Tuesday, 28 June 2011

They are exercising organised destruction for money

There are men with chainsaws outside in the street. They are shouting to each other, 'higher, over there, hold it up, wait on, now go'. I can't see them but I am glad for physicality of their noise. They are busy, they are strong, they are executing organised destruction for money and I like it.

Monday, 27 June 2011

54% funded and 28 days to go

Enormous thanks to everyone who has participated in PAN's crowdfunding so far.

28 days to go, I think we can make it. Click here to check our progress, staring intently at the pie graph is more satisfying than you might suspect.

Did I mention that for $15 you help secure our printing funds as well as grabbing yourself a discounted copy of issue #2? Well just in case I didn't that's the deal and it's a good one. Here's a link to PAN's crowdfunding page.

Maroon Pants Man discovers the ability to cause genuine shock on the streets of Newtown

Last night I dined with Tim Train, The Baron, Mitzi G Burger and Nails . I have never met any of them before so the experience was awkward and partially surreal. I can't help but feel that a good splash of whiskey might have eased discussion along. There were several interesting points and one surprising connection. It seems Ms Burger is acquainted with Abdullah. I am always disturbed by the discovery of mutual friends.

Afterwards I was sitting in a cafe with Spencer, attempting to describe the experience, when a man in tight maroon pants and tweed jacket appeared. The crotch of his pants was alarmingly low despite the glove-like grip of the trousers on his legs. It was an odd pair of trousers but not as odd as the man himself. He was hopping about from one foot to the other or crouching down to table-level. Constantly moving, adjusting, hopping, crouching and talking yet he was calm and lyrically coherent.

Maroon Pants Man was on his way home from  Star Wars Burlesque at The Vanguard, please take a moment to think about that, when he came across an abandoned pram. If I had come across an abandoned pram nothing at all would have happened but MPM seized the handle and commenced a wild careening down the road.

Noticing the high volume of alarmed looks by pedestrians MPM took to wheeling past restaurant windows and 'accidentally' tipping the pram over with a shocked look on his face. He said the simultaneous reaction of all onlookers was consistent from restaurant to restaurant. Every person half-standing, ready to pounce to his assistance, all of them alarmed for the safety of the invisible baby.

MPM repeated the performance at several locations on the street, after each one holding up the pram to show it was empty.  MPM's impromptu pram performance was genius. There is so little left for us to do that will genuinely shock.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Pebble theory prevents imaginary umbrella suicide in supermarket without linear or interesting narrative

Walking around the supermarket in Marrickville Metro I thought of five efficient yet whimsical forms of shopping suicide when Spencer telephoned for no reason and said he was coming around. I put down the umbrella I was planning on opening inside my heart and started doing what I was supposed to be doing, helping Grizelda choose waffles.

In-supermarket whimsical suicide is not a unique phenomenon. I strongly suspect every second person picking out a package of pasta is secretly wondering whether they could stab themselves right through the eye and into the brain. Or perhaps if it is possible the stolen almond they are eating tastes not like almond because it is one but like cyanide because it is laced with it. That would be an accidental suicide I suppose, if you inadvertently ate a cyanide-almond in the fresh produce section of a supermarket.

Spencer appeared ten minutes after I did at The Peach. Grizelda made us deliciously repulsive hotdogs followed by an enormous communal plate of waffles with berries, ice cream and real chocolate melted into sauce. Spencer mentioned something about me needing to be a pebble, rubbed along in company, and not a solitary rock all jagged and alone. I guess that explains the supermarket umbrella-opening-in-heart idea.

Spencer and I did nothing much last night. We sat at the kitchen table and drew idly with coloured pencils, drank cider and schnapps and whiskey to use up the tiny bits left in bottles. We talked about nothing and everything and nothing again until three o'clock in the morning. I had chocolate smeared on my face the whole time. Spencer drank cider from tall bottles and preferred to use the lone lead pencil over all the other colours. I crosshatched colours into meaningless colour blobs surrounded by words like 'bonp', a word that sounds as well as any other.

