Friday, 26 December 2008

Fair thee

Dear 2008,

Trifecta.
Job.
Car.
Licence (the blame sits squarely with luxury on this one, you know what I mean stupid mercedes).

Perchance now you will be satisfied? I should bid you an unfond farewell, tomorrow I'm leaving the state, we all know the year officially ends when I am thrust with jets into the sky. There is, as always, a song spinning in my head, "I'm drunk, I'm tired and I fucked my shit up" but this time I'm not entirely sure that its all my fault.

What I am learning is to become undone, not from myself, not from the power of that internal vortex but from the larger shoving hand of something else. It is possible that I will remain and by that I mean I will walk with words in my head and pens in my hands. This isn't a great trial of me versus all things like volcanoes and canoes and omnipotent everything. I can build rhythms with footsteps. I'll laugh at the dusting off and the dusting off and the standing and falling and breathing. One day, strapped in great pain, I saw faces look down on me with something quite like love.

I have dozed now in both my parents' houses. Sat with my back against cushions, heavy lead dropped my eyelids and listened. I heard who I am with the sounds of peeling potatoes, stacking plates, kitchen chatter and clatter and the stepped in parts of other lives. I'm weaving something over here, if you look closely at only one part it is lumpen with errors but when I stretch out my arms and hold it aloft the dropped stitches let in the light. And that right there was the moment in which I allowed myself to be twee. I'm planning on dropping a lot more stitches 2008, you better brief 2009 cause there's no separating Dale from Slamma.

DS

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Monday, 22 December 2008

Improbable impromtu partakings

Gemma came to stay at The Peach so we made with the merry. The first night we saw Spencer play us some rock which was grand but the second night The Peach threw open its doors for an impromptu party of unreasonable excellence. Retro from The Hive made a special guest appearance for dinner which was super but perhaps the real star of The Peach was the frozen cocktail machine that was improbably produced out of thin air for our drinking pleasure. There is photographic evidence but it is inside The Spatula's camera.

At one point in the evening Gemma took an extensive photographic survey of The Peach Bathroom, this was before we sensibly decided that what Superman does in the shower, besides washing, is practice Elvis karate.

The impromptu party was wildly succesful. We took turns at singing songs using a cheese encyclopedia to supply alternative lyrics. Spencer played themes from 80's television shows on Superman's guitar, Gemma knew all the words. The police snuck down into The Cowboy's backyard and shone torches up at The Peach Deck. We weren't sure what they wanted so we just sat very still until Gemma jumped up and said hello. They wanted us to be quiet which is exciting, we've never been shut down by the police before.

This evening, reflecting on the weekend's events, I became so happy that I invented a new kind of dance.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Cheap regret

I regretted my decision to buy the cheapest paper towels, just as soon as the toilet paper ran out.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Don't float

I almost walked over the Harbour Bridge in the dying light. I stood at the bottom of the steps sniffing the expensive north side breeze, rubbing my arms to get the corporate stink off them. I phoned Spencer and he said he was getting drunk for free so I turned around and walked into the station.

I didn't like where I'd been. I sat in a room with fifteen other applicants listening to the managing director rant about his personal excellence and the standard of excellence he expects in everything from fruit to shoes. The recruiting assistant scanned the room and made notes every time somebody breathed, like a robot surprised to be confronted with the living. I filled in the form like I was supposed to, listened like I was supposed to, sat there in my ironed clothes with my brushed hair but I was considering throwing myself under a ferry and featuring on the late news as a floater. The harbour is more beautiful than I can imagine. I let slip every opportunity for splendid rebellion.

Spencer was drinking in the County Clare so I navigated south, using the trains, buses and the soles of my shoes. I found him jammed in a filthy courtyard sitting on an empty beer keg bouncing up and down with excitement over something or other. He only bounces when he's drunk. I rammed myself into the crowd as an antidote to everything but in the end I found I needed to walk so I left the County Clare and wandered up Broadway and City Rd sucking down the city air. I stumbled and turned my ankle on nothing at all.

I was carrying no cash, not a dollar, I sat at the bust stop while my ankle throbbed and swelled, wondering what to do until I remembered about taxis and paying for things with credit cards. Mona found me five minutes later, bought me a bus ticket then a beer. We sat in The Townie swapping sorrows and cigarettes, wondering at the usefulness of friends until Spencer started sending me text messages about how excellent a time he was having at the party, far superior to The Townie. I imagined he was drunker than even I had anticipated but then he stuck his head around the corner holding out his long arms and laughing like a loon.

Spencer spoke about the time he was working in a factory in Bowral putting books in boxes. He said they kept playing the Youth Group* song Someone Else's Dream, the lyrics go something like 'let's go see The Holy Soul in some soulless hole where the restless people go' [The Holy Soul is Spencer's band]. Spencer was bending his back and numbing his mind, stacking books in boxes from 6 in the morning, listening to the factory radio sing out the name of his band. That's when he thought he might move to the city.

Spencer walked when he moved to the city, missing the horizon, mapping out the lack of spaces but that's another story.


* You probably know this Youth Group song if not the one I'm talking about.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Mild today isn't it

1am. First radio contact with Siberian step-mother. She is on the Trans-Siberian Railway three nights and two days out of Moscow. She said it is quite mild in Siberia, there has been no snow, yesterday I went dog sledding. Is it possible to sled without snow?

People in extreme situations, such as the Australian Antarctic Division or Siberia, display tendencies towards resourcefulness and eating things out of tins. Perhaps they have invented something. Hover sled? Sled with wheels attached? Sled on top of dogs? One continuous carpet of rolling logs or ball bearings? Digital sled simulator on hydraulic lifts?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Dorothy Porter 1954-2008


...


fun fun fun

I'm a mono Beach Boys record
my heart breaks

like surf.


- Dorothy Porter, from 'El Dorado'

Mathematics

By Robert (Poet Laureate of Slammatown)

My legs are longer than my arms. But
my ankles are twice the diameter
of half my wrist's circumference.
How old is my father? Who
is my father? Where is my daddy?
Daddy...?

I've seen all good people

Turn your head this way.

Dear People of The World

You bore me.
You've driven me to this.
Do something interesting.

And remember,

don't surround yourself with yourself.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Held without question

I feel sick Captain. The hot chocolate made more sense than it ought. I saw a video or a film or a piece or a work. It has been following me but don't think I didn't want this to be a shorter sentence.

We sat at the bus stop in Glebe smoking cigarettes like school children and kicking our feet at catabatic things. There was never an intention to board a bus. I rolled a cigarette for Grizelda but Spencer rolled his own while he bent forwards over his crossed leg complaining that my complaining was sending him deaf. I had been slouched in a parody of drunk but that was inside where they tag you with numbers and pour sugar on plates.

Today was larger than me. It pressed on the windows. I turned my head away. After the telephoned things I had no interest in anything save for the texture of stasis in silence. An unexpected letter, with tiny beautiful gifts, could not raise so much as an eyebrow. I've had The Maple Trail** on repeat since Saturday, always preferring Radio Twilight Lost to Dirty Echo Spark.

Nothing will push back the memory of Held Without Question. Jon Wah moved on screen, hauling pixels from the grave, wrapped in the arms of his mother. Held without question. I stood in silence while the crowd moved around me. I suspended headphones with my hands while the longing formed, don't think I didn't want this sentence to be longer.



* Held Without Question (I think this is what it is called) by Jon Wah at Serial Space until 18th of December.
** More about The Maple Trail here.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

178, 190, same thing, precisely the same thing

Superman is wider than he is high, I can assure you this is entirely scientific, if you measure the span of his arms. The same is true of Spencer. Madam Squeeze and I are both taller than the span of our arms.

Now for a list of names in height order with the difference in height between the person listed and the person above in parentheses, Spencer is 199 centimetres wide from fingertip to fingertip.
Spencer
Superman (2cm)
Slamma (0cm)
Madam Squeeze (8cm)

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Traumax, dress death, incredible happenings and the superness of Superman


One moment I was sitting in the Zammercarship happy after seeing The Maple Trail play at the Hopetoun and going to the gallery Serial Space, hungry for the late late dinner Superman and I were planning on having on the way back to The Peach. The next moment I was lying in an ambulance confused and hurting so profoundly that I did not know where exactly the hurt was coming from. At one point I heard a voice and said, "Oh, is Superman here too?". The ambulance lady told me yes he was but I forgot again and again and was surprised when he appeared by my side in my very own personal trauma room in the emergency part of RPA. I was sure that they were pretending, I could not remember being in a crash, they kept asking me how I opened the broken car door. I did not know that Superman had flung it open, not until he told me the next day.

