I listen to Brian Dunning’s Skeptoid podcast every week, but sometimes he drives me crazy. The episode entitled ‘SUV phobia’ is a good example
“Let's spend some time on the trendy fad of looking for villains to blame for global warming. My flavour of the week is SUV's, those evil gas guzzling, ozone destroying, unethical, politically incorrect, Nazi family soccer wagons. Only let's not do it the trendy way, let's look at the issue sceptically.”
He argues articulately that the SUV is a style of car rather than a mechanical category - and fair enough. He berates city councils for banning this ‘style’ of car rather than specifying fuel-inefficient or over-large cars - and fair enough. He lets us know that ‘the majority’ of SUVs are neither bigger nor less fuel-efficient than the average car - and, if this is true, fair enough. What’s more, the SUV ‘style’ obeys modern emission laws, so is generally cleaner than many older cars.
But isn’t he missing the point somewhat?
It is only recently that the American term ‘SUV’ has begun to replace the Australian descriptor ‘Four Wheel Drive’ and half way through the podcast I began to wonder exactly what kind of car Dunning was referring to. Was there a definition discontinuity? Certainly, there seem to be a great many of the small SUV types on the road, but these are not the ‘villains’ fuelling the issue.
Hummer 2s, Range Rovers and Canyoneros (whatever) are heavy vehicles - there are no two ways about it. To move their considerable mass, a larger engine and more fuel is required. What people are complaining about is the use of such vehicles in situations and environments in which they are unnecessary and in which their fuel use is therefore excessive. People also complain about of the ability given their owners, who may lack a certain sensitivity, to access areas of the planet which require just this sensitivity to survive. And this aside from the clumsiness in the parking lot, the dangers these vehicles create as an obstacle to clear vision on the roads ,and their poor ‘crash compatibility’ with normal sedans.
Face it. They’re jet-skis.
It is natural for thoughtful, caring people to recoil against what appears to be a flagrant waste of resources and a font of unnecessary pollution. Therefore, inevitably, the large ‘SUV’ has become a symbol of excess, an icon for just the kind of behaviour that is threatening our world. If city councils have banned them, then huzzah! They are underscoring a basic human moral. They are helping remind the populace that it is gross and offensive to shit where you live.
If, as Dunning argues, there is a by-catch of small, low polluting cars, then that can surely be addressed, though it is, I would contend, a secondary issue. That the military Humvee [H1] and the Hummer 2 do not share a single component is indeed ‘another example of why you should be sceptical of marketing labels’ but it should not divert attention from the barbaric nature of the vehicle itself. I have seen an H2 and there is no way anyone is going to convince me it is a city-appropriate, fuel-efficient, planet-friendly vehicle. Even its advertising slogan ‘Get Lost’ seems to admit this, having a sub-text aimed at those who would criticise the unashamedly boorish artifact.
The angle Brian Dunning takes on the SUV issue is certainly sceptical. Logical too. But I would draw the line at humanist. I have noticed this kind of thing on other occasions too, as I tread the vasty deeps of the sceptisphere. The new sceptics can sometimes get so enthusiastic with their critical analysis that they discard the human element. Even Richard Dawkins is sometimes a culprit.
Certainly, as Dunning says, container ships produce carbon emissions equivalent to 300,00 cars and are not subject to emission laws, but there are many more cars than container ships.* And without the billions of stuff-hungry people those ships would be mothballed. And there’s the rub. A simple confusion over categorisation should not stop or discourage us reducing excess in our daily lives. Like many, I hold strongly to the credo ‘think globally, act locally’.
* Are there 300,000 cars for each container ship in the world? I would guess there are a lot more. But it’s only a guess, and I’m flirting with sceptics here.
Friday, July 31, 2009
I listen to Brian Dunning’s Skeptoid podcast every week, but sometimes he drives me crazy. The episode entitled ‘SUV phobia’ is a good example
I’ve got myself the leading part in the Ovaltine (flavoured milk) ad. The payment is $1,000. They’re contracting me for a year, I think – and part of the fee will go as their percentage.
I don’t quite understand why I was chosen. Personally, I thought I looked ugly on the video, and I still had a shadow on my face, even though I took great pains in shaving.
It has the same air as a Big M advertisement [almost]. I felt embarrassed by some of the things I had to act out … prowling after girls … drinking the stuff … simulating satisfaction …
That Carol’s going to get it! I’m moving in regardless of those godforsaken druggies.
