Saturday, 28 February 2009

Friday, 27 February 2009

Listen

By Robert (Poet Laureate of Slammatown)

There’s a door by the doorstep. This seems like a Clue.
There’s a hideous temptation to rhyme with ‘poo’.
The light is quite shiny – it shines like the light.
If we didn’t have darkness, we wouldn’t have night.
If we didn’t have night then we’d all go insane.
So let’s paint all the hearing aids purple again.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Hey kid how are you?

Today I called the Mayor 'Kid', he was so shocked that he stood like a statue in the middle of the hallway for a full thirty seconds. I walked down the hall, smiled pleasantly then shut the door to my office.

He may still be standing there.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Salad sandwich and an orange juice

Today I was walking down the street feeling particularly pleased about the world. I had just completed the quick crossword, the sudoku and reached excellent in the target word, in my lunch break. I thought I saw David Hassellhoff but it turned out to be just an ordinary member of the public.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Brush, juice, grape, awesome

There was much discussion about unmint toothpaste last Sunday afternoon. I was sitting in my cafe with Spencer, Madam Squeeze and most of the members of Psychonanny and the Babyshakers. The singer has taken to sporting a green supermarket shopping bag as a handbag and I find myself strangely drawn to the fashion.

The non-Simon guitarist was very pleased with the idea of unmint toothpaste. He said that he once had a tube and it was a revelation. He drank orange juice every morning immediately after brushing his teeth, with no ill effects. He assured me that unmint toothpaste also allows for the immediate post-brushing consumption of grapes. I am entering a reasearch phase, I will find this toothpaste if it is the last thing I do.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Don't leave me in charge, I'll fuck your shit up on purpose

Today I sorted through job applications. There are some people in the world who very much want the job I can not wait to stop doing, in fact ninety five people want that job.

One man declared in his application that he knew all about one of the selection criteria because the company he used to work for had a 'reputationally good reputation for being the upmost at this'. English is his first language. I put his application in the 'yes' pile.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Are trains electric?

It was curious but I found myself to be nervous. At first I was unsure as to why I was covered in a light sheen of sweat, had a heightened awareness of sound and a general inability to finish my piece of banana bread but it soon became clear that I was nervous.

I harbor no real desire to become a train driver, my motivation for undertaking this lengthy and trying process is more complex and unreasonable than the jurisprudence of equity, and I think you might find that equity has more to do with reasons for taking train driver tests than you first thought.

I was surprised, though I shouldn't have been, to find myself standing in a crowd of men dressed in their smart casual best. Their hideous hair was tied back, gelled down or spike upwards. They all wore pale button up shirts,ill fitting trousers and awful shoes. Somebody else had ironed their shirts. There were about 170 of us, we were herded, inspected, marked off on lists. I was not uncomfortable, not once the pencils came out and we were sat down at desks.

Train driver exams are tremendously enjoyable. It must be a hangover from law school but sitting silently amongst row upon row of people concentrating furiously felt like home. This disturbs me greatly.

The first exam was a knockout round, anybody failing to meet the required and undisclosed score was asked to leave. At first I was pleased to pass test after test but then I heard some of the men talking amongst themselves near a lift shaft. These men have not taken exams, unless it was part of learning a trade. They do not read for pleasure, do puzzles in newspapers or think in unfurling abstract strands. I thought I could be one of them, trying my best with the provided pencils, but something more than a lack of penis in my underpants separated me from the herd and I felt nothing but shame.

Recently I have begun to think that university was a waste of my time. I feel nothing but a sense of awkward regret when I look over those five difficult years. My new and thankfully temporary boss said that I was wasted in my present position, that I would be much better off somewhere else though she still begged to keep me. I am tired of trying to find interesting, challenging and meaningful work. I am exhausted from towing around all this knowledge, the heavy memories of contorting myself to accommodate everything academic. I knew what I wanted to say when I was the shower but it has now become unclear, this is a product of my exhaustion.