Small notes of gratitude are scrolling through my still fuzzy and unattractively swollen head for:

Superman who was exceptional, even at 3am sitting in a plastic hospital chair at my side. He went out of his way to be extraordinary. For doing everything possible including making me go in the ambulance and stay in the hospital when I did not want to. For going to great lengths to print and post my manuscript that had to be posted, for wiping the terrible mascara trails from my face when I could not do it myself, for sitting in the hospital forever. For conjuring doctors to come and explain just what the hell was going on. For miraculously fetching hot hospital blankets fresh out of the drier when I was shaking with cold. For his powers of invincibility and not being horribly injured, for talking to everyone from police to parents and friends. For his concern for the occupants of the other car and his gratitude for everyone that helped. For holding amusing things in my field of vision when I could not move my head and could not stand staring at the one roof tile any longer. You're alright Superman.

The woman who lived on the corner where we crashed who came out with her dog, comfort and glasses of water while I sat on a wall and wondered what was happening.

The ambulance lady who was commanding and kind. She held me in a calm centre while police and people and firetrucks made chaos. She did not leave my side, sat by me and put a warm hand on mine every time I started to cry, even while she went about poking me and flashing lights in my eyes. In an amazing display of competence she took my arm softly and cannulated me while the ambulance was moving. She was stern and thorough and wonderful.

The emergency staff at RPA were mostly excellent, except for when six of them suddenly stopped doing all the odd things they were doing to me, all at once, rolled me on my side, cut off my clothes with scissors and let some doctor stick a finger in my bum. That was not excellent. It was also unexcellent when they held open my jaw for x-rays or when they bound my hands to my feet and pulled the ropes tight making my bones scream, or when the nurse pushed pain killers down my throat or when they insisted that the neck brace stay on. What was excellent was being voted favourite patient in emergency.

Grizelda stayed with me all day in the hospital and remedied my cracked lips with ointments, held things up into my limited field of vision for my amusement. For making tea and fetching pillows and telephoning my brother.

The Spatula for coming to the hospital and then missing her appointment to help Superman post my manuscript that had to be posted. For feeding the cat and marching to the shops to fetch me things.

My parents who miraculously appeared from far away. My Dad for waiting in the hospital and in my house, for talking with Superman and saying reassuring things. My Mum and her partner for coming armed with a teapot, two kinds of tea, a bottle of arnica and a fresh apple cake and talking to Superman and saying reassuring things.

Spencer for appearing with a pink shiny beruffled umbrella with whistle attached then sitting in The Peach listening to Superman and I tell and retell the same stories in a blurry fashion whilst high on painkillers.

Ron & Rita who telephoned me from a different hospital where they sit with Ronita and their brand new one day old baby which is so far named Untitled 2008. I am very upset that I did not get to see him this weekend, this tiny brand new person. Being smashed in a car is nothing compared to what just happened to Rita.

Sputnik and Boli for their messages of concern.

My dress, that served me well, I was wearing it the first time I met Superman, I had forgotten this until he pointed it out. My dress that went to parties, galleries, gigs, supermarkets and hospitals. I was going to have it altered next week because it has become too big. The first dress I ever bought for myself, I loved you so. RIP green jungle print 1950's party dress.

My painkillers for making typing and just plain being possible.

My spine for defying all things and not being broken despite the incredible concern of medical people. My left arm for coming out of the piece of car it was momentarily stuck in, this I remember.

I have this picture in my head of a smashed and shaken Superman coming back to the dark Peach alone in the early hours of the morning. How he walked alone and could not find a taxi for such a long time, opening the door to The Peach with my unfamiliar keys and feeling his way down the dark hallway then not going to bed but staying up and printing my manuscript. How he said he was shaking for hours. I would not like to have been him, I would not like to watch him flat and prone surrounded by doctors and lying forever in horrible pain. It is cold, uncomfortable and exhausting to wait in a hospital.

I do not remember the crash. Everything hurts except my right hand and left foot. My jaw is swollen down to my shoulder, I have no neck right now, none at all. My whole face retains a cartilage feeling that comes with a blow to the nose. My teeth, all of my teeth ache and ache and ache. I feel terrible, crushed, smashed, confused, unable to concentrate even on a movie. There is simple sadness and a base need for constant comfort. I cry unexpectedly, sleep unexpectedly, I have no desire to write these words but I type in an attempt to usher in some sense of normalcy and cast out determined surreality in this small window where the painkillers begin to work but have not yet rendered me unconscious.

Smashed

Dale Slamma will be back soon, just as soon as she recovers from being smashed, by a car.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Whores, psychonannies, damn building and a new kind of floor

Club 77 is the kind of dive I dream about. Strobe lights in the men's toilets, fluorescent picture of a naked woman spray-painted onto the wall. There is illegal indoor smoking, a Death Star mural, a faux stuffed tiger head behind the bar and a door bitch that has been watching re-runs of original Degrassi Junior High. The women's toilets are decorated with pink spray-paintings of razor blades and naked women on motorcycles. The main problem is the absence of either sticky or bouncy floors. I guess they must hose the bloody joint with a fire hose. Even the vending machine is lit with a red light.

Whores (Chris Colla from Atrocities, some guy I only know as Big Al and Sarah) climbed onto the low stage. Sarah looked damn beautiful under those lights drumming loose and raw like a slow motion roller coaster. This small band was, at times, extraordinary. Chris and Sarah came offstage, came over to sit with Spencer and me, they seemed short and like their ordinary selves. For a moment or two their music had made them large. I'll go out of my way to see them again though it could be difficult to track the trio down. Sarah tells me they might play under a different name each gig. They'll alway be Whores to me.

Psychonanny and The Babyshakers swear they aren't a rockabilly band but they were doing a grand impression of one, they could use more than one kind of drumbeat. Sonia has the kind of voice worth listening to, she's the opposite of a bombshell or what happens after the bomb has gone off. If I could figure out a way to be like her then I'd do it in a flash. You should have seen her up there, cigarette hanging low in the corner of one lip, tambourine rising and falling when she felt like it with an enviable amount of indolence. The not-Simon guitarist has a habit of muddying up the sound, someone give that man a slide, some pedals and the instructions to not play the same thing as Simon at the same time. One song, a slow song was grand until suddenly it transformed into yet another rockabilly song, I'm not sure why they did that. But Jesus they can roll when they get going with that sound that shakes your shoes until you're on your feet and shaking with your shoulders dropped back and knees bent in a stiff-legged forgotten dance from before Elvis.

Earlier I stepped aside so Anthony from Damnbuilders could take his shot, he stalked round the table aiming at balls and smoking cigarettes. Half the girls in Sydney, my side of Sydney not the shiny and terrible side, are developing a thing for him. I've seen him around and idly wondered how he managed to wear that kind of hat with that kind of beard without looking like a serial killer. Spencer and I were talking about him on the way back to Newtown. Spencer kept saying "Is it the beard? Is that what they like?". Someone said he once punched a man for calling him Grizzly Adams, I'd call him Grizzly Adams if I ever got the chance but I'd hang on round his neck really tightly until his urge to punch subsides. Damnbuilders opened with Batman, not Prince but Adam West, followed by what happens when you play Deep Purple in slow motion. After that who the hell knows what that was, I didn't mind it but things definitely took a turn for the what in the hell when Anthony shifted from guitar to keyboard, a sort of dance thing, greatly appreciated by the wall of Indie Kids obscuring my view.

Two known associates of Freddie Mercury Guy played overly loud obsurely chosen tracks between bands, sitting in the dj booth looking like extras from the 1970's. I walked through a dense wall of marijuana smoke in the women's toilets, Sonia nearly got stuck in a cubicle and a Goth who calls himself a death rocker danced like it was 1952.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Dear Melbourne


Please attend the launch of Sunblind by Geoff Lemon

Thursday 27th November at 7pm
The Dan O'Connell Hotel function room (the old back bar)
Corner of Princess and Canning streets, Carlton.

I have been reading and rereading this book and can't quite make out what I think of it, I'm taking this as a good sign.


Geoff Lemon is a known associate of The Hivesters. Gemma once described him as an 'increasingly attractive man', the more you stare at him the more attractive he becomes. I did intend to test that theory but was distracted by beating him at Balderdash. That's right, I beat Geoff Lemon at Balderdash, I am adding this to my list of triumphs.

