Memory 61 Revisited

People ask me how I remember lyrics. I wonder myself. Maybe I don’t remember much else. I wish that were true. Frankly I tend to think I remember too much (Don’t we drink to forget?)
But perhaps we’re not supposed to remember everything. Imagine what a nightmare life would be if we couldn’t forget. It’s generally agreed if a party is good you won’t remember it, because you’re having so much fun, so quickly and continually, memory has no time to be formed; there’s no down time for contemplation, therefore nothing is forming in the short-term memory long enough to get through to the long-term memory. You’re in the moment – that precious life-living-affirming moment – and to form memories, we need boredom, or at least contemplation. So perhaps we only really remember things that are not so fun. We contemplate and process pain so as to hopefully avoid it in the future.

I posted the other day about the first draft of the novel I wrote six or seven years ago and how upon opening it up to read for the first time since, I could not remember anything that I’d written, but it got me thinking about memory and a few other instances such as a few years ago I worked out a bunch of George Harrison songs during a month of obsession. Blow Away, All things must pass, What is Life, I Want to Tell You, etc. About half a dozen. Wonderful songs and very interesting chord-wise.
Anyway, six months later for some reason I suddenly remembered that I’d worked out these George Harrison songs and I wondered when and why I had stopped playing them and I went back to the guitar to play them and I could not remember a single one.

I was bummed. But somehow even deeper it struck me as somewhat depressing. Not that I’d forgot how to play them, but that I’d forgotten I’d even forgotten. What else am I forgetting I’m forgetting? What’s the point of doing anything if we just forget? Like sands thru the hourglass….

I guess the question is:

Are we supposed to remember everything? Is there even room in our brains for everything we experience.

Remember Baudelaire:

More than if I had lived a thousand years!

No chest of drawers crammed with documents,
love-letters, wedding-invitations, wills,
a lock of someone’s hair rolled up in a deed,
hides so many secrets as my brain.”

“Life is to be lived forward but understood backwards.” Kirkegaard

(Now, explain why do remember this quote, and many others, and not my own phone number?)

A working touring musician meets more people in a year than most people do in a lifetime. It’s hard to remember a quarter of them, though if they remember you, they’ll not be so forgiving.

And then there’s working in bars and weddings and birthdays. When your daily life is other people’s occasional party, the booze isn’t going to help with recall. When my ex-partner and I travelled and played together, we put it down to just having too much fun and being so busy, continually looking forward to the next gig, the next town, the ever ongoing next….

So maybe our lack of memory meant we were just having too much fun (like the fun party example).

But what a cruel irony: To live your best life is to not remember it!

Memory is like a mercurial bird that comes and goes, and eventually dies.

Snipers Dream

My already considerably large head is getting bigger. Which is ironic considering how little actually goes on inside there.
When I was young, sometimes in town my mate & I would play Spot the Tassie Head, paying out on the bulbous boxes of so-called rural types (the wry irony being we too were in this glass house.) Maybe it’s all the spuds and beer and farming and icy coastal winds blowing from the arctic. When I was even younger there was an Uncle whose enormous noggin would both fascinate and terrify me. And now, to my daily horror, as an adult who looks almost identical to him, I wonder, was I somehow aware I was gazing into my own megadomed future, or did the fascination somehow induce the uber growth of my own cranium. I guess for a singer it’s good to have a cavernous instrument. John Bonham would be wasted on the tambourine. But two boof heads really have to consider the danger of procreating and forcing the female of the two to birth the combination of both their heads. Ouch! Maybe it’s from years of drinking whisky; the misty fogs of ethanol slowly expanding the barrels of my skull until one day I’ll light a cigarette and boom.

