Tuesday, 22 February 2011

A prayer for me as a gownless woman

I pray you might provide me with a dressing gown that is mighty. A dressing gown that is made of silk, has a wonderful excess of room in the armhole area and crosses easily over the bust. A dressing gown that is possibly ocean blue or ocean green and struck through with minor embroidered embellishments that are not at all itchy or inconveniently placed when sitting. I pray this dressing gown appears in my cupboard within the next ten seconds so that I may leave my bedroom modestly covered in order  to scrub the balsamic vinegar out of the blue dress I bought on Sunday for $9.00 in the coastal town of Milton. Thanks.

SLAMMATOWN - Slamma Swap

Illustration by Onnie Cleary
I’ve been watching a television show called Wife Swap, not as a guilty pleasure but as a kind of science. Thinking about my own home, The Peach, and the role I play within it’s starting to become clear that I have become Un Slamma Terrible.

At The Peach my housemate Grizelda is a good lantern, she puts up with just about anything I can think of doing though she does tell me, quite often, that can’t possibly be another person on the planet as uniquely annoying as me. 
On Wife Swap the first thing the wives do is write a manual for their home outlining the general vibe of the home, the rules, schedules and a detailed setting out of who does what and when. I’ve been imagining writing a manual for The Peach and I have to tell you that on paper I’m not sounding so good.

I prefer to wake up at a different time every day. I hate doing things the same two days in a row. I hate washing dishes so every time I do it I do it with hate. I have been known to run up and down the hallway drinking rum from a bottle just for the hell of it. I listen to loud music as often as possible. I set my drum kit up in the middle of the library. I hate cooking and will yell about being hungry rather than go shopping. I hate boring people and people with bad hair cuts. I won’t talk to people I don’t like. I will invite people over for dinner and then not cook anything. I go out to see bands and come home plastered at five in the morning. I shoot the television with a water pistol when I don’t like the show I’m watching. I won’t let anyone else use my teapots, toothpaste or milk but if I find a hidden stash of chocolate I’m going to eat it. If I was a man I’m quite sure I’d leave the toilet seat up on purpose.

My next door neighbour is more settled and domestic than I am which is saying something because he just happens to be the former tour manager for The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. He is about a thousand years old, has hands weighed down with skull rings and has lived just about as wild and hard as a man can live. But even he manages to get up at the same time early each morning, make a cup of tea, ponder a little and then get on his day in an orderly fashion.

I’m beginning to think Grizelda deserves some kind of medal for living with me. Speaking of which, we’ve got a vacancy at The Peach. Anyone want to move in?

First published on RHUM...

Thursday, 17 February 2011

I'll tell you what's not interesting, it's the ongoing saga of finding a happy third person to inhabit The Peach. Our newest Peachette is leaving to go study full-time, which is nice, if you like that kind of thing but it leaves us once again with a vacancy and if there's one thing I hate more than not getting along with a housemate is finding a new one.

It's hard to explain just what kind of person I'm looking for. It's easier for Grizelda because she's more easygoing than me, she's holds grudges just about as long as a goldfish does, if she ever gets cranky it's over and done with inside of an hour and then forgotten so completely it's like it never happened at all. I'm a more complicated kettle of fish when it comes it my home.  If someone is going to do something bad, and I mean really fucked then I am going to hate you for it, probably for the rest of your life. My good opinion once lost is lost forever, Mr Darcy taught me how do that.

There is a prospective Peachette coming to The Peach tonight to check out the room and to meet Grizelda. I've met her before but that's no guarantee of anything, as Spencer likes to point out, I know a lot of scumbags. I'm fairly certain this woman is not a scumbag but here's the flip side, I might be too much of a scumbag for her. You see she's kind of amazing. She's a racing car driver on the weekends and a corporate superwoman during the week. She is tall, tidy, has waist-length red hair and is related to some kind of secret service combat machine man who might just kill me dead if I do wrong by her. I'm hoping this meeting goes along swimmingly, so swimmingly that nobody calls anybody else a scumbag or winds up dead. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

SLAMMATOWN: Talking 'bout last night

Illustration by Onnie Cleary

He ran across the square yelling, ‘I fucked her face! I fucked her face!’*. Try watching a man do that then tell me how you feel.