I'll keep walking

The oddest day, sticky bun for dinner, urgent need for silence thick as honey. I keep talking about this but if you'll excuse me ten seconds at a time I might come back with an explanation. My mother just phoned me from the Russian Embassy, this has never happened before, she was talking about ram raiding something in Redfern but I advised her against that particular course of action. I am certain that committing imaginary crimes after retirement age is a bad idea, no matter which embassy you are currently sitting in.

Last Friday night I was standing in Z Block watching The Holy Soul (Spencer's band) play and it occurred to me that I love this music. I do not love it just because it is good or that it is Spencer's music, not even because I happen to be on the new, as yet unreleased, album. What I long for, more than anything, is to see the ribbons I'm tied together with, to pull apart my building blocks and cradle them one at a time like other people's children.

I like complete thoughts, it is rare that I have them. Rarer than milk and comets. The songs thread through my history, consistent, necessary and whole. You can hear in the songs the progression of their learning, as songwriters and musicians. If you listen, very closely, to their old songs on Myspace** you can hear me learning to stand in a crowd by myself. You can hear the shuffle of university things blocking cogs in my brain, you can hear my old red shoes that I loved so and photographed before finally throwing the tattered things out. You can hear beginning one complete thought.

Spencer sometimes brings songs to me raw and unmade, I hold my hands for them, greedy as children, because I know that by the time this one makes it onto an album I would have discovered or invented a brand new complete thought [or invention***].

** People in The Holy Soul! It is time to update your songs on Myspace because the songs on there now are very very old.

*** Like a chewable brain guard to protect my brain from terrible people, events, thoughts or activities. For example, I am at a pub watching some band, decide to go outside and come face to face with someone terribly toxic, horrid and regrettable. Instead of leaving with horrible thoughts or results in my brain I simply pop in a small square of delicious Slammatown Chewable Brain Guard and chat away confident that the person will have no harmful lasting effects in my brain, where it is important to not have harmful lasting effects.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

I lost my hair straightener

JON WAH: A RETROSPECTIVE


JON WAH: A RETROSPECTIVE
1980 - 2008

Exhibition opens: 6 - 9pm
Thursday 4th December
Exhibition continues:
Friday 5th December -
Thursday 18th December

Serial Space:
33 Wellington Street Chippendale
Wednesday- Saturday 12 - 6pm

Wire

I have just bent a straightened paperclip back into its paperclip shape. This feels like something of an achievement.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Pass me my pipe and slippers I'm going to be a man today

According to Genderanalyzer:
"Dale Slamma is written by a man, however it's quite gender neutral."

Maybe I should show them the inside of my pants?

In Z Block's final hour a man spilled red soda into my shoes

Spencer finished art, last night. He did it with guitars, two drummers, an occasional accordion and the raising of his right arm but right now I’m in Penrith RSL watching a big band. The women are dancing together, men all dead.

I avoided Z Block for a while, a year or two, feeling that it belonged to all the things I left behind when the great tide moved me East and away from this RSL with big band afternoons, shopping malls and heat haze. I came back for the last hurrah, the night the University of Western Sydney shut its art school doors.

Most of the time I think of Western Sydney in the frame of mind I reserve for being stung by bees, undergoing chemotherapy or being pulled out to sea in a rip but I have to tell you this big band is very good.

Z Block is a rat maze warehouse with toilets and one kind of ceiling higher than ladders. Whole glass walls fold and raise like sails with insides worse than weather like, greenhouse, submarine, Western Sydney maybe that’s why they’re shutting it down.

It is important to note that the trombone section just spelled out a giant letter ‘E’ using four trombones, this made the audience clap.

I cut beats with tennis balls in some sort of miniature satellite dish, the balls tracked by cameras, projected onto walls and generating sounds. I drank wine from a popular interactive fountain, saw brains floating in tanks, stood on a platform wearing headphones and a vest heavier than lead. I walked in spirals through diaphanous curtains, a jelly fish forest and the space where once there was a giant walk through vagina. Student art is always precisely what it should be but this is isn’t about the art its about the artists.

We all went, all except Boli who was tired from Jazzercise, the long haul west to where we first came across each other, in Z Block, O Building or the Swamp Bar or on the hills in Werro. The catering at the last ever Grad Show defied the temptation to go out with a bang and instead supplied us with baskets of sandwiches and two bath tubs full of beer. The big band is now playing Jump by Van Halen.

The woman who fell out the window with Spencer, Mona and Mr Hunter made some noises. Freddie Mercury Guy took to the stage with his band Numea, he was breaking for cigarettes in the middle of his set, rolling on the floor and screaming like Damo Suzuki.

It is difficult to define the feeling of a university exhaling, memory confined to memory.

I might have been eight years old when they opened the University of Western Sydney. My father took us, my brother and I, to the grand opening. There were free balloons, sausage sandwiches and the biggest library I had ever seen. Dad stood above us on the big set of stairs with the light looming behind him. He told us about the necessity of this university, the great hope for the future, access to education for everyone no matter where you live. He talked about the tyranny of distance and explained the concept of elitism then looked up at the ceilings with a kind of reverence muttering about brutalist architecture. I stood three steps down clutching my balloon and staring about with a sort of wonder.

Fourteen years later I walked down those same set of steps and took my place in the queue outside the co-op bookshop, clutching my first ever compulsory book list, a small sense of hope and a free balloon. Nine years after that I stood there holding half a sandwich, a free can of beer and a mobile phone.

The problem is that this university is mine, I belong to it. I have belonged to it since that day on the stairs but it is very difficult to define the feeling of a university exhaling. At the end of the night a man pulled down the folding glass wall, the lights went off and there was nothing left to do but leave.


(article about shutting down Z Block)

Saturday, 22 November 2008

This Peach-House room my Prison (tired plus sniffy narrowly defeats restlessness)

This Peach-house room my prison ! I have lost
Beauties and feelings, such as would have been
Most sweet to my remembrance even when age
Had dimm'd mine eyes to blindness ! They, meanwhile,
Friends, whom I never more may meet again,
On springy health, along the King St,
Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,
To that still roaring pub, of which I told ;
The roaring pub, o'ercrowded, narrow, deep,
And only speckled by the dim cheap light

Friday, 21 November 2008

Bats

I like this zine. I'm thinking about why, maybe one day I'll come up with some reasons.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Where is the cat?

I am waiting for midnight. I am quite sure that I must sit here and wait for midnight. I want the house to grow silent, I will grow less weary as it ticks into dark submission. Back ache, head ache. I am quite sure that I must wait for midnight. I have been waiting for something since late afternoon, an idea word perfect or the right kind of moving light. I won't sleep until I have more words, back ache, head ache, it is necessary to sit here at this desk until something occurs to me. I am quite sure that I must wait for midnight. This can't be the way of things, it is too slow, I will be posting nothing but hope copied eight times and stapled.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Some god got hold of me lightly

Not swift like a river but sure as something paved after the retreat of ripping flattening machines. Sometimes pens, most often the tips of all of my fingers not at once but in sequences like a boxer's dance.

There is a destination now. I have put down the need for directions remembering that thing of seeing only as far as the headlights allow and that being enough to steer by. It is novel to have a project of this size. I hold it captive as a striped and stingless bee.

Scurf

A woman carving fat meat out of the moon with her knife until it was nothing but moon rind. I had forgotten that idea until a distinct lack of adequate lighting caused in me something like a squint. I had wanted a bath but I'm stuck in the memory house where there was none. It used to be the palest green and on from there its all black letters and backlit screens. I find I have been waiting for that random descent but it is work like everything with elbows and my left shoulder blade.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

[synth wind] I hear all the people of the world in one bird's lonely cry [synth chimes & synth wind]

Highway dreaming I thought I was imagining cats. Cats running and driving and raining then suddenly a crowd. I rose like one of those American cheerleaders from the centre of the crowd with a flying V guitar. Spencer roared into the microphone, I raised my arm and began. It was the best version of Walk This Way ever heard on planet earth, all because of me and my flying V. The impossibility of this highway driving dream is maximum.

Sometimes driving is a thing to do, the end in itself like walking to the moon or running fish from the airport. Superman said it was Aidan Roberts who first played him Ogre Battle by Queen, it does not seem to have been influential in his songwriting. I still to this moment refuse to believe that this is Superman's favourite Queen song, I declare it to be terrible in five hundred different ways although I do confess to liking Superman's version that he sang, stopping every so often to listen to his mp3 player to check the lyrics, as we sped down the highway.

