The Renegade Blog was started by writer Miles Hunt in order to encourage a new way of thinking and challenge the way we see ourselves and the society around us. It is also a platform to promote his writings including an array of blogs, articles, stories, fables, books, poems and fragments of philosophical thought. Finally it is a website for like-minded souls to visit, read, and enjoy and hopefully come away thinking about something in a different way.
Miles is a lawyer by trade. He is not a particularly good lawyer. One of his friends used to call up his law firm each week and ask the receptionist to put him through to the best lawyer in a particular field – the best commercial lawyer, the best employment lawyer, family lawyer, criminal lawyer and so on, and each week he would not be put through to Miles. Unfortunately there were only two lawyers working at the firm at that time, which meant even the 16 year old work experience kid took more calls than Miles.
This scarred Miles and made him realise that he was perhaps working in the wrong field. Thus he began a journey of discovery to work out what he should be doing.
First, he joined a band called Suite Nonchalant. He was the drummer, although he was also tone deaf, which made drumming hard. He would drum a simple beat without actually listening to the song, and when he saw the rest of the band finish, he’d quickly smash the cymbals as hard as he could. During the band’s very first concert, he was daydreaming when they finished a cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower. As the band members finished, Miles continued to drum in the same, almost-rhythmic beat. Everyone turned around to see what he was doing. The crowd were staring up at him in amazement, half-expecting some sort of drum solo to finish things off. Suddenly he came to his senses, realised the song was finished and he was still drumming, and that both the band and the crowd were looking at him. He looked at his stupefied somewhat embarrassed band mates, then down at the quiet staring crowd, and thought ‘I have to do something big here. Finish on a huge note to make it look like it was all part of the show.’ He smashed down on both cymbals as hard as he could, and then threw his drumsticks into the crowd like a proper rock ’n’ roll drummer. Unlike a pro, he didn’t have a spare pair of sticks. After a few moments he realised this, then had to get off his drum-kit, slowly make his way off the stage and down into the crowd to search for the pair of drumsticks, which he needed before the band could get on with their next song.
It would be his last gig. The next week he turned up to band practice and there was another drummer at the studio. He turned the bass player and said, “So we are having two drummers now… Cool.” The bassist turned to him and replied, “No Just one,’ just one.”
After this Miles turned his attention to stand-up comedy. He told stories of his life including his brief career as a drummer, and his work as head of the Vanilla Bean Union, where he had been unsuccessfully trying to help the vanilla bean overtake the cocoa bean as the number one dessert bean in the country. He was not particularly confident on stage and had some tough moments, not least when he performed to four people scattered through a huge theatre. There was also a period when he lost his mojo and was unable to make people laugh which is generally a requirement of any comedian. He promptly retired, making one final comeback show at the Sydney Fringe Festival where he performed his favourite characters Trance Man and cockney Jesus to wild applause (from his close friends and immediate family). As he sat back stage with a fellow comedian, drinking beer, he realised the party was over – that the dingy comedy halls were not his place; that he had to find a new path.
For a brief foolish moment he thought that path might be through politics. He quickly joined the Drug Law Reform Party. Believing strongly in the merits of decriminalisation and the regulation of drugs, and having a fondness himself for most intoxicants, he headed to the senate. Well, he joined the ballot paper in the Federal Election of 2013, with dream of being in the senate and shaking things up – A renegade in the houses of parliament. Unfortunately the 2,770 votes he got were not enough to get him there – Only a few hundred thousand short. He did not give up on drug law reform, instead co-founding an activist law reform and harm reduction charity called Unharm. But he did realise then that if he were to be a maverick senator he would need to run on more than one policy and he would have to take his many ideas, on how to make our society better, to the people, or make a few million dollars first and buy his way into the parliament.
The thought of making a few million dollars did not appeal to Miles, so he decided the first course of action would be more appropriate. Although at this point, his passion for politics had begun to wain in much the same way as his passion for fisherman-pants after returning home from a backpacking adventure. After taking a greater interest in politics and seeing the compromise required of a politician – the loss of one’s own belief system for the party line, the dishonesty that seems to permeate its every orifice, the lobbying and the corporate influence that is hammered out at every turn and often undermines any attempts to make this world a better and more sustainable place, and realising that money and greed were forces too powerful for a politician to fight – Miles decided wisely that this was not his path either. Although disappointed by much of what he saw, he still felt there was hope and that he had a role to play in that hope.
