Friday, 30 January 2009

Detective Slamma once again solves the great unsolvable mysteries of the universe


I would like to blame science for most everything. Science does indeed have a lot to answer for but maybe this time the blame lies not with science but with superstition. A certain friend of mine or a person I formerly introduced as friend- the actions and intentions of friendship now seemingly over, is refusing to return phone calls or emails. This sudden shunning of The Slamma arises from no reason that I can fathom, for once in my adult life I have done nothing wrong, spoken no harsh and hasty words, performed no deed of betrayal or excessive mockery, indeed I am exceedingly puzzled.

This sudden and complete banning of all communication coincided with a small project of mine. Those of you attached the umbilical of Fspazbook may be aware of my attempt to develop a crush on Billy Ray Cyrus (so far with no success) but you might not be aware of my endeavour to become superstitious. At the dawn of the new year somewhere in Queensland completely surrounded by hippies I decided that what I most needed was to ward off the evil eye, that and a nice holiday, so I purchased a bracelet, a keyring and a wall hanging all sporting the nifty blue guaranteed to work anti-evil-eye blue bead or nazar boncugu, first devised somewhere near the Aegean thousands of years ago.

When I arrived home from my northern adventure I set to the work of believing and this is when said friend decided that I was no longer a person worth communicating with thus leaving me with the conclusion that perhaps they are evil and have been trying to return my calls but the power of superstition diverts the call to a local pizza house leaving them with no choice but to order pizza. Their entire house is now completely surrounded by pizza boxes and they are unable to leave the house. This is indeed testament to the power of not-science or perhaps I am mistaken there is a perfectly reasonable reason but surely common courtesy demands that they would at least send me a text message telling me to fuck off and outlining the reason as to why?

Did I mention that I am exceedingly puzzled?

Update: I was right! I will now advertise my services as a detective.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Harpooneer

I'm walking down the road trying to loosen my load, I've got seven things on my mind, four that want to make me, two that want to break me and one said he's a friend of mine, but I think that must be untrue.

I've half a mind to harpoon things. I'm already balancing like Qeequeg on the bow of all of my ships. I'm smoking tomahawks and setting wooden gods atop my very own head but people counsel caution saying there must be other things afoot. Perhaps there are but I know not what besides rabbit holes and everybody knows I am determined to steer clear of those.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Water and meditation are wedded forever

I was quite certain that rearranging the furniture will drastically improve everything, so I started with the tea cups.

I demand the right to walk safe at night

I want to come at this from a position of strength but that's hard with my windows locked and a hammer standing by on the floor.

I was rolling down Liberty St pleased with everything, the chilli stuck in my back teeth fresh from Spencer's garden, my hair, the walkman rolling tape in my left hand, the way my jeans were folded up nearly to my knees, even the curve of the earth seemed to be at the right angle but then I noticed the car, again.

The first time I saw the car I was walking out of the service station stuffing some cat food into my handbag, its important to note that I paid for the cat food. I noticed the car pulling in becuase I'm like that, I look both ways before crossing a road, so I looked both ways, saw the car and kept walking. I waited at the lights, turned the tape over in my walkman, cranked the volume and just as soon as the flashing man went green sauntered on across the road.

Turning down Liberty St I saw the car go past me, pull over and turn around, I thought they must be lost when they drove past me again not one minute later, this time they went on down to the round-a-bout, turned all the way around and drove back past me, very slowly indeed.

He was driving past so slowly and so often that I could see it was a man, a man in a car by himself. He matched my pace and started talking to me with one arm hanging out the window. He said "Get in the car. Come on, you and me, get in the car now." I thought maybe I know this guy so I swivelled my head to take a look but it was no one I've ever seen before. I said "No. I dont' know you. I'm not getting in your car", but he kept on following me.

I was three houses from home and telling him no on infinite repeat when he accelerated away. My relief was extreme, for four and a half seconds. He stopped the car outside The Peach and jumped out, leaving the door open and the engine running. He was coming straight at me when I made it through the gate and up the front steps. This seems a simple enough story, me pounding on the front door while The Spatula finds something to wrap herself in and walks down the hall. I had my keys somewhere in my bag underneath cigarettes, red lipsticks, tampons and a small wind up Mexican American on a horse but using the fast calculating powers of my brain I decided that pounding on the door was the best option. There ain't nothing like a pair of Peachettes to confront all known kinds of danger.

We locked doors and windows, drew curtains and turned those adjusting rods on blinds, I thought fondly of tea cups and fresh breezes, The Spatula counselled me to telephone the police. The policeman called me "Hon" but I told him my story anyway.