There is more, or there was more, words or something quite like them but sometimes it is better to sleep than type.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Safe as houses

One twenty five am. Despite desperate attempt to sleep I have had the best idea I have ever had. Safe as houses. I need a camera, notebook, pen and a car. I have all of these things, except a camera. My telephone takes photographs, that was a mad invention I wonder who thought of that, but my telephone is neither new nor fancy and the photographs are generally dim. I need use of an excellent camera. Of course I will need words but I can make those myself.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Three sets of 3am, regular satelite sightings and a grand case of backwardsitis

I've seen three sets of 3am blink past with red digital clarity. I've been examining the qualities of night. Here at The Peach there is no discernible difference between midnight and the beginnings of dawn. At the old house the stars rotated and you could feel the pull of hours, winds, temperatures and time but here in the city they have progress. Electric lights, aeroplanes, boats, the always drone of engines and the synchronised tapping of heels on concrete.

The Spatula and I have a history of disagreeing about things such as condiment storage solutions, the necessity of novel reading and different kinds of men. Sputnik the satellite man is a new friend of The Spatula's, a grown up sleep over kind of friend, and I find myself unable to form any serious objections to him.

Grizelda has always pronounced not the word she was thinking of but a different word entirely. This week she stared at her computer screen to find that she had typed words backwards. She stood to the right of the sink, next to the disused coffee machine, a green milk jug and one pink tea cup and told me that she does not know how to spell words forwards let alone backwards. I believe she might be developing a new very mild superpower, either that or a serious brain disease.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

My own personal Jimi

It seemed perfectly logical, standing in my bedroom with my pyjamas on backwards saying out loud "Yes! Brilliant! That is a very good idea" then I said it again sotto voce in case I woke Grizelda in the next room.

This morning I floated down the hallway in a dream of rubber legs, waving my hands with submerged inertia and a wide calm smile thinking I feel special, I am special, this is grand. It wasn't until I reached the tea and toast stage that I realised I was off my fucking head.

Last night a man called Sputnik had plied The Spatula and I with so much alcohol that I thought I had invented an indoor hot rain cupboard and was going to call it a shower. After enjoying a blast in the indoor hot rain cupboard and dressing backwards in my favourite pyjamas I decided that I was too drunk to sleep and a solution must be found. My solution was codeine, an unremembered amount of codeine.

Sitting in the library listening to the excellent crunch of toast inside my head the pieces fell together. My one drink turned into many drinks, then sambuca shots, then different shots, then rum, much pirate rum and a joint or two miraculously produced from somewhere inside The Spatula's handbag. Sputnik was convincing with his arguments for drinking and he wasn't shy about putting his wallet where his mouth was and so in this way found myself lead along the path from Sensibletown to Fuckedupville which is where I made my own personal Jimi decision and swallowed an ill advised amount of tablets. Unlike Jimi I did not drown in my own vomit but woke happy as a chicken and floated around until well past midday. I think I might take up guitar, I could be a genius.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Bring the outdoors in

It really looked a lot like Jesus laying flat on its back with arms spread out in a cruciform. I didn't notice its missing hind legs or the bloodless absence of tail until my eyes slid over its shining belly and I had bent in supplication to collect it in my gloved hands.

It may as well have died for me, this small thing shining and wracked on the floor. You could throw yourself from heights in an attempt to save me, record it in books and I'll file it alphabetically at the end of each day, the a's and b's together on the highest shelf.

Eight hours a day have been stolen, five days a week I wait for the evening or weekend. This nine to five numbness remains despite the freedom to do as I please. I find nothing works in these ghost hours except the cat on her new found path of destruction dragging the outside in. I'm not yet lost but turn constantly to look for the ballast and find nothing. Cacoethes hangs in corners. I will cover it with cloth.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Parachute or I have a temporary spray on pirate tattoo or Superman buys new and exciting hat


Dave Graney reckons that it can't be a jumpsuit if its got pockets but I stopped thinking about this as soon as Christos Tsiolkas appeared on stage in the writers' tent. Writers have a tendency to hold themselves too tightly but Christos was generous, articulate and kind. He signed my book and I felt ridiculous but happy as I walked away and around a corner to perform a happy dance of happiness.

Its been a marvelous jumping as though from lily pad to lily pad. There is an infinite variety of possibilities here in my small existence. Spencer fell out of a window at Paquita and Mona's flat on Friday night. He landed on an awning, was unharmed and spent the rest of the party being most popular with the ladies. I ran about like an aeroplane in Mona's stadium sized bedroom, had several interesting conversations with strangers and attempted to recruit a new Failed Ant Farmer. To assist with my recruiting I gave the man my card, he turned it over in his hand and said "There are no phone numbers or addresses, just your name". I said yes, because that is how I planned it.

Madam Squeeze did not win the busking competition at the Newtown Festival despite my excellent clapping and cheering. I was disappointed until I acquired my very own first ever spray on temporary tattoo of awesomeness. I can not believe it has taken me thirty one years to realise my temporary tattoo dreams. The photo, whilst not entirely excellent, demonstrates my extreme joy on this grand occasion.

Tea cups bookend days. Grizelda sheltered her sunburnt self indoors but Spencer, Madam Squeeze, Superman and I sat under mulberries and stars wearing hats and trying very hard not sing Eye Of The Tiger.

Friday, 7 November 2008

I have written a list

Teapot
Submarine
Smoke
Failed Ant Farmers
Pip's party
Washing line
List
Architecture takes too long
Make it five at a time

The only one who could ever reach me

Three drinks, one headache, two cigarettes and a codeine tablet. Its past midnight and blowing cold so I caught a rare taxi home after leaving Spencer on the corner outside the cafe Superman can't abide.

Things stopped making sense this morning. I turned on the stereo, sat down at my desk and took up my pen. Before words hit paper I got one text message from Elliot. Now I know that there are no mobile phones in rehab. I'm going to go and get a biscuit or something, hang on.

I have licorice. Licorice can be used as an antispasmodic, I think it only works on your belly, not your whole being so if you are running around being a spaz then eating licorice is not going to help you make better choices. Spencer and I were talking like we do, wandering around our ticking histories and rethreading ourselves through new needles and hallways. We tried building a case for something that others would have us tear down, we agreed that its effects were possible to discuss but that the thing itself defied all language and sound.

I was sitting in a cafe in Glebe last Sunday night with Spencer, Grizelda and Superman. The man at the next table was so drunk that he slid to the ground knocking over chairs and table. Superman hurried to help him like the only living thing in a hall of statues. While Superman grasped the man's arms and hauled him to his feet I set his table right and breathed carefully so as not to weep. He had bread in a paper bag, it was ruined by spilled coffee and I wondered if he had any money for more. I wanted to help but this was beyond my resources. I thought of Elliot sliding down walls and chairs and beds and halls and me. He's been sitting in my brain like a helicopter on a launch pad until this morning when suddenly there he was. I wonder if I conjured him somehow.

I looked at Elliot's message twice, he said simply "How are you Dale?". I put down my phone and walked into the kitchen. I stood next to the kettle, one hand raised, and waited for the water to boil. Its not a steam filled ritual but the water must be boiling.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

This is very exciting

I am quite sure that I am going to win and by this time tomorrow I will be the new President of America. I will give my first press conference from the Sydney Opera House congratulating Americans on voting for me, after that I will have a nice cup of tea and comb my hair because it seems to me that in America they like their Captain to have neat hair. I will comb my hair once a day out of respect for the people of America.

My first point of business will be to film and then broadcast instructional videos in Orwellian tea making in all of Americas major language groups such as American and Spanish. I was shocked and dismayed to learn that not all Americans own or operate kettles. Kettle prices will be subsidised using an honesty scale of need. Any American can walk into a kettle shop and say they would like a snazzy kettle and then state how much they can afford to pay, a student for example could pay negative twenty dollars so that they may then have enough money to purchase tea, tea pot and tea cup. A very rich American could pay any amount they like thus assisting with the subsidising scheme.

My government will open Fairtrade tea shops where Fairtrade tea can be purchased at reasonable prices, all staff will be trained in all manner of tea making to assist customers with tea making enquiries. All businesses in America will be encourage to provide for staff whilst at work.