Lots of time with Phillipa & Gus. Lots of booze etc. Lots of wasted time. I’m going to become (the) retiring (type) for a while, I think.
I wonder if anyone recalls this ovaltine advertisement? I’d be curious to see it. I think I’m old enough not to be embarrassed. The agency were trying to get ahead of the trend by using a ‘blitz’ theme. I was wearing these bespoke leather pants and a semi-frilled white shirt, wandering down a forced perspective hallway opening doors. There was a cow behind one. There was a surfeit of ovaltine flavoured milk cartons behind another, and behind still another there was a rather hot female model, probably with Eighties hair, sipping ovaltine flavoured milk through a straw. I know she was hot because she’d stripped naked about two feet from where I was sitting having a semi-conscious morning coffee in the dressing room. The effect was instant paralysis. These model types …
The money, by the way, was huge at the time.
Diaries - 1981
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I did rather well at the advertising agency. It feels like I’ll get work of some sort, hopefully lucrative. I might get Martin Kantor to do a folio for me.
With the hundred dollars given me by The Ears, I have organised all the finances for the flat. I’m just am waiting for Carol and her gay friends to move out.
I have an appalling case of diarrhoea.
Been staying at Phillipa W----‘s a great deal. I like her. She has very soft skin. After Inflation on Monday was where it (probably) really began. We’ll see …
The new group is sounding good, like it will be a success. Again, we’ll see … We may call it ‘The Hat’, and I may dress as a vicious Mongolian from the Dark Ages.
Went to the Philosophy Club tonight and had coffee with Cathy Denny.
Why, oh why, didn’t we call it ‘The Hat’?
I think ‘faggot’ is more of a pejorative term now than then. Whenever I come across it in these diaries, I feel obliged to change it to gay or queer. Back then it was much more endearing.
The subject of Martin Kantor actually came up the other day, by way of my friend Tanya. It seems that they've moved to Byron Bay and spawned a small daughter. I went to uni with Martin and he used to take some great band photos. I was always particularly impressed by the fact he worked for The Truth. Remember The Truth?
I recall listening to one of The Church’s early singles on the cassette player by the bed in Phillipa’s room and having a good long think about it. From their discography, it had to be Unguarded Moment, as its follow up, according to Wikipedia, hadn’t been released.
The Philosophy Club is a subject in itself. It wasn’t really a club, it was The School of Philosophy and I went there at the behest of my crazy friend George.
Remember those ads in Saturday’s Age? Back when there were two parts, instead of thirteen? On the front page of the second half, there was always an ad simply titled ‘Philosophy’ with a block of text beneath. It may still be appearing, for all I know, and the School of Philosophy may still be with us.
Not unsurprisingly, given George’s involvement, it turned out to be sinister cult. They appeared almost normal. They held public introductory meetings ran six week courses, but the men were required to wear dark suits and the women long skirts. The chairs at these meetings were wooden and hard because, George told me, it helped concentrate the attention. They sourced texts like The Gita, The Upanishads, The Bible, all the great wisdom of the world regardless of creed, but once you started going to their weekend retreats they would practise sleep deprivation and other mind control techniques, and would encourage you to expand your intellectual horizons by deeding them your house.
Diaries - 1981
And lastly, a picture from The Ears' rehearsal last Sunday.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Last night, I went to the opening of the film festival at the Arts Centre. A huge event, the like of which I haven’t been to in ages. A great many speeches, seen from a great distance – Geoffrey Rush, John Brumby - and the premiere screening of Robert Connolly’s Balibo.
The sound unfortunately was terrible, doubly so for me with my blasted out ears, but the film about the five Australian journalists killed during the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor (or Timor Leste as it now seems to be called) was a pretty reasonable effort.
It told two stories: that of the Five and the events leading to their deaths, and that of an older journalist named Roger East (played by Anthony LaPaglia), who, with the help of a young, freedom-fighting Jose Ramos Horta, travels to Balibo to ascertain their fates. East’s story comes across in clear focus - it’s the spine of the film - but the Five’s experiences felt strangely spectral. Again, this may be due to my blasted senses but these sections seemed to be coloured differently, as if shot on aged stock, or long ago, with higher contrast and saturation; their time felt far more remote than the experiences of East just three weeks later.
