Tuesday, 28 July 2009


I own this slow version of Newtown, the one with a slight limp. Everyone is missing so I'm picking up the $1 glasses and holding them to the light in shop after shop to see if any of them will please me. Spencer and the band have gone to play at some damned festival somewhere across the world. I had the idea of writing little notes to be left in people's green rooms,

Dear Placebo,
I hate you.

Dear Tricky,
What are you doing?

Dear Frente,
No really, what are you doing?

Dear Chicks on Speed,
I love you.

Spencer said he'd hide them there for me but in the end I was too drunk when he dropped me at my door and drove away.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

That penguin plays rough or welcome to the zetabet

She said she was twenty-one and I could see that this was half of her problem. She asked me if I was a good writer so I said yes, might as well say yes as no, it was all the same to her. I think she was wearing shorts, with tights, the way I used to wear shorts with tights when I was at high school but she was also sporting one of those haircuts, those Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors haircuts but without the combing, smoothing down and tucking behind the ears. She was dancing with a Greaser girl, Newtown's full of them at the moment. I can't get behind this Greaser girl fashion movement, the men seem to make it work better, they incorporate heavy but short leather jackets into their outfits while the girls have gone mad for white singlets and red high heels while they turn shades of blue and purple in the mid-winter night. If I was going to be a Greaser then I would be a Greaser boy with boots and and socks and a jacket.

The dancing Greaser girl thought too much of herself, even the usually non-judgmental Madam Squeeze admitted this quite freely. They were dancing where the crowd sat not ten minutes before, the young one and the Greaser girl trying their hardest to make sure that every remaining set of eyes turned towards them. I don't care if people dance but it annoyed me that the young one had determinedly sat at the top of the stairs away at the other end of the hall while the writers' read their work. She only appeared in the big room once the crowd had dispersed. She told me that all this writing, sweeping her hand from one side of the room to the other while her cigarette ash fell on the floor, was too self-contained or all wrapped up on itself. She said the ends all finish. I scrawled the letter 'y' on the back of my hand with a piece of white chalk. I nodded at her but I was thinking what kind of idiot doesn't allow a work to be self-contained. I imagined individual letters running loose and wild down King St. Z stabbed A through the heart in a bid to reorder the alphabet.

She snuck down the long hall to listen to a little of Josephine Rowe's final reading of the night, she heard two lines then stomped back down the hallway saying 'AWFUL" in a stage mutter. This is the part where I disagree with her. Josephine Rowe is a fine writer and an astonishing performer. I guess that's why close to a hundred people sat spellbound, leaning forward in the hope of being the one to catch her next word. The twenty-one year old smoked three cigarettes, grabbed her housemate by the arm and marched down the stairs yelling "I'm going to google you!". It sounded more like a threat than a promise. I breathed out only as the top of her head disappeared from view and she stomped out into the street.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Safe as houses

Don't worry about me, safe as a house with no smoke over here. The worst thing that has happened is this; I drank a tall glass of water immediately after I brushed my teeth. I dislike the slide of cold water over the remnants of mint.

I am working on a new project. I have decided to take portraits of houses, with words. I will post the portraits on Safe as Houses, this will be a slow process.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Farewell Phoenix, I hope you can rise again

I watched a train wreck headed straight for Berlin in the dim red glow of The Supper Club. She was staggering on nine inch heels at the very edge of the stage until she fell to her knees with her hair hanging down in an unconscious imitation of shame. The Love Shark cranked at his guitar, he was wearing a striped sweatshirt and some old pair of jeans. I watched her slide off the crash, down the side of the bass drum, with her legs crossed - mock elegant- and hit the floor all the while hitting all the notes she wasn't supposed to. That's when it hit me; she was beautiful. I ceased watching from the outside when she dragged my gaze, with her knees, across the floor.

Spencer snuck forwards to grab his guitar and we made a break for the door. He'd played a solo set, one of those viscous ones casually grabbing at time. The man sitting next to me was gobsmacked. I told him everybody reacts like that the first time they see a song grow legs and stand. He turned towards me to see if I would say anything else so I quoted Martha Wainwright and told him Spencer was stamping his feet to a different beat, like those guys with guitars I've been watching in bars. He nodded like I was an oracle and offered to buy me a bottle of wine. I told him I was pregnant and patted fondly at my non-existent baby, just to ensure that he would go away, and he did.

