Thursday, 21 April 2011

Work for it honey

As if science is the answer! A person can drink half of $120 worth of wine and still not be any closer to anything like human. It might as well be toast as chicken or mask or money or shoes as anything else. Spencer said, 'don't drown in the shower, you're drunk'. But what does he know? He could be anywhere in telephone land and everybody already knows that showers are mostly for standing up in.

Saturday, 16 April 2011


I have become platonically enamoured with a nineteen year-old Russian boy for one particular reason. I was lying on the floor with my head under his desk, to rest, while he ignored me and continued doing some kind of film editing thing. I started talking about the children's book I am writing, outlined the plot, explained what I am hoping to convey through story, being out of place, the sorrow that comes with unsuitable surroundings, the physical manifestation of despair through metal diving suits and sinking parrots. He paused in his work, cultivated a wicked grin to throw in my direction, declared the story to be 'emo' then carried on doing some kind of film editing thing.

Surely one has to become platonically enamoured with anyone who can convey, in two seconds, that they have heard and properly understood, have sympathy for your process and value your presence enough to cheer things along with playful irreverence.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I think it's getting complicated

Searching for a new job involves the kind of fortuitous miracle needed to convince a cat to vomit on the tiles and not the carpet. I'm not saying it's exactly the same thing but it gives the same kind of feeling in my bones.

SLAMMATOWN: Mad Men Strike Back

Illo by Onnie Cleary

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away I was interviewed for a new job. I didn’t realise I was in a different time zone and galaxy until after the interview concluded and I was spat back out into a normal Wednesday afternoon in Sydney. It was then that it hit me, something really fucked had just happened.

After shaking my hand and sitting me down she launched into the first of many stupendous and terrifying rants. She told me she hated my resume, all of it, from the font to the layout. She ranted for ten full minutes while I sat and wondered just why in fuck was interviewing me if she hated my resume so much.

The interviewer interspersed her ranting with comments about how great I was, how smart I was, how many qualifications I had. I was entering an advanced state of confusion when she kicked it up another gear and started to really go for it. She hated my hair, said she’d never seen hair so unprofessional before. I was going to mention that we had almost identical haircuts it was just that my hair is wavy and hers is straight when she started on my shoes. 

I was wearing the wrong kind of shoes, apparently only an idiot goes to a job interview wearing flat shoes. She stood up to demonstrate how she was wearing high heels, pulled up the leg of her trousers so I could properly view her shoes. After the ‘one must always wear high heels’ rant she started on the rest of me. Fortunately she decided that my face would have to do because she didn’t suppose anything could be done about that, apart from more make up.  The horrifying conclusion of this job interview is that she thinks I would be fantastic for the job but I have to be interviewed again first, just to make sure. She said she’d give me a couple of days to ‘do something’ about my hair, my shoes and my wardrobe.

I have to confess I’ve been obsessed with watching Mad Men. I came a little late to this party, most people I know started and finished their own Mad Men obsessions some time ago. What everyone failed to mention about Mad Men is how horrifying it is. Everyone talked about the fashion, the cigarettes, the stupid men with their suits and slicked down hair but not the horrifying slow reveal of repression and oppression. How the women were judged more on their legs than their ability to do the job well.

In the first episode of Mad Men the new girl gets a proper going over, everything is commented on from her hair to her shoes. I remember thinking how glad I was that that kind of shit was over years ago, nothing like that could possibly happen to me, not now in 2011 when the most important thing is having the skill, aptitude and qualifications to perform well in a job. As usual it turns out I was wrong.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

High heels and straight hair turned out to be weapons

I've almost figured something out. I thought I had it yesterday but it slipped away on one of those inevitable  cleaning the house, cooking the food, going to sleep tides. I can't quite remember. It had something to do with outsiders or Harry Potter or irrevocable change.

There is part of me that always thought I was just being wayward, or slipping into the idea that I am an outsider now, a marginalised person, but I could go back in, to where most other people are, if I just stood up and opened the right door but that's finished now. I can't go back to where I never was.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

SLAMMATOWN: Hire Me, Bitches

Illo by Onnie Cleary
 I’ve been applying for jobs. I could say it makes me want to tear my hair out but that would be a lie. It makes me want to go to sleep in my oldest pajamas, on my softest pillows, under my biggest blanket, and never ever wake up ever again.

I’m lucky enough to have one or two friends happy to read over some applications before I send them in. Their unanimous opinion is that I need to ‘toot my own horn’ more. The problem is applying for jobs makes me feel altogether hornless.

My professional experience includes the usual list of jobs I did just to pay the rent, a good job I fucked up, a great job I left for heartfelt reasons I can no longer remember and an erratic career path that looks more like crazy paving than the path to success. The other problem is my finer skills are unable to be politely included in any job application. I’m not talking about bedroom skills here, but the vast list of attributes that have so fixedly attached themselves to me they have become an essential part of who I am.

I’m taking this opportunity to devise a list.

Skills and attributes possessed by the very excellent and unique Dale Slamma:
  • I am very good at throwing things in the bin, first shot, no rim, all basket, from any corner of the room. This is my very mild superpower.
  • Strangers tell me their innermost secrets all the time, everywhere, for no actual reason and I don’t mean just crazy people.
  • I can drink five cups of tea in a row and suffer no ill effects.
  • My skill at deducing other people’s emotional state borders on the telepathic.
  • Last time I counted I had sixteen personal enemies.
  • I dislike Easter eggs and will not use opaque toothpaste.
  • My inability to appear intelligent when meeting someone for the first time has never before been exceeded by even the stupidest person on planet Earth.
  • I can wear starched, ironed and personally styled corporate clothes handpicked for me by the world’s best corporate stylist and still appear to be in casual dress suitable only for wearing to buy milk at the corner shop.
  • The fabric of my soul is constructed of rock and roll. No really, get a scalpel and take a peek.
  • I can cook with the best of them but choose not to, not if I can ever help it, for no reason I have ever thought of.
  • The power of my ability to crave chocolate is exceeded only by the power of my snoring.
  • You will disappoint me. Guaranteed.
First published on RHUM...