Thursday, 31 March 2011


No Slammatown this week due to artistic differences (just like The Beatles!).

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Radio gaga

I can't remember precisely what I said on the radio (ABC Radio National) but I do remember that it was largely stupid and at least partially embarrassing nonsense. I am hoping they edited me out entirely.

The other people appearing on the program were much better than and deserve a listen.  If you would like to listen to the others,  including Vanessa Berry,  click here.

SLAMMATOWN - Slamma of Arabia

Illustration by Onnie Cleary

I don’t watch too many movies. For example yesterday I watched a mere ten minutes of Lawrence of Arabia. It was an action packed ten minutes in which thousands of horses jumped out of a train into a desert, a handsome be-robed man wandered around the desert looking commanding while an orange be-robed man with twinkly eyes shot someone who accidently exploded their underpants with something whilst waiting for a train, in the middle of the desert.

In addition to being interesting, Lawrence of Arabia raises an interesting point; the shooting of people who have exploded their underpants. It takes a brave and noble person to shoot the fatally injured person who cannot be taken to safety and rescue but must either be killed instantly by friends or left to die a slow and hideous death. This is the kind of important point movie-watching brings rightly to the forefront of modern café thinking.

Continue reading on RHUM...

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Yes! Someone has described me as fey! Finally! I have fervently wished, for my whole life, to be fey. In recent years I had given up hope at being called fey due to not being a willowy blonde sort of person who rambles around shoeless in floaty dresses with no bra underneath. Thank you Baron Von Harlot for not only reviving an old dream of mine but making it come true.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Illustration by Onnie Cleary
 Nuns! I've been banned from writing about my house so this week it’s nuns. I couldn't help but notice the large flock of nuns, in white habits and wimples, chanting on the corner outside my office. At first I thought they were chanting at Ding Dong Dang, the ancient and well-attended karaoke bar that has featured in car ads and one song by Sydney band Psychonanny and The Babyshakers. As I approached from downhill I imagined I heard the nuns singing said band’s Ding Dong Dang, the woeful tale of the disappearance of a girl named Ashley. It soon became clear they were chanting something along the lines of, "Hail Mary full of stuff, Hail Mary you're very tough", and the Ding Dong Dang was coming from my iPod. 

The nuns - and their posse of priests and worshippers - stayed on the corner outside my office for a very long time. They chanted about Mary, God and some other people without pause whilst holding cheap-looking candles. After eliminating the possibility of them being an en masse outdoor karaoke performance, I decided to investigate what it was they were really doing. Through a scientific investigation process involving three listens to the song Ding Dong Dang and a minor hair-on-fire incident, I reached a firm conclusion. The nuns were using the occasion of International Women's Day to protest the existence of a women's clinic. If this is the best idea they had for celebrating women then they suck. Nuns suck.

My friend Leif once told me, in astonishing detail, about a video he saw of nuns sucking - nuns sucking all kinds of things. I was not surprised to discover that he finds the idea of nuns erotic. It just so happens that Leif's housemate is one of the singers from Psychonanny and The Babyshakers, which leads me back to the song and the street corner. This might not be so much about nuns as it is about geography and sound.

Some corners have a smell, like the corner of Pitt and Redfern streets in Redfern, some corners have a revolving temporal relationship with colour, light or shade. The corner outside my office seems to be developing a sense of something else altogether. Let's start with Ding Dong Dang. It was voted Sydney's fourth best karaoke bar by Time Out Sydney. My friend P Street writes for Time Out so it’s not too much of a leap to imagine that it was he who rated the bar, which is important for the following imaginary scenario.

Picture this. P Street is inside Ding Dong Dang singing his heart out to his open notebook, in the very same room Ashley last sang in before disappearing forever. Outside, a large posse of nuns chants over their cheap candles in the direction of the women's clinic while the producers of a car advertisement arrange three models in front of the green and white checkerboard tiles of Ding Dong Dang. Inside the women's clinic the medical staff are hard at work doing medical things and have no idea they’re about to be overrun by nuns. Across the street, I'm working in my office wishing I was at a party at Hibernian House, visible in the near distance over the heads of the nuns. On the opposite corner, the staff of The Australia Council for The Arts are ignoring everything that goes on and taking turns to have bathroom breaks so they can adjust the artful draping of their red plastic bead necklaces. Back in Newtown, Leif farewells his housemate who is off to a soundcheck for a gig at The Excelsior Hotel. The first song on their set list is Ding Dong Dang. Leif finds himself satisfyingly alone, wanders around the flat for a while and then decides that seeing as he is alone, just this once, he might put on the video featuring sucking nuns.

