Soapbox Speakers

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 21st August.

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 22, 2016 at 10:48 am

1.’Wise men learn from their mistakes; geniuses learn from Mr Bashful.’

They were the words spoken today by Mr B himself, prompting this scribe to wonder if he is as humble as everyone seems to think he is.

2. It was story time today. Mr B recounted a story from the Twilight Zone, and followed it with the story about Alice and the Creatures of the Dark Forest. The two stories had everyone on the edge of their seats (getting ready to go).

The point of the Twilight Zone story was: who we have been in the past is irrelevant; who we are now, and who we will become, is relevant.

For example,

Be the person you needed

3. It was a beautiful day and a steady stream . . . trickle . . . of passers-by kept the speakers busy. The subjects discussed were:

– The Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, a garden gnome of the lowest order. He had recently bragged about how employment had risen slightly, and the interviewer had pointed out to him that 45,000 people had lost their full time job, and more than 45,000 part-time jobs were created. So, even though that is a net increase in the number of jobs, in reality, his figures are misleading. It’s a lot harder to pay the bills with a part-time job. Scott Morrison’s weasel response? “Jobs are jobs.”

– We discussed the scam artist who for a mere $25,000 will arrange to have you in a video talking to a weasel celebrity, so that you can put the video on your website and claim credibility. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a lousy speaker, what’s important is your branding” said the con artist. Plus, you get fobbed off to some life coach in Sydney for a while. Oh, and you are allowed to pay $500 for a set of videos on how to speak.  (40 people bought the videos! and at least 6 poor souls signed up to pay the $25,000. Oh dear.)

– One young man discovered what makes him angry. The thirty people around him also discovered what makes them angry. It turned out, the same answer applied to everyone!

– Mr B described instances in which he wrestled with children, and predictably the sleazy jokes and accusations came thick and fast. But they added to the point he was making: that adults are becoming too wary of that healthy, natural behaviour to actually engage in the pleasure of it. And, the kids miss out on that aspect of their developmental growth. (Ah, but they have Pokemons to hunt, don’t they.)

– Four young people suggested that old people have had their turn and should get out of the way. They said that we olds stuffed up the world, and we should let the young ones fix it up before we old ones stuff it up completely. People over 80 shouldn’t be allowed to vote, it was claimed, because their life isn’t going to be significantly impacted regardless of which political party gets to govern. After all, they’ll still get their pension. Mr B took umbrage at this outrageous suggestion and after a bit of haggling he concluded that no one older than 40 should be able to vote. How Mr B lost that haggle he still doesn’t know, he tells me.

– Mr B, an atheist, picked on the atheists in the audience and told them to smarten up and get their act together.

– Mr B’s sister was discussed, in relation to depression. This meme might give a rough idea of what depression is like, though it would vary from person to person.


4. The subject of grief came up and the death of a pet was used as an example. Mr B described the beautiful death of his dog two years ago. It was a splendid day for her, and she died without fear. Here is a message from the Postsecret website:

Euthanising pets

5.  ‘Excuse me, people in Sydney stand on the left to let people pass on the right.’ They were the words Peter the Heckler said to a woman as they went down an escalator on Friday. The woman, as you can guess, was standing on the right side, not the left, though people could still pass her. After Peter had spoken to the woman the situation escalated and both threw around a few swear words. Peter wanted to know our thoughts. Had he handled the situation well?

The incident prompted a discussion on assertiveness, aggressiveness, ethics, and why the hell Peter had felt obliged to say something given that hundreds of people get hacked to death by machetes every day in the Congo. But hey, we’re not in the Congo and Peter was right to say something. At the very least, such incidents are good for practising our assertiveness skills.

6. Tony spoke about people who hear voices.
 This scribe thinks it’s a shame voices don’t speak on behalf of him. He’d talk more sense.


7. The solar system was discussed. If a basketball represented our sun, explained the speaker, then Earth would be a grain of rice two metres away and Pluto would be a speck of dust about a kilometre away. And, the chance that the Earth will be visited by intelligent aliens from another planet was zero.

The chance that an alien will join our Facebook page is even more remote.




News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 14th August.

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 15, 2016 at 10:50 am

1.What a good day! Peter the Heckler and Helmut again took the ladder and entertained the crowd, while Mr B across the way talked to a small but loyal audience. With Tony and Mirko chipping in regularly, Mr B’s exasperation could be considered entertaining.

