Thursday, 29 March 2012

I am a sucklord contd

Walking down the street I ran into this guy. I was dreaming and walking awkwardly slow. My shoes had taken their floral motif seriously and wrapped invisible tendrils underfoot. I saw him out of the corner of my eye but dismissed it as preposterous. That morning, rummaging around in my bedroom I fished out a ring I haven't worn since that night. The ring is ridiculous, a caricature of a ring, skull-shaped and bulbous. Heavy enough to drag my knuckles down and cause mysterious travelling aches across all fingers. I couldn't remember when I wore it last until I saw that man out of the corner of my eye.

I thought he was a phantasm, a holographic memory projected by end-of-day fatigue and wondered why I was suddenly thinking of him. But he smiled and walked right up to me. I tried not to take a step backwards. He was friendly and seemed open but then he detected my awkwardness. He said "You nearly didn't recognise me. I apologised, said I was elsewhere and waved one arm vaguely in the air. He said "Distracted" and I nodded because that was close enough.  He looked at me earnestly and told me I looked humble just walking down the street.

Humble. How does he think I ordinarily travel? I thought immediately of gold-plated helicopters and a barouche boxes. I didn't notice he was still talking so I asked him how he has been, at the exact same time he asked me. We continued to stand face to face on Enmore Rd and ask each other the same questions at the same time while the traffic smoked past and people swarmed around us and the light went yellow and started to fade.

He was holding a camera, said he was working, taking photos of his most recent art. He kept talking but I was shrinking and my ears starting ringing and then he said farewell and swaggered away. He was older than I remember, his dark hair now salt and pepper, his crows feet more pronounced. I waited for him to diminish but he grew taller as he walked away.

I split entirely in two. Both observing and experiencing my reaction as I blathered around inside the adjacent supermarket buying toothpaste and panadol and a kind of chocolate I do not like. I kept thinking I don't need these things but I gathered random objects into my arms and lapped the tiny two aisle shop again and again. I was hyperbolic on all trajectories and run through with fifteen full-force emotions.

It seemed stupid, even at the time, to be experiencing anything at all at such a small encounter where nothing harmful was said or done. The effect faded as I cooked and ordinary tasks came and went under my unconscious hands but I took the ring off and threw it in a drawer underneath a tumble of half used candles, broken wallets and a box of drawing inks, just in case.


I should be one of those tortured writers sitting at my desk groaning and swearing at the noise coming through the floor. My ears covered with impromptu muffs like scarves wound around my head or tissues stuffed in hard. There should be a montage of me working despite the jackhammer and concrete saw at work underneath The Peach.

But I'm not. I've been smiling fondly at the noise, mildly regretting not attempting to work but mostly reading the newspaper in bed with a cup of coffee on hand.

I almost like the noise, the knowledge of underground excavation wheeling out the structure beneath my feet one barrow at a time. I like the idea of living in a house floating above a dig. I feel sure that at any moment something important will be discovered about my life.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Uphill battles can be won quite easily if you tip the world over a little

I really thought Spencer would demand some kind of Spencer Awesome Test but he didn't. Shows what I know. He did suggest some kind of negative test, a sort of unawesome test but I'll leave that kind of thing for the haters who hate. Everyone needs a hobby. 

Today was one of those stupid days where facts and tasks roller coaster around I point at them and laugh. There'll be time enough tomorrow to take the ride and do the screaming but for now I'm pondering out some early plans for something new. One of those side projects to a main project, like Tim Sinclair's
Re: Reading the Dictionary. In my fake interview with Tim I discovered that this remarkable project first came about as a distraction, a little project done on the side of a big one. Today it struck just how grand of an idea that is.