Earlier in the night, before the face-fuck yelling, I was at a show reviewing three bands I had no interest in, none at all. I went outside for a little sit down when my left foot became mildly itchy. A small itch can be happily ignored but I scratched anyway. A stranger sitting beside me leant over, pushed my hand away and started scratching my foot with his own fingernails. My foot, his hand, you get the picture.
Over the course of the next twenty minutes, Foot Scratching Man photographed me against my will, made inappropriately familiar conversation, offered me terrible student-style cheap cigarettes he was too old to be smoking, declared he would pine when I decided to walk away and was generally quite strange. He was sitting with a woman who seemed like his girlfriend.

He wasn’t flirting, not by any normal definition of the word, but there was something odd going on there. I wouldn’t have minded too much if this was the only thing that happened last night but shit just went down a weird hill after that. One man pulled at my shirt to peer at my breasts and another poured his drink over my feet to help by anointing me with spirits.

The sense of relief after leaving a venue packed full of stupid men was profound. Later on I was sitting peacefully on the ground drinking longnecks with Spencer and friends when Fuck Face Yelling Man walked right up to us and asked to join us. I said he could if he told me a good story.**

He swayed drunkenly but steadied himself into a low crouch by hanging on to my shoulders. His story was this; he shagged a woman, took photographs of her, sent them to all his friends and then denied it to her face. All the while he was pushing his face right up into mine, wrapping his arms around me, crawling on his knees to get closer to me. If Spencer hadn’t jumped to his feet and demanded that this horrible man unhand me at once I don’t know what I would have done.***

Spencer looked serious as a heart attack standing there all tall and commanding telling him to take his hands off me and leave. Fuck Face Yelling Man leapt to his feet and started to run away yelling this: “I photographed her and I lied! I fucked her face! I grabbed her ears and fucked her face! I fucked her face!”

Might be there’s something in the water, or the power of my fuckwit magnet spontaneously tripled. Either way things are not coming up roses. There is something wrong the men of the Inner West. Please send me some new and better men, so I don’t end up murdering somebody.
* He was not talking about my face. He did not fuck my face.
** Spencer told him no, as I was saying yes. For the record Spencer was right and I was terribly, horribly wrong.
*** I was planning unmitigated violence, not helpless surrender.

First published on RHUM

Also on RHUM today my review of The Antlers and Bear in Heaven with Sherlock's Daughter but  I wouldn't bother reading that if I was you.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

SLAMMATOWN - Just floating

At The Peach it is so hot, I feel like each breath is drawn through a thick mist of polluted saltwater. The temperature gauge says it's thirty degrees but numbers have never been very good at conveying emotion. Even the equation for an explosion of custard looks like a dull chain of kindergarten charts disarranged.
Last night I could take the heat no longer and begged Grizelda to drive me to the water for a swim. Happily, Grizelda is not opposed to piloting Peachette night-swimming missions in the ocean. I admit swimming in the ocean after dark may not be as safe as swimming in the day, but it has its rewards.  

I was floating face up in the ocean watching scarce clouds, unable to dim the stars, meander aimlessly above. The ocean covered over my ears and buoyed my back as though it had decided it would hold me and deafen me so I could think unhindered by heat or sound for just a little while. I bobbed in the black and gentle swell thinking of something I read in Delia Falconer’s book ‘Sydney’. She says, “Sydney... is overflowing with dreams… haunted by loss like some strange plasmal marine creature. Even the northern beaches Gaimariagal clan, according to descendant Dennis Foley, spoke rarely and with sadness of the Gidgingal, people from the east whose dreaming was under the water, swallowed by the prehistoric seas.”

Dreaming, in all of its guises, might be more important here than I suspected. The first known recorded dream in Australia, according to Falconer, occurred on the 31st of January 1788. Lieutenant Ralph Clark, who had just disembarked from the First Fleet, was in the habit of dreaming about his wife and his best friend Kempster. He dreamt that his wife and Kempster were having it off and was filled with desire to ‘run Kempster through’ for this breach of friendship.

It seems dreams, here in old Sydney town, have always been marked by loss, separation, betrayal and death. Not a very good start, really. As the dark ocean held me firmly afloat in its small swell I thought about people I know who have held each other. I know only one couple that has made a success of being with each other. Everyone else I know is plagued with betrayal, intrigues and the general inability to make anything other than a momentary success of romance. I’m beginning to wonder if something was set in place even before the first building went up; if there isn’t some vital piece of information we are missing that we could use to shape our new dreams in or out of the water.

First published on RHUM.