If you thought there was a point to this post you would be right. It is in there, quite obviously floating around from the very first sentence but I'm not going to sum it up. I'm going back to just past the beginning, before the middle. Spencer came striding up the hallway in a long winter coat carrying two big bottles of cider and two identical copies of Kinky Friedman's autobiography. We've done that before, sat somewhere reading the same book at the same time. Everyone has a different way of being a pebble.

The real beginning was the day before. Friday night I sat at the kitchen table watching my housemates bake separate cakes simultaneously. I was drinking butterscotch schnapps out of a Moroccan tea glass, smoking cigarettes and uttering depressing asides to any baker who would listen. Leaning my elbows on a pile of Hemingway's borrowed from Marrickville library. The Hemingways were a result of an email from Abdullah.

You see narratives are interesting things. You can lay out first this, then that, then this is what I was thinking or what it might mean but all readers are just guessing really and I like it that way. I wouldn't want anyone to know just how much my friendship with Spencer or Abdullah or Grizelda really means. It would be like baking a cake using the pumping valves of my real heart then watching the knife slice through the iced and decorated thing. That would be a fine way to end the last story, no conclusion necessary.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Stupid problems are still problems

Sunlight is visible through windows. It looks warm. I suppose everything is going on out there like it always is but I'm not going out into the light. Not today.

I've been interviewed too many times, become confused by many be-suited versions of myself held up for inspection. There comes a point in every job interview where the interviewers say one thing that sparks a ripple of alarm. One point that makes it clear that I don't want to work there. Couldn't possibly stomach the day-to-day swallowing of that brand of shit and they know it. The atmosphere shifts subtly, my interview-mask stays firmly stapled but everybody in the room understands that I'm not the best person for the job.

This is the stupidest problem to have. Can it not simply be understood that I will not like it but that does not matter?

A small portion of two cents

Like most people I know I've been watching Go Back To Where You Came From on SBS. I have a tremendous problem with Raquel. Like Geoff Lemon said she's a 'bandsaw-voiced tracksuit mannequin whose casual racism and innate sense of privilege has made her the anti-matter star of the show'. Geoff raises some interesting points in his post but I'd like to depart from his reasoned and informed opinion and go my own way, just for a minute.

Raquel was crying because she was not able to bring herself to use the toilets in the refugee camp. I sympathise with her plight, as a woman who never mastered the art of squatting to wee without weeing on my shoes, down my legs or on my pushed down trousers I get why she was upset. What I don't understand is how she failed to understand that weeing in those circumstances might be upsetting for other people as well as for her. If there is a personal yet universal act it is surely the act of doing a wee. Everybody wees.

It seems to me there must be a malfunction with Raquel's humanity. I admire her sense of self, her sure as shit everyone else can get fucked attitude, but I don't understand how it hasn't been dented by her experiences. It seems to me that she has wound her sheltered suburban lifestyle around herself tighter than a flak jacket. 

I was waiting for her to arrive at a compassionate thought but I've given up on that now. I don't have a point, not yet. Unlike Raquel I'm trying as hard as I can to be compassionate, to attempt an understanding of her point of view and how she might have arrived there.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Public alphabet causes mild humiliation in shopping centre

Grizelda was standing next to the display shelf right near the front of the shop, which isn't very interesting until you learn the next part, the part where I tell you what she was saying. She held up a pink sparkly pencil and very clearly and loudly explained to me how to hold a pen. I attempted to emulate her but apparently I got it very wrong. She went on to give another demonstration before grabbing my fingers and making me practice writing letters all the while giving loud instructions and corrections.

