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Monday, January 21, 2008

* 25 March 1981 thurs 2.30pm

I’m Sam Sejavka. I’m a writer and a singer. I’m twenty years old, but in one week’s time I’ll be twenty-one. Allow me to briefly describe my life up to this point.

Half way through my HSC year at St Kevin’s College, I left home and school and took a flat in St Kilda. I was seventeen. Shortly after that, suffering from nervous tension, I spent some weeks in a private psychiatric hospital. Though I never returned to school, I did sit my exams and managed to do pretty well, particularly in English.

I lived a reckless life in St Kilda, spending time with the basest of the creatures who abide there. I wrote all this time, though the results were dubious. I was young and over-stimulated by my new found freedom. I was seeing a girl called Irene, but broke up with her around the turn of the year …

I was evicted for general rowdiness and spent a week or so wandering in St Kilda, staying at hotels. I was undergoing another personality crisis, but this time it was not quite as severe.

I took up a new flat in Armadale and attended university, which I loathed. After two or three months I left, again undergoing a kind of crisis. I had done not a skerrick of work in this time. I found myself completely uninspired.

I moved to Sydney, found a flat in Kings Cross and wrote. I viewed myself as something like the protagonist from Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London - but under a shadow of inexperience and pretension the work I did was pretty well unreadable. [Woe the day I first read William Burroughs]

I made no friends there. I never went out. I became a lonely bum, trying to live his twisted idea of a dream. I must say though that I was brave. I’ve never had quite the same attitude to food since I found myself starving up in Sydney. At times I would go to a nearby homeless shelter to partake of the disgusting food they served there.

Eventually, I could stand it no longer and returned to Melbourne. I rented a house with George in Richmond and lived there six months, leading a wasteful sort of life. We had trouble with hoodlums in that place and left suddenly with the house in a wreck. Though I pined for female company, George and I enjoyed ourselves concocting and realising all manner of eccentric schemes.

I left for a new flat in Armadale. I was determined to write as diligently as I could - and I did for while, but it was forced, meaningless stuff.

Inspired by William Burroughs, and much to alarm of my parents, I joined The Church of Scientology Though my involvement was pretty marginal, [probably because I had no money,] it still remains omne of the stupidest things I’ve ever done.

In September, for five days, I camped out for David Bowie tickets. This was to be a turning point. I was introduced to heroin and LSD, though I’d had my fair share of other drugs previously. I made many friends and by the time of the next queue – this time for actual seating – I could almost have been described as gregarious. I spent those three weeks stoned in as many ways as it is possible to be. This is where the idea of the band was born.

The night of the concert, my basement flat flooded and I could no longer live there [I’d forgotten to turn on the pump]. I moved home and around the turn of the year, The Ears began to practise. In January 1979, I went to a science-fiction writer’s workshop in Sydney where, among others, I met George Turner and a young Lucy Sussex.

I moved into a house with Mick Lewis and Tim McLaughlan [keyboards] and The Ears developed. We played for the first time in February. I returned to Melbourne Uni and could stand it this time only because I found a girl, Elise Valmorbida, with whom I fell madly in love. But I was far too immature to make something like that work and the relationship had decayed to nothing by the end of the year.

The group was playing regularly now. I rented another flat in Armadale, where I decided to once more quit university. Soon after, I moved to a house in Richmond with Mick and Richard Lowenstein. I was a night bird, going out as much as possible and living a life of debauchery. They were the days of the Champion Hotel. The end of the year came and I had frittered it agreeably away. It was 1980, I was nineteen. I was in a group and things were fine in a twisted sort of way.

I stayed in Richmond till March, then moved to Elwood, to the flat where I began this diary. I turned twenty. Our first single was released. I pursued girls. We got a manager, then a different manager. I went to parties. And in August I met Christine.

There followed the most rewarding period of my life thus far. I was not prolific, I was not together, I was just unreasonably happy. We slept together almost every night. I was totally, without qualification, in love. And love was what was most important.

