The Instagram Murfers went to ground after the Vanity Fair hit piece. A Darwinian struggle for brands and influence could not be healed by #blessed, at least not privately. Reading between the lines, it's easy to see who threw who under the bus, who positioned for the inevitable backlash. Even being a Murfer, this Byron Bay lifestyle don't come for free.

Long read: Byron Bay “a monument to greed wearing a spiritual cloak. A glittering dream metastasized into a malignant nightmare. The spawn of unhinged neoliberalism and grinning hippy capitalists!”

Ayn Rand on a mid-length… 

If New York City is the spiritual and actual home of VAL-lit, inspired, perhaps by Bill Finnegan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, then Byron Bay is it’s Mt Everest, Valhalla and Nirvana.

The apex of the peak for the lifestyle obsessed VAL.

A voluptuous lava flow from an ancient volcano protrudes further east into the tepid sub-tropical Pacific than any point on the Australian Mainland. The Bay it circumscribes is lavishly decorated with sand-bottom peelers. No other place on earth is so falsifiably mytho-poetically rhapsodized over by post-modern knowledge workers.

The see and repackage and sell on what they have read in the brochures and guide-books; what has been packaged up and sold to them.

I see a different side of the Bay.

Four am and the pharaohs stir softly in their modern-day pyramids, Hollywood scripts flit between neurons in the alpha state.

Barefoot dude wanders, staggers over to my car.

“Got a ciggy? I need a ciggy.”

“Can’t help you bruz, don’t smoke”

He leans against the car. Dangerous? Not sure.

Byron has the highest rates of violent and sexual assault outside of inner Sydney. This ain’t a peaceful place when drunk and drugged fuckers are wandering around outside closeing time.

“Can you tell me how far to Newy?” he asks.

“Newy’s about eight-hundred k’s that way.”

I point south into the bush, “You’re in Byron Bay, go this way.”

I point in the other direction, down the main street, “You’ll find a bakery open, someone to give you a ciggy”.

“I need money, a coffee, give me some money.”

I got no cash.

He’s looming over me now.

I hand him a coffee thermos.

“Take this, go drink it and when the sun comes up, go to the bus station and go home. Don’t bash or rape anyone. Good luck”.

It’s a monument to greed wearing a spiritual cloak. A glittering dream metastasized into a malignant nightmare. The bastard spawn of unhinged neoliberalism and grinning hippy capitalists running riot in an orgy of aimless consumption in the spiritual supermarket. Ayn Rand on a mid-length.

He’s only an hour from the first rush hour: the pre-dawn dawnie at The Pass. The bank is hero. The peelers addictive.

In this negative Utopia, like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, slaves are drip-fed peelers at the Pass, instead of Soma.

Six am and the carparks are packed.

Range Rover, Audis, idle in the carparks, the scent of diesel fumes wafts over the line-up. The serfs have had their hit, time to man and woman the cafes. Byron is Abu Dhabi with cafes and warm-water peelers instead of air-conditioned malls. Euro-babes and Brazilian studs do the coolie labour instead of South Asians.

It’s a monument to greed wearing a spiritual cloak. A glittering dream metastasized into a malignant nightmare. The bastard spawn of unhinged neoliberalism and grinning hippy capitalists running riot in an orgy of aimless consumption in the spiritual supermarket. Ayn Rand on a mid-length.

The Instagram Murfers went to ground after the Vanity Fair hit piece. A Darwinian struggle for brands and influence could not be healed by #blessed, at least not privately. Reading between the lines, it’s easy to see who threw who under the bus, who positioned for the inevitable backlash. Even being a Murfer, this Byron Bay lifestyle don’t come for free.

It does for my Pal, “Why Kick a Maz Cow”. I don’t know he ended up rejoicing in this moniker. Alls I know is he walks and wanders the streets and since he found the Lord maybe five years ago has managed to find work cleaning cars and does a very fine line in man on man street preaching.

I’ll make a very fine king, he tells me, when my soul is saved. Ascending to heaven with the full complement of angels and trumpets, he mentions virgins, but he may be poaching from a rival faith. More attractive, at least to me, than a sponnoed post about a thirty dollar vegan smoothie.

Many folks live in the paperbark grove behind the library. Their despair and suffering is writ large, unlike the hordes of achingly cool babes on logs who soothe their angst with prescription meds. There are only so many gigs for micro-influencers.

Mental health is, of course, fucked in this town.

My old pal DC lives behind the church on Ruskin St. He rolls a sleeping bag out every night and then slinks around the old Aboriginal tracks that criss-cross Byron Bay. An invisible man. Ruskin st is named after a victorian poet, John Ruskin, who emphasised the connection between nature, art and society. One of the original mytho-poetical rhapsodisers.