Writing a whole novel is sometimes boring, often trying and takes a long fucking time. Unless you are Ian Fleming who once wrote an entire James Bond novel in three weeks. It is a shame I'm not writing about spies, or in the 1950's when it was more acceptable to make loud typing noises on typewriters and fill entire houses with second-hand smoke. But back to the part where it takes a really long time. It takes a really long time and long deliberate hours of sustained effort and right now I'm finding this more exhausting than anything else, like the world has tilted and every direction is now uphill. But fuck that for a way of being, I'm going to take on a smaller project as well. One with a short deadline. A project that can be commenced and completed inside of a month. If that doesn't level out the tipping a little then fuck this I'm buying skis.

My new distraction project has the tentative working title of Remembering The Horse. It will be variable in content, crammed with the overly-sentimental, starkness, spareness and good raw bones. It will be what any anguished moments in April turn into. And then it will be an ebook. And then it will be done.

To help things along a little I'm going ghost protocol for all of April. This will be a combination of minimal electronic communication and blogging, pots of tea, a brand new notebook and possibly pen, and long stupid dresses worn inside the house. I might even be looking forward to it.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Everywhere man or The Adam Lewis Awesome Test

Adam Lewis is a young man who is everywhere that is good or interesting or brave or new. He might even be the young man who booked, organised or curated it. For a while now I've been thinking of Adam Lewis as a human everywhere dog. He seems to be everywhere, all the time, all at once. Unless he is secretly identical triplets (could happen) or can travel through time (could happen) or is actually a personal delusional of mine and friends are just being nice and pretending he exists (could happen).

Yesterday I was sitting peaceably in a pub with some friends when Adam Lewis walked in. Straight away I knew that meant I was about to accidentally have a good time because a busy man like Adam doesn't just show up in a pub for no reason.

After I had an accidentally excellent time I started thinking about deciding whether or not I really liked it or if   the fact that I was covered in paint pigments, and a bit high and three beers in, were unduly influencing my decision towards the positive. At first it was kind of hard to tell but then I glanced over at Adam, who waved cheerily, and I had an idea.

Adam Lewis likes things that are awesome. He is a good judge of what is awesome because he sees everything all the time all at once. Once you see everything all the time all at once you can pick something shit a mile away. Here is an example of something that was shit.

Deciding whether something is good, or if I like it, is boring now that I have hung up my reviewing pen. One horrible side effect of being an ex-reviewer is automatically adding complicated layers of questions and filters on top of instinct before making a proclamation. The long deciding process bores me so I have invented something amazing. I give you The Adam Lewis Awesome Test for working whether or not something is good.

The Adam Lewis Awesome Test

1. Is Adam Lewis here? If yes continue to question two, if no then GO HOME RIGHT NOW because you are somewhere BAD.

2. Is Adam Lewis smiling and nodding his head in a joyful and benevolent way? If yes stay where you are and pay attention to what Adam Lewis is looking at. If no continue to next question.

3. Is it a break between bands or performers or similar? If yes get a drink or talk to friends or Adam Lewis or both and proceed to question four. If no GO HOME CAUSE IF ADAM HATES IT YOU SHOULD TOO, if it is not something with performances proceed to question four.

4. Ask Adam Lewis if he thinks it is awesome. Listen to his answer.If he thinks it is awesome then it is AWESOME, if he does not think it awesome then it SUX AND YOU SHOULD GO HOME RIGHT NOW AND HAVE A NICE CUP OF TEA AND A LITTLE SIT DOWN.

See how much easier my whole life is now?

PS. Hate mail bores the fuck out of me so in case you are confused, or from Finland, let this be your 'takeaway', I like Adam Lewis and think he is pretty great and one day, if he keeps this up, he will be the Captain of Sydney or similar because he is a talented young man with great instincts and popular social graces. I also like his glasses.

PPS. Adam Lewis - the bio by Dale Slamma:
Radiant on FBI
Those millions of gigs he organises
That other thing
Oh and his day job
And all those tweets and facebooks
might be best to ask Adam Lewis for his more official bio.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Today I will mostly be wishing 'ghost protocol' was an actual thing and not, as it turns out, the name of a film.

