning its journey over the horizon. 

A young man broke the reverie. “So Barry, how does this strange new world view of yours reconcile with the influx of Blowins over the Easter break?”

Barry smiled and replied quietly. 

I thought this question might be asked. We’re living through such an uncertain and confronting period in history. It’s going to amplify our human responses in all sorts of ways. 

Now, obviously, is the time for us all to retreat, to go within. It’s not the time to travel, least of all to go looking for waves. So people shouldn’t visit here, or anywhere, right now. 

We’re so blessed to have waves in our backyard here in our beautiful Toona. I can only speak for myself, but I doubt I’ll be surfing over the Easter break. I don’t think I could enjoy riding waves knowing my brothers and sisters in cities and towns a few hours up the road are doing their bit and staying home. And even though currently I’d lawfully be in my rights to go get a few, in some small way I know my presence out there would add another number to the crowd. And so in solidarity – not just with out of towners, but with the whole of humanity – I’ll go without waves for a while. God knows I’ve had more than my share over the years.

I’ve seen posts from well-known surfers – so in thrall to their own virtue – complaining about surfing in still-busy lineups, seemingly unaware that the crowd is made up of … individual surfers like them! 

Like I say, there’s a bit of Total Caaarrnt in all of us, and surfing certainly seems to bring this aspect to the fore. We’ve used surfing to take so much: we’ve exploited third world islands; we're dancing bears, selling Jeeps and Audis; we’ve built energy-guzzling wave pools; we burn fuel criss-crossing the globe (making free-surfing clips that show us as mysterious, knowing, attractive vagabonds while at the same time hating on anyone who dares visit our home beach) – all in the name of something as simple, beautiful and pointless as gliding across a wave face.

At this stage the sun had cleared the horizon and was bathing Cornell’s face with intense, beatific illumination as he uttered a benediction of sorts.

Maybe as surfers, this crisis is our chance for some kind of growth, Let’s match the purity of riding a wave with humble heart and compassionate mind. Again, I can only speak and act for myself. I don’t know the answers and it’s OK to admit to uncertainty.

Thank you and love to you all.

At approximately 6:20 am, momentarily blinded by the morning light, and perhaps weakened from 36 hours of spiritual contemplation, witnesses report Cornell – turning to make his way back inside – stumbled, tripped, and smacked his head with a violently loud thud directly on the door frame. 

After an extended pause, Toonalook’s enforcer-turned-spiritual leader shook his head slowly, swore quietly, and appeared startled and annoyed to look up and see the assembled crowd on his nature strip.

What the fark are you caaarrnts doing here? Garn, piss orf will yas!

“He’s back!” yelled a young admirer, and there was much rejoicing.

// DING ALLEY

Ding Alley is two old mates from Footscray TAFE: Cartoonist David McArthur is a smooth natural-footer with an enviable sense of timing; writer Gra Murdoch is an erratic goofy-footer with an unshakeable fear of the barrel. 

Comments

jelli's picture
jelli's picture
jelli commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 3:58pm

Great yarn. Reminded me of John O'Grady's Bottle of Sandwiches. Thanks.

jelli's picture
jelli's picture
jelli commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 4:02pm

Sorry that should be Dennis O'grady.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 5:29pm

From strength to strength, gentlemen.

It’s not easy to present a pointed request for introspection so softened with such light touched humour .

The writing and the illustration compliment each other beautifully.

Thank you very much.

jayet-010's picture
jayet-010's picture
jayet-010 commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 8:20pm

There's a little Total Caaarnt in all of us ... or maybe a bit more in some of us than others eh Blowin?

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 6:29pm

Yep, that was real good.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Vunerable's picture
Vunerable's picture
Vunerable commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 7:01pm

Didn’t know Justin Koschitzke could surf

mnol3717's picture
mnol3717's picture
mnol3717 commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 7:24pm

Great Read!
Thanks

jayet-010's picture
jayet-010's picture
jayet-010 commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 8:21pm

Looking forward to print release of the collection!