I am shedding people faster than dead skin cells, Superman wasn't the first and he certainly wasn't the last. I am exhausted by the mantle of my learning, I am exhausted by people who do not think and require me to do all the thinking. I am exhausted by people who think they are thinking but they are not, they are not even close to the idea of reason. I am tired of people who live in the suburbs and pour judgement across my way of life. I want to sit here, in this city, and type. I am confused about meanings, motivations and just why I dedicated myself to so much learning with no beneficial outcomes.

I want to cry out the maxims of equity, hold up my clean hands and beg for restitution. I want to unlearn all this learning and find myself suddenly just another face in a crowd. I want to gel down hideous hair and laugh with the others at the idea of thinking. I want to wear uniforms kindly provided and view my roster no more than two weeks in advance. I want to tell people at parties I'm just a train driver, I know nothing of anything but signals and patience and the popular easy to read novel tucked into my ugly bag.

Last night I dreamt I was flesh made into a totem pole. I stood three metres high in the middle of a park, sturdy, cylindrical and ancient. I was not carved but constructed, my sides panelled with cassette decks. Every time I thought of anything at all the cassette doors flew open and the force of my will ejected tapes like rockets all around me. All night I ejected tapes faster than the speed of light, across the park and into the stratosphere. I still feel like this, ejecting and rejecting with frightening speed and precision. I don't know what I'm doing but it feels necessary. I might wake up tomorrow and laugh at my train driving exam adventure or I might wake up, call in sick and spend the day writing lists of things I do not like. The future is unclear.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Toot toot

Tomorrow I take my train driver's exam. I have no idea what the exam will entail. I am supposed to bring my reading glasses and ensure that I arrive on time, there must be some room for error with respect to the arriving on time part of the proceedings. It wouldn't do to start hiring very prompt people to drive trains now would it?

Finally a practical alternative application of the term 'the troops went over the top'

I just misheard the radio. I thought the newsreader said "Eurovision is still refusing to send more troops to Afghanistan".

I thought 'more troops! I didn't know Eurovision had troops', but then my brain kicked in and my beautiful imagined beglittered lycra jumpsuit high hair army vanished. I do not know how I will bear the disappointment.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Books not burning?

If your books are not on fire then you might like to consider donating some books to Borders. Borders will use the books to restock libraries in fire affected areas. You can also purchase new books to donate at Borders. Click here for more information.

I don't think it counts as bookshop infidelity to go to Borders just this once.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Compass

I imagined her in the wrong direction. I always thought of her as north east of where I sat but it turned out to be north west. I still admire her implied pearl necklace and Lauren Bacall wardrobe but I am mourning the loss of intangible tea on the terrace by the harbour, it was a comfort to think of her there.

Monday, 16 February 2009

My exhaustion is rigid

But I'm smiling. I've got plans, not pipe dream plans of wistful kookishness but actual plans with turning wheels, flow charts and a compass. I've surfaced my submarine to have a good look around and lo, I was pleased.

My next reviewing assignment is Gary Numan, I am as we speak scheduling an urgent milkshake meeting with Madam Squeeze for research purposes. It is important to note that if the good Madam is available it will be her having the milkshake and not me. I never take milkshakes myself.

My plans are not limited to penning the occasional questionable review, they loom larger than that. In fact I declare them to be of icebergian proportions. I am also learning shorthand, I wear stockings when I practice, stockings, glasses and a pearl necklace, I am sure that it helps.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

I recently was ordained as the pope or I blew up a chicken man last night (I'm not yet sure what that really means)

I went to a night of erotic fan fiction readings, I didn't know what to expect but it certainly wasn't the odd privilege of standing near an open window watching the pouring rain from a darkened room while Aidan sang me Bruce Springsteen's Altantic City. He didn't hesitate for a second, it was such a small thing, the demonstrating of a song to see if I knew it, but this is exactly the kind of thing musicians are prone to doing. They just stand there pouring out music like its nothing special while I listen in silent wonder. It doesn't seem fair.

