Monday, December 31, 2007

~ one clustering filbert

This morning I opened my sachet of Spasmo-Nemigron powders and found the creature depicted below - caked with pinkish dust and trying desperately to fly free. It would have succeeded too, had there not been something badly amiss with its organs of flight. It landed, apparently deceased, on carpet worn of pile by the restless soles of ten-thousand junkies. Inquisitively, I crouched down too see. The glistening young pharmacist was suddenly alert. He leaned over the counter, peering …

- Strange bug, I commented.

- Oh? he said, with surprising interest.

- Don’t worry. You won’t have to summon the exterminator.

- Oh? Oh, good …. he mumbled, clearly working to suppress any appearance of curiosity. Give it here. I’ll have it … disposed of.

I shrugged. It was already safe in my pocket as I strode from the pharmaceuticals outlet.

Of course, the image below is larger than life. The bug itself - I am reluctant to call it an insect - is about half the size of a cicada and radiates an aura of health and … fleshliness is the word that suggests itself. Though it appears dead, I am not wholly certain this is the case.

Does this representation bring to mind a name? A name frequently associated with extreme science? And with life-saving medical advances? A name as often cited by the journals Science and Nature as by Saucer Kooks and Pyramidiots?

Need I go on?

It bears the signature of that most estimable of human beings. Spasmo-Vizier Mercurius. His work is unmistakable.

The wiles of fortune – whether for fair or foul – have brought me into possession of a genuine Mercurial artifact.

Now I must ask if this is truly a creature and not some unimaginably complex clockwork automaton. No wonder I could not construe the principles it employed to achieve flight …

And, knowing its provenance, I may safely make some inferences …

Was it free to fly the magnificent spaces of his laboratory-dacha, [said to have been built by Peter the Great for one of his lovers?] Was it a fugitive? Or was it mere biological refuse, not quite dead or de-energised? Was it under examination when it strayed into the automatic units used by Mercurius to manufacture his elaborate compounds?

These units are hermetically sealed to prevent the Magister’s arcane recipes straying into the hands of a race unprepared for technologies of such sophistication.

So how did the bug – which I shall
hereafter describe as a filbert*– get in?

Did Mercurius place it there himself?

And if so, why?

Often, I feel humbled that I am fated to consume the fruits of the uber-man’s labours. Who cares that they make me dead tired for ninety percent of my waking hours? Who cares that I no longer derive an emotional response from music? Who cares that my libido is massively reduced? Who gives a toss about the unknown havoc it wreaks among my organs …

This is Spasmo-Vizier Mercurius we are talking about!

So how to proceed? What to do with this iota from the hands of the Magister? I would never be so foolish as to sell it … but might I not, safely, reveal its existence ... to some close friends and associates...?

Such as you?

* see Shakespeare’s The Tempest

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~ a time of seething

After a period of stability, say four days or longer, a tension begins to form in the air - like a charge of static electricity that will continue to build unless it is released. The simplest release involves drugs, a sudden abandonment of discipline that results in a slow build back to stability.

I sense her thoughts, whispering, cycling in her head. It is the only recourse she knows. The only thing she can imagine that will free her of the horror of the day-to-day, from her entrapment here, in this ordinary house - albeit for merely a day, and despite the peripheral damage on family and friends.

It’s a vicious circle, driven partly by her and, as things go, partly by me ...

Of course, I am making a serious effort to repair our world, even as it is being destroyed. I am alert for Spore incursions. I have total and permanent charge of finances. I try to organise my time so that no one will complain…

Yet I have so little energy. The Spasmo-Nemigron holds me steady as it eats my soul - deliberately, slowly, as if with a cocktail fork. I can feel the Slammerkin larvae making a chaos of my liver, and slowly I droop under long and wasting exposure to the winds of Quinquagisma…

I do what I can, but I have to do it at my own pace, to my own logic – otherwise, I know I will slash back and make the whole thing worse.

Yet her frustration must find an outlet – and for want of something better, I have become that outlet. When I spend a day cleaning and organising, I am criticised for not playing with Polly. When I spend the day with Polly, I am criticised for not cleaning. I fall foul, regardless of what I do.

It’s worse in those first hours after noon, when the Spasmo-Dromoran curdles her fluids, makes her dangerous to be near.

I’ve always been sensitive to personal criticism – but never deaf to it. And it’s worse when that criticism comes off a casually poisonous tongue. I cannot respond, for that would force an escalation. She is sensitive, a raw nerve and, were I to return fire, she would simply collapse. I’m told she’s been like this since a child, bursting into tears at the mildest of scoldings. At this late stage, I see that she is one of the worst cases of depression I have known.

But my reaction is perhaps the deadliest factor. l seethe. It’s a physical thing. I feel it in my blood, in my temples, a shuddering weakness in my sides. If it is bad enough, I take valium. Worse, it lingers, sometimes for days, and my only answer is to try to act normally, politely, until the causes are forgotten.

But lately these seething episodes have been compounding, one upon the other, and I am tasting bitterness on my tongue…

I spent the afternoon with Lynne and Polly, lounging around the pool at Bruce’s place, watching his two year old daughter – Madelaine – swim like a pearl diver. It was the perfect antidote to the nerve-racking morning during which I wrote the above paragraphs. Bruce keeps a reliably excellent bar. I tried some agwa, a marginally legal liqueur made from coca leaf. It’s okay, but yesterday I stuck to the chartreuse…

There’s been a lot of talk about the past lately. Last year, a specialty label in the US put forward the idea of re-releasing the Beargarden album All that Fall. Now, after much delay, the compilation of a bonus album, a re-mastering from the vinyl by the redoubtable Simon Polinski, it’s near ready.

At the time, for me, it was a grave disappointment. We were saddled with a couple of old school producers who seemed intent on sucking the blood from our music. The project went massively over-budget with the help of shadowy entries for cocaine and Japanese food [something I only learned of years later], and the whole thing – the fights, the tension, the firing of bass-players – became the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was so naïve at the time; I let something that I’d spent years working towards be swept out from under my feet.

A few months later the band was gone. Virgin Records abandoned the project [despite their massive investment] and All That Fall was quietly released on our manager’s private label, Chase. For a long time after that, I took no pleasure in music, [despite singing in a band called Index which disintegrated as quickly as it formed]. I went overseas for a while and then became a writer …

So it’s strange revisiting that time. I listened to the material this morning, free of all those emotional associations. It sounds surprisingly good. Very eighties, of course, but worth making available again …

We’re talking about compiling an Ears album next and that I would get behind …


When we arrived home, the pall had risen from the house. Everything felt clear. The woman I live with was smiling and apparently at peace with herself …

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

* 26 February 1981, Friday 9.30am

I’m getting irritated with Troy and Christine – I can get no peace in my flat again. I am retiring early and rising early. I’ve been smoking dope which has fogged up my sensibilities.

3 March 1981, Tuesday 8.45pm

These entries are stretching further and further apart, but I must persevere. I’ve already broken my personal record for keeping a diary.

It is raining today. The door is open. Leaves and vines are slapping wetly against each other.

Terry is strengthening the morale of the group again. We are to play on the 26th of this month at the Waltzing Matilda, supporting Johnny Farnham. That will be a splendid occasion [!] – though I shudder to think of the stress it will cause me …

Friday is coming closer. Our bills have been posted. All handbills gone. Dolores is very happy. We’re expecting a big crowd. Terry has unearthed a PR guy – a fat queen named Kevin …

On Saturday Craig McGee and his friend Warwick photographed us in and around the stormwater drains of South Yarra. Terry brought his briefcase up at least 500 yards of stuffy, cramped tunnel.

Our cover is finished. I’m on the front. Gus [of course] hated it – made much soul-destroying noise. I came away grasping my head – they all complain to me, these hideous inhuman complainers, and it chills my very spirit.