In my head going 'ghost protocol' means wearing a long wispy sort of greyish dress and having a teapot full of tea and sugar cubes instead of no sugar at all. There should be mist with a little fine rain and a definite chill in the air but not so cold the windows are all closed. The curtains breathe in and out and the record player is on low in the next room, something timeless winding slowly through song. There are no digital interruptions and the front gate is locked, maybe the last light of the day is glowing through the heavy heads of full roses in the garden. It should mean solitude and freedom to think and wander through rooms. That's what it should mean.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

But now am

I was lost. In my own unfinished manuscript and it was fucking awful. More crying than was strictly necessary forced me into an unusual manoeuvre. I sat down with one piece of paper and a pen and asked myself one question. What is the story of this novel? One hour and one sentence later and there are no more tears, no more frustrated screaming at the walls and halls of The Peach.

It seems so simple. Why did it take me three quarters of a day, in an emotional state closer to crazy than I care to admit, to figure out all I had to do was ask myself one little question? I must be a lot stupider than I thought I was. Either that or I truly am some kind of sucklord.

In other news I have thought of a project for April. No title yet but it involves leather straps and steaming breath before dawn.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The important thing about today

Is precisely nothing. Not one thing. Another dull day in Slammatown. Might be time to elect a new Captain or maybe the problem isn't me but everyone else. All I want is to see the face of some god or other, I don't mind which, trace elements of the transcendental. It's like the problem with toast, once you put butter on it everything is transformed from the bearable to the divine. That's all I want, every day, just one thing transformed.

Monday, 19 March 2012


So of course I was hoping there would be a minor acceleration through time and she would bear a hybrid zombie child just loaded with antibodies and everyone would be saved all over again by the child doomed to suffer and die. And my hope was sterile and regurgitated. Christ.

New resolution

Intermittently semi-intellectual existential loneliness.


Without joy, mild merriment sure but no joy no redemption. I hate those kinds of weekends where newspapers keep time and coffee making keeps time and the socks just stay wherever you put them and people come and go and open their pipes and pour words out. I might watch them make puddles on the ground and walk around wishing for some other course of action or maybe I'll pour a puddle of my own half-hoping somebody steps in it and feels a cold rush in one foot, maybe looks up or around or behind or down or asks "What is this doing here?".

Obviously I am a sucklord

I've been spending a fair amount of time with a friend lately and mostly it is quite enjoyable but this weekend it dawned on me that he might have got me all wrong. It feels like he has decided which boxes I tick on a list, writer, not stupid, careless with fashion, rebellious in some ways, good listener, but that is all.

It feels like a major failure of communication on my part. How can it be that someone I spend so much time with doesn't know who I am?  I know quite a few things about him, intimate things, broad things, daily habit things, but this knowledge is not reciprocated because he never asks and I don't offer. Ordinarily I am a font of information, about myself, but with him I don't ever feel the urge to tell, only the urge to listen and observe.

On reflection the failure feels more fundamental than just a lapse in communication. It feels like I let myself become unimportant in his presence, overwhelmed by the oddness of wanting to listen and listen and not speak in return. Obviously I am some kind of sucklord.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Horrible horrible horrible

My pancreas, or similar organ located in middle of self, feels odd due to beer or similar. It seems clear, to me right now, that I am drunk and this is probably the main reason for feeling like shit. The other contenders in the "reasons for feeling like shit contest" are as follows:

No. Not going to make list of reasons, that is shit idea. Better idea take shoes off.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A new kind of sponge

I can't stop listening. From the moment I leave the house in the morning until I come home in the afternoon, and sometimes again after that in the evening. It's not music. I've gone off music. These are words. Podcasts and audiobooks. Interviews and recordings of long dead poets, children's books, even American radio programs, anything I can get my hands on.