The characters of the Five never fully congealed for me, they always remained a group rather than individuals. They were like ghosts, reprinted newspaper photos brought to life and doomed to die. Their actual deaths were rendered with horrific simplicity and inevitability – there was no mercy for these living dead, and only a sharp horrifying glimpse, through the ashes of their burnt bodies, of the horror of their last moments.
Innocent young Australians utterly at sea in a vicious alien world they did not understand, which did not recognise their ideals, and to which they expected to be immune - simply because they were Australians.
Naturally, the iconic painting of the word Australia on the side of the Balibo house was included. The word became a protective talisman, and, in the end, was just as ineffective as any rabbit’s foot or monkey’s claw. Even East shared this mindset to a degree. His last words, immediately before he was machine-gunned, delivered with a final surprised bewilderment, were ‘But I’m Australian!”
Afterwards, more speeches, including fine words from Ramos Horta who stood with a uniformed bodyguard behind and to his right. The families of the dead journalists were invited on stage, the actors too. Oddly, there was no mention of Xanana Gusmao at any point in the proceedings.
A massive party afterwards, packing every level of the Arts Centre. I got chatting and almost missed the last train to Mount Waverley. Here are a few old cronies I haven’t seen in decades …
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I've managed to put an Ears page up on MySpace. It probably doesn't look like much just yet, but there are three songs that can be listened to. Currently seeking fans...
There's also an Event page for The Gig, so if you feel like inviting anyone, be my guest.
Links are on the right
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Richard Lowenstein has just released the trailer for 'We're Livin' On Dog Food' - his doco about the early eighties scene in Melbourne and, of course, the events surrounding the making of Dogs in Space.
It's showing on August 2 at the Melbourne Film Festival. This is its facebook event page and here's the trailer:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Apparently, not everybody in the world is on facebook, so I thought I'd post some of the pictures from the 'Sails of Oblivion: The Gig' facebook page here, where the whole world can see them. They're all photos of The Ears from 1979-82. The first is from one of our very first shows before Cathy joined the band.
There are more photos on photobucket and flickr, the links to which are in the right hand column. And remember, keep spreading the news about August the 16th.
Monday, July 20, 2009
What if current conditions on Earth were perfect for the genesis of life? Not life as we know it, but another kind, a different kind starting anew from the inanimate organic soup - while we happily continue on our way, ignorant of a new challenger rising from beneath. Something based on a triple or quadruple helix perhaps, or on plastic, neon and carbon monoxide. Perhaps something congealing in the anoxic depth of the Gulf of Mexico ...
Perhaps the havoc we are wreaking on the planet is making conditions perfect for this new genesis, perhaps our toxic effluents are providing the perfect nutrient mix.
I was going to write a story about this. I have a few scribbled pages in a notebook. But after hearing Paul Davies speak on the Science Show the other week [4 July], I don’t think I’ll bother.
In an absolutely fascinating address, he discusses something he calls the ‘shadow biosphere’. He posits the notion that life may have originated more than once on the Earth, and, asks, if this were the case, how we would go about finding it.
If it was something that has faded away, then we would have to look for ‘ancient biomarkers in the fossil record’ but, if not, if there is indeed a shadow biosphere currently intermingled with our own, he suggests a number of methods by which we could identify it.
Firstly, it would have to be small. If were anything more than microscopic we would have noticed it already. But the vast majority of life on Earth is microscopic and the vast majority is unresearched and unsequenced. If this shadow or ‘weird’ life was ecologically separate, we might find it by subjecting samples to extremes of radiation, acidity, or general contamination, or by looking into extreme environments like the upper atmosphere or around super-hot hydrothermal vents. If it was ‘integrated into our ecology’ we could examine how it cycles carbon [if it is carbon-based], or the chirality [handedness] of the compounds from which it is formed. Davies also suggests that weird life may process arsenic instead of phosphorus.
He presents the enthralling possibility that there may conceivably be, rather than a tree, a forest of life on Earth.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The sceptic movement seems to have gained a great deal of traction from the rise of the podcast. The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, probably the most popular ‘cast on the theme, is certainly my first choice among postcasts and I'm continually meeting people who concur.
The movement has its heartland in the US, that appears obvious, and in the US it is allowable, and indeed correct, to spell sceptic with a 'k'. But why has the burgeoning Australian movement embraced this spelling?