We'd been talking about Bruce because I have just bought my first ever Bruce Springsteen record. It's a cd actually, and not an album but a three disc set called The Essential Bruce or Bruce Songs You Must Have or Best Bits of Bruce or similar. Aidan asked me if I knew Atalantic City, I wasn't sure which song that is becuase I've only just started on my Epic Bruce Journey (EBJ). I'm fairly certain that me EBJ is going to be one hell of a ride.

At some point in the evening I became extraordinarily jealous of Marieke Hardy's stockings, this was after she read her piece on attempting to shag the animated dog from Family Guy but before someone's piece about being the pope, Jessica Alba, Jack Nicholson and Scarlett Johansson's dislocating jaw. I can't remember if the stockings were blue or red, I suspect red but that's not the point. There was something particularly undefineably awesome about those stockings. It is a great shame, for Australia, that I don't ordinarily wear stockings because if I did then I might be better able to describe these blue or possibly red stockings.

The erotic fan fiction was more filthy and hilarious than it was erotic. When I first arrived I thought I might not be able to get in. They had scrawled 'sold out' on the wall in chalk. I thought how could Paquita and Mona's house be sold out? The question was soon answered after I climbed the stairs and found the stadium sized front room full to the brim with people sitting on the floor and laughing hysterically. There must have been a hundred people in there, that's how Paquita and Mona's house can be sold out.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Impersonate me at my funeral, I'll thank you for it

When Spencer phoned out of the blue to say did I need a lift to Oxford St I didn't hesitate. I pressed pause on the DVD, applied red lipstick, tied something or other around my rain styled hair and put on my shoes but as it turns out sometimes a movie is better than bands.

The Oxford Art Factory wishes it was a dive but it isn't. It's a concrete bunker with a glass box for bad art and the kind of sound that makes you wish you were born deaf. I partially attended Exquisite Corpse, some kind of night featuring unknown Sydney bands. I say partially because I was picky about which bands I descended the rubber coated stairs in the mirror lined stairwell to see. The sound tech is clearly in the wrong job, he is better suited to being The Captain of Unreasonable Tortures, fortunately Madam Squeeze agreed.

We crossed the street to sit in a civilised cafe. We drank soy decafs and took great delight in the clatter of tea spoons stirring sugar into hot coffee. The saucers matched the sugar bowls and the ashtrays, white with a slim silver band at the lip, they played records, the good warm kind recorded when stereo was new and everybody thought album cover art could save their lives. We sat at a small round table watching rain, people and talking over particulars and nothings.

Spencer met us half way back across the street, turned on his snaked skin heel and fell in step with us, he too had climbed the rubber stairs in the mirrored stairwell. You see we'd all been hoping the bands would be better, the sound at least listenable and that the rain to ease just a little.

We had missed Whores, driving around and around looking for somewhere to park Spencer's car, a car being almost necesary to traverse to the other side of this damn city. Public transport ought to be ashamed of itself. I was disappointed to miss Whores, last time I saw them, in a real dive, I thought they were extraordinary. Damnbuilders are quite something, I'm not sure what but that first song is worth mentioning, the rest of the set suffered not because of either of the band members but because The Captain of Unreasonable Tortures failed to understand the need to balance the two pieces in a two piece band. Ben is a magnificent drummer, everybody knows that, any band would be lucky to have the likes of him but The Captain of Unreasonable Tortures was clearly in love with him and failed to allow the guitar or vocals to intrude on the drums for even a milisecond.