I think I've become a new kind of sponge. I haven't been this excited about anything since I learned to read my own bedtime story, all by myself, and spent the next ten years reading every book* in the house, even the dictionaries. I remember my mother looking horrified when she came in to tell me to turn off the light and there I was, propped up in bed, reading my Junior Macquarie Dictionary like it was a story. She asked me what I was doing and I replied "reading the dictionary". She left it at that and didn't mention it again until years later, when she used it as an example of my excessive reading habits. I think this is a good example of my mother's storytelling habits. Maybe I'll make a podcast about it...

*It might have taken longer to read all the books in the house, there were so many and new ones kept appearing all the time.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sometimes it's hard to tell if I'm lying or if isolating only one corner of a thought gives a solidly incorrect impression

There is an elderly couple I greet on the street from time to time. I wave or nod or say hello as I walk by them because they are always stationary. She sits in an old plastic chair and he either stands near her or props himself against a tree or a fence or a building. I see them in the same general area but not usually in precisely the same place. I have never seen them walking either to or from their spot. They vary their placement, either sun or shade, depending on the weather.

They speak with thick accents and appear shrivelled and worn like elderly like The Potato Eaters but with less hats. This afternoon on the way home from work the woman asked me a question, she has never done this before. Our conversation was small and stilted but it has left me thinking. Here's the conversation as I remember it:
Woman: Work?
DS: Yes, I am coming home now.
Woman: Work?
DS: Yes. Work.
Woman: Factory?
DS: No. University.
Woman: Good job.

I waved farewell and kept on walking. Factory? I don't know anyone that works in a factory. I don't even know where the nearest factory would be. Alexandria? Mascot? Somewhere out West a little? The first thing I think of when someone says factory is warehouse apartment, or party, or sad, dark and looming space with holes in the roof and rain leaking in. I don't think 'work'.

I wonder what she thinks I do at the university? Maybe she thinks I am a secretary, that I have a big wooden desk and a typewriter. I hope that is what she thinks I do. She would never have guessed my actual job.*

I was friendly to the woman as she spoke with me, smiled at her, genuinely wished her a pleasant afternoon soaking up the sun but I still felt a little guilty as I walked away. I felt like my life should have rushed into sharp focus and perspective, that I should have immediately felt some stark difference between what might have been her working life in a factory and mine which has exactly nothing to do with factories, but I didn't. I felt nothing of the sort, nothing but mildly interrupted because I had to fish out my phone and rewind the podcast I was listening to so I didn't miss anything. But then fresh guilt emerged at my lack of perspective and the huge black hole where I should have been thinking about the woman's life instead of my own.

This sense of guilt has persisted, through the end of the podcast, three rounds of Drawsome, one wee break and the eating of one spoon of peanut butter directly from the jar. Why don't I feel a sense of perspective? Could it be that I have become so fixated on the inner workings of my mind and my life that I am no longer able to be changed by a small chance encounter on a street corner?

I hope so.

I would like nothing more than to be largely unchanged by the world as it bumps into me, like a character from a Woody Allen film. I have always wanted to be like a character from a Woody Allen film who goes through something big, like a failed romance, and comes out the other end just exactly as they were before, maybe more so. Maybe they use the experience to write a book or a play but manage to avoid any personal growth or change. I admire those characters, how they distil themselves into becoming an even more interesting and dense version of who they were to begin with.

And so now the guilt is changing into hope. The sun is still out and the couple is still likely to be sat, weirdly without any cups of tea, in their afternoon spot, unmoving, not talking, just taking in the day. I have half a mind to go back there and talk to them about this, ask them what they think it means but I won't because that's closer to crazy than I want to go this afternoon so for now I'll go and make a cup of tea and think about something else.

*Not just the woman might have a hard time guessing but everybody, there is an extra layer of trickiness in that I am not employed by the university but that my employer has free and exclusive use of a building on campus.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Sunday

A Sunday resolution. Just because Grizelda is still away does not mean I am allowed to eat ice cream for breakfast. Beans. Beans and toast, this is my Sunday resolution and may it be as boring for you as it was for me.

