Monday, 25 July 2011

We did it!

Crowdfunding goal achieved!

 This means we can print issue #2 of PAN magazine, and I am grateful. Crowdfunding felt like a huge risk, if we failed then the issue was in serious peril.

Thank you everyone who donated by pre-ordering their issue of PAN on Pozible. There is much dancing at PAN HQ this morning.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

I stopped the rain

Hello my blog, this is Dale speaking. I've nothing much to say to you, just hello my blog.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Homeless accidental toothbrush self-murder with shit in pants and train full of kicking horses

I have been asked to do something frightening. I said no but they said they weren't taking no for an answer.  So here I am, sitting at my desk working out how to do the frightening thing. I asked The Peachettes and Spencer if I should do the thing and all of them, straight away, right at my face, said 'YES! Overcome your fear. It will be awesome'.

Awesome.

I want to know why in the fuck doing something you are afraid of doing is awesome. Here is a list of other things I am afraid of:
A giant poisonous spider dropping into my open mouth
Throwing myself under a speeding train
Being kicked in the head by a large horse
Shitting my pants
Freezing to death
Accidentally killing myself with a toothbrush
Being homeless

Now tell me, where is the sense in facing any of those fears? If I was a homeless person with shit in my pants, a spider in my mouth and lying cut in half underneath a train I am pretty sure that would not be awesome.

I am unclear as to why a person should immediately run out and do something they are afraid of doing. I understand if the fear is making an unhealthy impact on life, such as social phobias or fear of eating vegetables that it is best addressed head on but this does not fall anywhere near the same suburb as vegetables.

Now it's 11:17am and I have spent one and a half hours sitting at my desk being frightened of working out how to do the frightening thing. I predict this is going to be a hard week.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Geoff Lemon This Should Not Be Your 15 Minutes

Everyone is talking about Geoff Lemon's Carbon Tax article, and I mean everyone. Click that link back there and have a read if you haven't read it yet (been under a rock?).  It's a fine piece of Lemonian writing but my point, and I do have one, is that it is not the first fine thing he has written.

I've been reading Lemon written things for years now, ever since I first saw him come down the outside stairs at The Hive holding a bottle of gin and a chicken sandwich. There was a group of us, all writers, sitting under the stars drinking and playing Balderdash like our lives depended on it.

I have followed Lemon's writings, corresponded with him via electronic mail, purchased his poetry, commissioned him to write for PAN, narrowly avoided arrest with him in public park and even put him up in The Peach Library for a couple of days.

The rest of my point is this. Geoff Lemon is a fine writer and I understand why everyone has gone ape shit over his carbon tax article, it has been on everybody's mind, but I hope this isn't Lemon's 15 minutes of fame because he's better than that. He's been writing well for years and he's getting better all the time. Writers, like Geoff Lemon, deserve a respected place in our society that lasts longer than 15 minutes.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Touched

Last night my friend said he touched Jon Spencer's inner thigh, when he was onstage. I thought about my tall bearded friend touching a stranger's inner thigh, without permission, in public. Spencer piped up and said Jon Spencer's sweat fell all over him once, after a show, as he walked by and grasped Spencer's hand. Yet another friend sighed longingly at the memory of just listening to him play.

What a strange thing it must be to be desired like that, by everyone from would-be lovers to colleagues of the stage. I wonder if he remembers the feel of all those hands. People straining upwards just to brush the side of a leg or if he is one of those people who descend into a state of otherworldly hyper-focus as the music clangs right through his body in a whirl of muscle memory, chords and rhythms.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The ideal height of a front fence is the same as the height of a good pony

The urge to walk always comes as the sun sinks. I used to walk south-west, down the short hill towards the tall footbridge where a person can stand and think with a proper horizon, one that curves with the world and doesn't end with a building. Lately though the urge to walk comes accompanied by an urge to skim near the homes of friends. Just glide by the entrance to their street or glance up at a window and see a warm glow behind curtains.

I thought it was enough to navigate around just knowing where friends will come back to at the end of each long day but I'm not sure now. Last night I swept under the grim railway line, hollow train sounds, flaking posters and a dankness not justified by the climate push me out the other side, fast. I turn up beside the railway track and follow the cyclone fence along its little journey guarding concrete sleepers bolted into beds of sharp grey rocks and the place where I imagined I once saw a severed finger.

I look hard at the street sign for Baltic St, named I guess for my ancestors. I looked hard at the dinner party guests on the weekend too, no salt from the Baltic detectable in their outlook, only the high sweep of a cheekbone or curve of a nostril would give you any idea at all.