2. We don’t know what Helmut spoke about (science, presumably?) but we do know that Peter talked about:
– ‘The large number of Christian Fundamentalists in government.’

– ‘How government schools should be the leaders and standard setters. And they’re not – sadly.’

– ‘People should consider less heroic medical interventions at the end of their lives. Realistic acceptance of the inevitable seems to be worth thinking about, at the least.’

One of the many pleasing aspects to Peter’s talks is the variety of his topics. Another is his ability to take charge of the meeting and direct traffic in an authoritative, yet entertaining way.

Speaking of schools, it seems even Lord Voldemort takes education seriously:


3. Albert and Jean were in attendance. Albert is 92 and as fit and as strong as a Mallee bull, and Jean is his darling wife. They, as always, had just come from attending a religious service from the Uniting Church nearby. And this is where it gets weird: Albert is a Christian atheist. He doesn’t believe in . . . never mind; the weird bit is that he regularly tells his fellow parishioners that God doesn’t exist and Jesus was a mere mortal. Yet, Albert is never expelled from the church. Today he excelled himself: in response to the topic of the prevalence of guns, violence and cruelty in today’s society, Albert blamed God. He stood up at the front and spoke to everyone, telling them that Abraham’s god was a cruel, callous and jealous bastard who committed genocide on the indigenous Palestinians.

Yes, that’s right. In church, during the service, Albert got up and told everyone that God was a bastard. He used that word.

Furthermore, he is applying to be on the church’s council in the upcoming church elections, and believes he has a chance.

That is one progressive church.

Albert is only eight short years away from being 100. Then he will have to suffer the same fate this poor woman suffered when she reached 100:


4. Having given the church a hard time, Albert moved on to Speakers’ Corner to give Mr B a hard time, who had just explained to The Enthralled (his nickname for his grasshoppers) why the Mona Lisa should be burnt. Mr B claimed that the art gallery opposite displays monochrome paintings which are simply rubbish, and Albert said that he had been in the gallery and that no such painting is displayed. Mr B took umbrage and sent this weary scribe some proof for Albert to see. Mr B claims  that all the photographs below were taken in the gallery. (The Art Gallery of NSW.)

Black split

Here is another:

White door

What do you think, Albert? Here’s another:


Why not one more?

17. White

This scribe takes a different view to Mr B. He believes these works of art are integral to our understanding of the true nature of humanity and the existential suffering of the inner being.

5. Mr B also talked about:

not much, really.

No topic was studied deeply. It was a dog’s breakfast. Mr B skimmed the surface of many topics, or none at all. No one really knows. It was one of those days.

Tony did his best to keep it that way, too, with his endless interjections. Sigh.

6. Steve Maxwell was in good form, and talked about the British nuclear tests held in Australia that took place between 1953 and 1963. Using a recent ABC radio documentary as his main source, he explained how the British were happy to blow bombs up, but didn’t try too hard to ensure that people were out of harm’s way. Nor did they bother to clean up afterwards. As a result, many Australians, mostly indigenous, were poisoned by radiation. (And think of the animals!) Steve also  pointed out that the Australian politicians let the British get away with it.

7. We have not yet solved the Miracle of the Chairs, but we are working on it. We are consulting a water diviner. Meanwhile, here is another weird phenomenon:


8. Our Facebook page is thriving, in the same way the dodo is thriving. Our archives site, with all our past posts, is doing equally well.

one box



All boxes


We are ever so grateful to the NSW Art Gallery for displaying these mind altering, soul enriching works of art.


Blue 2_0301

The speakers and hecklers!

In Speakers and hecklers. on March 8, 2015 at 11:51 pm

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” 
Gerry Spence.

Some people say the speakers at Speakers’ Corner are a little eccentric. There might be a skerrick of merit in that point of view. Whatever the case, they’re an entertaining bunch.
Click here to see their 2015 highlights.
Click here to see their 2014 highlights.
Click here to see their 2013 highlights.

Find us on Facebook.

The Speakers and Hecklers.

Steve Maxwell, historian and political commentator.

Steve Maxwell In various personas, but always engaging, Steve talks about religion, Australian history and politics. Click here for highlights. To see more videos of Steve, go to the archives site. From his book, ‘Soapbox Oratory‘ Steve writes: ‘In a modern city, there must be a place where strangers can meet and discuss the issues of the day without fear of persecution; where the right to retain one’s individuality is allowed.