In other news have a read of this unbelievably awful and biased review of a book of poetry. I admit it might not be his best work but I have never read another review where the personal life of the poet was so transparently judged and attacked. I would have been much more interested in a straight review that examined only the work itself and leaves aside any question of the man's integrity for a different article. 

My opinion on the matter of the Poet and his private life is still being formed, I predict it will be another ten years before it arrives fully formed and ready for dispatch.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

First song

The melody came like a wave. The sound heightens and melds all experienced incidents from the shock and slap of a forward moving foot taking the full weight of a man to the lurch and swing of a shoulder joint as an arm travels forwards, loose fingers wanting always to be the first extremities to move into a new space. Breath and lung-bottoms contrive to engineer the whole chest to receive and reject and receive and reject nothing tangible to the naked eye. The sky wheels up and pulls down above everything like a hood and there is the wind. The unnamed wind of London St, Enmore New South Wales, rilling up and down the false dawn hill for reasons not one of the residents properly understands, except him.

False dawn was transformed for two minutes. All parts of him moved together in symphony, fingers, heels, heart, thought, breath and he crested the hill before the song wound down. He turned the corner into shadows under shop-awnings and gained momentum as his body understood he was no longer climbing but walking on flat ground.

The song concluded in one golden burst of resolution and he found his parts disconnecting their psychic union and resuming ordinary operations of holding coins for the bus, manufacturing saliva and planning out the first work tasks of the morning. He more clearly remembers coming back into himself, the dissolving and dissolution of a golden two minute experience than the walking moment itself.

Friday, 9 March 2012

What kind of magic spell to use?

One that completes all work in automated fast motion, similar to the dancing mops but with a successful outcome. Now, if you will excuse me I shall begin.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Lessons in architecture

I have made here another fort of pillows and sea-green bedsheets and that hand stitched quilt from my mother. Volumes of poetry scattered like driftwood. Outside all is ocean and my newspaper on the doorstep pulped in the deluge. I have forgone tea for hot chocolate and the low echo of Maria Callas on the record player. The kitchen floor is a vast and saltless ocean so desperate is the rain to be warm in here with me it has found ways to begin. The dining room ceiling, the bathroom window, underneath doors and windows cold wet fingers clamour for the bare soles of my feet but I am here in my fortress warm and dry.

Soon I will forage for eggs and toast. First I will imagine room by room by the empty house with its echoing arias and the cat perched in the library windowsill noting the rising water and the pale weak sun. Room by room my mind will wander in silence in front of my feet. All the hung curtains breathe and flare making that one long day up ladders worthwhile. This house instructs me in ways of being.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Taking care of

Clattering out of the exit of a fifty floor office tower after 7pm I found myself on the receiving end of a few sympathetic smiles. I was weighed down with folders and documents*, just like the besuited sympathetic smilers. I felt a small burst of collegiate warmth and kinship as I struggled to the nearest bus stop.

I stared up at the endless rows of office towers and listened to the small concrete echo of traffic and hard-soled shoes. I wondered if I could do this every day. So powerful was the feeling of kinship and collaborative human struggle I got carried away in a fantasy of owning a wardrobe full of business dresses, of rising early every day to brush my hair and travel clean and groomed right into the heart of the city. Then I realised I was at the wrong bus stop and my red shoes were old and scuffed and my anchor broach was ridiculously out of place and my office was not in one of those towers but in an almost condemned building in the back corner of a university.

I achieved a new limbo in that moment. I felt simultaneously part of the churning machinations of the city but also free. It was probably just a case of geography.

*Almost all of them were legitimate work documents and books, only two of the books were poetry and only read one of them during the meeting.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Safari or What kind of cheese can you hide a small horse in?