Diamondbackrattler failed to make us stay. We were looking forward to their set, one of our party has a high school strength crush on a member of the band but not even a crush could hold us in that non-dive for a moment longer. The drummer seemed excellent, lot of good drummers kicking round Sydney at the moment but The Captain of Unreasonable Tortures joined forces with the bad performance artists in the bad art glass box and who were we to stand up against such powerful forces? The Atrocities and The Disbelievers weren't due to play until something like 4am so we walked through the rain, past the man wearing his ex-girlfriend's jeans, past the goths in giant hats, the women with the power of wearing towering heels on wet footpaths and the regular detritus flowing down the hill from Kings Cross. We laughed on the way home, getting almost lost. I was thinking fondly of my newly rearranged room inside the warmth of The Peach. I'm glad I ventured out despite the rain, that I discovered The Falconer Cafe, that I spent a long moment or two talking with good people like Halcyon and Raid but as I lay sleeping I was thinking of something else entirely.

Lying in bed submerging and emerging from sleep I could hear the calendar clicking through pages, at first backwards but then steadily forwards spinning out year shapes and squared days and the constant presence of friends. I don't know what I'd do without my friends, not even Spencer who has promised to officially impersonate me poorly at my funeral and then remind everybody of what an idiot I could be, sometimes.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Rocket science: true or false?

An engineer thanked me profusely for doing something simple on a computer today, I said "Its not rocket science".

I spent the afternoon staring at maps and reading letters, as I was supposed to, but I couldn't help thinking about rocket science. Do rocket scientists divide their daily tasks into rocket science and not rocket science? I have an urgent need to find out.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Next time I will remember this important information before I turn my head into a sculpture

Do not put dettol on me. I forgot that I am not supposed to put dettol on me. The skin is falling off my face. The whole right side of my face swelled and went red, this is not from the cat scratches, they are healing nicely, it is from dettol.

The people in my new office look at me strangely. My face is red, scratched and the bruises from the force of the cat landing on my head are going horrible colours. Not one person has asked me what happened which is a great shame. I have concocted a story about being a par time swashbuckler. I was going to tell them that I live on a pirate ship. It saddens me that I did not get to tell this tale.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I require tap dancers, with roller skates

I've been watching some dance show on telly and I'm disappointed to report that there was no category for spaz dancing and there doesn't appear to be any tap dancers. I have decided to conduct my own auditions.

Calling all tap dancers, with roller skates. Come and see if there's room for you in my top twenty.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Books are burning

It has just occurred to me that the people who lost their homes in bushfires would have lost their books. I have spare books. I wish to post books. I will send some emails about this.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

I go bump in the night



Something heavy landed on my head in the middle of the night. I lay there for a while thinking, ow, that hurts, it did not occur to me to wonder what it was. I woke up again when my eye and my ear filled with blood. I think the cat must have misjudged and landed on my head, either that or it was aliens.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

This isn't what I had in mind when I got my very own PO Box

I keep getting invitations to an event called New York Sex Worker Literati. I'm not sure how this happened, that's not the kind of Slamming that I usually get up to, especially not in New York.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Three jobs, one woman, five kinds of toilet, a brief note on the goodness of Gemma and waiting for a bus

This week I have started three new jobs. They say that starting a new job is one of the most stressful things a person can endure, that and death and divorce and moving house. I have caught buses without being sure of just where exactly to press the dinger button and alight. I have risen earlier and earlier each day to drag combs through my hair and locate something respectable to wear. I have argued with my digestive system to avoid doing strange things in strange toilets. This week is wearing me down, erasing my sketch marks and shading to leave only the vaguest indicators of my own personal shape but I'm beginning to think of it as a kind of inevitable fated voayge. Call me Ishmael and locate Ahab, I need to have a word with him.

Job one was a job for one day and one day only, it was planned that way. I sat with my back to the ocean until I realised that the ocean was not just at my back but all around me. Jelly fish floated beneath my feet. If it was not the world's most inconvenient office to travel to I might have wished to work there like a lighthouse for a day or two longer. I performed a single task over and over until even my thoughts were stilled. I turned off my ipod and experienced the absence of sound, thought and reason.

Job two requires me to stand outside the Olympia Milkbar to catch a bus every morning, this is the one and only highlight of the job. The toilet is on the other side of the wall from my supervisor, I have learned the art of silent weeing. Cigarette breaks are not permitted, there is no soy milk for tea of coffee, the company mugs are made of plastic and the walls are all painted grey. I have to ask for work every three minutes. I am given a small and simple task, complete it half an hour before they expect me to then ask for something else to do. I am not convinced that they need me.