Helmut Cerncic, metaphysicist.

Helmut 4

Helmut once beat Arnold Schwartzenegger in a body building contest. He knows a lot about metaphysics, (more than Arnold Schwartzenegger), and is happy to explain why Isaac Newton was an ignoramus. But his battles with hecklers are fun. He calls his listeners his ‘groundlings’. Here are some highlights. For more videos of Helmut, go to the archives site and to his own site, ‘Is Science the New Religion?’.

Mirko Terzic, 21st Century inventor.


Mirko has created a phonetic alphabet to be used world-wide, and it’s better than Esperento. He has solved the problem of perpetual motion and has diagrams explaining how to get free unlimited energy from hydropower. Mirko knows how to think outside the square. Here are a few highlights of Mirko. For more videos of Mirko go to the archives site.

Ray, Christian.

Ray is concerned about your soul.

 Ray is passionate about spreading the word of God. He takes the task seriously but isn’t confronting. He is a gentle man willing to answer your questions. Here are a few highlights. For more videos of Ray, go to the archives site.

Mr Bashful, epiphany specialist.

Mr B 2

Mr Bashful, the epiphany specialist.

Epiphany specialist Mr Bashful tells us he is the spiritual advisor to the Dalai Lama, though that’s yet to be verified. He calls his listeners his ‘grasshoppers’ and his foes ‘garden gnomes’. (He himself could be called, ‘King of the Cheap Shots’.)
  Among other things, Mr Bashful talks about New Age scams,  happiness myths, and why we should burn the Mona Lisa. One thing he isn’t, is bashful.
He now has a Facebook page which has a following slowly approaching double figures.

Tony, atheist. (Speaker and  heckler)

New-Zealand born Tony is a fervent atheist and scathing of the Catholic Church. When he is not berating Christianity he is either sinking the boot into other religions, or supporting Palestine. In this video  Tony expresses a few of his well considered opinions. For more videos of Tony click here.


Peter the Heckler (and occasional speaker)

Peter - best

During the week Peter teaches students, and if he teaches them with the same verve he has for the Sunday passers-by, they are lucky students indeed. Click here for a few highlights. For more videos of Peter, go to the archives site.

Jovo (occasional speaker)


 Jovo is a charismatic man, which may explain why he is also known as ‘Rasputin’ and ‘The Wild Man of Serbia’. Throughout the world he is envied by monks, yogis and gurus for his ability to tap into a stream of consciousness and verbalise it. 

Andrew, the exhibitionist. (Heckler.)

If you have any questions to ask of a flasher, Andrew is the guy to ask.

If you have any questions to ask of a flasher, Andrew is the guy to ask.

 Andrew used to be a speaker – he used to be the only flasher in the world prepared to stand up and talk about flashing, and support it. There are four entertaining videos of Andrew speaking.  Here is just one. For more videos of Andrew, go to the archives site. His award winning book about exhibitionism (flashing) is available on Amazon.

Max (Quiet listener)


Max is one of the gentler regular visitors. Says little, but when he does speak it’s sensible. A pleasant change for Speakers’ Corner. Click here to discover why he visits Speakers’ Corner.

Arthur (Heckler)

 Arthur 1

Arthur is not what you call the shy type, and is generous with his opinion. I caught him searching for disciples.

Jack (Quiet observer)


“The old grey owl sat on an oak.
The more he heard, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Now, wasn’t he a wise old bird?”

Click here to hear a few words from Jack.



Sylvia drops by and stays for some time. We hope one day she expresses an opinion.



Click here to hear why Pete comes to Speakers’ Corner.



Click here to understand why Daniel visits.


Jean 2

Jean tries so hard to be feisty, but she’s just a big softie. Click here to hear why she comes to Speakers’ Corner.
Her husband is Albert, below. Both of them are very good value at Speakers’ Corner.


Albert 3

 Albert may be 92, but he is as alert as anyone, and fit. When he helps Mr B unload the chairs he carries six at a time.
Albert wrote an absorbing book titled, ‘Civilisation Hijacked’. It explains how good men are persuaded to do bad things.

If  you would like to buy a copy ($20) email Albert:
Albert is the husband of Jean.


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