It wasn't a kind of panic, I was thinking of options, plans and tactics under the steady drone of flashbacks and memory, you see something quite like this has happened before. I was walking around the outskirts of my old town in red tracksuit pants and an inside out t-shirt when a man in a car pulled up next to me and opened his car door but that time the story wasn't so simple. There weren't any doors to pound on, nothing but starlight, sleeping ducks, cows and a partially obscured church steeple. It almost ended with me talking the man out of raping me, twisting words and perspectives, telling him everything was alright then prising his hands off my right arm where they were holding my hand on his erect and naked penis but he came at me again and again. I got away, dashed away in darkness, crawled through mud, under bushes and hid until I was sure he'd given up and driven off. I walked the whole way home with my bruised right arm held as far away from the rest of me as possible thinking I'd had a lucky escape until I woke up without my sense of safety.

I'm angrier than you can imagine, I'm not holding this hammer for decorating purposes, I'm not rocking in my one chair to soothe myself to sleep. Excavate my eyeballs and youl'll only find steel. I demand the right to walk safe at night.

I demand the right to walk safe at night. I demand the right to walk safe at night and I'll keep on demanding. I demand the right to live without fear of men. I demand the right to visit a friend without requiring an escort home. I demand the right to wake up every morning unafraid. I demand the right to look at men like they're ordinary people and not vessels carrying nothing but harm. I demand the right to safely navigate across town finding rhythms for words with footsteps, playing tapes on my walkman and thinking fondly of the undulating earth, the fresh chilli stuck in my back teeth and the importance of friends. I demand the right to walk safe at night and I'll keep on demanding, perhaps you'd care to join me?

Friday, 23 January 2009

What am I made of sugar?

I am inside The Peach, melting like cheap chocolate left on a car dashboard in the sun. It seems improbable that I will ever be capable of anything but small considered movements performed in the direct blast of the electric fan.

Captain James Cook
The Pacific Ocean
Aboard the Endeavour
19th April, 1770



Dear Captain Cook,

This is an inhospitable environment for those of European descent. I was not designed for this. I am aware that one of my grandfathers is from three generations of people living in India, it also hot in India, but he is long dead and so I believe are his punkah-wallahs, although according to my calculations some of them would now be elderly people hopefully enjoying a peaceful and dignified retirement, but I digress.

Dr Karl says that a person consists of many things, including the molecules of ancestors breathed on different continents. It is my personal hypothesis that my ancestral Indian and Estonian molecules have canceled each other out, permitting me to live happily only in the most temperate of climates. Australia, as it will come to be called, does not possess a mild and temperate climate. It would also be excellent to note that this is not indeed a terra nullius, the people you see on the shoreline do in fact live here already and though they do not use the English system of Common Law do have their own system of laws. If you would take the time to learn even one of their languages and have a little chat you'll discover this and perhaps make a name for yourself as being an extraordinary forward thinker and well ahead of your time. You might like to consider penning a song called Amazing Grace to express your realisation of humanity, trust me, it'll be a hit.

This country has been called The Lucky Country and by one excellent poet The Light Continent, the poet was the more correct of the two. It is all light but it is not calm, warm and soothing. It is the blinding kind habitually used in science fiction films to depict something bad or wondrous occurring. Your English people will suffer here, they will burn, sweat, toil and become larrikins. They will play cricket and cheat on their wives, they will fail to apply adequate amounts of sunscreen and die in their thousands. They will build unsuitable buildings, be paid with rum, herd large numbers of sheep and go like lemmings to war. They will in turn cause great harm to the existing population and find themselves to be cruel, incorrect and often very stupid indeed.

Turn your ships around, I beg you, we do not belong here.

As a token of my appreciation take this hint. Hawaii, not so hot for a holiday after all.

Kind Regards
Dale R Slamma

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Two minutes and counting

I have a real problem with Virginia Woolf, right now, two minutes before my 32nd birthday. This will be my first ever 32nd birthday. By way of preparing to celebrate The Peachettes rolled joints and tuned in to the late night financial news. We rode those eyebrows like roller coasters, it took my mind off Virginia for at least a little while.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Into temptation, burning and exploding now

It was one drink, served in a clay mug with tonic and a wedge of lime. I began to suspect that I had drunk more than intended when I was steering that terrible car Roland Irene around a roundabout with a new and unexpected level of difficulty. The very last thing I want to do is drive home from an ex-brothel drunk so I stopped the car, got out, locked the door and walked.

Spencer drank more gin than I thought was possible, he staggered happily around confessing to celebrity crushes, modes of dress, television watching and reading all the letters on my computer. This one stopped my heart, for three seconds, it started again like Jesus but still I needed more concentration than usual to roll a cigarette.