You see Grizelda has recently discovered that I hold my pen 'incorrectly'. I think it all began when I asked her to correct my chopstick technique to minimise soup splashes on my white shirt. What makes it worse is that Spencer agrees with her. He also thinks I hold my pen incorrectly, which is how I wound up in Smiggle receiving a public lesson on writing letters of the alphabet then purchasing a triangular pen-grip holder to 'help' me. I don't think Grizelda would have run so publicly wild if she hadn't have had Spencer's support on the matter.

I can not even begin to describe the intense feeling of embarrassment I felt standing near the display shelf at right near the front of the shop while Grizelda waved around an over-sized pink sparkly pencil. I wanted to yell, 'I am only being docile about this because I am writing my manuscript by hand and it hurts. My hand hurts!'. But a quick scan of the sniggering twelve-year olds in the shop kept me quiet.

I don't know if the shop incident was merely a coincidence but today I began to type. Before today any effort made towards writing the damn thing on the computer was thwarted by an insistent inner voice that said, 'you must first write this by hand'. Today the voice was absent so I went digital and began the work of typing it all out. It is depressing how reams of handwritten pages shrink down when they are typed out,  like mushrooms in a hot pan. I never cook enough mushrooms but fortunately the manuscript is not finished. I have no idea how the whole thing goes which is almost the loveliest part. There aren't too many things left where I get to discover something brand new every step of the way. Don't vomit yet, I'm not turning into Anne of Green Gables I'm just saying that not all art feels bad to birth. That part of it, the pain part, is at least partially a myth. If it didn't feel good, apart from the unexpected public alphabet humiliations and the odd day of horrifying slow-progress torture, I'm quite sure we wouldn't all be doing it.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The last time I read this it was compulsory to pit my mind against it

This time part of it rose up as if in a dream and I longed for nothing more than to turn around, run back to the harbour, witness it for myself.

An excerpt from Five Bells by Kenneth Slessor.

'Deep and dissolving verticals of light
Ferry the falls of moonshine down. Five bells
Coldly rung out in a machine's voice. Night and water
Pour to one rip of darkness, the Harbour floats
In the air, the Cross hangs upside-down in water.'

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The URL broke!

How in the hell can a URL break? Bastards. Anyway the correct one is now http://tinyurl.com/3rk4tkn (you know I'm still talking about the crowdfunding for PAN right?).

Friday, 10 June 2011

Maybe in advance but maybe not

It is possible that I may become slightly annoying during this crowdfunding campaign so I'm going to apologise now. Sorry.... also here is a link.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Crowdfunding for PAN #2

Crowdfunding is nifty, particularly when we, me and the PAN team, are using it to help us make the last little bit to print issue #2. I don't usually ask people for money, it makes me feel squirmy, but this time I'm holding out my hopeful open hands. 

For just $15 you score a copy of PAN issue #2 and I score enough money to pay the printers. Please take a moment to check out our crowdfunding page on Pozible.

The way this works is simple, all money pledged is held in a special fund until the target is reached, once the target is reached the fund is transferred to PAN. If we don’t reach our target you will receive a full refund. There are options to pay by credit card or PayPal. You will need to either signup or use your Facebook login but that only takes a second.

So what do you get for your money? A quality magazine for $15 for starters but we’re offering a few different levels of support. Please take a moment to have a look at what we’re offering. Our crowdfunding campaign opens tomorrow on the 10th of June.

Oh and if you wouldn't mind spreading the word I'd be very grateful...
For media and publicity enquiries, please contact:
Rebecca Lee Williams, Publicist, PAN magazine | e: rebecca@panmagazine.com

Clockwork rising

I haven't stopped paying attention. Night sounds still crowd my ancient windows while the cat bolts under the blankets on top of my bed. She'll burrow and curl herself into a dear little bat-eared knot. Wait out the worst of the overnight cold with her measured breaths and unconscious whirrings. She'll emerge at a predetermined signal, known only to cats, step delicately across my shoulders and face. Paw to nose, paw to eye, paw to hair.