Job Three is not technically a job though I do have a deadline, an editor and a publishing date. It is an intermittent sort of thing where I email the editor something I might like to write about and then he goes through a mysterious process of deciding and organising. Ordinarily this is something I might imagine, like opening the wardrobe to find it suddenly a thriving fish tank or walking out the front door and ponies, tea pots and cup cakes instead of cars.

What I really want to talk about today is Gemma. If was The Captain of Giving Out Gold Stars then I would award 53 to Gemma. Gemma is the most articulate person I have ever met and I am strangely blessed with articulate friends. I could stay up til fifty three a.m. writing about Gemma and still not be able to explain her goodness, but still another day I might attempt it.

When this week is over, when I have pressed send late Sunday afternoon and my review is vanishing and reappearing somewhere else entirely, I will have time to sit and ponder with a tea cup or two. I will have time to sit on my chair on The Peach Deck under the mulberry tree and count silently along with my breathing while the cat sleeps curled as a question mark.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Why not write a letter complaining to the council?

Christ alive have I got some stories to tell. My new and thankfully temporary place of employment requires me to be exhausted by the end of every day. I have tied ropes to my arms, there are teams of robots operating the ropes thus enabling me to type.

I am temporarily, thank goodness, working for a local government office, not my local government. I have no real idea of what is that I am supposed to be doing. My work seems to involve a combination of storm water drains, garbage collection schedules, lamp shades, parks and something called the umbrella of infrastructure. On the plus side I get to read all the letters that people write to their council, this has confirmed many of my long held suspicions.

Travel to my new and temporary office includes spending ten minutes each morning standing outside the legendary Olympia Milk Bar, I only wish that it was open in the mornings so that I could test my luck by attempting to purchase things. Once I asked the man for a can of lemonade and he said "No, you can't have a drink today".

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ahoy there

Dale Slamma would like to take this opportunity to share a few short messages:

I am The Captain of this blog.

I might soon be a train driver.

If my cat had a goldfish she would name it Miaow.

Too many cupcakes can make a person feel ill so it is better to eat only one, or at the most two, per day.

I am pleased to report that I have eaten one cupcake and do not feel at all ill.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Dredge

I've been slow this weekend, moving my limbs in test patterns to make sure I'm still broadcasting. I haven't been getting up in the mornings, I can't pretend there's a reason where there are no reasons. The sun seems further from the earth, more shadows and length and stillness.

I've been frightened lately, of walking alone at night, of waking with strangers and of all of my friendships turning out to be as needlessly treacherous as my ill fated friendship with Superman. I was floating in Clovelly Bay by starlight, flipping my flippers one long stroke at a time when it occurred to me that all my regrets fall into the same category. I regret not speaking my mind, too often I swallow opinions and words to avoid someone else's unreasonable reactions.

There was a time when I was a walking tempest but it seems more impossible than the formation of ice to speak my mind now, or it did until this morning when I answered an email with something close to the truth. I have been furious with Superman since late last year. One morning he simply got up and decided that he no longer needed to go through any of the normal motions of friendship such as acknowledging my existence or consenting to even the most basic of conversations. I decided somewhere north of Brisbane to terminate the friendship just as soon as I got back to the safety of The Peach. I was dissuaded by friends* who counseled caution, the lovely Rita acting as a constant guard against impulsive action.

This morning when I received the most arrogant of emails from Superman I finally let rip, in a moderate way. I spent the rest of the day pondering why I had waited so long to do what I most wanted to be done. I am tired of being the calm and sane one. I am tired of all my empathy, sympathy and being the opposite of revolution. Tomorrow is going to be a good day.



* There was not a general consensus, some people suggested performing an official ceremony during which Superman would be declared an official prick, others voted for the word arsehole.