Monday, 31 October 2011

Turner vs Turner

Painting by Mick Turner
I explained that it was a Turner. He said "Turner! That's impossible, there's no way you could possibly own a Turner. I mean how did you even get it?"

I told him how I bought it, from a fundraising art sale for PAN magazine. He insisted that was ridiculous, that no one would ever donate a Turner to an independent literary magazine run by a bunch of drunken failed intellectuals. It was at this point that three things became clear to me, the first that the man was a prat, the second that he needed to be ejected from my bedroom as soon as possible and the third that he had no idea who Mick Turner is.

What kind of a man doesn't know there's more than one Turner and how to tell the difference between them?

Bad photo, taken by me, without a flash, it looks better in real life, come over and I'll show you.

Lemon Gold

Geoff Lemon has dropped another one, this time it's about Qantas.

"Of course, those of a certain view will always find a way to blame unions. The unions faked the moon landings. The unions gave me herpes. Union dingoes took my baby. The unions are the reason why my kids hate me and my wife never quite looks me in the eye anymore." - Click here to read the rest on Heathen Scripture

Sunday, 30 October 2011

About some useless information

My parents have provided me with a large amount of excellent advice over the years, such as instituting a rotating system of shoes and not blowing off the tops of my thumbs with explosives in the garage but I think there was something crucial they forgot to impart about courage.

Every day there is an opportunity to be brave and a chance to shrink back into lesser deeds and slide sheepishly into the herd. Every day I require courage to forge a path forwards. There is no such thing as rising in the morning and finding a ready-made life. This is something crucial my parents forgot to impart about living, courage is a verb.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Between dreams

Caught somewhere between the bohemian and the conservative, the Baby Boomers and those fucking little pests we call Gen Y, there seems to be an awful lot of freedom and an equal mix of joy and despair.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Tired of not being able to shoot people in the head? Me too

You know those days when you need, and I mean really need, to white the world out and have time, all of it, to concentrate and write? Every day is one of those days for me. But I can't manage to do it. There's always work to be done, or looked for, applications to write, money to worry about and dishes to wash. I'm tired of living like this. Exhausted beyond reasonable human capacity is more apt, which is why I placed an ad in Gumtree for a patron earlier this evening.

So far only one response, and it was a man who simply said, "That was well written". Well 'forfunandbeyond' you can suck my imaginary cock. I don't have time to sit down and write some ridiculous essay begging for money. I'm too busy working on my magazine, and on my manuscript, organising all my notes and research and applying for fucked up jobs so I can pay my rent and on top of that dealing with a housemate (not Grizelda) who has preposterously decided to only pay a percentage of the electricity bill based on some kind of ratio of how many hours she spends in the house.

You should come over, I'll introduce you to her, you can sit down together and work out how to prepare a well-written proposal to me to pay rent based on the size of her arse and how many cubic centimetres of air it displaces when she walks down the hallway, or a letter to the resident cockroaches of the Inner West advising them that because she spends less time in the neighbourhood she should spot a percentage less cockroaches in gutters. Actually don't come over, go have a drink at The Ivy and drown in the rooftop pool. I'll be sure to make time to write a eulogy that outlines my precise percentage of giving a fuck.

Don't go out tonight

That old problem again. Walking home drunk and it's late and I'm tired and I'm smoking someone else's cigarettes and what a good time it was and then I 'm lost and then I'm home and then the keys and the door and then that's all of it finished and gone. Just nothing but me in an empty house where it is dark and an obligation for being quiet and not screaming up and down the hallway for just one more thing, just anything, something, someone to happen but all is untying shoelaces and remembering teeth and vowing about morning showers and nothing ever happens but the ordinary slow winding towards morning and one more day rattling up and down the hallway.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Send her victorious, happy and glorious or an earnest and boring first draft, publicly thinking about why I love the Queen

I love the Queen. I love her hats with matching bag, shoes and gloves. I love her gin-soaked downtime and the way she handles a horse. I keep a picture of her cantering across a field with a cigarette in one hand and a hip flask sticking out of her jacket pocket. It's how I spent the best years of my adolescence, wild and galloping anywhere I could.

Her life is public and she has been steadfast and dignified. For sixty years she has been the Queen, almost twice my lifetime so far, and not once has she failed to perform her duty. This morning I failed to dress and eat breakfast before midday because I was too interested in reading a novel, though I had many duties to perform.

I love the solid mumsiness of her. The kindly wave and stern gaze. The way she is so very clearly The Captain in every public conversation she has. Not once has she been accidentally offensive, uninformed or inappropriate. The woman deserves a medal for an endurance performance in public politeness lasting longer than anyone thought possible. Her private thoughts must be immense. They are a genuine mystery.