Andy at the Oldie

I saw Andy at the Oldie last night, sitting by himself at the bar, his small purse of allocated money near his stout, his fingers bent at unusual angles from once long ago when he was hit by a taxi out the front, when the staff and clientele were different. But I remember Andy. Just like I remember all those years in between. All those bands and all those gigs and those people who come and go and disappear forever and those who turn up after who think it’s day zero can never understand the difficulty their ignorance has to someone who has seen too much but gets treated like their blind. And I put my arm on him and looked him in the eye. And he was glad I did.


When two imaginations meet,

the greater will overestimate the lesser,

just as the lesser will underestimate the greater.

So, even though the lesser has more to gain,

it will often reject the greater,

while the greater will retain faith in the lesser

despite evidence to the contrary,

and yet be denied.


Australia Day

I remember once hearing this:

We can only step forward as far as we can reach back.

Something to think about on yet another Australia Day, and this deliberate and ongoing insult to this countries indigenous people.

We’re a traumatised country, black and white.  The poor white who were sent here didn’t want to come here. They were sent here simply to get rid of them, and sure enough the pompous poms sent them to paradise. A huge, hot, sandy, sea-girt paradise. But with one condition: you must slaughter the original inhabitants.

So yes, we’re a traumatised country. And like a lot of emotional trauma, we don’t want to think about it. We don’t wanna discuss it, we’d rather forget it and move on and have a beer and a bbq and swim at the beach and love our country and wave that little union jack (talk about Stockholm Syndrome). But like any trauma, you can try and ignore it but it never goes away. In fact, some people believe that it just makes it worse. It becomes a constant shadow, following us around like a bad smell, making us uneasy and paranoid and liable to lose our shit and lash out in defense and we’re not even sure why.

Because we can only step forward as far as we can reach back.

Like any wound, the healing only comes when we get back into the blood and pain and clean it up.


The Indigenous Australians have it out in the open. They have no other choice. They’re waiting for us. The balls in our court. It is we who are sulking and balking and taking our time about it. Most Aboriginals are the most generous people you’ll ever meet. It’s in their blood. They don’t believe in possessions. So they’re willing to share. But we’re not. They have every right to diss us and be wary of us and not give us the time of day, and even curse us and our backwards destructive culture, but they’re a beautiful people,  chill and knowing and generally very generous. But they wait and watch us destroying the very world we stole from them, which they looked after so well for so long. Must be heartbreaking, on top of everything else. Yet they’re waiting, and they’re patient. They’ll wait us out, and we’ll either get wise & reconciliatory, or destroy ourselves and they’ll take it back and start again.

Yobbos (and not only those with blue collars) will argue: Don’t you love your country?

Loving your country doesn’t mean you don’t hold it accountable for it’s faults. In fact it’s the very opposite. The more you love something, the more you respect it and thus hold it to higher standards. It’s easy to wave a flag and say you love something unreservedly and without consequence. That’s not love, that’s Fanaticism. And fanatics are always hiding something behind this bootlicking flag-waving.

Imagine if a band just sat around talking about how good they were without ever playing or practising? The way a band gets good isn’t sitting around congratulating themselves, they identify their weaknesses and work on fixing them, cut the fat, iron out the creases, constantly discussing what works and what doesn’t.

Australia Day has nothing to do with Captain Cook discovering Australia (that was April 1770), nor when Whitey first came here (that was 1606), nor when Whitefellas first became a nation (that was January 1st 1901), it’s not even a tradition, it was only started in 1994. All it is is  White Australia celebrating a Black Australian Day of Mourning and the nightmare of genocide, dispossession and ongoing institutionalised racism.  And if you want to celebrate that then you’d wanna check the mirror.

You can argue the toss till your blue in the face, all the excuses and arguments wont change the facts.

So let’s at least change the date.




I’m getting a little grey around the gills, which is a little disconcerting. But maybe it’s not all bad. A little grey hair reminds you you’re not so young any more, but also you’re not so old yet.