Soon after I met Christine, my father died. But that just healed with time. Then on the twentieth of March, Christine overdosed.

And now it’s the twenty fifth of March; I’m sitting out the front of Milton St, watching some placid old people mulling over the detritus of their lives. Mine is a pain equalled only by the pleasure that it echoes.


*

As you can imagine, this was a hellish period for me. I was wracked with grief and life seemed drained of all value – so forgive me if the above entry has a rather sententious tone.

It was interesting to read though. A lot of memories sparked. A lot of things forgotten.

After Christine’s death I woke in Troy’s flat next door with no memory whatsoever of the night before. It was barely daylight. I had a terrible sense of impending doom, but my mind was too foggy to work out why. I found my way to the front door; I could see Peter Walsh walking up the path from the back yard where he’d lain unconscious all night. He looked like a zombie. I caught his eye, but there was no reaction. I tried to open the door, but it was locked. I couldn’t think how to open it. I made my way back to the bed and again fell unconscious.

I awoke several hours later in full realisation that something had gone terribly wrong. I looked around frantically and saw Craig McGee in the doorway. Where’s Christine, I asked? She’s dead, he said.

Craig took me to his and Laura’s house, where I slept on the floor for a few days, before going home to my mother’s and doing the same for a fortnight. The heroin, fresh from Thailand, had been unreasonably strong and I took a long time recovering. I’ll never forget that pain and desolation. The last image I had of Christine was slapping her face, trying to wake her. It was just a flash in my memory of that night

To make matters worse, not long after, I began to receive a certain amount of police harassment. This was due to Christine’s father being the head of the police union, and her brother a member. In reflection, it was bound to happen. A fellow named Colin, a keyboard player who I think once burnt down someone’s garage, had been round to Milton St. The police had stopped him, hassled him severely. He said he had the strong impression that they were looking for someone with bright red hair, but not him. [I had bright red hair]. Then, after a gig at the Crystal Ballroom, a couple of cops pulled me into a corner and threatened to kill me if they heard of my further involvement with drugs. I wish I’d taken them more seriously.

Christine’s father, though, was understanding. He called me to the Harding family home and talked to me, not with anger but compassion. The family was less understanding towards the hapless Craig Elrick, who was a reckless spirit, doomed to forever get himself and others into strife …

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3 comments:

Ann O'Dyne said...

life's rich tapestry of experience.
youth.

(and I cannot help thinking the cop union was probably involved in the heroin getting into the country in the first place.
I have been interrogated by the Sydney Drug Squad at their HQ and they threatened me with a syringe - they waved it at me and called me a junkie (I was not) I loathe cops. and I do not understand why australians jet off to Thailand by the planeload. eejits)
peace and love

Sam Sejavka said...

hey, is that actually a picture of you? good to have a face to go with the names [my memory doesn't extend to faces in the dim dark distant past].

As a certified freak, I've had many unfortunate brushes with the law over the years. Luckily [ and touch wood] its been many years since I've been needlessly harrassed ...

neilly said...

sam-
i'm a stranger to you, but i read this tonight and have been sitting here, at this desk, in total silence for the past 20 minutes.

Oddly enough it was dogs in space that brought me here, my insatiable appetite to know more about where dogs came from, the realities behind it.

I'm 32, I saw loads of my friends dissapear down the path of heroin, albeit later than your journey. I watched them dissapear into the warm oblivion that it offered. I felt the pain of losing them, one by one.

I'm not entirely sure why I feel compelled to write this, mostly because I wanted you to know that I was here and I read this. I love the anonymous nature of the net but despise the fact that it leaves me without the ability to really say "hey, this was important, reading this had an impact on me"

In a delicious twist of fate, I have a son named Sam, he's 16mths old, he's the most spectacularly glorious thing in the world- I wonder what he'll write about when he's 20?