I’m reading The Tin Drum. It’s an excellent book [Oertel gave it to me while my father was dying, I think]

Christine and I had more sex than usual today – once shortly after waking, once while watching television in the afternoon. She described it as my horny day. We’re getting on much better now.

On Saturday night, dazed by speed and alcohol, I rose and urinated on Anne and Ed who were sleeping near the foot of our bed. I believed I was pissing into a dark, deep abyss. I awoke during the act and, horrified, cried out ‘My heart! My heart!

I shall work on my crow tonight with Franka, who returned yesterday.


Terry Rogers looked after the Ears through a good percentage of their existence. He was a Kiwi who came to Melbourne with another group he managed, The Marching Girls, [previously The Scavengers,] who consisted of Ronnie Recent [who became Brendan Perry], Des Hefner and John Cook. At the time, Ronnie was going out with Lisa Gerrard, who was fronting a band called Microfilm, but was soon to collaborate with Ronnie on Dead Can Dance. I was fascinated with Lisa for a long time; she was an exotic flower, ethereally beautiful, and already her voice was breathtaking. She also played in a little band called Junk Logic. A mild-mannered freak named Lee Smith hammered an untuned guitar, while Lisa sang and played what may have been her Yangqin. They had a really good song called ‘Junk in Cupboards’.

The last time I saw Lisa, she was singing at Wendy’s burial under a hellish sun, perhaps ten years ago. Despite her unmistakable voice, I did not recognise her. I did not know that her brother had settled in with poor Wendy. Later, at the wake, I sought her out, aiming to say something about her incredible voice, but wound up staring …

There’s something very familiar about you, I said. She replied by saying the same thing. A few seconds later, we remembered; a capsule of very intense time, a long time before …

Terry Rogers also ran the Champion, a gig which was our home away from home north of the Yarra.

Dolores is a promoter. Amongst other things, she used to run the Exford Hotel. I think she’s with Chane Chane now, the singer from La Femme.

Franka was a rusted-on hippy chick from the Patch. Many years ago she disappeared into the psychic wilderness of Tunable Falls

Diary of 1981 - index

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Friday, December 28, 2007

∆ george + the decrepitude of the whale

~ please be warned, the following tale may contain disturbing concepts ~

One of the most significant girlfriends of my past – I’ll call her Blackie – lived in a ground floor flat in St Kilda. It was approximately 1983. I think I had almost moved in, but not quite….

Blackie was a notorious door-bitch, guarding the entrances of places like the Razor and Hardware clubs like a sour, permed Cerberus. She had a deep, commanding voice and a scathing wit that could send grown men sulking away, their bellies to the ground. Understandably, at this time, I found myself doing a lot of clubbing.

One evening, there was some kind of party, celebration, I have no recollection what exactly, but I do remember a small, sallow boy with a strange manner who seemed to be deliberately lurking, particularly in the vicinity of Blackie.

It was a particularly drunken night. A whole mob of us retired to Blackie’s flat, including this boyish creep. He wasn’t much more than a kid and he had a way of staying unnoticed, of not being taken into consideration. His interest in Blackie was plainer now, but I just didn’t take him seriously enough to tell him to sod off. He was too innocuous. I think Blackie thought the same and, since she was as utterly inebriated as I, was not really bothered by his feeble advances.

One by one, our guests departed, until at last it was just the two of us and this boy. We pointed him out the couch and went to bed.

What follows is only comprehensible with the understanding of how uselessly drunk we were …

Some time later, from the profound depths of unconsciousness, I sensed some kind of movement in the bed, and also sounds. There was something disturbing about it, but I did not have the wherewithal to wake myself up. Then suddenly, nightmarishly, things started clashing in my head. The sounds I was hearing … they were the sounds Blackie made during sex.

Then what was this motion beside me? The implications began to dawn on me. Blackie, the bitch, had taken some other guy into her bed without even bothering to throw me out first. But then Blackie screamed and everything became dreadfully clear.

Mindless with rage, I chased him out, cornered the pale snivelling gollum near the garage in the weak early morning light. Blackie was curled up naked in the bathroom, weeping. I had acquired a weapon of some sort. I remember exactly what I said.

- I’ll cut your fucking throat, if I ever fucking see you again.

To this day, I wish I hadn’t let the rapist get his pants.


This incident still makes me blood rise when I think of it. It had a pretty savage impact on my pride; I couldn’t help feeling I should have been able to stop it. God knows what kind of emotional impact it had on Blackie… We never really talked about it; we couldn’t bear to. I took solace in the fact that she was nothing if not resilient.

But I seethed. As early as an hour later, I began to regret letting him free. I wanted to get this guy. I found out his name, where he lived, that he had done similar things in the past, but I never found occasion to visit revenge upon him – in part because I’m not at all into physical violence, in part because I have difficulty with the very idea of revenge.

But then, while speaking with my friend George, the perfect form of recompense was conceived.


Richard Lowenstein was directing a film called Strikebound in the Wonthaggi area of Eastern Victoria. I was playing the part of a police constable and had occasion to travel down there a few times and stay at the famous Pines motel near Inverloch. George came too; I think he had some extra work, or was interested in getting some, or something …

While we were down there - probably lounging in the vicinity of the reopened pit Richard was using as a primary location, waiting for something to do - we learned that further down the coast at Point Hicks approximately eighty false killer whales had beached and died.

We began to examine the possibilities. These false killer whales were said to be smallish, not too much bigger than a porpoise. If we were to acquire one, bring it back to Melbourne, dump it in the front garden of the rapist’s family home [recall that he was very young] and threaten to call the police if he removed it… then would that not be a satisfying turn of events?

We decided that the concept deserved realisation, but neither of us thought it through. The sheer absurdity of the idea buoyed us along, but we never really stopped to consider the possible complications. We could have done with the internet at that stage. Those whales were huge, man.

Our only preparation was to scour the kitchen of The Pines for useful tools. We came away with a ridiculous assortment of knives and forks. We had something like twenty-four hours before our next calls. We got in George’s car and drove, not bothering to consult a map.

The drive took nine hours, about seven hours longer than we assumed.

We arrived exhausted at what I know now is the Cann River National Park. It was here the whales were said to have beached. Obeying some instinct for caution, we decided to conceal our implements. We each tucked up to five bread knives, carving knives and screwdrivers into our belts, and covered them with our shirts. The idea was that if we couldn’t get the whale whole, we would at least bring back a large enough part of it to cause our victim extreme inconvenience.

The path to the beach led past a ranger’s shack. There was little we could do but follow it and, inevitably, a small officious guy in a uniform and slouch hat emerged and challenged us. When we asked for the beached whales, he became suspicious and protective.

Incredibly, he asked us what we had under our shirts and we had no choice but to show him. It was embarrassing really; we should have had something more impressive than cutlery under there, but he took us seriously enough and sent us packing with a warning that it was a crime to remove any part of a protected species.

- They’re dead, aren’t they, I said.

- Living or dead, said he.

There was no point arguing. We returned to the car, stowed our tools, and showed our stomachs to the ranger when we passed him again.

We walked for fifteen minutes along the beach before we encountered our first solitary whale. It was too far. Our plans were dashed. No road access. Legal resistance. And far too small a vehicle. Though it was a false killer whale, it was the size of a real killer whale and …. I don’t know … maybe one and a half, maybe two tons of dead weight? What had we been thinking?

It’s skin was peeling away to reveal the blubber beneath and there was a noticeable scent of decay. It’s tongue was blue and so swollen it was forcing open its great toothed jaws. The whale was a sad and horrible sight.

George, as always, had his camera and disconsolately we began to take photos. I put my foot up on the whale’s back in a kind of safari-hunter’s pose. George positioned himself low, near the mouth.

- Shit. Did you feel that?

- What? asked George.

- Something rumbled, I said. There it is again.

- What?

- The whale’s not dead. It’s moving.

Startled, we took a good long second look at the carcass. It certainly looked dead. After an uncertain moment we resumed our former positions.