Wednesday Arvo

Standing dumbfounded before the empty shelves of toilet paper in the supermarket, you realise just how many people would push you over in a fire panic. Some folk can’t even comprehend it. Not only do we know not to panic in an emergency, we also know not to panic when there’s no need to panic. And we certainly don’t try and solve one problem by creating another which has fuck all to do with it, less pose a solution. But because of this, our calm social minded care, we’d be all left for dead in a fire, knocked over by these selfish, stupid, needlessly panicked nitwits, just as needlessly as we’re left bereft of bum tickets, on a quiet Wednesday afternoon, in a local supermarket. (during a contagious respiratory pandemic???)


Train ride to Hell

We are each and all of us sleepwalking our myth, unconsciously.

That’s our dilemma.

We are unconscious of our very unconscious.

We are the drivers and dreamers of faster and faster vehicles, without even ever learning to drive, much less understanding the mechanics of what’s under the hood. And while the auto wrecks pile up around us, we can only jump and hoot and project blame and incompetence onto other ‘drivers’.

We need to dig into the heinous muck of our own shadows to unblock the sewer and the only way to do this is alone. Very few are willing to broach this uncomfortable task, and thus the sewers are overflowing. And while everyone plays innocent and looks the other way, the stench is everywhere and undeniable.

Avoid the comments

The internet has created this monster: the cult of opinion. Sometimes I come across a statement by an extraordinary individual, a master, or at least an acknowledged expert in their field, followed by the comments of innumerable everyday Joe’s casually disagreeing and deriding it. And the truly jaw dropping thing is, they’re not even tentative in their disagreement. No, they’re all fully convinced of their alternate opinion. Is there anything in the world as solid as the conviction of the ignorant? Even the fact that they’re only there with an opinion because of these experts is lost on them. The casual arrogance is breath taking. Like a pack of hyena’s complaining to the lion about the quality of the carcass they’re mooching, these painfully dangerous idiots will crowd hell bitching about how it could be more hellish.

Outside the Bubble

Somewhere out there on the road I awoke in a strange hotel and set off to find the local bakery. It’s a given the further lost in the country one is the better the bakery will be. But while I sat there eating I watched in horror as these old duffers filed in one after the other and picked up their Herald Sun “outside world information kool-aid” like the very lambs to the slaughter they farm and you wonder why these physical and mental dawdlers have us all living in the slaughterhouse.

Everything costs

Nothing costs
more in life
than money

Time is much more valuable
Especially when well spent

And we always know how much money we have, but not how much time


I admit I was sceptical to start with. I thought, Here we go. More fear mongering bullshit… Or rather: political red flags to distract the bulls from the endless and unaccounted litany of corruption out there. But then I did a bit of  reading and realised, Oh shit. This happens about every 100 years. And it’s deadly serious. The only thing you can do is go to ground. I had the Ghosting album coming out, first solo album in 10 years, my most difficult and protracted, and the lead single tour around the country locked and loaded and I was one of the first Aussie artists to slam on the breaks, pull out and accept the bitter truth. Since then I’ve basically been treading water without work, and with no help from this despicable federal government, I’m barely hanging in. They want us to do the right thing and lockdown, but they refuse to meet us halfway. They plead poverty with our own taxed money, and yet they still find the odd 40 billion to hand out to the big polluters.

To paraphrase Carl Panzram, I just wish they all had one neck and I had my hands on it.

And now, almost two years into it and it’s no better. Melbourne has done well, don’t get me wrong, considering what we’ve had to cop for being such an popular place to live, of course we were gonna be most susceptible to the virus running amok, (that and the Liberal Government systematic raping of minimum wage work conditions bit by bit every year so now poor folk need extra jobs and just can’t afford to lockdown) but even with 4 or 5 thousand nutters walking the streets maskless protesting (led by even bigger right wing nutters trying to stir up racist shit) and only making the lockdowns longer, it’s still only less than 1 % of Melbourne, whose otherwise ongoing efforts to do the right thing has been nothing less than heroic.