I walked directly to the bar and bought myself a drink. The barman gave it to me for free, he said "that's your friend on stage now isn't it?", when I nodded he pushed my money across the bar towards my purse muttering keep it. It's the first time I've been recognised and rewarded for being somebody's friend but it was just one of those nights, people walking past me and yelling "Slamma! Hey Slamma!" while I ignored them and Ms Phoenix threw back another apple martini. I was sitting at a table with the bass player from The Walk On By, Ms Phoenix and some creepy man who turned out to be The Love Shark, it was a strange place to be.

She didn't seem drunk until she tried to drink the candle wax, mistaking it for a shot glass. Then she stood and I saw her reel like the world was tipping. Maybe that's how people move continents, they pour wine like water until hemispheres turn supple and a slide down the fat curve of a bass drum lets you wake up in Berlin. Spencer and I snuck sideways to the door as the black-clad security goons descended while they plunged the stage into darkness. That Space Cowboys woman popped up out of nowhere, star-spangled and headed for the stage. She was talking up the band and hollering like a crazed actress as Spencer and I burst out the door and started laughing into the rain.

We were laughing but rattled, I haven't seen someone that reckless drunk since Elliot went to rehab. I witnessed something. It should be simple, a lovely woman and songwriter got drunk but it felt like rock'n'roll got cancelled and instead we all turned Humbert Humbert and watched a dark little Lolita on stage.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I'll take mine with salt & vinegar

I think Jill Jones has highlighted just one of the problems with the recent recommendation from the Productivity Commission to lift restrictions on parallel importation of books into Australia.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Even Alf Wight was chastised or periodic escape from the Inner West can prevent trench foot

My final frontier is the mid-inner west of Sydney. It's all the same to me, Ashfield, Strathfield, Lidcombe just slide on by, a physical explanation for time between the city and the mountains, a reason for the rhythmic click of trains.

I wandered there yesterday, on purpose. Boli lives in one of these mythical places now, where his rent money buys more space than I remembered to imagine. His house feels new, though it is not, all houses feel new after three years of walking through the ghost haze and sinking crooked facade of the Inner West. He has a basement storage room almost as large as The Peach, he has a tiled laundry, neat and accessible through a full-sized door in an internal hallway. He and Yolde have strung nets from the ceiling in anticipation of a baby.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

And her coat's a second hand one

I like the open hole of possibility, the gap tooth in a terrace row showing horizon where yesterday stood only billboards. She said make a ritual, knock thrice upon something to tell yourself that you're going to bed. I told her I wasn't having any trouble sleeping. I am fond of the unexpected. She advised sleep hygiene nonetheless, leaning forwards and offering templates of ritual, blueprints of oblivion. Her chair swivels smoothly to the right but creaks and offers sudden variations in height when turned to the left. She asked what I did in the final moments of light and movement before the voluntary defeat against darkness. I answered with the destruction of architecture and the raising of eyes through places where buildings should be.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Rarely everage

I've been sleeping with a poster of Barry Humphries. It has big pink letters that read "Rarely Everage". I recently told Spencer about the poster, he just raised an eyebrow and continued to drink his milkshake.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Panhandling public bath canoe sex

I don't like the word 'panhandling'. I feel, very strongly, that it should mean something else, something grand like: inventing something wonderful. I might write a letter to the dictionary.

I overslept this morning, by two hours. I lay dreaming of small overnight fetes and meeting an eligible man in a public bathtub (public the way toilets are with one per cubicle) only to find out that he had been sent there, by Potato who had told him that I was within the normal height range. I told the man that I thought he was a little intellectually dull for anything serious to take place so perhaps he had better hop out of my bath. I don't agree with people who only read romance novels. He said you may not agree with me but you should have sex with me at least once because I am as good as Jeff Goldblum.

I then discovered that I was in Melbourne, had been the whole time, so I hopped on a tram to visit Gemma. I was wearing my pyjamas so I yelled at The Spatula and Grizelda. What had possessed them to not inform me that I was in Melbourne, on a tram and wearing pyjamas? Fortunately I woke up soon after that, after I tripped merrily through pig circuses accessible only by speedboat, almost had sex in a canoe with bath man but was interrupted by his mother who approved of me, galloping down dried out canal beds on a horse in order to save the ocean faring circus pigs. The horse was wearing my old school jumper.

The dream was fast, one of those whirligig visions where I jump morph from scene to scene with full physical sensation. I woke feeling unsure as to whether or not I was on a tram. I have decided to deduct ten points from the part of my brain responsible for that dream.