Then a huge gout of disgusting red vomitus flew from the whale’s mouth. Only barely did George manage to topple out of he way, avoiding the nauseating stream by inches. It had come out under pressure, a lot of pressure, there were dark clots metres up the beach.

So… is it alive or dead? I asked

The stench was almost paralysing, but we endured it long enough to finish taking photos.

On the way back to the car, we encountered the ranger again, told him what had happened. He nodded sagely.

- You know, people can be killed by exploding whales. If one of them really goes up, it can propel missiles of flesh twenty, thirty metres … at lethal speeds

We stared at him blankly.

- The gases build up as the whale decays, he explained. The blubber forms a strong seal that only ruptures when the pressure is enormous.

What if our plan had worked…? The consequences would have been even more spectacular than we imagined …

It was a hard nine hour drive back to Inverloch. And poor George was the only one with a license


As a footnote, some weeks later, my ever thoughtful friend turned up with a huge dead cream-coloured Labrador in his boot – thinking it might serve a similar purpose as the whale.

It didn’t work for me; in fact just looking at the dog made me feel like crying. George kept it in his boot for a couple of weeks in case it ‘came in useful’, but ultimately I had to help him bury it on Beaumaris beach.

It was so heavy, I remember, and we carried it in a sheet. In the furtive dark, we felt like we were burying a human body …


A further footnote. It was during this stay at The Pines that George locked on to Tobsha, [the erotic fiction writer]. She must have been doing some acting on the film, and a weirder partnership has never been consummated. My guess is that Tobsha – as was her way - was lured by George’s fantastic Lithuanian body, his heavy uncircumcised penis and, perhaps, his incontrovertible weirdness. The relationship lasted nearly a year and it is said that George even pops up in one of Tobsha’s popular novels.

George + The Decrepitudes - index

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~ David Hicks to Become Dole-Bludger

Brutal arch-terrorist David Hicks today will seek to further undermine the Australian nation by leeching hard earned tax-money from its citizens …

In truth … My wife claims to have seen the headline ‘Hicks To Go On Dole’ scrolling past the bottom of the screen when she was watching the Channel Nine morning show today.

All it took was his father, or lawyer, to mention that he had an appointment at Centrelink. That and the Channel Nine sensibility.

I say he deserves a lot more than the dole for what his nation allowed him to suffer.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

~ donald's christmas fear

As Jenny lay in an alcoholic coma and Polly - her energies undiminished - spread her many acquisitions across the loungeroom, I sat, mute and stunned. By the end of the day I'd drawn this ...

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Monday, December 24, 2007

~ Chadstone: a writhing pit of crapulence

I happed to do some driving on the Monash freeway yesterday. Ahead of me, as I approached Warrigal Road, I saw a banking up of traffic and a couple of those big portable signs that scroll important messages.

I quickly ran through the possibilities in my mind. There’s some obstruction ahead. Should I get off the freeway at this exit like everyone else? I must act quickly…

Then the signs swam into focus. I saw the word ‘Chadstone’ and immediately understood. Chadstone: that lodestone of venality.

Both exits – inbound and outbound – were stalled with three lanes of traffic. Presumably the many other approaches to this monolith of consumption were similarly occluded. It is difficult to imagine what it might be like at the actual shopping centre – for there is, with absolutely no doubt, insufficient parking there for so many cars…

But who was in those cars? Why were they going there? They’ve had a year to purchase their Christmas gifts. Supplies they could get at their local supermarket. Were they all so disorganised that they had to pile upon each other in a last desperate giga-scrum to get what they think they need?

Or is it something else entirely? Is it something they may actually enjoy? A cherished custom? Something to which to take the family, to look forward to? Is there some innate drive that pulls them there, to congregate in celebration of gross consumption, to kneel before the belly-god in tacit agreement that the base desire for material objects is actually a good thing; that covetousness is no longer a sin?

Do they yowl together in primitive ecstasy, decerebrated by droning carols, rendered mindless by the devious enchantments of the Advertiser Arch-Mage? Does that tinsel tickle something in their groins? Do those baubles send a shiver down their spines? Do they fall together in a ravening cluster of glitzy bags and cellophane wrap, in a pseudo-sexual bog of want? Do they bow low to the iconography of chain stores, brand names and the latest, most mouth-wateringly desirable manufactured good?

Do they?

I’m sure that lobotomising hellhole is even thicker with worshipers today. Shops stay open till midnight on Christmas Eve, don’t they? I can only guess what sick-making mass-wedding of consumer to consumer item is being enacted there as I write.

But despite that, Happy Christmas to you



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~ loathsome mrs coyle

On one of our regular walks around the block, Polly, Tweety Bird and I encountered a young girl named Gabby. Gabby is nine, nearly four years older than Polly, yet despite the gap they have become fast friends. Gabby lives opposite the small playground of mulch and cracked plastic that you pass on the way down to the grey creek. And that’s where, a few years back, the two of them met.

Gabby loves to talk; within seconds we were up to date on the travails of her netball team, the likelihood of her getting a daschund for Christmas and any number of other girlish facts of importance. Gabby is a determined child and very bright; she’s also slightly fascinated by my partner Jenny, whom I think she may regard as terribly dark, exotic and libertarian.

I can’t recall quite how the subject was broached, but I asked Gabby to remind me where she was going to school…

- Oh? I responded. I went to Holy Family.

This was the next Catholic primary school up the road.

- I have a friend there. She’s in grade six, said Gabby.

- I only stayed till grade four.

- Why?

- I moved to another school.

- Why?

- There was a teacher there who… caused me suffering.

- What did she do?

- She singled me out. Picked on me. I was kind of a nerd, nervous, awkward, thick glasses …

Or perhaps Mrs Coyle just didn’t like the sound of the name Sejavka… There was a lot ethnic bias back then in suburban Australia. Perhaps, it was just because I didn’t have the resources to defend myself.

I wish I knew why this young woman took so much time out to torture me. The year before, she had much longer hair and had been known as Miss Ballantyne. Perhaps there was marital strife that fuelled her spite...

Let me describe some of her behaviour.

Once, I captured a grasshopper and was keeping it imprisoned in my palms with the purpose of presenting it to Mrs Coyle as a form of conciliation. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but I was just a kid.

Lunch hour was over and we were arranging ourselves on the white painted dots in the courtyard, when the grasshopper nipped me. I cried out and violently cast it away. Mrs Coyle came down on me like a flash. I recall trying to explain my intentions and failing. I recall her punishing me, but not how, only that it left me emotionally devastated.

During grade four I had a problem with my heels. A chronic soreness. It was diagnosed as tenosynovitis, then later as something else. I was forced to rest my feet and wasn’t allowed to play at lunchtimes like the other kids. I would either read or my mum would drive me home, where I would warm a chocolate biscuits in front of a blow heater and lick off the melted chocolate.

One lunchtime, returning before the rest of the class, I saw an empty bottle on the platform beneath the blackboard. A line of chalk radiated about foot out from its base. My immediate and reckless thought was that it had been left there by some children who had not bothered to clean it up.

Studiously, I threw the bottle in the bin and rubbed out the chalk line. When class resumed, Mrs Coyle’s first action was to question where the ‘sundial’ had disappeared to. Horrified, I owned up. I pleaded that I was ‘only trying to help’ – I recall the words distinctly, but they bore no weight with this pitiless woman. She took obvious pleasure in pointing out my stupidly to the room and provoking their laughter.

Perhaps that was what it was. She thought I was stupid and ought be punished for it.

I think it was about this time that I began taking a shower as soon as I got home and crying beneath the soothing hot water. My mother was worried, I know that … I don’t know what discussions went on between my parents, but ultimately the authority of the school seemed to take sway … My father, in mortal fear of Communists, would do nothing to aggravate the authorities, and my mother was simply inhibited

Then, on a particular morning, we stood together, said the morning prayer, and …

- Everyone sit. Except for Sam.