Spencer waited with me on the corner for Mr X to come and collect me in his car. We stood in the rain, after all those years of drought I still think of the rain as rare. It rains here every day now and there are floods and the dam has overflowed but after living so long with dry bones the rain will remain, in my heart, a rare and beautiful spectacle to be embraced. We drove away leaving Spencer on a back street in Newtown. I never worry about driving away from Spencer every third person in town is someone who wants to sit down and spend time with him.

I don't know how Mr X steered so straight and steady, the rain came in diagonal drifts and all I could though the slanting darkness was freeway markers and pale lights from other cars. We arrived at the venue and I was piled up with stands and bags of leads and one heavy guitar. Mr X went about the business of setting up, plugging things in, turning things on up on stage with the rest of the band. I am used to these kinds of procedures and know the very best thing I can is stay out of the way so I wandered about a little and took in the vast electric rooms.

The venue was a club. The kind with acres of poker machines and an all you can eat buffet. Rooms opened onto other rooms onto more rooms. It was vast and lit with a combination of fluorescent lights and small dim stars meant to add atmosphere. The carpet was a uniform deep dull red but the walls varied from charcoal to beige. I found a cafe in one of the rooms and ordered myself a coffee and a sandwich, busied myself having dinner and making notes from a small table near the stage.

The band played and I intermittently wandered around having little chats with the locals. The gulf between me and the residents of Western Sydney has never seemed greater. I don't understand how this has happened. I grew up in Western Sydney, went to public schools, all my friends lived in the same area, I even went to the University of Western Sydney but there a difference so deep that I am sure it is forensically detectible at every level even beginning with DNA.

I participated in a conversation with two other women. One was dressed head-to-toe in turquoise and aqua tones she insisted on calling aquamarine. She said her eyes were the greatest eyes anyone would ever see, she told they were aquamarine the same as her birthstone and pointed at the cheap looking studs piercing her ears. The stones were aquamarine, like her eyes, but neither were beautiful. The other woman looked to me like an off-duty stripper. Bleached hair rolling over her enlarged brestas,  down past her the tail of her painfully thing abdomen, huge black false eyelashes fanning like spiders across a heavily made-up face.

The two women speaking to each other. Instantly, before exchanging names, they entered a competition I have never witnessed before. It was like a prolonged and violent exchange of volleys at a championship tennis match. Each sentence a fired and condensed repor to the very worst moments of their lives.
"My husband died."
"My son is in jail."
"My husband abused me."
"I nearly died in a car crash."
"I've had two major back surgeries because I nearly died in a car crash."
"I've had two car crashes."

I asked if they knew each other because it seemed to me that something more than an introductory conversation was happening but they simultaneously denied it with, "No. Why?".

They continued firing facts at each other like bullets, sizing each other up. It was hard and impenetrable and I was well out of my depth. I have no idea how to interact in that kind of conversation. The talk came to an abrupt halt when the turquoise woman declare she was going to vomit, spilt her glass of lemonade on the floor, she told me she never ever drinks, and took off like a shot through the acres of poker machines.

A man walked up to me as I sat puzzling over what had just happened. He walked right up to me, shoe to shoe, and threw a stick of gum in my handbag. He winked at me and told it was for later. By this time the band had finished their first set and I took refuge backstage with them. I stood leaning against the wall nursing a beer Mr X provided, thinking it all over. The band began remarking on the club and it's patrons and I laughed with them at the strangeness of it all but I have to admit I was a little shaken.

What causes two women to lead a social interaction with the very worst moments of their life? Why are they so hard that they converse like battalions of soldiers charging at each other with bayonets? Why was the atmosphere so tense it made sense to me that the very next step would be violence?

On the way back to the Inner West Mr X and I pondered the nature of the town we were just in and each declared it would be impossible to live there, impossible to survive living anywhere at all like that. I panicked a little as though that is exactly what would happen, as though I was being forcefully transferred there and would have to survive as best I could. Mr X snorted when I told him, he said living there, or anywhere like that, was entirely out of the question and to my relief I believed him.