I'm not saying I have never ever in the history of my existence knowingly read something I shouldn't have, the backs of photographs from my parents first ever trip away together before they were married is one fine example, but generally I am the Super Guardian of People's Private Documents (SGPPD). You can leave your diary on my coffee table, I won't read it, leave your computer open on my lounge room floor, I won't do more than scroll through your music, leave your open mail at my door, I'll tidy it into a pile, confess your darkest hours and I might turn it into a short story but that's a different thing altogether.

My very first thought was "!", no words, all exclamation. Spencer blinked from the chair across the room in a drunken way. He asked "what was the book you were going to lend me?" and suddenly things seemed worse, much worse. Spencer had not only read the letters I'd sent but the letters I'd written and not sent, like the letter I'd written to him four years ago and decided not to send. He said if anything the letters made him like me more but I was still thinking "!".

I understand how something like this might happen. I loaned Spencer my old laptop Blueboy when my shiny new arctic white one made its debut appearance in The Peach. He's had Blueboy for over a year now and I don't mind at all, Blueboy is in safe hands. I understand how one idle day clicking through old files on an old computer might suddenly seem like an interesting way to spend a moment or four. I suspect most things left on Blueboy were written in a stupor, a rage or a moment where the even the vague possibility of happiness was hiding behind a large object and still Spencer invites me into his house, head and heart.

I'm still thinking "!", particulary about the ill-advised draft of a letter to Tim Winton, but I'm adding things in front of the "!" like friendship building its own forms over the years until even the idea of it is taller than me.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Good lord!


I found these when I was fossicking around in my cupboard. I decided at once that something had to be done, so I left them at a cafe, sorry about that cafe staff.

When I paid for my coffee I noticed the blue one on top of the coffee machine.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Not entirely a bad day

One of the wheels fell off as it overturned in the gutter, I laughed at it as it fell, I've had it in for that filing cabinet for a while now. It became my black-three-drawered nemesis. Too heavy to move by myself, too large to sit flush with other furniture, too black and metal to pass as anything I might choose to look at on purpose. Spencer picked up the severed wheel and carefully stuck it back on, I'm not sure but I think he's developing a fondness for the thing.

When Spencer moved into the lilac ceilinged ex-brothel he couldn't believe his luck. There are toilets, spa baths and guitars everywhere. The kitchen is large, cream and useful. One large room is used only as a band rehearsal space. The other residents are kind, wash their dishes and sort the recycyling but I did detect one small problem. Most of Spencer's furniture was found on the street so when he was moving he carefully carried it all downstairs and put it back on the street, much easier than figuring out how to move it to the new house. This made Spencer's move remarkably easy, as far as moving house goes, but did of course leave him with no furniture, this is where the filing cabinet comes in handy. Instead of storing manuscripts, drafts, bills and boring papers the horrid thing will now store socks, underpants and cowboy shirts, alphabetically I'm sure.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

A sleeping cat is more still than a sleeping horse, show me the colts it'll turn my bones to glass

I typed the letters 'y.e.s.' and pressed send. Five minutes later I woke up thinking 'that was an odd dream' but the phone was clutched in my sweaty left hand. I don't remember acquiring the skill of text messaging in my sleep, in fact I'm still surprised that my unconscious self was making decisions without me.

I tried to telephone and ask about the details of the plan thinking maybe I might like to think about this but he didn't answer, he sent a message saying 'get ready now', so I put my pants on and located my shoes. Next thing I knew I was sitting in a tent in Hyde Park watching Bill Callahan dance like a horse.

Bill Callahan has two dance moves, piaffe and the knee waggle, the rest of the time he's doing something akin to a hungry man singing into a refrigerator but don't let that idea stop you.

From the back the famous spiegeltent looks much like an ordinary tent, the kind hired for corporate functions when they want something round and ostensibly outdoors. From the front it looks like a movie circus prop but inside the floorboards flex under footsteps and eyes travel over velvet, mirrors and leadlight windows. I decided at once that I must live in the famous spiegeltent, and so I did, for about an hour.

Bill Callahan has a strange rhythm, like an old tree or your grandmother. It is soothing and terrifying to listen that man sing. Watch a dusk sky fill with bats. I kept wanting the light to fade, it was too light in there, too much dying light pouring in through leadlight windows. I wonder why the festival directors decided to run the night in that particular order? My other main problem was also non-musical, plastic chairs made of magic plastic that numbs the buttocks in record time. I wonder why the festival directors would spend so much money importing spiegeltents and Americans then find the worst plastic chairs in the world? I wanted to stand.

