Lock out. Love in.

Parliament doesn’t sit any more in New South Wales.

Policy is developed in FOR SALE penthouses where the government drinks champagne and Margaret River reds with property developers. They tickle Margaret Cunneen, hanging hideous off a pole. She giggles and complains of chest pains. ICAC is doomed.

Jamie Packer’s sperm bubbles in the fragrant burner and makes everyone giddy.

It’s a wonderful life. It’s a shithouse government.

Planning = knocking down things that were built twenty years ago and rebuilding them. And road tunnels.

Development = turning museums into blocks of flats. And a bottle of Grange.

Progress = two casinos instead of one, exempt from the city’s notorious ‘lock out’ laws. #casinomike

If I was Margaret Cunneen I wouldn’t lock people out of venues after 1.30am I would lock them in.

‘Last drinks. Go home now or take your chances.’

Throw some sawdust on the floor and let them spew and fuck and fight each other till dawn. In a month the dickheads will have killed each other.

On a brighter note, far from corrupt and disappointing NSW, the AFL sort of starts tonight. Go you mighty Cats.

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cat napping to success

As we all know you can learn a lot from cats. They made us invent the internet, after all.

Our seventeen year old cat Eve has been poorly lately. She stopped eating (incredible!) and stopped drinking her water. She seemed OK for a few days. She still craved a cuddle on the long grass on the back lawn. She got slim for the first time since 1998, though what I call her ‘guts’ now dangled like an old man’s scrotum beneath her.

Don’t tell her I said that.

When the weather forecast for Sydney predicted 40C ahead we knew we had to get her to a vet. They kept her in overnight to rehydrate her and test her vital functions. Needless to say she passed with flying colours. They wanted to keep testing (just leave your credit card with us) but we wanted her home, even – especially – if she was dying.

She not busy being born is busy dying, as Bob Dylan might have said.

We got her home and she moped and licked her shaved bits but then she started eating and drinking again. This week she caught a mouse for the first time in a decade and brought it inside to show us. She pucked it around the warm wooden floor in the sunroom.

‘Magnificent!’ we declared. The poor little dead thing.

‘You’re next!’ she more or less meowed ‘if you take me back to the vet again.’

Lesson learned. But what lesson? Slim down? Rehydrate? Kill things? Live forever? Do what you want to do, be what you want to be, yeah?

She has slowed down a little again now and spends a lot of her time sleeping. I think that’s what she is trying to teach me; fall asleep in the shade. And show off when necessary.

It’s towards the end of another year and I’m blogging off to spend more time rewriting that almost published novel that I meant to use this blog promoting this year. Thanks for reading.

I hope to show you a dead mouse next year.

sleeping (bathing) beauty

Our house on the cliff is a scaffold. All the windows and doors are open. The walls sift the shifting breezes. It’s Sunday afternoon.

I’m asleep in the bath.

Wallington is asleep on the couch in the long room.

Eve the cat is asleep in her basket out on the deck.

The burglar is asleep in the corridor with a sack full of disappointments.

Santa Claus is dead in the chimney.

Butterflies doze in the garden.

It’s an opium den with a hot bath. It was the bath that put Wallington and me into stunned sleep. Wallington first. She has a bath so hot it scalds. Per Morrissey, who then changed the lyrics, ‘the bath burns through to the planet’s core, but it isn’t enough, she wants more’.

Her bath boils the kettle out in the kitchen. Tulips wilt in a vase two rooms away.

When she emerges from her bath, red, beautiful, at risk, Wallington calls me in from the garden.

‘It’s all yours,’ she whispers, passes me the pipe and kisses me. Wafts away.

I pour a glass of the 2003 Tahbilk shiraz and grab a novel that I found on a wall in Balmain when we visited our friends there yesterday: Acts of Omission by Terry Stiastny. While I undress I add about five litres of cold to the scald.

It doesn’t work. Soon I’m in a hazy hot swoon and I hitch the novel over the edge of the bath and close my eyes. I was up at 6am watching New Zealand pants France in the Rugby World Cup. I’m exhausted. I’m asleep. I can hear the cat snore. I’m sort of asleep. Maybe it’s me I can hear snoring. Maybe it’s Wallington.

Rainbow lorikeets use the wide open side window to fly through the sunroom.

We have liftoff.

signs of the times

I live in Sydney (with no friends) and work on the city fringe near the universities and TAFE and Chinatown. The street throbs and woks. Aging ABC producers queue for coffee and pretend not to notice fashion students and university smart bastards and the good old days. Requiem for a dream.

The coffee is bitter and good.

On every street pole there are pleated advertisements for shared accommodation.

ULTIMO APARTMENT AVAILABLE NOW

NO-ONE LIVING IN THE LIVING ROOM. What copywriting! An ESL Distinction. Superb.

SHARE BEDROOM WITH OWN WARDROBE. Wardrobe also share.

CLOSE TO MCDONALDS. Good grief.

FAST ADSL2+ CONNECTION*.

PREFER GIRL AS BOY NO WASHING UP. Boy also owe $650.

BIG TV.

SMALL KITCHEN.

I love it. Australia is changing – or at least inner city Sydney is changing. Hopefully the rest of the country is too. Overseas students bring diversity, fashion, food and charm (and money, even to dodgy landlords). Mono culture is so mono and I noticed our new PM said ‘multicultural’ in parliament today. It’s no longer banned, apparently. Bring out the samosas!

* Australian standard. Slower than a pigeon. BTW I saw one of those Close To McDonalds hamburgers on the footpath the other day and not even the FAST ADSL2+ pigeon would eat it.

lost luggage

‘All My Friends Are Getting Married’ was a Skyhooks song back in 1975. Tune in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czJdRcLo8oE

I was in high school and I could totally relate to it even though none of my friends were getting married. We were lucky if we were even getting a root.

It was a zeitgeist thing. The dripping passing of time (it dripped back then) was given a few chords. The leftover bits of the 60s were being suburban brick veneered, chicks were getting pregnant and sometimes married, I was failing exams. I was tall and skinny with glasses but I liked the idea that even avant-garde musicians like Skyhooks were baffled by how the world was turning out. It was totally a bummer.

If only some girl could see how deep I was, understanding all this, rather than how tall.

It didn’t help that I was at a boys’ school.

I guess if I stripped away the zeitgeist thing my fear was what the hell I would do when I finished school and all my friends were getting married. But I wasn’t, as if, if only….

That is all a long introduction to lamenting that All My Friends Are Leaving Sydney. (Dennis L. I put you in charge of writing and playing that homage) (rip-off) (I can help with the lyrics) (rip off).

We’ve left friends and family behind before. We moved from Melbourne to Hobart. We moved from Hobart to Sydney. It’s quite good fun seeing everyone crying while you anticipate your zip-a-de-do-da new life.

‘Bye! We’ll text! We’re doing things! You’re all staying put!’ Losers.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with staying put. Place is important and grounding.

Until place is another place and you’re not going there. Unless the white van, the airline ticket, the Troopy with a trailer, the ferry, all seem to be heading out of Sydney. Now place is a campsite with dirt on the fire. Grounded seems stuck.

Luke, Ali, Amanda, Gary, Maia, Sadie, Beck, Sue, Phil, Dan, Sally, Ella, Patrick, Sophie, Grant, Sara…may the road rise up to meet you. But for fucks sake!

Any readers out there who’d like to move to Sydney and have instant, grounded friends apply here.