I might sleep through bat-eared whirrings and the hallway pulling cold breaths under doorways until well past first light. I may sit all night bent as a bachelor over hand-written piles of nothing or like last night I might lean back upon pillows and read through the hours of other people's words.

Some people ask me if I would be so kind as to read what they have written and tell them what I think. This happens more frequently than it used to, I suspect it has something to do with being the editor of a magazine. I always used to say no, some writers are horrifyingly precious, won't even take a modicum of measured feedback given gently, with sugar, in a positive light. Witnessing floods of tears followed by defensive justifications is not my idea of a good afternoon. Of course there are always people I will read for, writers who have the good grace to ask for an opinion only when they genuinely want one.

I was sent some writing the other day, parts of a journal not yet worked up into something bigger. He would like to know my opinion on whether or not they are worth the working. I debated whether or not to say yes. Not because he is precious or a terrible writer but because one of the great joys of my existence is reading other people's journals or diaries or scrawlings, notes, jottings, ideas, brain blurts. Anything that was written just for them. I took a moment to balance my desires. It seemed possible that if I said yes it would be to satisfy my own urge as a favour to myself and not to him.

It is not the first time he has sent me something to read, he is someone who knows what they are doing and would not send through pages without thinking it through first, so I said yes and I'm glad that I did.

There is nothing more magnificent than a writer with an open throttle, when thought and language combine in lightning fast unconscious combinations. All the good bare bones are there on those pages, whole paragraphs of flowing prose shot through with real and jagged ideas still hot and bloody. I adore this stage of other people's work. Every word is a footstep further into the usually guarded mind, sentences are raw and intentions unclear. I feel like a scientist with a microscope wondering at new puzzles of the universe. It is the very best reason for staying up late, a silent joyful worship for the absence of a clockwork rising.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


In things. Bubbles in things like chocolate, baths, lotion, water. I suspect there is a bit too much of that going on at the moment. Less bubbles, that's what we need.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Crunch time

Issue #2 of PAN is finally, finally, finally, at crunch time. I can't remember any project being quite this difficult to bring to fruition, except perhaps the grand project of staying alive, or law school but I'm not sure that counts as a project. Law school was more like an error of judgment that gathered momentum then gripped me in its yellow teeth and wouldn't put me down until I used every last ounce of will to finish the damn thing and walk away holding nothing but a cardboard folder, much like my relationships with men, only with less sex and more highlighting sentences in large books.

I'm about to embark on a large-scale experiment, the likes of which I have not before What the fuck was that? Juvenile cockroach ON MY DESK abandon ship this is an emergency.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Backwards/forwards, its all a direction

Everyone is travelling backwards, spending their days writing piles of words about the past, or photographing the fading dying corners, digging their own little nostalgia holes to sit in. I love reading what they write, or seeing what they exhibit but I'm wondering what's going on. Is it that time already where me and my contemporaries turn to look over our shoulders and see a vast highway of rich things already attempted, experienced or felled by? Surely we have a way to go yet. This can't already be the point at which we fold up like dying spiders and take permanently to the memory pit. I'm still walking around realising things for the first time. I'm still learning the names of the flowers on my street and the birds in my trees. I only just learnt how to buy a dress and I'm trying just as hard as I can to get a media pass for my first ever Dolly Parton show. Should I be spending more time sitting still and remembering?

A cursory and incomplete clickable list of beautiful memory pits that I thought of in under two seconds:
Biblioburbia by Vanessa Berry
Dress, Memory by Lorelei Vashti
Parramatta Rd by Lyndal Irons

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Another forgetting gets remembered

I've been ushered down the horrifying path of remembering that I started a project and then forgot all about it. Vanessa Berry has started a new project blog called Biblioburbia, like all of Vanessa's writings is definitely worth reading, but it is also the cause of my shameful remembrance. Best to just have a read of Vanessa's project while I go about trying to remember where I was up to with mine...

Roger Daltrey is a centaur!

No further words required.