A letter to Spencer in Leipzig, Germany

Dear Spencer,

There's been a Bensplosion round these parts since you've been gone. I'm not talking just one Ben but many. There are many Bens. I have spent time with at least one Ben a day for the last week. In my head I refer to them by their surnames so as not to become confused, like I do with Hunter, and Wilson, and Worrad. I suppose you've being seeing a lot of those folk lately, say hi to them for me.

Gemma has been texting me words like 'Benglorious, Benerific and Benutopia'. She said I have Bens on a revolving schedule but it's entirely unintentional.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Diesel not truckers and a long-winded unrelated introduction to the promised Safe As Houses post

Times, they are a blurrin'. A weekend soaked through to the bone with exhaustion and mix'n'match pile of friends. The whole thing finished with a kebab eaten sitting on a plastic chair on Parramatta Rd with Mr X while he told me about his father and the war and the traffic tucked away for the night.

Before the kebab and the talk of war I made an adventure to the casino. Walking down the long guts of the place with Miles Davis on my mp3 player and those old brown lace-up shoes on my feet I looked around the lit calamity of the joint and the frocked up, clean-shirted crowd and wondered just what it in the fuck I was doing. Theoretically I went to write about the absurd 'Rock Lily' venue. Mr X's band has a residency there and the idea intrigued me. He took to the stage and I sat at a long empty table.

Diesel and his bass player asked if they could join me, but I didn't know who they were until they got up later to play. I'm not in the habit of recognising people I know let alone strangers. I made notes, got drunk on free beer handed to me again and again by Mr X and his band's rider. I rambled down a set of back stairs out into the night after an hour of non-stop Diesel. I was trying to shake off the impression that there's something very wrong with the world.

Back in the Inner West under roadside electric lights I gratefully devoured a kebab and conversation. They shut off the lights after a while so I carried home two borrowed books to read and a whole new set of memories.

Better memories than the ones I'm talking about in my houses project over here.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Big happy from small sighting

Every time I see PAN magazine in a shop,
or hear someone talking about it,
or even just catch a glimpse of a stranger
with a PANmagbag slung casually over a shoulder,
I feel undeniably happy for at least one whole second.

That is a long time to be undeniably happy.
For me.
A very long time indeed.

Usually happiness is at least partially deniable.
Or only partial itself.
Sometimes it is just a hint of what it should or could be
or just smells a vaguely familiar, like artificial fruit flavour.

PAN on Facbook
PAN website
Places you can buy PAN magazine (er, sorry couldn't stop myself)

Monday, 10 October 2011


I keep forgetting about my project of remembering. This week I vow to not only remember but take action. This week I will visit Catherine Street in Lilyfield, try not to alarm the current residents while I sit outside with my notebook and pen. This week I will remember.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Breaking up is hard to do or a magazine is not a person stupid

I was sitting next to PAN's excellent poetry editor, and good friend, Tim Sinclair when I tipped from relief into sorrow. I told him and he understood. You see Tim is a writer, a poet, a good one. He has lived that moment over and over again.

Last Wednesday night issue #2 of PAN magazine launched. People are telling me they had a good time at the party. I'm glad they did because I didn't. I hated most of it.* You can see how I can't even write a sentence with any sense of flow about this. Not even one. They are short and choppy and make hard little bitter feelings in my chest. I hated the anxiety, the anticipation, the organisation and most of all I hated the moment when I tipped from relief straight into sorrow.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

A letter to Spencer in North-West France (you told them you'd be back)

Dear Spencer,

You know how pineapple is the king of all fruit? Well I mentioned that last night, in a conversation about artificial fruit scents whilst smelling a scratch'n'sniff sticker. Nobody understood what I meant. The sticker-giving woman thought I meant pineapple was my favourite fruit, Mr X was just puzzled but he leant over a little and said "I like pineapple, it's a good fruit." but quietly, like you might say to a child who got something wrong by mistake. He only said anything at all because he is a kind interlocutor. He is kind in a lot of ways. Today he came to The Peach and drove me and some boxes of magazines to a shop so I wouldn't have to carry them, but then he said he had to do laundry and went home. So you can see it was one of those real kindnesses and not the fake kind, which is actually a little disappointing.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


The more I think about it the more monumental it seems. With one simple act my brother has physically redefined my sense of family. I never thought anything of marriage or weddings. Never pondered what the significance of what one in my immediate family might be, until last night. My brother telephoned to tell me he asked his girlfriend to marry him. I shouted a long stream of joyful words for some minutes before uttering the hushed question, "She said yes, didn't she?"

For me it began again with Delia Falconer's book "Sydney", though I have always felt it pushing

I can feel it gathering, we, the writers of Sydney have found our inward eyes leaching out into our geography and now it is coming. The next age of writing our existence, here.