First published on RHUM...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Illustration by Onnie Cleary

I hate sharing my house. I don’t mind sharing with Grizelda, she’s like family, but the idea of a stranger moving into my daily routine is freaking me the fuck out. Sydney’s real estate prices are threatening to rob me of my privacy and dignity. If you saw me first thing in the morning you’d understand about the dignity. 
I’m not very good in the mornings. I tend to walk around in a daze, bumping into walls and trying to remember how to switch the kettle on. For the first hour of the day, for no discernible reason at all, I am largely disabled. Grizelda waits until I have half-drunk my first coffee before attempting to talk to me and I appreciate her tact and understanding because I know it is rare.

When I bought a new desk I spent six months researching desks; going into shops and sitting down behind them, imagining how it would feel to sit there every day, what it would look like brought into my home, where everything from my jar of pens and stack of notebooks to my external hard drive would sit. Now that I am showing people aroundThe Peach to see if they want to move in I get to spend about half an hour with a person before deciding whether or not they get to share my life. This is not ideal.

In a world where people did not go insane over property Grizelda and I would be able to afford The Peach all by ourselves, just the two of us. And the cat. Last week I was reading a budgeting guide for the modern man, printed in 1960. It suggested that spending more than ten percent of your income on a mortgage was stupid. If I lived in The Peach by myself, rent would account for one hundred and ten percent of my income. I used a calculator and that’s what it said, don’t doubt my maths. Real estate junkies have now officially inflated prices past the point of stupid. Well done.

Five times I have given someone a tour of The Peach, answering their questions about my temperament and living style politely. On the inside of me head I’m screaming, "It is none of your fucking business, stupid stranger bastard!". I’m losing myself in translation from inside to out. They all say I seem very calm and easygoing but I am not calm. And I am not easygoing. I am going to hate you if you fuck with my shit. And I don’t even know what constitutes fucking with my shit. It could be as simple as using my pink teapot without asking, misaligning my shampoo bottles on their rack or leaving your dirty cup on the coffee table. It might not be anything like that at all. It might be interrupting a sentence forming silently in my head, or talking to my friends, or not talking to my friends... These things are harder than expected to predict.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

SLAMMATOWN - Slamtopia

Sydney has divided itself into four big, terracotta-roofed slabs we call North, South, East and West. So far as I can tell, all these suburban areas of Sydney are terrible. Everyone knows the north side is filled wall-to-wall with moneyed arses caring more about which ‘display’ books they range on their coffee table than about any real human issues. The east is something similar to north. I spent a large portion of my younger years rolling around the north-western rim of the Sydney basin - swimming in rivers, staring right up at the mountains no more than five kilometres from my front door and occasionally looking down at they city from the top of one, fervently wishing I could teleport myself there.
South I knew almost nothing about until last weekend, when I was lucky enough to spend three whole days in a beach house with friends. They all grew up south of Sydney in a place known as The Shire. And I have to tell you it sounds almost entirely fucked. There are the usual suburban consolations of wide spaces, easy access to bushland and riding around on your bmx with friends but that sums up the good points.

The Shire, like every other cardinal point spinning out from the city, is fucked. A large proportion of the residents sound narrow-minded, racist and aggressively ‘normal’. So aggressively normal that it is almost impossible to live happily as anything other than a nuclear family with a neutral-toned lounge room without being subjected to a truckload of shit. If the same can be said for all points from North swinging round to West then we have a problem here. 

How is it possible that out of the whole huge sprawled guts of Sydney the only place I can live without fear of clashing with locals simply by making art and having ideas is the Inner West? I propose we make a new area, a new suburban area east of Sydney. By east I mean properly east, out past the headlands of the harbour on the bean-green ocean.

We have all kinds of technology now - like ships, bulldozers and helicopters. We could solidify some human waste, build a large floating land mass, map out wide house blocks and gently winding streets, plant trees, vegetables, herbs and flowers. We could build houses that are proper habitats for humans, encourage the birds and bats to fly and visit. We could have picnic lunches at each other's houses and talk rationally and interestingly about our differences and how we each widen the scope of the others’ understanding of the world. Or I suppose I could just get jets and blow some of the existing suburbs up. Raze them to the ground, grow a moustache, throw all racist, bigoted and narrow-minded people out into the desert to die in the sun. 

I’d be happy with one or both of the above plans. Either way I’m going to need helicopters. Big ones.

First published on RHUM...