This will be a tea revolution. The effects of drinking tea shall be felt quite quickly, prompting the citizens to ask for gun amnesties, free education, health care and paid parenting leave. Employers will offer civilized amounts of paid holidays, four weeks a year would be a good start and the shocking number of returned soldier suicide attempts (currently 1000 per month) would subside.

The Americans will of course attempt to paint The Peach white but I will calmly explain that it must remain a terrible peach colour because it is The Peach. The cat will be remain my ineffective personal assistant. I will accept the offer of a cleaning person to come and clean The Peach once a fortnight. I will type grand speeches and make excellent decisions and renounce the silly title Leader of the Free World whilst drinking tea on the Peach Deck. I will accept a modest salary, the use of a helicopter and a fine horse. I shall call the horse Joe if it is a boy and Jolene if it is a girl, those are American sounding names.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

No shit Sherlock

I caught the end of the book show and I can see why Robert despises it so but it did inspire to take and finish reading 'The Outsider". I began reading it on the train to Ron & Rita's about this time last year. I caught the mountains train and sat back with my book but spent most of the journey in quiet reverie which was a grand idea as it turned out I stayed up extremely late drinking all manner of ill-advised drinks and then stumbled around the Newtown festival the next morning holding one year old Ronita in my tired and sunburnt arms.

Its the Newtown festival next weekend and I feel obliged to finish the book I started before it becomes one year but alas I have lost my Camus. It is nowhere to be found, not in the library (currently being reorganised from autoboigraphical into alphabetical order) nor in the shelves in my room. I've looked in all of my drawers, baskets and cupboards. It is impossible that one of the Peachettes should have taken it into their rooms, as a general rule the Peachettes do not read books. It is becoming a puzzling puzzle of Sherlockian proportions. My next move is to examine cigar ends, footprints and newspaper habits of all people involved. This could take a while.

Good enough for George Orwell

Today tolerable, not hot at all. No eggs.

Monday, 3 November 2008

This way comes

It is possible that I am panicking but I am not sure what I am panicking about. I was at a venue tonight watching some people do their thing and for no reason at all started panicking. Since then I have done about twelve stupid things, some regrettable and some forgettable like washing my hair and deciding to go to bed with the towel wrapped around my head instead doing something about drying my hair.

While I think about my hair wrapped in a towel I am beginning to narrow down the source of the panic to four separate moments in my day. They were small things, a handful or two of words, the opening of an envelope and something ill defined like false memories or faded photographs of strangers.

Its been a while since I have had to swallow against rising panic. It is unwelcome. I am saying to myself I will sleep well and wake in the morning with no trace of this unwelcome thing. I will do what I need to do and it will be grand like pianos or glass. I'm thinking about cigarettes and small flat orange cardboard boxes, stiff and lined with black paper.

Superman asked me today what kind of shop I would have if I had a shop and I answered the same old predictable answer and told him of my well imagined shop. I could have handed him a worn smooth memory of floor plans, stock lists and the smell of it but now I want to change my answer. My shop will be a memory shop, the kind where you can take all of your small moments from shelves and examine them one at a time. You can sit on the floor and reconstruct yourself or reconfigure things until they are right all the for the low price of nothing.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Strange days indeed

My mother's Great Dane Horatio will be marching in a rhododendron festival parade wearing a special outfit, that was not quite the information I was expecting to hear when I phoned my mother this morning.

I don't think the idea of an extremely large dog marching in a flower parade directly lead to the chicken nuggets but I am quite sure its a contributing factor. I left the house in search of food but I turned right at the front gate instead of left and found myself completely surrounded by schoolboys outside the shops. An older boy was stationed at the zebra crossing, he saw me approaching and put out his arm to stop a gaggle of younger boys to let me pass. The younger boys stopped in their tracks without a second thought and waited for me to round the corner and cross the road.

I had forgotten about schools and schoolboys wearing ties carrying identical school bags. They frolicked like polite kittens on either side of the road except for the older boys who were gangly and lovely like lopsided homemade cakes. I stopped to think of them all arriving in houses, throwing down their bags and running up hallways to find kitchens and parents and cold drinks on a hot afternoon. I longed momentarily for a clockwork house run by clockwork parents, a dinner time and designated places at the table. A place where everybody helps set the table and clean up afterwards, while the clockwork parents sit down with cups of tea and watch the news. I wanted a house where the salt and pepper comes out of a cupboard before dinner and goes away again afterwards. A house with a special container for used tealeaves that are wrapped in newspaper and put in the compost at the end of every day and a kitchen where the lights go off at the same time every night but I don't this explains the chicken nuggets either.

I walked laps around the shop with a red basket hanging on my left elbow searching for food I might like to eat. I stopped in front of the freezers because they were cold and inadvertently spied a box of frozen chicken nuggets. I do not remember ever buying such things before. I opened the freezer and put the box in my basket and walked to the front of the shop to pay for them, they were six dollars and forty nine cents.

I ate the chicken nuggets in front of the television whilst watching Ice Road Truckers. I was not aware of a show called Ice Road Truckers until today. The basic premise seems to be that men in terrible hats drive big trucks across ice. During the ad break I added tomato sauce to the chicken nuggets. The nuggets were greasy, crunchy on the outside and rubbery on the inside and tasted of bread crumbs, cardboard and oven. I'm not sure what came over me, like I said I can't entirely blame the idea of a large dog marching in a flower parade or a gaggle of coltish skittering school boys but I am quite sure they must have had something to do with it.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Mildly interesting

If the world could vote in the American election then it wouldn't be an American election and would in fact be the world election that some people already think it is. None the less it is mildly interesting to see how the world would vote if it could. Click here to cast your vote.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Tinned beach tomato law fortress

Somewhere quite near to the Fortress of Solitude

In a fit of spontaneous similtude I told myself I'm bouncing it off the wall like a tennis ball. I saw my friend Sebastian last night. He drove me in his new car to dinner and we talked about his shining life. I sat next to him on the first day in the first class at law school and then most days until graduation. There are photos of us side by side in matching hats and gowns, he wore his like a triumph but I spent the day running down hallways pretending I was Harry Potter, this might be a clue as to why he is a successful lawyer and I sit in a room with a teapot, a typewriter and a cat.

I wound up in Spencer's Beach Shack some time after midnight, sitting in the one good chair staring at his walls of records and wonder. Spencer has one shelf of tinned tomatoes. The Beach Shack is the opposite of being a lawyer. I couldn't help comparing it to The Peach where there are no tinned tomatoes but many good chairs. I felt like I was in the middle of something, halfway between Sebastian and Spencer.

Two days ago there was dust in my socks, lungs, hair and car. I drove for hours across the harbour, on freeways and dirt roads through the bush to get to the Fortress of Solitude. Superman was standing in the middle of a great hall winding electrical wires into shapes when I found him. I was hot and cross but couldn't help smiling. We packed Superman's things into the Zammercarship and I drove for hours on dirt roads, across bridges and on freeways until we got to Emu and Superman was home.

There's no point to these stories. I'm just yawning and bouncing failures off my walls and wondering at the scope of things with its tomatoes, records, fortresses and my old enemy the law. I don't belong in any of those places, with my left hand I'm shaping mud into bricks. Maybe one day I can build somewhere of my own.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Ahoy there


This is your Captain speaking. Tomorrow morning I chart a course for the Fortress of Solitude where Superman, his bags and guitar will be brought aboard the Zammercarship. It is important to note that I am not at all terrified about driving over bridges such as The Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Anzac Bridge and other fine bridges with multiple lanes of traffic going in mad directions all at once with cars in them, many cars that may at any point endanger the Zamemrcarhip and all who sail in her. The cat has abandoned ship and elected to stay ashore in The Peach for this particular journey.

Superman has supplied me with excellent instructions. Today Grizelda drove me across the Anzac Bridge and the Harbour Bridge to demonstrate to me the sturdiness of both bridges and how to successfully navigate on to and then across them. I am almost certain that I know what am I doing.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

After seeing a film by myself in the afternoon I stopped for a coffee on the way home

Not even the arrogant children of Newtown gathering in my sanctuary can shatter this dream. A woman draws at my usual table. It is the kind of tragedy that my brother would cling to, the great house wrapped for war and all the haunted grandeur. There is something of cell memory in such schemes and India or Shanghai, just this once, could be substituted for Morocco.

I have come here to gather myself while the dream slips to my feet. I wear it like a mantle. I don't recall how it occurs. I do not slip my arms into its sleeves. There is no stranger holding it aloft with strings. It is a universal cloak. I stand beneath it drawing it down as warmth or something more essential than footsteps.

