Monday, October 6, 2008

~ The Den of Nargun

I know, another long hiatus, but this time the reasons are entirely different. For one, it’s been school holidays. I made another trip to Bairnsdale, this time just with Polly, and this time I remembered to bring my spasmo-nemigron …

We didn’t see a great deal of Tosie; she’s abandoned her work as a goat-wrangler and is picking broccoli in Lindenow. One of her close friends works at a vegetable packing facility in Bairnsdale proper, where salads are wreathed in plastic for the great supermarket chains. To my disappointment, I learned that produce grown near Perth arrives in Bairnsdale by truck, is packed and sent back out, by truck, to supermarkets in Perth. I shake my head. Even when it’s in their own financial interest, the combines can’t get it together to be efficient. At least, when emissions trading arrives they will have a of fat to trim.

They were a cool few days in the country … my fascination with birds is widening, intensifying, and there were many, many birds to enjoy. We spent a day wandering through a vast morass, where we saw sea eagles, swamp harriers, a giant nesting colony of straw-necked ibises, mallards, coots, shelducks, black ducks, swans. We smuggled out an impressive pelican skull, which Polly is taking to show-and-tell tomorrow. According to my beautiful new Encyclopaedia of Signs and Symbols, birds are symbols of the human soul, “representing goodness and joy, standing for wisdom, intelligence and the swift power of thought.” I am certain my latest obsession is entwined with this symbolism … dissolution into the upper air … severance of the bonds that hold me to the ground …

We detoured on the way home to Melbourne, visiting an aboriginal site called the Den of Nargun. It is a cave, hidden in a dark mossy valley just off the Mitchell River, where a ravening beast – equal parts stone and flesh – lies in wait to steal careless children.

Wednesday night is the opening night of Llareggub, an adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. It’s playing every night until Saturday at the Kaleide theatre at RMIT. It is directed by Lynne Ellis, who is the Director-in-Residence at the University.

There is a huge cast of characters. I am playing a Priest, an Undertaker, an Amorous Sailor and a Poisoner. I’ve been absolutely loving taking the trip into town and rehearsing, though, this late in the day, the stress is beginning to equal the enjoyment.

This may seem surprising, but I purchased my first ipod a couple of weeks ago. It’s a fabulous thing, a metallic blue nano, and I’ve been running it hot, reading to M83, walking to Duffy, riding to Beirut, falling asleep to William Burroughs reciting Junkie ... There’s an element of truth to what they say – it is like having a soundtrack to your life…

Since my last post, I’ve been on the most enduring health kick of my life. It started with Lee’s funeral, where I found my own mortality staring me in the face. And, as is my way, I’ve become obsessed. Not a drop of alcohol is passing my lips. I’ve been swimming, walking, drinking water, watching my diet with a gimlet eye … and I think it’s beginning to show. My wife says my moods are better, that I look better … well, I’m in a play with a couple of dozen spritely youth, I have to make an effort … but I’ve yet to find a balance, I don’t feel settled in my new self, I feel impermanent, and last night I had a dream in which I, and all my old friends, all with failing livers, were gathering together to make a final trip into a damp, cold concrete bunker half buried in the earth, and there to die. It was a horrible nightmare.

Things are a lot sweeter than that.

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Matt said...

Ooh, the Nargun.
I vaguely remember a kid's TV show in the 80s called The Nargun and the Stars. I used to love it. I don't remember much about it, except that it made me wary of large boulders.
It was based on the same legend, presumably.

And I love Under Milkwood! Hopefully there's some tickets left . . .

NickH said...

Hi Sam

Good to have you back. I've been reading your blog for a while now and I have finally gotten around to creating a blog ID, after a bit of luddite-like fear of tech hassle.

I look forward to your posts - it's a pleasure to read and makes a difference to my day.


princey said...

Birdwatching, you must write a song or play about your new found love Sam. I actually named my son after a bird, well, a mythological bird, Phoenix.

Glad to hear you're taking care of your health too, that means you must be feeling fit and motivated to do some live theatre or gigs?? Good luck with the play this week, and keep us posted of any other plays you're starring in, in the future, ok!