I was always very proud of my efforts at school, and actually believed I was to be singled out for some honour.

Mrs Coyle ordered me to the front of the class. I can easily recall the growing realisation and the mounting terror I felt on that journey from desk to platform

She commanded that I repeat the sign of the cross before the class, who in those times would have been at least forty strong.

I began to see the problem and took care to make the sign correctly, but I became flustered.

- No. Do it as you did it before.

I was never any good at the Sign of The Cross. I’d always get my shoulders confused with my forehead or breast or whatever. I obeyed her and must have got it wrong because once more she solicited a riot of laugher from the class. Again I was deeply humiliated.

Her next act was to abandon her pupils and lead me through every class in the school. She stood me on each platform and asked me to repeat my flawed gesture and be humiliated. Again and again. Forty laughing children a shot. As extreme as it sounds, it is the truth as I know it.

I cried as loudly as I could on the way home that afternoon, I cried so loudly because I knew no way to find respite from my abuse. I remember a man asking someone what was wrong with me, and feeling a faint sense of satisfaction …

I told my parents I would run away from home if they didn’t send me to another school. They believed me and acted accordingly.

I actually feel shocked writing this, it brings back some strong emotions. Gabby was shocked too.

- Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you report her?

- Kids weren’t allowed to stand up for themselves in those days, was all I could say.

Gabby - with her clear sense of right and wrong, and her determination - made me think of how far we’ve come with how we treat out children; we listen to them more, invest them with a strong sense of self, and an awareness of danger. It was a positive omen for Polly, I thought. If anyone like the evil Mrs Coyle ever happens upon her, I’d like to think she’d know how to defend herself.

- You know there’s a Mrs Coyle teaching at my school, said Gabby.

My mind ran ahead of itself. I have always wanted to seek revenge.

- I’ll ask her if she ever taught at Holy Family. I mean, it’s close by….

But too long ago, surely, I thought.

I carry with me the image those primary school teachers with their bright synthetic Sixties dresses and their long hair. They were young, probably in their early twenties. I recall my bewilderment when one of them leaned over, peered into my eyes and asked me – in complete seriousness – if I was wearing false eyelashes. Mrs Coyle was present too. In the corner of my memory, forcing a smile.

I’ve done the calculations. It happened thirty-nine years ago. Mrs Coyle could easily be the woman in her early sixties working as a librarian at Gabby’s school.

I have to ask myself what I will do, if it is her. It’s a moral question of quite some complexity. I don’t think she scarred me for life, in fact she may have made me stronger. But she did hurt me badly, cruelly, when I was too young to even be sure what she was doing was wrong.

If it does turn out to be her - and I will try to find out - I think I’ll write a letter, calling her out, demanding an apology. If for nothing else than to let her know that an adult now bears witness to her crimes.

And perhaps to find out why.

Polly, Tweety Bird and I finished our walk home.

Polly begins prep next year and Jenny has just finished acquiring her first uniform. We found her sewing a name patch onto the inside of her sun-hat. Jenny had found a forgotten roll of embroidered name patches reading ‘Sam Sejavka’ in the back of a cupboard - and with motherly thrift had just clipped off the Sam and begun using them afresh, after forty odd years of dust gathering. And species extinction. And climate change. The further sophistication of weapons and war. The conversion of greed from a vice into a virtue…

At least here, in this time and place, we’ve learnt to treat our children better.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

~ tweety bird

From time to time I make mention of a being named Tweety Bird. Here, for reference purposes, is an image of the aforesaid creature. Tweety Bird is a tort-tabby or tabby-tort who, against the habit of her species, accompanies us for walks in the surrounding neighbourhood.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

* 25 February 1981 9.30pm

Apologies to Mick Lewis, Ears guitarist & co-founder, over this one.


My entries are slipping further apart now. I hope this journal doesn’t die.

I’ve just made my way out of an infernal depression. It was probably born from tiredness and compounded by irritation at [Mick] Lewis. Gus has done this comic-book detective style piece of artwork for the record cover [Scarecrow]. Mick seemed to like it. I simply hated it. I would prefer our artwork to be artier, more along Birthday Party lines.

We printed many posters and I organised Lyn Nicholson to put them up.

What’s more, Cathy’s back. We went to the Seaview [Crystal Ballroom] last night. She stayed the night with me and Christine.

Our song Green Food For a Queen is coming along nicely. The future of my other song looks depressing. Our first full band rehearsal was terrific fun.

I turned up at the Birthday Party’s film clip shoot at the Hawthorn Tip. There were fires burning in a pit bordered by a murky lake, which in turn was bordered by a great sandstone cliff. Bubbles of methane spurted from the surface of the lake, gallows and crucifixes were set up on mounds. I watched for hours until finally – on heroin and booze – I decided I wanted to swim in the lake. I stripped and Troy covered me in body paint. I made my way out to a bathtub, in which they filmed me, as I danced…

The whole thing seemed like a cheap version of Ashes to Ashes.

I’m getting very nervous about March 6th, the date of our first gig. The Serious Young Insects got picked out by “Sting” from Police for their record label – it makes me sick with jealousy.

christine & I


The sentence in italics is paraphrased – the most sense I could extract from a very strange mess of words. I recall my anger at Gus’s record cover – it was entirely naff and I was determined to at least match the wonderful graphics coming from the Birthday Party camp. The fact that it was even being considered infuriated me….

Lyn Nicholson was queen of the Melbourne poster mafia. I worked for her for a time, but because I was solo and didn’t have a car, it was a nightmare. On my second or third night, I was nabbed by the cops, charged and later convicted. To this day, this bill posting crime still pops up if I get pulled over, or questioned or whatever. I think it’s the only actual conviction on my not-so-brief rap sheet.

The film clip was of course Nick The Stripper, directed by The Rich Kids [Paul Goldman & Evan English]. That film about Frank Sinatra’s tour of Australia – The Night We Called it a Day – is the last work of Paul's of which I am aware.

Nick The Stripper on YouTube

I recall Nick Cave saying something caustic about the tribe of extras in rabbit suits etc - but it did turn out to be a bit of a classic, didn’t it?

It was a filthy night, and the occasion of my most unsanitary injection ever – squatting on the putrid ground of the dump, by the light of one of their witch-fires… Simone was with me. Yet I wonder, where did the gear come from?

To my great chagrin, the bathtub dance never made it into the clip. Apparently, I was too far away for it to be effective … I should just have been thankful that I did not die from tetanus, or hepatitis…

Diary of 1981 - index

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

~ she had a dream

They have agreed that he should look after the money when it comes every second Wednesday – as the lure of the glistening honeycomb is too strong for her to bear. She loses control of herself too easily and surrenders to the dark vicissitudes of the Deadly Spores. She spends money she does not have. Money that ought be directed toward better purposes.

By Tuesday night, her mind is already probing the psychic net the Spores hold in place above the city. Her eyes are closed; she is seeking inspiration. How can his hold on the money be loosened? Can he be tricked? She hates herself for thinking this way. But it is not her thinking, it is the Spores, who have gained control of a section of her brain known as the nucleus accumbens.

On this night in her dreams there is a shallow puddle with a fish in it. And a rock. She turns the rock over to discover it is, indeed, an ancient turtle-like creature. Disturbed from its sleep of centuries, it begins to feed, voraciously, immediately consuming the nearby fish. Once satisfied it transforms into a different creature and begins to feed again, to grow again. This cycle is repeated, until she sees a monstrous pigeon approaching the house. At first, she is daunted by its terrible size, but then she consoles herself – it is only a pigeon and even if gigantic could not possibly be a threat. But then, she wonders, will it peck her family, unthinkingly, as it would peck at worms…?

Wednesday begins badly. He is busy with his work, but must also distribute her money quickly before he is outsmarted. He is tense because he is fighting a vast adversary in the guise of his lover; he knows she will leap at any hint of weakness, so he must be stern. She is tense because there is a battle inside her, and because she wants her honeycomb, but cannot get it.

