Tuesday, September 18, 2012

~ distressed plasticene hood ornament

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~ The Gully of The Zipper Crab

An intrepid researcher dares The Gully of the Zipper Crab, only to be methodically eviscerated by an entity only one man - subsequently driven insane by the effort - has lived to describe. Suffice to say, the abomination which dwells in this barren gully - nursing its profound and bitter hostility over the long centuries, writhing idly in a noisome slime-pond of its own excretions - is possessed of a loathsomeness none are advised to confront.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

~ the scattering of the dead

Because the seasons are changing, so do the habits of the birds. With Spring, they are more obvious about the place, flirting, fluttering, dive-bombing... and, doubtless, it is this flurry that leads so many to their doom.

For a few years now, there has been a pair of crested pigeons living a few doors down from me on the edge of a park. They are always together when I see them. When I pass, they boost themselves skywards with an unmistakeable alarm call - a rapid mechanical whooping that originates, not from their throats, but from the passage of air through an adapted feather. They are funny birds, even comical. They strut about in search of seeds with expanded chests, bold orange eyes, and what look like circa WW1 German army helmets on their tiny heads (according to Robert).

Polly found one of them in the gutter the other day. It's hard to describe the aching sadness one feels at these widowings in the natural world. I feel for the surviving pigeon especially, I can't help it, I feel its grief, its dumb animal longing and the horror of Nature's indifference...

And then a dead brown thornbill appeared on the driveway. A tiny bird, always busy in the high branches, smaller than a sparrow and dull of plumage, but possessed of a wonderful vocabulary of trills, whirrs, cheeps, chirps and chitters that is an absolute delectation to the ear.

And there were others... among them the creature below:

This luckless red-browed finch met its doom in the grille of a Mercedes owned by my friend Querulous.


I was expecting Saturday's reading of Ambergris to leave me worried and despondent, but instead I'm feeling pleasurably neutral. It wasn't hideously long, as I'd feared. My experiment in the complex entwining of multiple plots left no one bemused. And it really seemed to work pretty much as I'd imagined it would. That's good. That means I'm keeping a functional link open to the minds of other people. I would have liked to have watched it rather than been in it, but there's a recording I can access (thanks Bruce) and, besides, thankfully, I don't think there's a hell of a lot I have to do except embark upon the next stage.

Thank you Lynne and La Mama and all who read, particularly Anthea, who was given the hardest job and proved herself an absolute trooper.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

~ a public reading of Ambergris

I'm having a reading of my play Ambergris at the Carlton Courthouse on Saturday at 2.00pm. (That's Sept 1, 349 Drummond St, Carlton, about 20 metres from the corner of Elgin.) It's late notice, I know, but... sorry... and perhaps some rough, first-draft playwrighting-in-progress is precisely your idea of how to celebrate the first day of Spring. Do come if it takes your fancy. It will be a casual, low-key affair and we may (or may not ) ask for a gold coin donation so as not to leave the actors out of pocket.

I've been working on this writhing, gargantuan word-squid for a long time. I've been distracted by the joy of child-rearing, by outrageous legal injustices, domestic misery and episodic insanity, by long winters of bewilderment and despair, not to mention the perils of serving as a pharmaceutical guinea pig – but I have at last honed the text to a point at which I'm prepared to brave the court of public opinion.

It's bit scary, to tell the truth. I think it's good, perhaps even better than good, but you simply cannot know until it comes off the page. I could have got it completely, utterly wrong. I could be facing a MacArthur Park dissolving-cake scenario. I just don't know... Though I can promise the sweet, green icing (or its equivalent).

And some esoteric characters - some who promote surreal agendas, others who nourish strange longings in the pit of their souls, still others who care naught for all but mind-numbing drugs.

Why does the mysterious stranger train a dog to bring him chunks of toxic waste? What is the disgraced researcher doing with 200 echidnas in his mobile laboratory? What is that void beneath the kitchen table? Who sells the packaged genitalia of lost marsupials to recreational fishermen? Why is the mute interested in Chux super-wipes? Why does a population with a genetic predisposition to bowel cancer claim instead to be an ancient, unknown species living among us...?

All this and more will be resolved. If you think that's impossible, let me prove you wrong. The readers are: Phil Motherwell, Richard Higgins, Lucy Cowbelle, Anthea Greco, Ben Andrews, molecular biologist Dr Nurin Veis and – owing to a late withdrawal – me. Directing is, of course, the formidable Lynne Ellis.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

~ did mr bunny get some?

Robert's rat – known variously as Mr Bunny, Zebedee or Nipper – has led an indulgent yet cloistered life, feeding hugely from the trough of his owner's kindness, puncturing the hands of strangers who seek to pet him in his nest, set high on a bookshelf in Robert's densely furnished apartment.

When Robert is out and about, Mr Bunny lives in his leather jacket, often peering curiously from a sleeve at supermarket checkouts and bank queues. The pellets he leaves are compact and easily shaken out, but when Mr Bunny needs to urinate he dutifully alerts his doting human companion. If Robert is riding his bike – for example on busy Queen's Rd at peak hour - the rat will crawl onto his shoulder as a signal for him to pull over.

Recently, Robert described a scene I found reminiscent La Grand Bouffe. From the toilet – on which he was perched - he had a clear view of the rat's nest. Presently, Mr Bunny's seeking nose emerged from the skein of rag and newspaper. The rat seemed to peer into the distance. He edged forward a little more, expressionless, apparently mesmerised. Perhaps he was concentrating on some uncomfortable internal process, or perhaps his cognition was stuttering due an overdose of lipids and sugars in his bloodstream...

Time passed and a sudden thought came to Robert's head. Was Mr Bunny having a stroke? Would he fall? Robert leapt up, but too late. The pale unwieldy rodent plummeted eight shelves into the chaos of gas bottles, engineering books and electronic components below.

Thankfully, the fall did no harm and seemed to reboot Mr Bunny's system.

Though only 18 months, Mr Bunny is old in rat years and contented in his simple ways. He is not desexed and two large lightly furred globes swing at the root of his dextrous tail. Robert has mentioned to me that - for Mr Bunny's birthday - he would like to arrange a sexual liaison, as his pet remains a virgin. It seemed a pipe dream until, just recently, I was pleased to inform him that I had met Ellie, a nubile young female rat whose owner was prepared to keep some of the resulting pinkies if Robert returned the favour.

This weekend we travelled to the home of Ellie in the remote town of Barry's Reef. Robert fretted, fearing that Mr Bunny might engage in cannibalism or violent rape - but nothing of the kind ensued. Certainly, his rat proved to be two to three times the size of Ellie and was, by comparison, as lively as a slug - yet Mr Bunny was not entirely disinterested. Ellie spent much of their tryst sleeping on his head, but perhaps, in the dead of night, in the opaque plastic milk bottle that was their private place, magic may have happened.

As the rats engaged in their inscrutable negotiations, I took a walk in the nearby forest, where I sought wisdom from The Green Man.

Shortly afterwards, and perhaps not by accident, I uncovered a vein of fossilised moon jelly.

And afterwards, I saw these three things...

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