Is it like the Australian ‘Labor’ Party all over again. To quote Wikipedia, “the party was influenced by the United States labor movement and a prominent figure in the early history of the party, the North American-born King O'Malley, was successful in having the spelling "modernised"” [Other reasons are given, but they are minor.]
The Americans, through the pious hand of Noah Webster, performed a lot of English modernisation [rather in the tradition of Orwellian Newspeak]. Hence: color not colour, meter not metre, defense not defence. For good or ill, Webster’s attempt to change tongue to tung failed. Similarly, bred for bread, masheen for machine and blud for blood.
And it’s like disk all over again, though I have noticed that the original tide of US-inspired floppy 'disks' and hard 'disks' has ebbed somewhat over the years and that the correct spelling of disc can now often seen in relation to computers
The Australian Skeptics do it. The young Australian Skeptics do it. The Skeptic Zone, an Australian podcast, does it. These guys are supposed to be critical thinkers. They’re supposed to be accurate. Why are they making this mistake? Is there something I’m not seeing?
Sceptic ‘pre-dates the settlement of the US and follows the French sceptique and Latin scepticus’. Some writers, including Samuel Johnson in his dictionary, spelled sceptic with a 'k', but it never caught on, as it did with, say, ‘skeleton’. The Americans, perhaps via the intercession of Webster, used ‘skeptic’, which was closer to the ancient Greek.
To quote Wikipedia : Australians generally follow British usage (with the notable exception of the Australian Skeptics).
I would really like an answer to this question. I'd hate to think that our sceptic movement is working out of ignorance.
Friday, July 17, 2009
If you know anyone whose interest might be piqued by the Sails of Oblivion gig, feel free to forward this e-bill.
And to quote original keyboardist Gus Till's reaction:
"I recall you telling me that when the name 'The Ears' was decided upon it was also unanimously accepted as bleedin' obvious that it should never ever be mentioned that under NO circumstances would a picture of an ear ever be involved with anything ever associated with aforesaid group! But in one eye and out the other, the passage time of time has nullified this once unbreachable position.
But the ear of god? I like it!!"
Thursday, July 16, 2009
On my walks I’ve often fantasised about dressing down the dog owners who let their animals swim among the teals and ducks and coots of the Huntingdale Wetlands. Once I imagined dropping a brick on the head of someone I saw yabbying there (though my outrage turned to melancholia as I observed him: an elderly man with his grand-daughter, possibly a European migrant like my father (an excellent yabby-catcher) who may have been used to rivers and streams with slightly less toxicity than ours. Conceivably, the maudlin pair may have caught a microscopic mosquito fish, but the yabbies that once existed in this area now rest in peace beneath the Monash Freeway).
I’ve thought of marking the spots where I find empty bottles and cans with a sign reading;
A complete arsehole casually defiled the planet in this place
Or something along those lines… I’ve even visualised the mass production of these signs and considered carrying them with me in a pack along my route, but deep down, thankfully, I know that my time is better spent in some other fashion.
But of course I applaud the author of the damning reprimand photographed above, although I should really grass him/her up to the Apostrophe Police.
I found the neat little tableau on my way to 3PBS to record an interview with Ruari Currin who hosts Fang It! He’s putting together a special on the forthcoming Dogs In Space/Ears Reunion axis, so look out for it. I think he’ll also be interviewing Ollie Olsen and Hugo Race.
My thinking cap kept falling off during the interview, but I suspect I made a little sense. He asked if I had any advice for young bands starting out. The question took me quite by surprise. I felt old and superannuated. All I could think of saying was ‘don’t get a drug habit.’
I did another interview yesterday with Patrick Donovan from the EG [The Age]. This one was more directly related to the ‘Post Punk’ stream at the film festival, but I think the Sails of Oblivion show will get some exposure from it.
And this morning, I woke to the sound of currawongs high in the peppermint gum in the front yard.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Things have been riotous, strange and extreme. I’ve been challenged with calamity, yet somehow, from the chaos, with the help of friends and family, using resources I didn’t know I possessed, I’ve been able to confront the encroaching darkness - just by living my life.
In fact, it’s turning out to be a wildly interesting year. The Ears reunion. Who could have predicted that? I’m spending more time with old friends than I could possibly have forseen, and no friend is better than an old friend. Richard is re-releasing Dogs in Space, a mere two weeks prior to the show, together with We’re Living on Dog Food, a 'doco that explores the making of the film and the scene in early Eighties Melbourne which inspired it. Providence walks before me, seeding my trail with stardust. I’ve even scored a ticket to the opening night of the film festival.