It rages outside, sun scudding as a cloud through aeronautical space. You could be forgiven for imagining this bitter October Newtown wind imagined. I would forgive you your wild colonial view of a continent without seasons.

I have fallen into a painting. McCubbin had every idea when he painted me as lost. His mistake was ignoring that I am standing in the cradle of the sea. Seaweed grows as reeds parting gently in front and behind so that you can place me precisely as unbelonging with this wilderness. Now here NWJR will say that he does not understand me and I shall first reply that I have never seen America. I am caught here. The tides turned inward when the world sought refuge. The switch lies forgotten somewhere in the machinations of war. A great tide that never turned though there is here an identity of unbelonging.

The English make an art of unbelonging holding up houses as glass orbs that we pay peer into or travel through. Only the imagining will possess us. The last time he saw her he said "I hope your heart breaks" and I knew at once this could never be my point in th story though others may cling to it. The urge here is to repeat. It is the kind of tragedy my brother would cling to, the great house wrapped for war and all the haunted grandeur.

Spencer will come here to meet me but before he arrives I will be unfaithful to my novel and begin another not yet unwrapped from its shop-branded paper bag. I begin to despise youth. The vulgar to my left and the questing talking ones behind with their part-time jobs and their talk of the merits of various teachers.

A woman arrives in a red cardigan adorned with a mirrored glass opera house broach that remind me of an every morning urge to recapture oblivion. I have missed my chance to be drunk over this. Instead I sleep and rise and dress as though I had purpose. I call this infernal searching purpose but I must not refer to that neither with scratchings nor boldness nor cloaked devices.

I am sure that the waiter read my words as he cleared away my cups and one plate with leave from a strawberry. There is always the worry of things but I leave them open on the table as I visit the toilet as a sign of faith though I do not believe.

It is a kind of madness, imagining words poring from my cheap stolen pen to be worth something other than paper with ink. I was supposed to write a novel but I've no regard for story. Being constructed of words and constructing with words are not connected. Here now the dream has fallen and I will lay down this pen and pick up my novel.

I sail

It rains. The chimney catches air like a phantasm or a ship. I have this idea of weighing anchor and steaming south through wind and rain. I will drop anchor in the vacant block of land next door to The Hive. I am sure they have built something terrible on it by now but when I last walked out of Gemma's front door and crossed the road in search of cake there was nothing but a hole in the ground, three workers sitting on eskys and poorly erected cyclone fencing.

There is room there for The Peach, her deck, a garden and all who sail in her. Spencer will carry his things in boxes and sail onboard The Peach wearing his hat and a guitar. He will then establish himself in a flat in The Hive. My brother will lash ropes round his townhouse and be towed as Ron & Rita row down from the mountains. The Cowboy has attached twin diesel engines to his flat. Robert's house shimmers and slips coordinates with grace at warp speed. Superman will know where to come, he sees all from the Fortress of Solitude.

We are all here. A great fleet pushing south through haunted rain. I am standing on the bow of The Peach, eyes closed against the fierce salt spray.

Monday, 20 October 2008

The horizon is not always visible

This is a kind of freedom. Its one am on Monday morning and I am still dressed, awake and typing. I am tired in a lilting wither but aware none the less that this is a kind of freedom. I have been trapped by the fear of exhaustion, hearing my parts tick like an orange clockwork mouse slowing near the centre of your most expensive rug but tomorrow I need not rise before nine as it is a holiday in Slammatown.

I do not excel at the part I need to do next but I have installed my panicking self in the back room with a nice cup of tea and biscuit. I have wrapped her in shawls and placed the cat in her lap and there she will stay with a novel and her cigarettes and her mad strings of opals trailing in the dust. One other self, the one that surprised my mother time after time by sitting still and calm with an open mouth in the orthodontist's chair, the one that stood hour after hour behind the bar in university moot courts with a sheaf of notes and a clear voice will sit tomorrow and begin the task at hand.

For now I sit in my electric daylight with my lilting wither and type because this is a kind of freedom.

I stole this from someone else who stole it from Kafka

The tremendous world I have inside my head. But how free myself and free it without being torn to pieces. And a thousand times rather be torn to pieces than retain it in me or bury it. That, indeed, is why I am here, that is quite clear to me.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Embargoed

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you then please come to The Peach and sticky tape my head back on. I am suffering from a case of delusional positivity and a severe lack of sheer panic. It is true that I feel slightly nauseous and have rolling bouts of low to mid level anxiety but given the situation I should be going through underpants at a rate of knots.

Most of the day I undertook constructive and relevant activities in a calm fashion. I have been wishing that I could talk to Superman but The Fortress of Solitude does not have a telephone. I have been wishing to talk to Superman but am quite pleased that I do not find it necessary, I might be developing some kind of fortitude. I did send him an email but I think that is allowed under the rules of um, some kind of imaginary rules of Slammatown?

Sometimes if you are in the middle of a song and you forget the words it is best to just yell "Fuck it! Chorus" and launch into a familiar refrain, Spencer taught me this. That was a distracting thought to distract myself from being frustrated at not saying what it is I want to say. I am not used to not saying what I want to say. Further distracting thoughts are not occurring to me except for hats, pirate hats and unemployed unicorn popcorn vendors in unitards with assault rifles.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Friday, 17 October 2008


Jason Sweeney is seeking admissions and submissions from a willing public: recorded and/or written stories, sounds, noise, anecdotes, nightmares and confessionals about failed attempts at living a life online.

Part One of the Faceless Music project is entitled: Alone & Lonely. It is about building an anti-social networking environment, devoid of faces, emptied of visual stimulation.

Some questions to consider:
When living a life on the internet, what kind of connections, good or bad or indifferent, do you make? Do you make real friends or imaginary ones? Do you make love online? Is there flesh contact or constant ether? Did you think you knew someone, only to find out a) they didn't exist in the first place or b) were constantly telling lies? Do you feel more connected or more isolated when socialising on the inter-web?

This material will then be gathered as a kind of sonic library to be developed in 2009 into an audio-museum installation, performance work and cd/dvd release.

All material will remain anonymous.

HOW TO SUBMIT:
Email your recordings (mp3), video links, texts, music/sound/songs or any media fragments to:

OR

Become a group member and post to this faceless facebook page:

++++++
Initial research, composition and project work to be made as part of an Inter-arts Office Self-Initiated Residency at CIA Studios, Perth WA, Australia (November 2008 - January 2009). http://www.ciastudios.com.au

This project is being assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Presented by Unreasonable Adults.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Well then

A mobile degustation across Glebe and Newtown has left me stuffed and buggered. Fortunately I was wearing an excellent hat for most of the journey, the power of hats is not to be underestimated.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

By christ you should have seen us

Breaking news: Gemma is shutting down Gempires.

Gemma used to exist for me as the alphabet rearranged and the vague memory of a woman sitting behind a desk on a panel at TINA. I sat in that audience and heard her speak and thought "Blog? What is blog?".

I found Gempires about a year later just when my life got smashed with a hammer and as I read Gemma's words I thought I could do that and so I did. At first it was an involuntary exhalation, a daily reminder to keep breathing and then it changed and I used this space to make a map of my existence as proof, for myself, that I was real.

People started reading my blog, I don't know how, I suspect that the link on Gempires was the cause of it. My soy cheese tastes of vinegar, this is not related to Gempires. This blog used to be the result of things but now sometimes it is the cause. It is the reason that Gemma suggested we meet for a drink when she came to visit Sydney last year, it is the reason Gemma now exists for me as a whole and wondrous human. It is the reason I had phone sex with a man I'd never met, had no less than five separate strangers write to me and tell me that I should kill myself. It is the reason I met the excellent Superman, I have eaten my very own packet of Dale Biscuits, performed social experiments on myself, been stalked, had enormous fallings out with people and been recognised by strangers in the street. Once a woman had a blog that seemed almost entirely devoted to slagging off both Gemma and myself. To say that these results are unexpected would be an enormous understatement.

Gemma did warn me, she told me how my freedom in this space would shrink. She told me how people would overreact when I write about them, how people would assume the worst. She was right, my freedom here is diminished, Artboy saw to that, then Elliot, then almost everyone I know found their way here some way or another even Superman has misunderstood my meaning but here I am typing into white void with my hair wrapped in a towel and a cigarette burning in the ashtray, just like at the beginning. Right now this blog is not my reason to breathe but I need it still, could not manage without these unedited spontaneous words and for that Gemma I thank you.