I wonder what he would think of the human being seeking shelter on the street named after him.

“How you fixed D?”

He shrugs.

Like always he seems to melting. Something is dripping off him. Not tears, not sweat. He is literally melting away.

“Tramps like us,” he tells me, “we were born to die”.

Byron is changing very fast.

And like writer AA Gill discovered about the rapid changes wrought on Dubai: “The plan was money. The architect was money. The designer was money and the builder was money”. It’s a town more status obsessed and class conscious than Victorian England, more wealth inequality exists than at any time since the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers strode the boardwalks of Manhattan.

Surfing is just the latest accoutrement. A kind of necessary flag to wave that shows peers that you are doing life right.

At The Pass, peelers are glittering and winking into the sun as it draws down into the twin peaks of Mt Chincogan. Sexual selection is rife. There are many more gals than guys, the ratio is like communist China, but reversed. A competent hipster who can cross step and control a leashless log can run a harem of Euro babes with little effort.

What little effort there is consists of blocking for waves, a push, an encouraging word. Swiss, Austrians, Italians, Spanish,Germans (especially Germans), they all feel free of the constraints of the Old World, fully self-actualised in this banquet where all wines flow and all hearts open.

A biologist interested in human behaviours could write many theses studying these sexual selections. They would never exhaust the material.

Covid has accelerated and enhanced the desire for Byron Bay.

Each new VAL adds their own flourishes to the myth. The old whore, it seems, will never want of pimps ready to apply a fresh coat of lipstick and send her out for another go round.

The fully realized VAL in Byron Bay becomes God-like, a digital reality with a purchase that has currency around the Globe.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love beautiful people, diamond studded peelers, perfect pop-ups and peaches on the beaches as much as the next mark.

It’s just… it’s just if we have VAL-lit, then we need an anti-VAL lit, otherwise the universe topples over.


Pink (pictured) in better times.

Surf-adjacent musical artist Ariel Pink dropped by label for attending Trump rally in front of White House: “Save yourselves friends, cancel me now and turn me in before they come for you!”

Carnage.

I first became aware of Ariel Pink thanks to the world’s greatest surf photo editor Peter Taras (Transworld, Surfing, Surfer) who, I think, was/is a fan.

Pink’s music described as “lo-fi and home-recorded” proved influential to many indie musicians starting in the late 2000s and he is frequently cited as “godfather of the hypnagogic pop and chillwave movements.” He currently pockets over 1,000,000 monthly listens on Spotify and his most popular album, to date, is Haunted Graffiti.

Not really my style but very cool, nonetheless.

In any case, Pink was recently in Washington D.C. for the now-famous rally-turned-Capitol-tour and subsequently dropped by his label Mexican Summer, which features many surf-esque bands and does collaborations with surf shops.

According to the New York Post:

Label Mexican Summer made the announcement Friday amid backlash after thje “Baby” bragged about supporting Trump at Wednesday’s rally in Washington, DC that preceded the riots.

“Due to recent events, Mexican Summer and its staff have decided to end our working relationship with Ariel Rosenberg AKA Ariel Pink moving forward,” the New York-based record label tweeted Friday.

The singer had openly anticipated a backlash, even though he insisted he was sleeping when rioters stormed the Capitol.

“I attended the rally on the white house lawn and went back to hotel and took a nap. case closed,” he tweeted Thursday of his support at the rally alongside fellow indie musician John Maus, insisting he was against “violent confrontation or rioting.”

“Save yourselves friends, cancel me now and turn me in before they come for you,” he tweeted of his backlash Thursday — also saying, “Vote for Trump.”

Would you be sad getting cancelled after sleeping through the most exciting part of what you got cancelled for?

I know sentences aren’t supposed to end with a preposition but “for which you got cancelled” reads weird and stilted.

Well, first they came for the godfather of the hypnagogic pop and chillwave movements, and I did not speak out because I was more of a club-lead beats with arpeggios, riffs, and vocal line fades kinda bro.

Etc.


Explosive takes (pictured).

Breaking: World Surf League announces new show featuring “the most opinionated personalities in the sport” engaging in “the hottest debate!”

"Explosive takes. No subject off limits."

Yesterday afternoon found me driving home from Wyoming, mind wandering, thinking about our World Surf League and if it will be able to withstand its latest debacle. No Sunset, no Steamer, fingers crossed for Snapper. The patented Cone of Silence providing no clues but maybe the clue in and of itself?

Jen See had texted earlier, “Prodan’s podcast hasn’t happened at all this month, that Surf Breaks thing with Cote definitely stopped, a couple dudes still seem to be blog-style writing and they syndicated something from The Inertia but otherwise not much.”