Halfway up the slow hill Robert's Eyrie comes into view. Crazy cube of a building. I can just make out the vase full of knitting needles by the window. I only know what it is because I have a vase like that, on a shelf, full of drum sticks. From a distance they make the same pointed shapes, fat and flowerless stems.

Cutting through the meagre grounds of the old church I see signs everywhere, 'please don't steal our plants'. I wonder who would want to, desperate things hanging on to chlorophyll for dear life. I turn down alleys as it pleases me, heading North towards Spencer's strange house with its unexpected hallways and everywhere bathtubs and purple ceilings.

I come out suddenly on Probert St which sweeps a clear path downhill and back up again. Open and straight like a long wound cut by a scythe. Winter feels almost gone this night. The Frangipanis already ludicrously sprouting leaves from their bulbous ends, like trees drawn in crayon.

Crossing a thin arterial road I make a turn towards Abdullah's. His street offers me the opportunity of dodging the whip of tree branches before opening out onto flat industrial ground where his urban fortress sits in its unlikely locale. If I hadn't been politely ushered through the blank metal door in the flat brick wall I would never have imagined what lies hidden behind. Abdullah with his records and guitars and coffee machine that makes coffee the same way you get blood from a stone.

Finally I come to the banks of the loud metal river they named Parramatta Rd. Wishing as always that I could make this journey on a horse. Somewhere in my youth I became so accustomed to travelling on four legs that I exchanged my rhythm for their own. Every step missing the brother echo of a foot that doesn't exist.

I'm not sure now if navigating around where they come back to is what I'm really doing. If I could I would walk through the pulse of their words and songs. Walk slowly and breathe in something of their work as the words and rhythms float silently down amongst the gutters and fallen leaves.  I'm walking through ideas to make myself contemporary, with them, weaving my feet through something bigger than my own words.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Extended Slammas drink magnums of red wine

He ran around the table, behind the seated guests, spoon feeding everyone creme brulee at high speed, whether they wanted it or not. Periodically he'd yell at the giant flatscreen television showing silent football in the corner or shout, 'Vegas!' for no apparent reason at all. The guests, slumped a little drunkenly in their chairs, turned the conversation inwards and talked in insular circles that made no sense to me at all. They accepted the mouthfuls of dessert blindly, like birds.

He strutted more than walked in the way men in their 40's do. His face lined but not yet beginning to crumble. More physically strong than at any other point in his life. His wife sporting a bleached-blonde beehive converted into a ponytail over a spray-tanned body jittering inside a short dress and high boots. The angle of his chin gave you no doubt that if you stepped outside his invisible and unclear lines of behaviour he'd take your fucking head off then laugh about it while he clapped you on the back.

The house itself was some kind of poor 70's brick contraption renovated and extended beyond recognition. The outside 'smoking room' was cedar-lined, marble-floored and had a touch screen for music and a television bigger than the ocean. He said, 'I can watch television from any angle in the house. I have screens everywhere, those doors there, those ones, they cost twelve thousand dollars, see that tennis ball it cost eight thousand. Vegas!'.

He told me he wakes at 2:30am, 'just fucking pumped! Ready to go to work!'. But he restrains himself and only rises at 5, works til after sunset, is in bed by 8. Except for when he 'parties' which he does in a style I'm unaccustomed to.

Close to the marble 'smoking room' is a bar, a fully-stocked bar, all the bottles magnums, with two fridges of beer, a dishwasher, television, plumbed-in coffee machine and overhead racks of glasses. The wine glasses were bigger than boats. Magnums of red wine appeared at the table with astonishing regularity. Before dinner was served my face went numb and the world a little swirly.

He and his wife are happy. They are handsome, their children are handsome, they are rich. They have everything they want. They walk through the world like it's a football tour invented for their pleasure. They  scream out non-sensical utterances at random intervals for the sheer joy at being alive. I'm not certain but I suspect I had a terrible time.

My brother and I walked through the ludicrously large front door and out into a suburban cul-de-sac. The yard we were standing in was watered, trimmed and groomed a uniform deep green but across the road, dead lawns, family cars, red bricks and ordinary street lights. The house we walked out of had all the trimmings of a 7 star hotel in Dubai but five metres away South-Western Sydney lay undisturbed.

My brother drove me home. We sat in stunned silence for most of the journey unable to process what we had just experienced. I said, 'I'm not sure I understand why they are so blindly, wildly happy'. My brother said, 'You are too much of a suicidal Russian novellist to truly understand how ignorance and money can equal bliss'.