Two kinds of shiver and the bare table left adrift in the centre of the library

The shadows are strange in here today. Slow and deliberate but diffused as though less sure of themselves than they claim to be. There is sky of medium blue but I have disregarded it. In here the air feels rainsoaked and the smells are green and shaded, not pine nor eucalyptus in tone, neither so deep a green nor so olive. There is a sensation of being adrift in a haven while outside all things are moss.

The furniture remains rearranged from Saturday night's dinner party, here and there I find a wine-stained glass and dishes are strewn in a beautiful mess. Some of them washed some streaked with the final course of the night. The last guest departed, reluctantly at false dawn, as I shivered in my skin. There is a chill that comes and will not be denied when I have been awake three hours too many.

The dinner was successful, the guests full of chatter and goodwill, the wine never running out. We took turns at blindfolding each other and staggering around with a paper donkey's tail held out in one hand, the other hand stretched blindly into empty space. We decorated with linen napkins, flowers in empty jars, lit candles and borrowed plates. Mr X was the only person to successfully pin the tail on the donkey, his prize was to perform an interpretive dance to a song of his choice. Spencer eyed him suspiciously while he danced, almost always it is Spencer who is watched while we do the watching.

Now I have here some notes I made on Friday night when I was dragged, willingly, to Mr X's strange gig out West in one of those giant clubs with acres of poker machines and an all you can eat buffet featuring both Chinese dishes and pizza. I was horrified by the people I met, the forcefulness of their presence, the blunt and alarming manner they conducted themselves like alarmed and enlisted echnidas forced upright and forwards despite the spines and spikes pointing out in all directions and the hand grenade clutched in the palm of their right hand.

I am supposed to be at work but I found, after dressing there was a chill in the air and the strong urge to wrap knitted layers across my shoulders combined with a sensation that if I laced up my shoes and walked  down the front path I would turn to glass and shatter before I reached the corner. I am probably coming down with a cold, it always feels first as though I have been indelibly altered and then a day later I realise it the usual case of a mild fever and the manufacturing of snot. There is the hope that one day I won't notice and I'll just walk around like everybody else clutching a tissue and making a cup of tea.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Every day an adventure of one sort or another

Boring bit upfront: I'm joining in on the 'blog every day in March' thing because I thought I might as well as not. Apparently lots of people are doing it, because of this guy, also there is a hashtag, #b03.

Another more different slightly less boring bit. I am beginning to love American public radio shows, like WNYC's Radiolab and NPR's Fresh Air and even This American Life. These shows seem to explore topics in a wandering way with genuine curiosity, I suspect this is how I prefer to think. Studying law I found I could never concentrate strictly on the topic at hand, the case in question would lead to thinking about the story of the people which lead to the topic of the story of the people which would lead to other people and their stories and then a new topic would arise and the process would start all over again. This kind of thinking is not ideal when attempting to think like a lawyer. 

Happily I no longer need to attempt to think like a lawyer, not ever again, and so I have given myself a challenge. Does this style of thinking work for writing things down? Even if it's just writing for this stupid blog? I'll find out by experimenting. For the duration of this every day in March thing I will allow the wandering to have its way and see where I end up. End official boring bit, the next bit might also be boring too but it is not official.

The harbour slides into view in the most surprising way when you catch the train from Newtown into the City Circle. It's all tunnels and communication blackout and suddenly there the fuck it is, bridge and building and shining sea all in the small box of a glass train window and you've no choice but to centre yourself geographically, floating above the quay and the unreasonable view screaming Sydney, Sydney on repeat until the train slides away and noses back underground into darkness.

I walked from St James station to the NSW Gallery with one of the Bruce Green boys, the non-Artboy one, because he was going to work at the gallery. Seems to me like he works at every gallery and museum in the city. It's a stupid walk from the station to the gallery, underground tunnels, road crossings and then a walk along a park that feels unnecessary more than pleasant as though they dropped the gallery in wrong spot by accident.