And how's the Beargarden re-release going?

Take care,
love Amanda

Ann O'Dyne said...

dear Sam - do not worry about the dream - it probably represented the death of your old unhealthy self - a character dear to our hearts, which is merely exiting stage-left, so as not to upstage the glowing pure Sam.

and yes about birds. I stroked a kookaburra last weekend, and a King Parrot walked down my arm - such a thrill to experience a wild thing.
peace and love

Jadey said...

Wow, I like hearing about the birds being a symbol for the human soul. My 14 year old daughter has a passion for birds. She raised two bantams from eggs when she was 10 and they used to sleep on her chest at night. She then had a beautiful white fantail dove who was so inlove with her he used to do mating dances for her and would lie on his back on top of her head with his wings splayed out over her ears. She now has a flock of pigeons who fly around town and come home to roost. There's a couple of generations of them now and its lovely when they bring home a mate. They roost in the roof above my bedroom and I can hear their amorous chortling in the mornings.

Helen said...

I'm so glad you mentioned this in your blog, because Llareggub (Under Milk Wood to me) is my favourite play EVAH. Plus I work only a few blocks away. So I made it in to see the play last night.

You've got one of my favourite speeches in the play - Mr Pugh describing all the dastardly things he's done to sabotage the household ("Here's your... nice tea, dear."

Second only to "Ooooh, you old Mogul!"

Actually, thinking of it, "there is no leg belonging to the foot that belongs to this shoe" is also up there, I think last night's Jack Black wasn't Jack Black-ish enough and he sort of skimmed over that one and robbed it of its delicious darkness.

Enjoyed the play hugely. I think it would have been nice to have a live narrator, the tape was a little offputting. I don't think it was the Richard Burton version was it? or am I being cloth eared?

Helen said...

I went to see Llareggub (Under Milk Wood as I know it) after I read this post as it's my favourite play EVAH.

You had one of my favourite lines - Mr Pugh ("Here's your... nice tea, dear."

Second favourite to "oooh, you old Mogul!"

I thought it was a great effort - I would have liked the narrator to be live, though. Who did the recording? I have the Richard Burton version at home on an old cassette, don't have the facility to play cassettes at present, and it didn't sound like that version - but I might just be having an attack of the cloth ears.

You really seemed to enjoy and eat up those three parts! It was a blast.

Sam Sejavka said...

Sorry, once more, for being so irregular.

Great to see you at the play, Matt. If I appeared dazed, it was because I was. Strange and wonderful when the virtual becomes real.

H, thanks for coming [I didn't spot you]. The taped recitation was actually Dylan Thomas himself, a few days before he died. If I remember correctly - there were more than twenty actors - Jack Black was played by a Russian Guy called Timou. Hardly Jack Black, but I think Lynne did a pretty good job shuffling so many actors, students, ring-ins ...

Hey, Nick, thanks for joining in!

Amanda, the Beargarden album is still moving too slowly, but there was a bit of a lurch yesterday, thank God.

Sam Sejavka said...

Jade, that's a wonderful thing with the doves. Beautiful. Did you know doves have extremely variable genomes, a bit like dogs? They can express themselves in an amazing range of shapes and sizes. Have you seen the fancy ones? Are they called fancy-pigeons? I don't know, but the breeders are like little Frankensteins.

Polly and I passed a flock of pigeons on Saturday morning, and she spotted one which was so big it looked like a cockatoo. Seriously, it was enormous. I actually felt a little scared. A shame I didn't have my camera.

Jadey said...

It's interesting you mention that. The doves that Bridey had, met a terrible end in the jaws of our dingo, Jasper. Bridey woke up at about 2am one morning, feeling an awful premonition, she went out the back and found bloodied remains and feathers. She came into my room, keening loudly holding a bloodied doves foot. It was horrible. But a few months later, when we got the first pigeon, he bought home a mate from town and she was extraordinary looking, large swathes of pure white in amongst the pigeon greys and we just knew her dove had mated with a pigeon from town and now he'd come home.