Bickering breaks out, scattered flares of nastiness; she cannot control her tongue when she feels like this … he becomes frantic and cannot think straight …

But the day is a success. Almost all the money lands in the correct places, save a little that is kept aside for basic survival over the coming fortnight. He allows himself to relax. He walks the cat around the block with his daughter. He allows himself a glass of wine or two ... And then the Deadly Spores strike with the force of a hammer in his face

She wants honeycomb and now she will not let him keep it from her.

She becomes undeniable, yet he remains strong. He will not give her the food money. Or the the bill money. She will not accept refusal. She will not give up. He will not give in. The process takes about an hour, but the battle is lost when the first germ of desire enters his heart…

Ten minutes later, or so, he relents. They will share this vicious product of the spores … and ignore the consequences …

There is only one way I can do this, he thinks. I must become like steel. I cannot lapse. When the sweet voice of the Deadly Spores begins to issue from her mouth, I must leave and not return until I know am powerful enough to resist it.

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~ the swollen grey creek

Today’s weather made the last post seem almost prescient.

We were hit by thunderstorms of extraordinary ferocity. I was stranded on the roads, trying to speed past sparking powerlines, avoiding flooded depressions and fallen trees, before my beloved Renault 12 stationcar gave up the ghost. I was on my way to retrieve Polly from her last ever day at crèche. I rang my wife then, and sent her into the fray….

I swear that there has never been a storm such as this - at least in my memory.

Below is Scotchman’s Creek swollen to ten, perhaps twenty times its normal size.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

§ the terrene of the hexapod

she tugs at the dry brown sheath,
encapsulating the fruits,
of monsteria deliciosa,
that jut like pale green penises,
with soft dimples,
and nature’s perfect tessellations.

What come forth are earwigs,
more earwigs than she believes possible;
a nest of creatures not thought to nest;
an unanticipated colony,
fulminating in a rough mass.

she has a particular horror
of earwigs:
the tweezers,
the speed of motion,
the unknowable intent.
they’re scary.
they might sit next to her

but she likes the colour

the subsequent moments,
she spends in panic,
stamping out the panicking nest;
that splinters,
sends each member weaving,
in a dissimilar direction.
chips of brown exoskeleton litter the concrete,
with disenabled forceps.

“being exploratory and omnivorous, earwigs probably do crawl into the human ear”

This is not the first time,
that creeping things,
have changed their patterns …

always, cockroaches were a signifier of Sydney,
its vice, the filth it trails …
or else of Amsterdam, New York, Bangkok …
but now we have cockroaches of our own.
the native Australian kind.
white stripes along the side.
it is said they feed on decomposing wood,
so why have they been present,
beneath the couches and the stereos,
over this last half-decade?
and in the linen, the white-tailed spider,
in this last half-decade…?

then there are lemon-black caterpillars,
besieging the birch tree,
fat with yellow matter custard.

never have we seen so many cicadas.
never has she collected so many split brown shells,
clinging to bark and stems,
never so many damaged green individuals,
threshing in the dust.
trefoil of golden jewels set between black eye-points,
semi-consumed by bird or ant.
wings collected.

“cicadas have been eaten in Ancient Greece; the female is prized, as she is meatier.”

dire signs.
from the spirits of the inborn world.

plagues. plagues upon plagues.
the little black ants,
the little back flies,
population explosions in the terrene of the hexapod.

nature, with whom we do so little business,
now formicating on our doorstep.

you see, there is a difficulty,
with the recollection of climatic events.
the human memory is all too finite, all too skewed.
all too ready to believe,
it is the hottest,
it is the wettest,
it is the strangest season that any can recall.

but I have been hearing these things all my life.
what could be different now?

I think,
the insects.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

* 21 February 1981, 11.13am

The following appears to have been written under the influence of amphetamines – therefore I’ve made an editorial judgment to amend some of the crazed grammar that fizzed from my young mind.

Speed was then amphetamine sulphate, not the methamphetamine we have today. Traditionally, it came in small translucent red
capsules worth twenty dollars. Heroin came in half clear/half red capsules referred to as double oh’s. The caps were sourced, I think, from a cold medicine and if the smack was not served up in a double oh, it was instantly suspect. Later, foil and paper folds came into fashion. Later still, balloons. In 1981 a ‘cap’ was fifty dollars – and, unless things have changed just recently, the price remains the same.


I went off to the Crystal Ballroom last night, though I can remember little of it. Afterwards, we visited Constance at his petrol station, and some friends came over to Milton St. – Jane, Leia & Cathy [a visitor from Adelaide]. We drank a huge amount of vodka and wound up being very sick. At about 9.00 we awoke from our stupor …

The Ballroom was full of friends. Even Warren Coleman was there - he dropped by with [Paul] Storm at four yesterday morning and yapped… and yapped …

I found myself in a very lurid mood. The girl Tobsha was giving me the eye, I’m sure, and I was returning it. My recollections of the night are full of skirt-filled flashes … Sometimes I’m like that; most of th
e time in fact, but never wholeheartedly. When I think of Christine, I lose any active interest.

I am on speed and have not slept a wink.

It was probably a foolish thing to do, taking it, but it was kind of fun.

There’s a lot I have to say, but I’ve little inclination to say it.
I’m experiencing that dreadful speed state in which you are forever teetering on the edge of a ghastly chasm*, waiting for your life to crumble around you…

Somebody asked me to write a story for a magazine last night… Mmm … perhaps ... It will feature a pallbearer and be called ‘The Pallbearer’.

Christine is going to live here for a month, she thinks, before
she moves in with Craig Elrick. In my paranoid state I can’t help being worried about that… We may be going to Adelaide. That visitor I mentioned, Cathy, she would be arranging it.

Wally is sweeping the path outside. A slow fly is on this book. Christine is in bed, awake, and probably grumpy….


Paul Storm, a school friend, was living around the corner around this time. I remember running to borrow money off him for a cab, after cops – called by my mother - came to my door and alerted me to my father’s terrible stroke. It was only a few months previous to this diary that he died.

I see Paul often these days.
He has a daughter Polly’s age, Caitlyn, and as we’re all Sainters, we catch quite a few games together.

1982 beargarden

Constance working at a petrol station … I believe he would die if he knew this information was publicly available. He’s a serious [and I think successful] visual artist now - whom I last encountered at Troy’s wake.

Warren Coleman was another school friend. He was one of the boys in The Devil’s Playground and a co-writer, I understand, of Happy Feet. I don’t know much of what fell between, but we used to share very similar tastes and it was he who came to school with an Aladdin Sane haircut and he who introduced me to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and thence to Philip K Dick … My parents hated him, blamed him for the incident when I took Bowie’s Young Americans record cover to the hairdresser and asked them to duplicate it. [The Gitane I could arrange myself.]

And Tobsha. Hmmn… A strange game of sexual chess stretched for years before burning out sans consummation. Then a VCA sculptress living at the end of the street, now she lives in LA and writes erotic novels with names like Quiver and Tremble and The Witch of Cologne. I’ve always been jealous of her success, principally because once I was far superior at spelling.

* Wasn’t someone teetering on a brink in my last post? I wonder how often I use that metaphor? Possibly a lot – I always seems to be treading the edge of some abyss or chasm or whatnot ...

Diary of 1981 - index

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Monday, December 17, 2007

~ bared beneath the ruthless neon

Before all else, I must tell you that we saw a sundog. For me, it was the first time. Something about the notion of sundogs, and the name. I’ve always loved them.

Now, experiencing The Church as a support band is a rare thing, but on this occasion – opening for The Divinyls at The Forum– they truly compensated for their lesser billing with an outstanding performance. Actually, I think it was one of the better Church gigs I’ve seen, at least in recent memory. Mr Wilson-Piper was impressive, cultivating the persona of a hunted bushranger, while Mr Kilbey was sufficiently limber to goad the audience with a yoga position, or two.