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 10 Apr 2020 at 8:35pm

Unreal, that brought a smile.

syril500's picture
syril500's picture
syril500 commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 6:39am

Good laugh

nextswell's picture
nextswell's picture
nextswell commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 6:42am

Too good

Schreinermeister's picture
Schreinermeister's picture
Schreinermeister commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 8:02am

Dancing bears burning fuel criss-crossing the globe

barrytheblade's picture
barrytheblade's picture
barrytheblade commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 10:04am

Epic

Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 11:06am

Thanks for the read mate

keano's picture
keano's picture
keano commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 12:20pm

Gold

PKsswellnet's picture
PKsswellnet's picture
PKsswellnet commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 1:50pm

there’s a bit of Total Caaarrnt in all of us

daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kaha... commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 2:03pm

Though the phrasings may be different, it's nonetheless interesting to note the similarity between the teachings of Barry Cornell and Saint Michael Hutchence who said:

Devil inside,
Devil inside,
Every single one of us,
The devil inside.

Wise men one and all.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 2:28pm

...and both suffered door related injuries. So there's that.

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 11:29pm

Gary advises one shouldn’t knock knock anything until they’ve tried it.

I’ve created a monster. Cause nobody wants to ride faceys no more, they want Gary; I’m chopped liver.

But if ya want Gary this is what I’ll give ya: a little creatine kiss from a hard licker

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 8:27am

"and both suffered door related injuries" - haaa brilliant

carpetman's picture
carpetman's picture
carpetman commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 11:57pm

Excellent way to put it.

There will again, one day, be “plenty of fish” in the sea for everyone.

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 8:05am

Yep, good take for the times. Thx

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 10:47am

Bravo.

I think Tim Winton’s decscription if surfing as beautiful and pointless helps with the perspective.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 9:35pm

More gold. Thanks Ding Alley.
Love the Jesus Christ Pose in the illustration. Echoes of Brian.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 10:14pm

The failed re-entry attempt sounds plausible , but perhaps one shouldn't look past Bazs' history of ingesting illicit substances as a possible cause in his sudden need to burn incense and turn to inner reflection.

Filthyboy's picture
Filthyboy's picture
Filthyboy commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 1:44am

Nice one yeeeew!!!

original smith's picture
original smith's picture
original smith commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 8:08am

Next one bet you Caaarrnt go switch-foot?
Macca on words and Murdoch on pictures.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Tuesday, 14 Apr 2020 at 7:29am

Hard to know what would be worse, my scratchin' or Macca's scribblin'...

Hoodie's picture
Hoodie's picture
Hoodie commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 4:35pm

Thank you

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 7:10pm

well done

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

Drpengineering's picture
Drpengineering's picture
Drpengineering commented Tuesday, 14 Apr 2020 at 9:46am

Wow it takes a bump on the head to help us see how lost we are . the really simple things in life are the only things that are important love friend ship and sharing waves . Just take a breath and enjoy every moment .

Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano commented Tuesday, 14 Apr 2020 at 1:31pm

bravo!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 14 Apr 2020 at 8:54pm

Enjoying the series (and playing devil's advocate in the comments) & you have a pretty good character on your hands with Baz. It's very topical!

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/surfers-flock-to-northern-beaches-ov...

Check the words of the local in this article - sounds kinda similar to those at everyone's favourite east coast backwater - only he is in Curl Curl. The situation happened in this instance because some beaches were closed, so everyone went to the ones that were open.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Thursday, 16 Apr 2020 at 11:03am

Onya vj. Yeah how is that, closing some beaches will corral crew to open ones hey. Who'd wanna be in local or state govt right now...

Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson commented Thursday, 16 Apr 2020 at 3:01pm

Outstanding ...a few poeple lookin in the mirror there id rekon ...sharp but very funny ...10 points

Pastmypeak

theblacksheep's picture
theblacksheep's picture
theblacksheep commented Friday, 17 Apr 2020 at 8:02pm

“ making free-surfing clips that show us as mysterious, knowing, attractive vagabonds while at the same time hating on anyone who dares visit our home beach “

Pure gold right there

rogerdodger's picture
rogerdodger's picture
rogerdodger commented Saturday, 18 Apr 2020 at 8:20pm

Frickin' hilarious!! Keep up the great work Ding Alley, need to chuckle in these shitty times.

Brens's picture
Brens's picture
Brens commented Sunday, 26 Apr 2020 at 5:52pm

Looove this lil write up up, funny as and also very witty and intellgigent.