WHO KILLED THE ZOMBIES?
We celebrate Halloween/Samhain with this classic sermon from the vaults..
Who Killed the Zombies?
I was both angered and saddened this week to discover that one of my favourite events on the “Forgotten Festivals” calender, the annual Brisbane Zombie Walk has been killed off and is now a thing of the past. Ironically it has been bludgeoned by its own success and strangled with bureaucratic red-tape, and Life will be the duller for it.
Some folks perhaps might disagree with me that the Zombie Walk is dead. It still lives and walks amongst us, they whisper. But they are in denial. The truth is, its not really the same ZW that we knew and loved anymore, its been taken over by malignant entities and coporate sponsors and is now no more than a shambling simulacrum, a ghastly parody of itself, a zombie’s zombie. It has been made safe, dull and tame.
Happily some of my younger parishioners had made me aware of the existence of this gloriously shambolic event in its early years when it was still fun. The basic premise was simplicity itself; dress up as zombies and stagger through the streets of the CBD disturbing and freaking out unsuspecting citizens.
At this stage it was still a wonderfully informal and barely organised celebration with a minimum of consultation with the Authorities. I don’t think there was even a formal application for one of QLD’s infamous “march permits”. It all just happened. Word of Facebook and Mouth spread the news and amateur zombies, bespattered with fake gore, crawled like cockroaches out of the suburbs and the sewers.
Ah I remember the excitement of my first Zombie march. In those days we gathered in Albert Park on the ridge above the city. There we milled about checking out people’s make-up and costumes, taking copious photos and video footage, comparing notes on make-up and latex adhesions. You really had to admire the work some people put into their costumes. There were special-effect miracles of carnage there created by dedicated amateurs that a film studio would pay professional make-up artists good money for. Ah, so much unsuspected talent.
Eventually the mob would reach critical mass and with the traditional rallying cry of “BBrainsss!!” we spilled down Albert Street and into the unsuspecting city below.
Once the march itself got under way you could see that people were prepared to put as much effort into their “performance” as they did into their costumes, happily staying “in character” for the rest of the afternoon. Thus they shambled, they limped, they staggered stiff-legged and wry-necked, they gibbered and moaned and howled, they clutched severed heads and limbs and gnawed on raw sheep-hearts. They carried their intestines in their arms or draped them around their shoulders.
It’s a funny thing, but lurching down the street like an animated cadaver, surrounded by your fellow walking corpses really made you feel good to be alive! I couldn’t help comparing this jolly crowd with the usual alienating experience of moving amongst the so called “living”. The blank-eyed, unsmiling city-crowds, rushing, and pushing, grim and tense and harried; the human shoals battering and buffeting their way. There is no point of human contact, no connection, no empathy. We are strangers sharing a planet. Indeed, urban society depends on ignoring others around you and being ignored in turn. Looking at people too closely is bad etiquette. You may as well be invisible. You may as well be dead. Certainly there is no mechanism for expressing your alienation as an anonymous member of the mob.
But not today! Today I moan and howl my Discontent! Today is the Return of the Repressed! We are the Dead and We are back!
We congregate for a while outside City Hall. The City fathers have drawn and locked the concertina like security gates at the doors. Yes there is a Zombie Mob is at the gates of City Hall! We shake and rattle the gates and roar in unison our unconditional political demand:
“Brainnss!!” we cry in chorus, “BRAIIINNSS!!!”
It is the funniest sight I have seen for a long, long time.
But there are no brains in City Hall, and so, disappointed, we drift off like good Australians to spend some time in the mall. On the way I got to thinking about all the political marches I’d been in over the years, that had walked just this route, and how little they’d achieved. I also thought about how joyless they were in
the main and how many old style humourless Leftist hacks wouldn’t for the Life of them be able to see just how revolutionary in essence the Zombie Walk was.
An old Raoul Vaneigem quote kept popping up in my mind…
“People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth”.
Somehow it seemed appropriate.
We lurched thru the mall, buying nothing. Zombies have no need of material commodities! Zombies bad for business! Ha! We run thru our routines for the onlookers. I liked to slam up against immaculate shop windows of highclass boutiques, and stare blankly at the staff for a looong silent moment, before lurching on and leaving a trail of bloody-red smears on the glass
as a memento of my call.
I was impressed with the sheer variety of zombie types. It seemed every profession and calling was represented. There were zombie traffic cops and zombie butlers and zombie brides and zombie priests (of course) and zombie dogs and zombie children and even a Zombie Jesus. Not to mention the zombie Easter Bunny. A non-zombie Lara Croft clone, looking suitably athletic and well-armed, stalked the crowd, accompanied by a boy in futuristic full body-armour with the latest hi-tech zombie-killing weaponry. Oh and of course, there was my favourite category, Zombie nurses.
Now, call me a pervert but there’s something about a cute girl dressed in a zombie nurse outfit that gets me everytime. Particularly if she’s on roller-skates. A quick look at Google assures me that I am not alone here with my interest.
We swarmed towards the Valley, bringing Life and Laughter to Brisbane’s staid streets, ultimately ending up beneath a statue of Robbie Burns in a little park. (Zombie poet?) A bucket was passed around for a brain injury charity and the zombies gave generously. Zombies agree on the importance of braaainnns!!
Sorry.. Forgot myself there for a moment, where was I..oh yes. Afterwards there was a party in a nightclub for those
who wished to see another dawn.
And a good time was had by all.
This year though, the Zombie “March” is a commercial event held in the RNA showgrounds. You have to pay to get in and the “march” is merely a chaperoned stroll around the RNA grounds. It is all safely contained and commercialised.
From a grass-roots, free, underground event, in the space of a few years it has been transformed into just another gig in costume. The same thing happened in Rio to the Mardi Grass. How sad. The Dead walk no more.
But in a final ironic twist, September 2014 saw the streets of Brisbane invaded by a different horde of soul-less Undead creatures, who feasted and waxed fat at the expense of the luckless citizens. These same citizens found themselves herded like cattle thru barricades and checkpoints by an army of visored faceless automatons, menacing minions
that unquestioningly serve their Master’s Will.
Some sort of post-apocalyptic Zombie police state, you ask? Perhaps they’ve dug Johannes Bjelke-Peterson up from the grave? No, it’s merely the G–20; that all-expenses paid holiday for upper echelon Bureaucrats and politicians so they can swan about and pretend to be statesmen while we feed them and provide every conceivable luxury. Parasites the lot of them.
Meanwhile the police this week demonstrated their inability to keep abreast of events by announcing they won’t allow the Zombie March to occur during the G-20, a somewhat confusing stance considering that this event no longer even takes to the streets. Our strangely named Mayor Quirk, now that Zombie Day is a recognised commercial event, was eager to leap to it’s defence, but who cares, it was already dead.
2016 editors note; rumours that the Dead will walk the streets once more have reached the Vicarage. We eagerly await further developments..
The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,
President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc.,
and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists
AND the Church of the Universe.
Get one free in every pack.