I’ve never really been a Divinyls fan, though one has to respect Chrissie Amphlett. Last night, I gave up after a few songs -
too many strange Eighties overtones. The Divinyls used to be one of the scariest Australian pub-rock bands of their time. Meaner, possibly, than Cold Chisel. Yet not as dire as Midnight Oil. I’m speaking from the vantage of a lowly support band, of course, recalling the surly, lumpen, violently-inclined road crews with who we used to have to deal. Divinyls had the worst reputation for limiting volume, pulling channels and lights etc… I wonder if those nasty customs have endured into the current day? I’d like to think not.

The Church invited their friends down to a suite in the bowels of the Forum, where the chairs collapsed whenever I made a sudden move. It was there I met Sacha, my supposed doppelganger, of whom I spoke way back when I first began The Sails of O
blivion. Yes, there is a resemblance, but it’s more an overall impression rather than anything specific. His facial features, for instance, are quite different to mine, while the manner in which he lurches around is possibly quite similar. A nice guy too, by the way.

steve, me, donald, lynne

There’s a group of people, friends, who seem to only get together when Steve is in town; Donald, Simon. Bruce, Lynne, Sarah, Danny – and in the short period before I had to catch the last train - and despite my ordinary mood – I relaxed and enjoyed their company, without speaking very much at all.

I was astonished to encounter my long lost friend, Keisha. It was completely unexpected - she was there because she was a friend of the promoter. I have not seen her for years. Strange, because she’s been on my mind recently. I’d been worried for her, as the last time I saw her she was teetering on a precipitous brink – and could have gone either way.

Well, she toppled over, naturally, but claims to have crept back
up. Judging from how healthy she looked, I had to believe her. And it seems as if circumstances are working for her, as usual … money, property, share portfolios; all dropping in her lap for the most bizarre [and unrecountable] of reasons. It’s hard to explain Keisha. She is unique. She has a certain beauty that attracts certain kinds of men [like ants to canned pineapple] – and on these men she happily thrives. But there are many other facets to her that defy description. We originally met via an obsession she was having with Michael Hutchence, which extended to the movie Dogs in Space and thence to me…

Oh, one more thing. I’ve been back in the petting zoo with Polly [and my briefcase]. A different one this time, classier birds and beasts, many with unusual growths on their heads. It was in Jells Park, during the hours immediately prior to Carols by Candlelight. J G Ballard has spoken of suburbia as the future psychic battleground of humanity and on this afternoon we caught a terrifying glimpse of his meaning. Pictured beneath are denizens of the marginal zones - four
hours out from the carols and already in complete readiness.

Also in a state of preparedness was this mobile excrement pit or Faecal Utility Vehicle. It loomed with monstrous potential over the digestive systems of a steadily swelling crowd.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

~ tinselled excruciations, baubled spores

Weariness and worry – keywords of the holiday season.

Polly’s crèche held its Christmas do on Friday afternoon and we were obliged to attend – not least because Santa was arriving on a fire-engine. Polly has seen a lot of Santas lately and there has been much private churning in that growing head. For now, she has decided that all Santas but for the crèche Santa are false, particularly if they charge money for photographs.

We collapsed on some dry yellowing grass and swatted flies as we waited for our child to get satisfaction, which in time she did. Then we were away, by train, with Polly’s sweet little friend Mia, to the ‘Gala’ performance of Roald Dahl’s The Witches at Kaleide [RMIT]. This is Lynne Ellis’s kid’s show for 2007/08 and as usual it was hilarious, but I wasn’t quite in the mood. Neither was Mia; unlike Polly she hasn’t had much exposure to theatre and within seconds she was bawling with fear. A half hour of gentle cajoling resulted in her sitting up front with the other kids and loving it.

There was a celebration afterwards, but I didn’t enjoy it. I’m too worried about my partner. She’s too worried about money, and Christmas. I’m worried about money too – I think I’m the most penurious I’ve been in recent times and for some stupid reason it shames me. And – big surprise – the Spores are out, bedecked in Christmas regalia, revelling in the dark reaches of the soul, and sucking the will from my other half.

During the week, I had a meeting with a Romanian. I gave him some ‘quarantined’ money and explained that some of his business methods were destroying my family and would he cool off just a little. He said, sure, and then let me know that he’d found god. And that I should clean up my garage. Right. Sadly, some one has let him know where we live, against some very explicit instructions …

It just goes on and on. Horror without end. I wonder if I might obtain results by assuming the role of father, not only to my daughter, but to my wife? There are real trust issues in play here. There are lies being told. Things being stolen. Lines crossed which have not been crossed before… But before I can take any moral high ground, I must curtail are my own occasional lapses… I have to become without fault, and walk like a Jesus upon this Earth … if only …

Yesterday, Polly and I watched a choir recital. Her grandmother Di is one of the singers and it was pleasant to close my eyes and listen to those sweet voices. It had been my plan to join this choir next year, but now I am in two minds. The leader made the audience wait almost twenty minutes for her family to arrive. There’s something strange about that, isn’t there? Something a little, well … selfish? You see, I thought it was a community choir type thing, but the leader kept referring to it as her ‘job’ and later I learned that the members pay $15 a week to participate … If it’s her ‘work’ and everyone’s paying, isn’t it just a little much to hold a [paying] audience that long because her husband was waiting for their two year old to wake up?

See the mood I’m in? To make matters worse, when Di introduced me to this choir leader as a possible future member, she – crime of all crimes – briskly nodded, didn’t even turn to look at me and resumed a conversation with someone else. But if not this choir, then another. I really need to start singing again – I think I’ll be better for it, all round. Music is the universal panacea.

Tonight, I’m going with Lynne to see The Church and The Divinyls. I may be in a better mood by then

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

~ a strip of decaying rag

I was gardening earlier in the week when I found a piece of old rotten fabric. Here is a picture of it.

I was about to flick it onto a rubbish pile when I was struck by the remnants of gold and pale blue patterning on the cloth.

Now, I have in the past found the odd bit of nostalgic refuse in the yard: antique marbles I would drop into beds of moss just to see the neat hole they made, a sheriff’s badge of primitive white plastic which was unmistakably a relic of my childhood.

But this minging bit of rag, I swiftly realised, was a piece of my parents’ bed. Now, assuming [pretty safely] that my parents never fired up their sex lives with any extra-bedroom antics, this would have been the bed I was conceived on.

Long gone, chopped up and left out with the hard rubbish – but for this little decaying reminder…

I showed it to Jenny.

- there may be a few of your brothers and sisters left on that

After my parents died, I did have a slight problem getting rid of their stuff. [I have a problem getting rid of any stuff] If I had to throw out an article of clothing that held an emotional resonance, I would cut off a little piece and keep it in a memory box. There was a winter coat of my mother’s - brownish with tiny little coloured woollen spots sewn in. During Mass, as a very small child, I would love to pick off those coloured nubs. My mum didn’t like it, of course, but I guess it kept me from squirming … Naturally, there’s a sample of that coat hidden somewhere in the house… in some box …

I used to take photos of things too, before I threw them out. Our old stereo. My dad had been proud of that. I snapped a shot of it on the nature strip before the trucks came …

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Ω dead time in crepus-space

Subjective time in Crepus-Space will rarely be in agreement with a conventional clock. In extreme cases, a hiccup may seem to last an aeon, while getting a four year old human to sleep may take an instant. There are also some unnerving emotional effects: one may suddenly feel murderous rage towards the edge of a blanket, or perhaps fall profoundly in love with a smudge of earwax. Gravity too can be elusive and strange. Heavy ear syndrome is not uncommon. Also lip-flop. One’s left arm may feel like lead, the other like bubblewrap.

But the minor inconveniences of Crepus-Space are more than made up for by the astonishing speed at which it lets one travel.

As we near Elixesse, I will take the opportunity to describe the two who travel with me aboard the Ørn.