Over?

Is it all over?

I became sad thinking that it is all over, feeling like there is more fun to be had.

Made.

I went to bed still sad but woke up to a text from Derek Rielly that buoyed my soul.

“Explosive takes. No subject off limits.”

It featured the following promotional video.

Mick Fanning and Ross Williams.

Mick says, “Trestles is the perfect place.’

Ross says, “Fair point but I’m going to have to disagree.”

Peak WSL.

Much more fun to be made.

Had.


Protected manatee found swimming Florida waters with word “TRUMP” scrawled into its back: “It’s clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately!”

Win $5000.

Let’s have a little real talk, here. What is the most precious thing that you have vandalized? Young, dumb, full of dumb in a museum with an outdoor sculpture garden, confronted with a rotund Gauguin, Sharpie in pocket? Backpacking through Australia’s dead center, to Ayers Rock, sharp stick in hand?

Oh the misguided thoughts of youth. The crooked behaviors but have you ever vandalized a living thing?

Well, a manatee, or sea cow, was recently vandalized, or adorned depending on your perspective, with the word “TRUMP” in Florida over the weekend.

Sailors used to think the large, herbivorous marine animals were mermaids and advocates against voter fraud which may have led to the marking.

Outraged, The Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation charity, is offering $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible. Director Jaclyn Lopez said, “It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act. It’s clear that whoever harmed this defenceless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately.”

But can we be honest? What if the manatee in question is, indeed, a Trump supporter? A rally-attending, MAGA-hat-wearing fan of the President?

Will she be tossed straight into that Basket of Deplorables with the rest?

Real talk.


Happy VAL.

VAL surfer “confused and shocked” by explosive episode at iconic Byron Bay wave: “I was physically and verbally assaulted in the surf at the Pass by a guy with a dark green mini-mal with dark short cut hair and a moustache in black boardies!”

"He repeatedly tried to fight me by asking if I ‘wanted a go bro’ and rammed his board into mine second time creating a large dent on the bottom of my board the size of a breakfast bowl."

The VAL surfing world has been rocked after an almost-violent episode at The Pass in Byron Bay with insult added to injury when “older white men” made fun of the surfer’s plight on the Instagram account @lordsofbyronbay.

First, the post as it appeared on Facebook via the Byron Bay Community Board

The ocean is for surfing and enjoyment, not for abuse.

I was physically and verbally assaulted in the surf at the pass today around 9am by a guy with a dark green mini mal with dark short cut hair and a moustache in black boardies.

I followed surf etiquette (been surfing since I was 12) and did not hear any ‘yep!’ or other call on the wave definitely couldn’t see anyone else already on it on the inside or outside. The person who was paddling for the wave on the wave ontnhe inside gave up so I went for it. at the last minute this guys came across the front of my board from the outside to block me from a wave crushing my hand. I said ‘wtf dude’ in shock at what had just happened.

He then repeatedly tried to fight me by asking if I ‘wanted a go bro’ and rammed his board into mine second time creating a large dent on the bottom of my board the size of a breakfast bowl. I was extremely confused and in shock. I had no idea where this guy came from or why he hadn’t called the wave as is normal if you can see another in front of you. I apologised even though I really did not think I was the one that had been in the wrong but he was too busy yelling over me to fight him..

I’ve never experienced this level of aggression or violence in or out of the surf ever.. and I grew up on the beach! Usually there are grumpy remarks and some apologies but it’s water off a ducks back and people would rather enjoy surfing.
Threatening another with violence is a crime and just sad way to be human. That anyone would consider that a way to interact with a stranger in any circumstances is fucked.

If anyone has had similar experiences at the pass I’d like to here from you. I’ll be making a police report because my property was damaged (board) and I was assaulted. I would suggest anyone who is assaulted make a police report so that the police are in a better position to act on this recurring crime.

UPDATE: in 20 mins you can clearly see from the comments and thier likes that some older white men are justifying or normalising the behavior. Women and parents have been sharing their experiences and mostly condemning the behavior.

And, as presented on @lordsofbyronbay along with the hashtag #gobacktothevalley,

The event is best summarised, I think, in this exchange.

redwinelibby
What is wrong with some people on here? Majority are trolling someone sharing an experience that isn’t acceptable. Support this person- don’t take your daily frustrations out on them via judgements and poor humour.

lordsofbyronbay
@redwinelibby I think it’s because the original poster firstly dropped in… then was aggressive with his swearing at the person he dropped in on… and then played the victim in a public forum when he was the one in the wrong by his account of what happened.