Not Quite Art

Series 2 of Not Quite Art airs on Aunty tonight at 10pm. I recommend wearing a t-shirt and smoking a cigar to enhance your television viewing experience, encourage depth of thought and provide an attractive smoke screen between you and the world.

Here is a piece Marcus wrote in relation to this episode.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Everybody must wear hats

There should be more words in here but I'm summoning sleep and similes in equal measure. Yesterday I slid down a plastic tube and I could have sworn I had more words in here. Bath salts, pterodactyl, fruit toast, one of these things is not like the others. It is best before sleep to smoke as many cigarettes as possible, this I solemnly swear.

If it was only about reclaiming space then I would wear my fighter jet pilot's helmet and walk in circles but its not about that. What I want tastes less like toothpaste. If there was water I would drink it. I'm not meandering around thoughts, these words are unconnected to anything except sounds. I'm wondering who decided that cities should have an absence of night, they keep it at bay with electric lights on tall posts as though we couldn't find our own way, as though periodic modern miracles erected on high will keep us safe from each other. I want to talk to strangers and link arms in our common journeys homeward bound. These words are unconnected to thoughts or all those minutes tied one after the other while I dressed and worked and bent forwards with a bowl for the cat.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Like hot coffee down the front of my shirt

I wanted to prop him up against cushions and make pot after pot of tea or make him run down the street while I chased him with a tranquilizer dart, instead I sat in The Townie drinking and talking watching the information slide over him like sandpaper.

I kept quoting poetry and telling endless boring anecdotes about solving word puzzles waiting for him to flinch or stand and suddenly turn over tables and throw glasses like bullets but he sat like a statue while the information slid over him like sandpaper.

Friday, 10 October 2008

A Nice Cup of Tea

By George Orwell

Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.

If you look up 'tea' in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

  • First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase 'a nice cup of tea' invariably means Indian tea.
  • Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.
  • Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.
  • Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.
  • Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.
  • Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.
  • Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.
  • Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one's tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.
  • Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.
  • Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.
  • Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tealover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

    Some people would answer that they don't like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one's ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

And so

A new blog is born, may your egotism serve you well young Kate.

Dale for a day

Today I decided to be Dale for a day, overall I found it to be exceedingly boring, there was far too much typing involved for my liking. One highlight was sitting in a massage chair in a shopping centre after sweaty exertions on a treadmill listening to The Who's Magic Bus on repeat. I then walked around in stripy socks thinking about taking a bird onto a submarine, like I said, its exceedingly boring being Dale for a day. Tomorrow I shall try and be someone else, someone shorter.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Try the next room Mr Jones

I'm waiting for something, a change, a crash, a sudden urge to remove my teeth but nothing is happening, not even the smell of my shampoo. There is a blankness to this time, an inability to think further forward than an hour and I'm wondering if this is a facsimile of suburban bliss with my television and broccoli and an absence of intrusion.

I'll turn in my sleep tonight, you can remember how I washed the dishes. I'll turn in my sleep tonight, sliding knee and hip before shoulder. I won't remember the pattern of my breathing.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Science

Chemical accountability never seems to account for it. I could walk you through the process, sign, signifier, chemical release.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Ease the squeeze


By Madam Squeeze (Busker Laureate of Slammatown)


At 6:15pm precisely I stumble down the front steps, totter for 50 metres, then hang a hard left and begin my purposeful stomp down King street. The stomping is a bi-product of the Boots of Doom – tall patent leather lace-ups with heels that add intimidating height, yet are sturdy enough to make me feel grounded. With my backpack I feel precariously top-heavy, a gothic ninja turtle, an Atlas on stilts. I must plant my steps firmly in the ground. The stomping is also mental preparation, the rhythm is meditative, calming. I am not suited to conventional work. A day in the office leaves me feeling frazzled, drained and inadequate. By the time I set off to busk I am often in a foul mood. Stomping helps.

I stop outside the Seven Eleven to drop a coin into little Lucas's guitar case, then weave through slow drifting herds of pedestrians to My Spot. I never start busking with an empty case. One must plant the seeds first – one gold, two silver, then strap the beast on and get down to business. Many smiles, positive comments and dancing children ensue. The weather is hot, the street is beginning to fill, and so is my accordion case. Photo Anne and her partner stop for a chat about Dusty Springfield records and I burst into a few bars of 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' in their honour. They leave laughing, heading home for a night in with a good bottle of wine. Friendly goth #1 drops by to lament his imminent dental work. We agree that wisdom teeth are a bad idea. I launch into a Neapolitan tarantella before friendly goth #2 stops for a noisy accordion hug. What has he done to his hair? A member of the Holy Soul strides along the opposite side of the road. I wave spasmodically, but he is all beard and business, glued to his cell phone.

My mood has lifted now. My fingers move of their own accord and I drift in and out of the melodies, watching Sal the gelato man scurrying about his shop like an ant before a thunderstorm. I grin and throw myself into the music. For a few moments I am no longer a nobody. I am a weaver of magic. Newtown is an unfolding film and my soundtrack dictates the course of its plot. I am Easing the Squeeze: bringing smiles to the faces of tired office workers and impoverished students, allowing ordinary folk, if only for a moment, to forget their troubles, to be transported somewhere beautiful. An older Eastern European lady stops and beams. She has no change to give and doesn't speak English, but she nods a thank you and the look on her face is payment enough.

Time expands and contracts. The tide of passers-by ebbs and flows. Tanned, bare-legged girls with short skirts and impossibly perfect hair; track-suited bogans packing long-necks of VB in brown paper bags; pink-haired, corseted cyberpunks of indeterminate gender. I catch sight of a heavy-set spike haired figure in my peripheral vision and for a moment my veins fill with ice. The stranger pauses outside the solarium, then walks on. My heart beats again. I've ceased berating myself for this irrational fear of an irrelevant person, but my hands are shaking with adrenaline and I'm shocked out of my trance and back to my own insecurities and inadequacies. I am no magician. Just an obsessive, anxiety-prone spaz.

Right on cue, Captain Fucktard approaches from the right. He stands close enough that I can smell the beer on his breathe and he inquires loudly if he can touch my tits. I tell him no, but he's welcome to go fuck himself. He seems genuinely offended when I physically shove him away, and skulks off muttering into his dirty top hat. I'm shaking with anger now, the fury of an animal backed into a corner and ready to lash out. My fingers are slick with sweat. I'm flustered and overheated. Time for a break.

I squat on the dirty pavers and scull a bottle of water, reminding myself that 99% of people I come into contact with are amazingly generous, considerate, and compassionate humans. I think about my friends and the many kind words of strangers, and I feel a surge of positive energy, a strange sense of belonging. I stand and squeeze out a searing rendition of my theme song, the Cancer Waltz. The accordion sounds like a carnival, and by the time the last coin lands, Spencer is ready and waiting with open arms, an understanding ear, and a thirst for milkshake.


Black & white photo by Lyndal Irons

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The incredible egg: Part I

I am ridiculous enough to require reminding that all kinds of relationship between people are complex, nuanced and wedged into context. Everybody knows all the stories have already been told but that's different from living inside them. There's space for limbo inside your plot points, room for a chair, a bed, a bookcase and a bucket. I've been walking inside one all day pacing from wall to wall pressing my face against the glass. I am beginning to blame Tex Perkins.

The first time I arranged with Superman to meet somewhere I honestly did not care whether he showed up, canceled or simply failed to materialise and I wish, some of the time, to return to that point of independence because Superman has gone away.

In his leaving Superman has impressed twelve separate impressions at once like a multi-faced cookie cutter madly rotating through Christmas shapes, gingerbread men and animals. We went to see Black Francis at The Metro which is tolerable so long as you don't go outside and stand like an island in the flow of people that illustrate your difference and isolation.

Superman was unexpectedly and abominably rude to a man both of us are acquainted with but do not know. The man did not appear to feel the barbs. It was the worst kind of rude, the veiled, coded, intellectual equivalent of dropping poison into a goblet. My level of discomfort was such that I was ashamed of him and wish that I had walked away instead of attempting to summon trapdoors, loud interruptions or the clarity of thought whilst drunk to do something to stop it. I am equally ashamed of myself for not discussing this with Superman the next morning when I was weary and worse for wear but sober.