Picasso is the reason I left the kitchen table on my day off, Picasso and a strong desire to be unromantic. Recently I have been accused of being a romantic by three separate men* on three separate occasions. I despise romanticism so I left the light to slide across the floor without me, left the teapot on the shelf and marched out into the world determined to be as unromantic as possible.

A solo expedition around an exhibition is not romantic but today it was moving, in places. A sketch near the beginning of the exhibition trapped me. Slammed me into reverie and there I stayed until an elderly woman in a red hat shoved me on purpose. I think it was a self-portrait, it was called something like "The artist drawing, with hand studies". One clear bold sketch of the artist, bare-chested and youthful with disembodied hands floating around the edges of the page in more ghostly lines, some of them hesitant and pale.

The rawness of Picasso's sketch appealed to me. More than anything I love the beginnings, the sketches, the demo tapes, the first draft, when there is nothing but raw art at work. A direct line from mind to page or sound or canvas. In this stage of work you cannot lie, you can not hide behind the reworkings and the polish that inevitably comes with experience. I don't dislike finished works but the raw beginnings excite me.

My love of raw beginnings has lead me to some odd places, tiny galleries in back alleys, bands playing under buildings and in warehouses or lounge rooms, people singing in the park at midnight and then of course there is PAN magazine. The editorial team is learning, very quickly, how to have a magazine but many of our contributors for each issue have no experience and I love this. This is one way of transferring raw beginnings from garages and kitchen tables into the hands of readers. Another way of examining the unedited beginnings has been, and still is, this blog. In the beginning of this blog I was new to the city, new to being alone, I was shot from my old life without warning and I was on the edge. Of course it transformed and I let it because here I remain unedited, without expectation or rules which exactly how I find my best friendships are, with Spencer and with others, like Robert.

I don't write much about Robert, he is intensely private, much more so than any person I have ever known   but that doesn't mean he isn't around, sometimes in person and often in my thoughts or in my telephone, like today. Robert called from his hometown in another state and asked for a favour. I was inside a bookshelf when he called. I was building one of these flat-pack bookshelves in the hallway and found it necessary to lie the half-built thing down flat and slide in between the long pieces to tighten some screws. I didn't hesitate to say yes, it seems a great privilege to be asked by someone to be of help in their life. The favour involved climbing out from inside the bookshelf, out the window, the front door was blocked by the bookshelf and straight into a taxi to Kings Cross to make a cash deal with a real estate agent.

Robert, having flown out this morning for a month, received a call informing him he had indeed been approved for the flat he applied for but the real estate agent needed the deposit by close of business today. This is where my and my taxi catching come into play. After crossing the city again, this time in the comfort of a motor vehicle, I found myself face to face with an astonishing man. I suppose he might not be so astonishing on meeting him a second time but that first time had my ovaries in a knot.

Here's what I know about the real estate man, he wears suits, an expensive watch and has very shiny shoes and the astonishing effect of sitting down next to him is the sudden and urgent need to breed, with him, immediately if not sooner. I don't know if he's handsome, I suppose he might be but not obviously so. His accent is thick and possibly Turkish. The hallmarks of Turkish language are vowel harmony and agglutination but I don't know what that means, he sounded deep and musical and unfamiliar. He doesn't hold himself in any particular way, his office is small and messy, he was not especially friendly nor was he too cold or overly professional. There is no logical reason for the unexpected feelings. It was raw and immediate and entirely unedited and I'll make sure it stays that way.

Sometimes the beginnings of making an acquaintance is the most profound part, before I find out that they wear novelty socks or dislike their mother or have a dull and heavy mind. Sometimes walking past someone and observing how they occupy the world in that moment is enough.

* Lex Wick is one of my accusers, the others don't have blogs.