Jelonet, a near-human of Heptuna Prime, spends the vast majority of her time closeted in her suite. If she was of Earth, she would be immediately diagnosed with OCD, but Jelonet assures us that her behaviour is species-specific and entirely normal.

In the patterns of her bedding, Jelonet finds an infinite fascination. Into the walls of her living quarters, with a pin, she carves marvellously intricate, microscopically-detailed designs. She has borrowed my Crowley Tarot deck and reads her fortune as many as twenty times a day. She decorates her suite with femto-objects [or femtobjects] she has netted from space, and which neither I nor Robert, nor The Ørn itself, can see.

Jelonet appears human - but her skin is a little too white, her eyes a little too violet, and her physical presence just a little too unearthly. The Ørn is as mystified as I how two species could have independently evolved so similarly at a distance of many light years. We wonder if this is a case for panspermia.

Heptuna Prime does not have a space-faring civilisation, yet Jelonet designed and constructed her own vessel, escaped the planet’s atmosphere and promptly foundered in low orbit. The Ørn sucked her ship into its voluminous hold minutes prior to her inevitable demise.

After her rescue, in those first days, we worked full time restoring her health and deciphering her language. She is a breathtakingly beautiful creature and, shortly after her recovery, she and I discovered that our bodies were sexually compatible. A relationship flared like a supernova, then steadied. Currently, we are close companions and colleagues who share each other’s bodies when circumstance allows.

Yes, I mentioned Robert. Yes, Robert. Who dwells in my real-world car-port. He is my third companion.

He more or less lives in the hold, emerging only when there’s some piloting or advanced cogitation to be done, or when his body requires gravity to prevent the weakening of his heart or the degradation of his bones and muscles.

In the hold, he has set up an austere zero-gee living area. The Ørn has offered to install some proper amenities, but Robert has politely refused - as is his way. He spends his time analysing and repairing the Ørn’s contingent of lesser vessels as well as what remains of Jelonet’s eccentric home-made ship. The Ørn has a special place in its heart for Robert and from time to time, just for him, it produces a wreck from the inscrutable ur-space where it seems to store half the galaxy’s ruined [and perhaps confiscated] space vessels. [I will speak of this incredible ur-space another time.]

The Ørn has received and analysed data from the swarm of micro-probes it launched ahead of us towards Elixesse Quaternary. The swarm numbered in the millions and scattered itself across the Elixesse system in the hope of garnering information on the plight of the Mineral Entity.

Only half a dozen struck paydirt, but that was sufficient. Through them, importantly, we learned the identity of the threat to the Entity. We acquired vocalisations - recorded by micro-probes embedded in the hull of vessels – and from these the Ørn deduced the invader’s language.

A single probe penetrated a data cable and transmitted a great deal of societal and strategic information – including visuals of a life-form so bizarre as to be barely credible...

An individual of the Urograffin consists of a clear elongated dome. About a metre in diameter, the dome is set upon something resembling a gnarled black tree stump with many highly motile roots extending from its base rather like tentacles. The flexible earthworm-like tips of these roots afford the creature an ungainly, yet effective means of locomotion.

The dome is of course not the plastic with which we are familiar, but a strong transparent substance chemically conjured from the limitless imagination of evolution. Within it floats 144 small spheres, in ceaseless motion, just a little smaller than ping-pong balls and with no two of precisely the same hue.

The balls are suspended by currents of air produced by a ring of moist grey anus-like mouths set in the flat top of the ‘trunk’. The Urograffin exhibits an astonishing degree of control over the placement and movement of these spheres and with them it effects communication – a language, but also a means of expressing subtle changes in emotion. To the outsider, the ball movement might seem entirely random, but on occasion extraordinary formations may be observed. Cuboids. Toruses. Ellipsoids – enhanced in beauty by gorgeous arrangements of colour.

As I reviewed the footage of a Urograffin pilot, I saw its balls display a perfect spectrum - from deep burgundy to violet. A writhing line moved to form a spring-like form or helix of remarkable beauty. As humans have poetry in their language, so the Urograffin artfully expresses himself with a subtle orchestration of his balls. Harmony of colour expresses harmonious emotion, a disharmonious combination expresses disharmonious emotion.

It is a pity that a civilisation of such unique organisms has such devious intent – for it seems, from the evidence of the micro-probes, that the Urograffin are indeed responsible for the plight of Elixesse Quaternary

A subtle alteration in the ambient lighting alerted us to a change in ship status. We had emerged from Crepus-Space and soon would be encountering the extraordinary Urograffin ‘face’ to face

1. the starman succumbs to my will
2. the starman is summoned to elixesse quaternary

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

* 19 February 1981, Friday 2.30am

These old diary entries were all written so late at night, have you noticed? What a night owl I was.


I have been very busy. I’ve organised handbills and today I pasted a painting by Hieronymous Bosch onto Carl’s drumskin. In about six hours Christine and I have to return her mother’s car. I must take with me the photos for Tony Harding : he is doing our record cover. [Scarecrow – pictured in an earlier post]

I snapped at Christine today and I could see she was hurt because she walked straight out of the room without finishing her cantaloupe. I had made a bad error with Carl’s drumskin and she’d laughed.

- Christine, don’t laugh. It really irritates me.

She’d sounded so derisive. But there has always been a sort of mocking tone in her laugh. I should have known a time would come that it annoyed me.

I could not apologise right away.

We’ve been watching Craig Elrick’s huge colour television here all night. Christine made dinner. Troy refused to make coffee. I am jealous of Troy, you know – the way he flirts with Christine – even now I hear the sounds of her laughter from the other room … it sounds so pathetic … God, what am I writing?

It doesn’t hurt me now. I’ve turned off my emotions. But with eliminating the jealousy, I must also lessen my love for Christine. I’ve been wondering all day if this thing is waning [Oh, how I would flourish in the pain of a break-up [!]] But, admittedly I have been tired and in a grumpy mood.

We moved most of Christine’s possessions here today – they’ll stay till she gets a house.

I have what Christine believes to be warts on my cock. I must go to one of those family planning centres. Who’s planning families now? … I am embarrassed to go …

Now my flat is annoying m. I’d like it much simpler. There is tinfoil over the walls and yesterday I added to the film jungle [once again] with milk-bar type streamers over the door


Re: the drumskin. The Boys Next Door had a song called The Red Clock by Rowland Howard… the red clock goes tick tock … and someone had decorated the skin of their bass drum with a very cool looking interpretation of the title. I think that’s what drove me to make sure ours was a cool one too.

I think it was about this time that I ate my first avocado. It was Christine’s sister Anne, who introduced me to it, halved, with vinegar poured into the seed-hole. Believe it or not, avocados were a very rare thing prior to 1981. Mangoes came even later.

And with regards to those warts - now that I've made the mistake of mentioning them - they were successfully frozen off shortly afterwards.

Diary of 1981 - index

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

~ the land of the free

An interesting story has come to light thanks to my friend the lustrous Emely McCord, pictured below.

Just two weeks ago, her sister Annie was travelling in Canada with her boyfriend Jim. They had crossed the border from the States and were attempting to return when they ran into a little strife.

Since they looked like a couple of unscrubbed, long-haired hopheads, the border cops singled them out. Because of her dual citizenship [Aust/US], Annie was partially protected, but Jim, an Australian, was subject to the gamut of intrusive search techniques – he was stripped, x-rayed and probed; the van too was inspected, then their luggage.

When it came to contraband, they were clean as a whistle - but certain incriminating photographs were found in their possession. Officials identified the pair in various poses - cavorting, gambolling and generally showing off in the presence of a large, vigorous crop of cannabis sativa.

Annie and Jim explained that, prior to their journey to Canada, they had done some work in California, picking medi-marijuana for the pharmaceuticals industry. But their explanation fell on deaf ears. These authorities, I was told, were paid by the arrest. Annie was cut loose, but – despite all their protestations – the full force of zany American law enforcement descended like an anvil on poor Jim.