Foto was there and I quickly tired of the dynamics between him and Superman. They have the kind of friendship that seems to require them to adopt the roles of commanding and fearless private philosophers, each questioning the other's every thought, action and deed from a safe and lofty perch marked benevolence.

I did not enjoy the concert but it wasn't because of the music. Foto moved out into the foyer and was later joined by Superman. I was left standing down on the floor looking over my shoulder wondering where everybody had gone. Superman was, he assured me, about to come and find me. Foto declared that he would not go back in and I thought then that Foto must consume art like it was television but immediately blamed this on a mid-week dinner because I was remembering Foto's disparaging remarks about a woman. She had her wrists tattooed, I stared down at my plate while Foto expressed his disgust that she had had to wear bandages on her wrists for two weeks, "like a person that had slashed their wrists". I stared down at my plate and held my hands in my lap to hide the very old and faded but undeniably visible scars.

We drank more and more until we were in some fluorescent burger shop then a taxi and my eyes were closed and motion strange and exaggerated. Foto declared that we should take the taxi to the station and walk our separate ways. It rained as we walked and it was not unpleasant but for the ridiculous and as yet unfounded thought that this was the last time I would see Superman.

I stared at the back of Superman's head first thing the next morning and thought of nothing but rolling over and regaining the grace of sleep until I remembered that he was leaving and I became furious at myself for allowing the sight of Superman and the cat curled in sleep to become as Saturday as newspapers.

To be continued.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Feeling painty?

Graffiti walls open for artists upon completion of construction on site on 7th February 2009.

For info please email northbank@fareast.net.au

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Sometimes

I once wrote a song called "Sometimes" that was largely about farting and blowing pants apart, in my defence I was a child at the time. The chorus went "Sometimes when I fart I blow my pants apart, I split them at the seams and Mum can't get them clean, cause sometimes when I fart I follow through". At the time it was hilarious but tonight my song nearly came true.

I'd been wandering around Newtown with Spencer and Madam Squeeze. We had sorbet sitting on the steps of a church then moved to a cafe for milkshakes (mine with soy milk so I guess it was a soy shake). Just before we left I began to feel terrible so I took the faster back way home along the railway tracks. I was in some dark back street when it hit. My stomach started tying itself in knots, I was hot and cold and white as a ghost. I didn't know what was going to come out of which end and that's when I took a look around and realised there was nowhere to go. If it was going to happen it was going to have to happen in my pants. I thought that if I was discovered in the act I would simply say "I'm terribly sorry but I'm not feeling very well".

I looked for dark enough places, I looked for abandoned buckets, I looked for holes in the walls of old factory units but there was nowhere and nothing but a steady flow of fellow pedestrians to potentially witness my demise so I put one foot in front of the other and pretended I was a marathon runner, they have a tendency to go in their pants or so I've been told.

I made it all the way home with clean pants, a modicum of decorum and plans to invent a portable fold up toilet, complete with privacy screens, small enough to carry in my pocket, just in case.

Think in shapes

Think of me as your noble savage ranging perimeters in place of remembering.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Painting fish

Like a cartoon coyote I put my back against it and pushed with all my might until I had a square of silence.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Insensible

Superman was walking up and down the hallway with a raw egg in a small white bowl first thing this morning. He said "I've got this egg. Do you sometimes wish your surname was Wow?", I do so I nodded and turned left into the bathroom, Superman continued on his way down the hall, this is unrelated to my party.

At one point late on Saturday night I feared for the lives of everybody. Superman and Spencer had linked arms and were dancing in circles at an alarming velocity, jumping over furniture and narrowly missing Robert and his snare drum. Robert, Madam Squeeze and Boli were cranking out some kind of Freylekh on drum, accordion and clarinet. The Peach Deck was in danger of crashing to the ground killing everybody at once or at least horribly maiming people with large splintery bits of wood that poking right through their middles, that would teach them not to stamp their feet enthusiastically to Gypsy music whilst seated drunkenly on The Peach Deck. The stamping was repeated, the music ranged from the bizarre to the sublime but the deck and I survived.

I have never thrown a party by myself before, there has always been someone, a brother, a housemate or a partner. I anticipated that nobody would come, not just for me. I had planned in my mind how I would walk slowly from one end of The Peach Deck to the other packing away chairs and taking lanterns down from the trees. I would put away the clean glasses and plates and lock the front door. I would shower and turn on my electric blanket. I would wake in the morning diminished. I did not anticipate that every single person would turn up with a bottle under their arm and a smile on their face. I did not anticipate that sitting on a cushion on a milk crate under the curved branch of a mulberry tree I could look in any direction and see someone that I loved.

A party is a wondrous thing where it is appropriate to laugh or sing or dance or jump around for no reason and instead of staring at you weirdly people join in. I drew sharks and aeroplanes on the fridge with Ronita, I danced like pirate with Madam Squeeze, I offered round warm things that were thoughtfully provided by Rita, I showed everyone my library, my bedside table and my brand new chair, I talked and laughed and ran around waving my arms with glee.

I wanted to draw bricks in the gaps between the shoulders of my friends until I was fortress. I wanted to spin slowly in the centre of the deck until everyone I love blurred into lines of colour and it was all I could see. I didn't manage any spinning but I'm not sure that I needed to.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Rapid Improvulation

Provided that my friends show up and do not leave me sitting with alone with the cat there will be a gathering on The Peach Deck.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Medicininal Gatorade and Spencer loses his outtakes

I have nothing of interest. Anything interesting was forcibly removed from my body at high speed by all manner of crampings and convulsions. I am almost shiny with absence of interest. Raw, meek and frightened after my ordeal. Any moment now a team of previously invisible holy persons will walk through my walls, wrap me in robes and say I am ready for what lies ahead, this will not be true as I am slightly unsteady on my feet still but I don't suppose they know that. I will of course be surprised at being the chosen one but not a little miffed at being made to vomit and shit all over the place. I see this as an archaic and unnecessary part of the mystical process of which I now belong, historically, as the chosen one.

Spencer popped in this afternoon for a cup of tea which was exceptionally brave of him. I could have been hanging from the rafters ready to vomit and shit all over him the minute he walked in the door considering the last information he had on me was that it was coming out both ends at once. Brave Spencer walked right in through my front door holding aloft a cd and this time it was the rough mix of his new album, not someone who rhymes with Mex Perkins or a band that rhymes with the Trones but Spencer's very own brand new album. It was of course excellent but in my restless listless state I was very disappointed when we got to the end and Spencer promised me outtakes but then could not find them. I am the chosen one and I demand outtakes (and also some assistance with spelling- surely 'outtakes' is incorrect'?).

I am still waiting for the previously invisible holy persons. Sometimes if a person feels raw, meek, frightened and shiny with disinterest the best thing to do is wear silk pyjamas and sit in front of the fire, like Humphrey Bogart.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Table strangers

I've been holed up in here stinking of shit and vomit. It hasn't been a choice. I've been shitting and vomiting, at the same time. The first time it took me by surprise and I had no choice but to vomit on the floor between my feet. The next time I was ready and brought along a bucket, so it continued through the night and into the next day. Each time I was left shaking, drenched with sweat and stinking worse than I had before until eventually I could sleep in fitful bursts of an hour or so.

I've been waiting on kindness but ended up with strangers. The Peachettes are both on holiday in Queensland and nobody else is anywhere that I can see. I telephoned a few key people just to let the world know that I was having a problem here, they were kind but the hallway is dark here tonight and nobody has phoned to see if I'm still alive.

Before all of this vomiting began I put an ad up on gumtree for a table I want to sell, this evening I've been replying to people who've emailed to enquire about the table telling them I'll get back to them in a few days because I have food poisoning. The emails sent in reply were instantaneous and plentiful so I'm sitting here consoling myself with table strangers, its much worse than nobody at all.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Ahh horrible!

I have just vomited nine times. The salad I made for dinner came back out undigested but transformed into a foul tasting salad soup. I can not convey the depth of my horror, this feels like the worst thing that has ever happened. I was utterly helpless bent over the toilet bowl spraying high volume high speed disgusting vomit into the refulgent toilet bowl. My whole body fell victim to the convulsions.

It is a thorough action, vomiting, everything from my feet to my scalp unwillingly unified in performing the action. Rita, with her morning sickness, is my newest world hero. I am curled in my chair shaking, white and in fear that it will happen again. I feel terrible (dreadful, causing fear and alarm - just in case you needed reminding of the definition).