31. Peter and Helmut join forces.

1.Success for Helmut and Peter the Heckler! Mr B gave up his spot to the two gentlemen, who alternated on the ladder and kept the crowd interested. Indeed, they kept the crowd, period. Mr B (that’s ‘B’ for ‘Banished’) set up elsewhere and talked to the air for some time.

He says it was as though he were standing alone in a windswept paddock, with only the crows on a nearby fence to keep him company.

Mr B had to face the harsh reality that without his regular hecklers, and with stiff competition, he would end up looking more lost than a discarded shopping trolley.


It would have been a humbling experience for Mr B, except for the fact that it’s not possible for a human being to be any humbler than he already is.

2. Helmut and Peter will take the ladder from now on. Mr B has trouble on his hands. Game on!

3. This scribe rarely mentions Ray, but only because we don’t see much of him. He stands near the kiosk spreading the word of God, much to the delight and appreciation of those sitting in the kiosk’s chairs trying to enjoy their coffee.

Steve Maxwell had a good day. He:
– recommends that the only two newspapers we should be reading are The Green Left Weekly and the Australian Financial Review. He says their diverse views provide the reader with a healthy overview.
– Steve spoke of World War II again, focusing on the fall of Singapore and on the bombing of Pearl Harbour, as well as the implications for Australia at the time.
– And, Steve figured out a brilliant way to deal with Tony, while at the same time giving Tony encouragement to speak. We can’t share the brilliant strategy here because it’s top secret. Suffice to say, this could be the dawn of a new era for Speakers’ Corner.

4. Helmut spoke of the origin of the universe, and the end of the universe. Peter the Heckler spoke of everything in between, including the planned Westconnex motorway. (Mr B spoke of it too, but who was there to hear him?)

5. Peter was not content to simply displace our cherished Mr B, he also chose to send a missive to this beleaguered scribe, about what he spoke about. His theme on the day was: ‘I don’t understand’ and he summarises his main points here:
– I don’t understand why the catholic church (& others rolling in money) do not follow Christ and give to the poor.
– I don’t understand why they are exempt from rates and taxes. Seriously, priests don’t have to pay for their garbage to be removed?!
– I don’t understand why riot cops, anti-terror squads (& their ilk) are increasingly often wearing masks.
– I don’t understand why journalists don’t rip and tear more often in response to the rampant rubbish dished out by politicians. Latest political simpleton: Malcolm Roberts (One nation Senator), with those chilling pale-blue eyes.

Honestly, if you ask this gentle scribe, this man Peter is a blight on society.

6. A few weeks ago a grasshopper asked about the merits of mindfulness. Mr B vacillated and prevaricated . . . wait, I’ll just check my dictionary . . . saying he didn’t practise mindfulness and therefore, he couldn’t speak much about it. Recently he was presented with a link to an article that suggests mindfulness can be harmful.

Another grasshopper said there were four ways to practise mindfulness. We can be mindful of our body, our thoughts, our emotions, and of our mindfulness. This scribe thinks it’s all a bit rich, really.

7. Graeme from Bike Buffs came around again with his cycling tourists in tow. As usual, Graeme tried to assist Mr B, and true to form, was a right royal pest. Despite Graeme’s incessant chatter, the generous Mr B explained to the tourists how Speakers’ Corner came into being. (A quick summary: in the Middle-Ages in Britain, hangings were common. In the 1500s a village named Tyburn made a production out of it, by once a month hanging 30 to 40 prisoners in a day, one after the other. Thousands of fee-paying spectators would come along to witness the hangings, because each prisoner’s last words were entertaining. ‘Truth sits on the lips of dying men’, goes the saying. Being about to die, they would say what they liked. They said things that people with a future dared not say, and the crowd loved it. Then the prisoner would be hanged. Mostly, their necks wouldn’t snap, and it might take them fifteen minutes to strangle. So to hasten the process, loved ones would rush up to cling to the body and add extra weight. (Hence the expression, ‘To pull someone’s leg’). Anyway, that went on for 300 years until the gallows were closed. But people missed the speeches so much that a few brave souls got up and spoke anyway. Provided they spoke on a platform, the authorities turned a blind eye. Later, Tyburn had its name changed to Hyde Park, London, and the place became known as Speakers’ Corner. There are still speakers there today although it’s full of religious dills. The tradition spread to places throughout the world. Sydney has had its Speakers’ Corner for 140 years.)

Mr B then told the cyclists to clear off and they did.

This is how the French killed their prisoners:


8. In a few weeks a film production company will film Speakers’ Corner as a backdrop to the documentary they are making about cyber bullying. If you can figure out why some people aim to be cruel to strangers, please let us know in time for the documentary, either by coming along and speaking to Mr Bashful, or by leaving a comment on this site. Even better, come along on the day of filming! (Probably Sept 11.)

Are you a cyber bully? A troll? If so, can you figure out why you do it, and tell us? If you can articulately identify the deep feelings that prompt you to bully, come along and let us know. We would love to know the thoughts and emotions that prompt you to hurt another person’s feelings. In what way do you benefit? If you get joy from making another person suffer, why is it joyful? Do you gain the same pleasure when you see animals suffer? Does it hurt you when you are trolled? Can you remember the first time you trolled, and why you made the choice to do so?
We would love to know.
We’re not out to get you. We just want to know, for the documentary.
Answers like, ‘it’s fun’ or ‘I just love it’ or ‘why not’ or ‘I just get a kick out of it’ aren’t good enough. We need to know why it’s fun. We need to know why you enjoy it when so many other people don’t enjoy being nasty. We need you to employ real introspection. Because it’s that ‘deeper’ bit that matters.

Speaking of cyber bullying, dear reader, have you ever received an email that threatens you harm if you don’t pass it on? This scribe thought that was nonsense until he saw this headstone:


9. We have not yet solved the Miracle of the Chairs, but like those searching for the missing Malaysian flight MH370, we will not give up in our search for the truth. Besides, our search for the truth is $170m cheaper.

We are investigating the possibility that time travel is involved. Well, Mirko is, anyway.