And the granite-bodied men of St Kilda Football Club have won fourteen games without a loss and look set to challenge for the premiership.
And the light of my life, my daughter, is happy and growing. We’ve just returned from three days in Bairnsdale with Tosie and her son Kyowa, who is just a little older than Polly. I really needed the time; I was getting a little frayed at the ends, and Polly loves Kyowa, and vice versa.
We saw fat koalas lodged in the forks of trees, regarding us with the inscrutable expressions of the profoundly stoned. We rode a ‘fairy’ to Raymond Island. We explored a secret place - a mossy rainforest gully of tumbled granite boulders in the deep shadows of water gums. We had dinner at the property of an old bushie called Mick, where the smell of burning bracken was as evocative as Proust’s biscuit, where we turned a giant fallen stringybark into an adventure playground, and where I explained that Betelgeuse, in the constellation of Orion, has recently reduced in size by fifteen percent and may be about to explode, turning our nights into day for the first time in a millennium. Elsewhere, we fed crimson rosellas and king parrots. I saw a bronzewing pigeon, the kind which leaps into flight with a characteristic flapping sound caused by the particular shape of its wings. I saw a male satin bowerbird, the kind that collects blue things for its prospective lovers.
But, almost inevitably, I received a call from Melbourne. My wife, who was not too well to begin with, was in hospital, having taken a decided turn for the worse. As with my legal problems, I can’t be too straightforward here. Suffice to say another heavy weight of responsibility and potential stress has been hefted upon my shoulders.
But never mind. No fear.
Many don’t make it through times like this. Often, it's simply the pressure that defeats them. Tosie’s brother recently died of a heart attack. He was in his early forties .He was brought low by the stress of a bitter struggle with the evil mother of his young daughter. Me, I will work towards tranquility. I know there is only so much I can do. There is no profit in savaging myself over things I can’t control. And in the end ...?
With the beautiful people on my side, I know it will turn out well.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I’m auditioning for an Ovaltine ad. Small Kate arranged this. There are photos tomorrow.
On Friday, after coming back from Franca’s and the most potent trip I’ve ever experienced, I took heroin and went to the Seaview. Afterwards, I went back to Kate S---‘s.
The following night I passed out at Phillipa White’s house. Our first practice is tomorrow.
I’m still very determined.
A laconic yet evocative entry.
First, the Ovaltine ad. I wouldn’t want to upstage any later posts, but it’s safe to say that the exact product was Ovaltine flavoured milk in a carton, that the ad had a ‘Blitz’ theme, and that I got the part.
I recall going to Franca’s. I was with Gus, at his place in Punt Rd across from The Office Hotel. His friend Simon dropped by driving a taxi and proceeded to flatter me on my talents as a frontman. This taxi-driving sycophant turned out to be Simon Polinski, who wound up joining Beargarden on bass, and ultimately became a legendary, Aria-winning producer/engineer.
Franca lived in the hills, in a place called The Patch. I can’t remember why we wanted to go there - surely it wasn't for the mushrooms - but I’ll never forget how astonished I was that Simon happily drove us in his Taxi and then went back to work. It must have been fifty kilometres, at least.
And the first practice? This was the band that would become Beargarden, though I don’t think we had the name yet. There was still a chance that we might have called it something else … that we wouldn’t make that fateful decision.
Friday, July 3, 2009
My old friend Anne Harding just told me a beautiful little anecdote concerning an erotically charged friend of ours. She has made a career from her steamy novels and I’ve mentioned her before, but I won’t say her name out of respect, though I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if I did.
She was sunbathing naked, on her back, in what I took to be a wheat field in the South of France. It was hot and sweat was beading on her body. A butterfly fluttered in the air above and, sensing the moisture, alighted on one of her nipples. It began to drink from the droplets that had formed on her aureole. The tickling sensation of its tiny legs, mouthparts and wings were pleasant, they stimulated her, caused her nipple to harden. But it did not end there. A connection was made across species and, in time, the touch of the butterfly brought our friend to orgasm. She can now stake claim to having had sex with an insect and, in her pulsating lubricious psyche, this is an achievement of note.