The drummer crawled rhythm, it is difficult to explain his style, loose, low and precise. He was painterly with his movement. I haven't much to say about the guitarist, he was playing guitar. The other night I sat in on a rehearsal with Belle Phoenix (much better now than is reflected in these recordings) where Spencer was playing guitar, I've a lot more to say about that guitar playing but Callahan himself is a different matter.

Callahan does what most musicians can't, he makes writing about his performance pale, pointless and callow. If you get the chance buy the ticket and take the ride. Stand if you can, in the dark forest of heads and shoulders trapping sounds and moments with small movements of your feet.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

There was going to be words about something else entirely

I seem to have developed a sudden and unexpected hatred. Its my friends I'm feeling sorry for, the ones who patiently and repeatedly say things like "Axe murdering might not be the best idea. Why don't you just wait a little while and see if you still feel the same way in a week or so" or my personal favourite "Why don't you try not doing something stupid, just for now, and see how it turns out?". I'm fairly certain that my friends are not convinced about my hatred. My friends are generally correct about this sort of thing, maybe I'll hang off the axe murdering for just a little while...

I interrupt the hating for an important message about loving. Have you seen Apartamento yet?

Monday, 12 January 2009

I am simple to enchant

I am simple to enchant so when Grizelda told me that she'd jumped the locked gate and gone to the forbidden land of downstairs my head nearly exploded with excitement. You see The Peach looks like an ordinary Federation house from the front, this is not a photo of The Peach, but underneath lurks an entire flat, with undercover bbq area and built-in bbq and a backyard The Peachettes are forbidden from entering. We sometimes join the cat in peering over the edge of The Peach Deck to see what we can see, usually its just some long grass and The Cowboy next door hanging his cowboy jackets on the clothes line. Theoretically the landlord Mr Oddweird resides in the flat beneath The Peach, his plentiful mail is delivered daily to The Peach letterbox, he periodically appears at the locked gate and waves as he disappears down the side of the house but according to Grizelda the downstairs flat is empty, filthy, disused and generally unsuitable for human occupation. My simple enchantment is rapidly running to conspiracy theories.

This afternoon a man knocked at the front door, he said he had a delivery for Mr Oddweird. I pointed to the locked gate, he glanced at it but refused to move. He said that he must personally deliver the package to Mr Oddweird but he wasn't holding any package. Not only did he not have a package but he did not arrive in a van or other vehicle suitable for a courier and was not wearing a uniform. He was not clutching one of those electronic delivery thingies or even a clipboard. I becmae highly suspicious when he demanded that I produce a phone number for Mr Oddweird and questioned me as to whether Mr Oddweird was the owner of The Peach. The non-delivery man eventually went away but the question remains, why is Mr Oddweird pretending to live underneath The Peach?

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Wax memory

The square of cardboard attached to the Christmas present candle said that the wax will remember how long I first burn the candle. It will melt no further than the tide mark left by those first burning hours. This worries me immensely. What if my wax memory has been set and each time I burn I'll melt until I meet the edges of where I was once before?

I've spent the afternoon looking for my own personal cardboard square printed with instructions. I didn't find the square but I recall the feeling of putting a school jumper over an ice cold blue blouse while my shoes sit shining and ready on an old towel on top of the washing machine. My father used to polish all the shoes once a week, lining them neatly by colour. It was his sixtieth birthday two days ago, we dined on a roof watching ferries cross the harbour, nobody thought to take a photo.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

This might cause me to protest

I am finding it hard to comprehend that the large corporation Gunns is now suing protesters for protesting. I might think of something intelligent to say but in the meantime I am walking around saying words like abhorrent and unconscionable.

Here is the correct link.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The taco incident

Queensland didn't like me but I don't care, the place is crawling with Queenslanders and we all know about them. Tonight I snapped my toothbrush in half. I didn't snap the toothbrush because of a tooth revolution or a miracle event involving the evolution of self-cleaning teeth. I was thinking about something and it made me so angry that there was really no option but immediate and definite violence.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

There was light

On the fifth day of the Woodford Festival I decided that a five day festival was too long. On the sixth day I mourned the loss of twenty concurrent stages and strange sweltering wandering in a sheen of sweat through smiling thousands with a cigarette in one hand and a joint in the other.

Rain rained itself through my mobile phone transforming all communications to steam and the miracle of static silence. I am still somewhere in Queensland deep in Superman's family nest where they all know from eyebrow to eyebrow the ways of one another. The air is more viscous than honey, thick with light and particles of water. I could convert myself to steam or the kind of warm mud clinging thickly round fetlocks in brown dams.

Water in the air does something to the light so everybody opts for beige, just to be safe, except of course for me. I'll keep notes, I'll look at these Queenslanders with their hats and singlets and everywhere lack of shoes. Three more days and I'm coming back.