He was handcuffed, clothed as a felon and locked in a badly-ventilated metal shed with about seventy-five others. And it was scary in there. A guy was using a bottle top to carve bloody crosses into his forehead. And when the lights went out, these crazed, disorientated individuals began to fight, uncaring of who they dragged into the affray.

Jim had no recourse. No lawyer. At that point, he might as well have disappeared from the face of the Earth. Annie could find out nothing.

At some point, he was transported to an immigration detention centre in Tacoma, near Seattle, Washington State - which from its description sounds very similar to camps in Australia which the new Labor government has promised to dismantle.

His original garments had been confiscated, presumably as evidence, and he was provided with what Emely described as op-shop clothes [‘thrift shops’ in the US]. Second-hand jocks, sandals four sizes too large. And after the first laundry run, he was left with a single sock, no t-shirt and yet another pair of used jocks.

Once a week, they were allowed two hours of sunlight - to walk around a small fenced yard in imitation of exercise. Every day at five they were served gruel.

One guy had been there two years. He had arrived in the US legally when he was four. He had grown up there and now had a house, a wife and kids. But after a minor change in the laws, some forms had been sent for him to fill. For some reason he had not returned them and, in time, the police arrived on his doorstep and dragged him away.

Reminiscent of the last few years of Australian Immigration policy, no?

Jim was in custody for ten days before he managed to borrow a phone card and contact a lawyer. The lawyer put pressure on his case worker and the wheels began to grind. [His case worker had 199 other clients]. Jim, as you would expect, just wanted out; he acquired a ticket home and begged for what they term rapid deportation. It was granted, along with a ten year ban from entering the USA.

He was outfitted in a classic US prison uniform with something like ‘State Penitentiary Victim’ printed boldly on the back and taken to LAX. Officers led him out onto the tarmac - fully visible to the public through those wide windows they have at airports - and removed the manacles just prior to his boarding the flying kangaroo.

Makes you even more wary of visiting the US, doesn’t it? Makes you wonder if Ruddock and Vanstone and Andrews were following the example of the Americans when they ramped the severity of our immigration laws. Of all the countries to imitate! September 11 really let the dogs out, didn’t it?

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

~ a stranger from hell

A curious thing happened this morning.

Yesterday, Jenny passed me a phone message. Someone had rung asking if he could personally collect one of the books I have listed for sale on ebay – Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning. Problem was the auction had four days left to run and I had not set a Buy It Now price. I didn’t ring back as the cost of a mobile phone call might easily eliminate my profit margin. [Pathetic, isn’t it?].

This morning he turned up on my doorstep - an average looking suburban bloke. [I was expecting an elderly Jew]

I explained the misunderstanding. He shrugged. It was no big deal; he lived just around the corner. I apologised that I couldn’t withdraw the listing as there was already a bid – additionally, it would violate Lampsucker’s^ stringent business regulations. Besides, Frankl’s book is one of those precious, obscure items that have the potential to skyrocket.

I was a teenager when I read that book, but I do remember being reasonably inspired by Frankl’s existentialist theory of logotherapy.

At the time, existentialism was one of my more acceptable arenas of interest [in contrast to William Burroughs, Lou Reed, Jack Kerouac, David Bowie, Tangerine Dream and Gary Glitter]. My parents were leery of it, but Frankl was Jewish, an Auschwitz survivor and his philosophy was not so dreadfully out of phase with their Christian middle class values. I recall this because it was one of the very rare occasions on which the tastes of the Sejavka family were in some kind of agreement.

So they took me to watch Frankl’s lecture at Monash University. Though I cannot now recall what it was all about, I was impressed by the man and his philosophy – and there wasn’t too much boring predictable stuff about Omnipotent Wizards in The Sky and the cultists who worship them.

I mentioned this lecture to the stranger on my doorstep, adding that Frankl’s book was the real McCoy, not some spiritualistic hogwash dredged up by greedy crystal-worshipping mountebanks.

Then I saw tears welling in his eyes.

He began to speak. The intensity with which he uttered the words ‘my hell’ motivated me to offer him a seat. I put the kettle on and made him a cup of tea, which he gratefully accepted.

I won’t go too deep into the abyss of this man’s life, but I found something quite meaningful in a particular aspect of his despair.

Repeatedly, he referred to it as The Duality.

Aside from his obvious distress, he seemed a perfectly ordinary bloke. He had married a beautiful woman with two boys from a previous marriage. He provided for them, working full time, housing, feeding and caring for them, and basically living the stock standard middle-Australian existence asked of him by society. But within, he felt he was living a lie.

He wanted 'to walk together' with his wife - to live as equals. Instead, she insisted he assume the classic role of head of the house with all that it entailed - and that she take the traditional role of wife.

Rather primitive in this day and age, you might say? But those forests of McMansions on the fringes of Melbourne are full of such dyads. Indeed, I suspect the nation may rely on them. The wage slaves. The breeders. Perhaps that’s why politicians like the arch-fiend Howard speak endlessly of the importance of family. And the concept of same-sex marriages? Well, that flies totally in the face of the static, Menzoid nation of their imagination.

The man’s wife involved herself in an amateur Christian theatre group, and in doing so got close to one of the male actors. A nine month affair resulted – and the Doorstep Man learned what it was like to live a nightmare. It was his family, his responsibility, and - regardless of the details - it was his failure that led her to betray him.

She – and therefore he – were involved in a Hillsong-like evangelical church. The troubled couple were offered counselling in the presence of ‘Prayer Warriors’. In a closed chamber, it was explained to him that he was the spiritual head of the family. It was his job to regulate the behaviour of his wife.

He told me, softly but with great force, that every finger in the room was pointed accusingly at him.

Men have a tendency to suffer in silence. And the hidden stress eats at their health. They are expected not to exhibit weakness or, God forbid, to cry. In time, they have strokes or heart attacks. Or they top themselves.

Though he did sense some wrongness in it, this man’s programming had always informed him how to behave, what to believe, and therefore with the opprobrium of his fellows came a loss of faith in himself and a profound sense of failure.

I empathise with him.

Though my life is nothing like his, my values and lifestyle wholly different, as a man I feel those same pressures. Thankfully, I have the resources to ignore them, recognising them as the residue of a previous age, yet I still experience them – especially living with my 'partner' in middle-class Mt Waverley and raising a small child. I found myself feeling a great sadness for this random ebay buyer.

To make matters worse, human males are wired for jealousy. Whether one expresses it or not, acts upon it or not, it’s rare for a man not to seethe when his wife abandons him for another. It eats at his pride – the pride that may be his only reward for playing the role of husband and provider. I expressed this to the Doorstep Man. He replied that it was immeasurably worse nine months ago when it all happened; when he at last decided to obey the impulses breeding in his heart - and abandoned what sounded like a truly malignant marriage.

Here we have The Duality. The exterior man who dutifully performs the role expected of him. The interior man whose hopes and ideals, wants and needs may be entirely in opposition.

But now he’s alone. Without the guidance of the masses. And he’s searching. He’s been to meditation classes, but was turned off by new-age talk of Angels. “Now raise your arms and seek the beneficence of Metatron … or was it Granian … or Zabkiel. There were so many of them. And they all had names.”

I told him I had a fat encyclopaedia of angels in my office. [It’s a fascinating book by the way. Highly recommended]. I also congratulated him on seeking out Man's Search For Meaning. It’s a solid, thoughtful book free from glutinous mumbo-jumbo. Good for him at present, I think. If I can remember any others, I might just text him …

Afterwards, I was a little shell shocked. He had appeared out of nowhere and our conversation had been pretty intense. Jenny opined that – though he might have plenty of male friends – they were probably normal men, and man-normal means you don’t share your emotions. We girls, she said, survive on sharing the contents of our hearts.

So true.

^ My ebay handle. [Lumpsucker was taken.]

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