I also used to have a female friend who would suddenly announce things in her sleep. My favourite was ‘Unicorns wander through the valley of broken hearts.’ That was how she was. Half in our world, half through the mirror into Narnia. Or Banana Land. I couldn’t be certain which.
As a massive fan of The Wire I was looking forward to seeing David Simon and Ed Burns’ next project Generation Kill, a war drama set during the Iraq invasion. Of course it’s great, similar in style to The Wire, but it really exposes a problem I commonly experience with combat dramas. (And I do enjoy the good ones.)
I first identified the issue during Saving Private Ryan. When characters wear helmets [and uniforms] I find it hard to tell them apart. Thinking back, I think I had the difficulty with Platoon. I couldn’t discriminate between the good and bad sergeants until well into the movie, but by then it was too late to properly appreciate their titanic moral struggle. I recall a similar frustration with Full Metal Jacket as well.
It was only during my third viewing of Saving Private Ryan that I could actually separate out the characters (excluding, of course, Tom Hanks). In Generation Kill, like The Wire, there are a lot of characters and they all wear helmets nearly all the time. I’ve watched half the series of six episodes and I still haven’t sorted out exactly who’s who, and I remain confused over the chain of command.
I am generally somewhat poor at recognising faces, a deficiency that at times has seen me accused of arrogance and rudeness, particularly in my early life. My poor eyesight is at least partially to blame, but not when it comes to war dramas.
I believe that a director who intends to make a war drama, or any drama with a preponderance of helmets, should take especial care with character identification. He should give helmeted characters distinctive insignia, idiosyncratic voices and punctuate the script with helmet-free scenes …
But I wonder if they already take this element into account? If they do, then on Generation Kill they’ve yet to find a working formula. At least for me. But don’t get me wrong. I do like helmets and I do like to see characters wearing them, It’s a male thing, of course. I like Spitfires too, and Messerschmitt 109s and 262s and 163s. But this helmet thing … it’s a problem that needs solving. Wouldn’t you agree?
In The Age this morning, we had a mention in the EG’s Sticky Carpet column; the Ears gig plus related events at the Melbourne Film Festival. Officially, we’re not supposed to speak about the festival until their launch on 6 July, but this doesn’t seem to have bothered The Age …
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Allow me to share with you the current object of my professional interest. This footage brushes the thematic core of all my work. It is said to have been taken with a snake-cam in the sewers of North Carolina
These clits of pink mucilage might have been spat from the bronchial tubes of a tuberculosis victim, yet they are plainly, horribly alive - as their weird peristaltic spasms attest. Notice how their substance seems to melt beneath the light, then recombine, always moving, writhing. Each a wet succulent bolus of undeniable charisma ... Performing unknowable functions, describing secret processes, slow emulsive calculations in the darkness and moisture, latent meaning in the clotted, palpitating slime... I particularly like the second creature, which, rather than flinching, appears to actually threaten the source of illumination. (Notice that the controller of the camera is aware of their photosensitivity and positions the light for effect.) Regard the extrusions of striated flesh with which the creatures attach themselves to the concrete; this is how human muscle fixes to the bone.
In the undisturbed dark, growing fat and strong on the rich never-failing stream of effluent, on the slow seepage of human waste… In an environment so abundant, so wonderfully replete with the building blocks of life … I can imagine that these creatures originated here and nowhere else. That the spark of life from which they have evolved is not the spark from which the rest of nature descends.
Forgive my language. The subject compels me to lyricism ...
Feasting. Growing fat and strong…
Or were they once creatures of another order, forced into the deeps by predators or environmental cataclysm. At what point did they abandon their skin? Or if not their skin, their shells?
Indeed, if forced to guess, I would have said they were molluscs which had abandoned their shells. Others, excluding the breathless cryptozoologists, have suggested that the entities are, variously, bryozoans (something like coral), cnidarians ( the phylum containing jellyfish, sea anemones and coral) or slime molds. Some suggest the video is promoting what could only be a horror movie.
For some prosaic background info try here.
For an expert opinion, courtesy of Deep Sea News, try this:
“They are clumps of annelid worms, almost certainly tubificids. Normally these occur in soil and sediment, especially at the bottom and edges of polluted streams. In the photo they have apparently entered a pipeline somehow, and in the absence of soil they are coiling around each other. The contractions you see are the result of a single worm contracting and then stimulating all the others to do the same almost simultaneously, so it looks like a single big muscle contracting.”
Or were they once … men?