Having been a writer at university and having aspired to be a bit like Kerouac and bit like Che, he again considered writing as the path to take. Many years earlier he had set off travelling though South America with his great university friend, writing tales of his adventures. This book had become Silhouettes of Men. Although not a box office hit, there was some critical acclaim that came from one or two of his friends. There were also a great many spelling mistakes and much speculation as to whether his spelling of wine, w-h-i-ne, had been intentional – A metaphor perhaps, for talking on and on when one is intoxicated by wine. Alas we will never know the truth. And like the Beatles and the Paul is dead conspiracy, this one will live on and create conjecture for many years to come.
After his travelling adventures in Latin America, Miles returned home to a life of university study. During this period he wrote his second book Bayne of Existence – a semi fictional tale based on his life in Sydney. Most of his friends became characters in this book and this caused a great stir when the parents of various characters read the book and discovered the true nature to their son’s pleasure-seeking lives. Miles stood by his decision to poorly hide the true identity of the characters. He had always harboured a slight resentment that Kerouac had changed the names of his friends Ginsberg, Burroughs and Cassady in the On the Road, but he now understood the reason. Ultimately he felt that the truth was more important than all else and that should be guarded against the fears and insecurities that plague us in the way that we portray ourselves to others. For Miles, truth remained and always will remain an overarching duty of the individual and for humanity. If he had returned to politics he would have started a party called the ‘Truth Party’. But politics, like comedy and music was far behind.
His honesty led to article being published about him in the Sydney Morning Herald about his drug use, much to the chagrin of his parents who were most surprised to see his face staring up at them from the front page of the newspaper as they ate their breakfast. The accompanying headline “Peyote was Amazing!” summed it up perfectly. Shortly after, Miles claimed in an opinion piece that he had simply been honest about his drug use for the sole purpose of getting people to talk about an issue that many people shy away from. Ultimately he was surprised that he made the front page – which showed to him just how conservative society really was.
Miles had always believed himself to be a bit of a philosopher. He studied philosophy at university and continued his training at the School of Practical Philosophy for many years after, learning about the absolute and the nature of reality like a young Jedi Knight learns about the force. He was particularly interested in the great thinkers and teachers throughout history, and he realised as he read Socrates, Buddha, Ghandi, Jesus and Shakespeare, that all people from across the planet, from all the ages of civilisation have similar questions and thoughts about existence. This is what makes us people. Ultimately there are some concepts that all humans share, and the purpose of existence is infused in these ideas. A search for truth, justice, empathy, generosity and love are common to all people.
Miles was inspired to put many of such thoughts down on paper and during a travelling adventure to South East Asia he gathered enough ideas for a book of quotes called Thoughts of a Wanderer. Many of the thoughts appear to be contradictory, and it has been said that the opposite thought is equally valid to the ones he penned, but this didn’t stop him placing copies of the book on the shelves of book-shops throughout Glebe, even inscribing a pencil dollar value on the insider cover in case the shop-keeps actually had an interested customer.
This was the last book that Miles wrote. He spent his next years working as a lawyer. One thing he did enjoy about being a lawyer was the opportunity it allowed for argument and discussion. He had always liked to challenge ideas, and suggest alternative arguments and ways to see the world. He will generally take the most absurd view on a topic and argue vehemently as to why this view is in fact not absurd at all. This means that much of what he says is ridiculous and hardly makes any sense, but hidden amongst this pile of nonsense one can occasionally come across a gem – something almost genius.
After a five-year break from any significant writing, where he explored music, comedy, politics and law, he found himself back where he started – a writer. Miles realised that writing could also be his tool to make change; to fight for justice and the betterment of society; to inspire truth; to encourage love, and to make people consider their lives, other lives, and humanity, and to see things in a different light and through other people’s eyes.
Ultimately he wishes to make change though his words – change in how people think about daily life and change in how people view the world.