Wednesday, April 29, 2009

~ a fragile beauty in the compost bin

It’s been one of those weeks when things work nicely to plan.

I’ve finished a short play – The Goitre Birds – which will be performed (by myself and the estimable Francis McMahon [He Died With A Falafel in His Hand, The Rage in Placid Lake]) as part of Snatches on Friday May 15 in RMIT’s Kaleide Theatre in Swanston St.

Snatches is the brainchild of my beloved colleague Lynne Ellis, who is Director-in-Residence at RMIT. It’s a gallimaufry of short works stapled together with Lynne’s customary wit and charm. The quality of the performances and the writing range from prime to abysmal, but it’s almost always interesting to behold – and if something’s boring, that’s okay, whatever it is will not last more than ten minutes.

I’ve also completed - at last, just this minute - my liner notes for the Beargarden CD release. We had our meeting – Bruce Butler, Andrew Till and I – and we plotted out what remains to be done. The cover/booklet design is pretty much it. We’re spending the next fortnight trawling for photos, posters etc. Also, we’re going to set up the obligatory My Space page and post all the videos we can find to You Tube. (If you happen to possess anything along these lines, we’d be very grateful to hear from you.)

With my wife away, Polly and I have been thoroughly in each other’s hair. Over the weekend, I was chafing at the bit in the role of daddy, particularly on Saturday afternoon when we played host to one of Polly’s school friends. The house, which I’ve worked so hard to keep tidy, was magically reduced to squalor in what seemed an instant. This week, however, has been a father’s dream. We’re loving each other’s company. There’s been little sign of whinging. Scarcely any procrastination at bedtime. If only family life was always so ideal.

There have been all manner of lesser duties and commitments to be confronted – some of them onerous and connected to the troubles I’ve alluded to in previous posts. Stressful, confusing, but they’re behind me now.

And today a gift was bestowed me from the mysterious unknown.

After noticing a putrid smell in the laundry, I recalled that the compost been building up for at least a fortnight. Every day I mean to move it, but the cold puts me off, or I’m not wearing shoes, or … whatever. This morning, at last, I lugged the heavy bucket of decomposing scraps out back to the compost bin, lifted the lid and was presented with a vision of splendour.

Of all the curious moulds and fungi I’ve encountered, this has to be one of the most sublime. Like hoar-frost crystallising on the decaying vegetable matter, pristine white, almost luminous in the gloom of the green plastic bin, like something from a fairy dell, or from a child’s dream of Christmas.

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princey said...

Haha, only you could make smelly mould in a compost bin sound so beautiful and romantic Sam, a true poet!

Great news about Beargarden, I'll scrounge around for photos of you I think I've kept from the Prince Of Wales days, maybe to use on your myspace page. I'd love to see those old clips too, someone out there must have them????

I'll try and make it to your show too, sounds "interesting" as always.
love Amanda

Anonymous said...

glad to hear you've had a good week. enjoy your fairy dell. i was supposed to go in snatches but cravenly pulled out - lynne probably is not pleased. glad to hear that you are doing something with frank - if he remembers me from mysterium then give him my love.

Matt said...

Hi Sam,
I am also impressed that you can find such beauty in a a pile of mould. You truly are a poet.
Looking forward to the Beargarden release. I'm sadly ignorant of your music and planning to begin my education with this.

Ann oDyne said...

yes, as friend says above "you can make compost sound beautiful"
I am a gardener, and compost is not supposed to be stinky.
Keep a garden trowel upright in the bin, so that each time you add stuff, you can turn it over a bit and mix it in.
Worms are supposed to be in it - they have come upwards from the earth underneath, and they are eating the peels and converting everything into beautiful nourishing compost.
If you really want to make the worms happy, add some urea (human will do) - my 1929 Yates Garden Guide suggests this trick.
(oh! I just remembered - I gave that to STU !)
peace and love and goodluck on opening night.