As for the 1 %.. .honestly, donuts would be embarrassed to be compared to these ning nongs.

But the foxes love it when the chickens go mental. There’s blood money to be made during great panic and fear makes folks susceptible. People don’t realise just what a Class Issue it is. Make no mistake, the Powers that Be and the Top End of Town want nothing more than to open up that vein, but it’s the poor who will be blamed, and who will also pay with their lives.

It’s also a Gender Crisis. 9/10 Nurses are women, as are 9/10 Aged Care Workers, 9/10 Child Carers, and 9/10 Teachers (K-6). The fact that these are the most important and yet underpaid front line heroes of this whole shit-show should be enough to intrigue and outrage those who instead go looking for bonkers conspiracy theories. Honestly, people who think this Government is trying to ‘manipulate them’ when this Government cant even roll out the so called evil vaccination. Surely if this was the case they would have just put it in Macca’s and never said a word.

These Anti-lockdown death cults aren’t just the mental pigmies dawdling the streets protesting, and punching the odd horse, they’re also the slippery faceless suits running full page ads in newspapers and holding their bitch-pollies by the short and curlies.

Then there’s these selfish, sneaky cowards who reason: “Hey, bro, it’s cool if you want to be vaxed. And hey, it’s cool if I don’t.”

Thing is, Frendo, no one ‘wants’ to be vaxed, just like no one ‘wants’ to wear a mask. Everyone who complies is doing it for the sake of others. Their real brothers. That’s the difference. You dragging the fucking chain trying to justify your own selfish fear is just making it worse for everyone. And what a weird hill to die on, the slight irritation of a mask, or putting something you’re not 100% sure of into your body, like you don’t do that every single day of your stupid life and when you do get sick, and these evil medical spooks fix you up, did you ever have any clue how they did it? This is a world-wide pandemic. It’s not fucking Bush Week.  You’re like the fat kid that falls getting chased in the monster movie who just lays there crying and refusing to budge while some other kid has to run back and risk his own life to pick him up.

I remember when this started, people would say to me, “Thing is, I really hate wearing a mask.”

Really? I love it, dickhead.

And now people are literally dawdling getting themselves the vaccine, that our joke of a government have barely supplied us enough of anyway. The Liberal Party of Australia and their Masters of Economics fantasy. How could they have fucked this up more royally. Honestly, you wouldn’t put this government in charge of the remote control in any Australian lounge room. And still mental dawdlers will vote for them. All they needed to do was build some goddam quarantines and rollout the vaccines, and in two years, they’ve done neither. Instead Prime Minister Scott Morrison goes on record saying: “It’s Not a Race.” What on gods green earth is not more of a race than getting the country you supposedly govern vaccinated against a deadly virus. Inept, or evil?  You tell me. I don’t know. Hard to imagine anyone in the dole queue personally so inept. Yet dipshits will vote for SCUMO and just like that fat kid who falls over, we’re all gonna cop it.

It’s just beyond anything we’ve ever experienced. Of all people, George Bush Jnr was actually the first person really onto it, way back in 2005. Yes, that bumbling laughing stock/leader of the free world was on his Texan ranch reading a history book on one of his many holidays, a book about the 1918 Influenza pandemic and realised, Boy, if this kind of shit comes around every 100 years, maybe we should get prepared! His office thought him clownish again, and, granted, they had bigger fish to fry with counterterrorism and 9/11, but he did convince his Homeland Security Advisor they needed a National Strategy. And they did get one going, until it ran outta steam and died for attention. But it was in place, at least. Alas, when Trump found himself top banana, just like an idiot who sets fire to his raincoat on a sunny day, he wasted no time completely dismantling it.

God has nothing if not a wicked sense of humour.

And who could have imagined the trouble the old Pandora’s box/World Wide Web could bring. So much fear and misinformation out there. The fear is to be expected, as is the general mistrust of Politicians. They suddenly need us to do as we’re told, when they’ve done absolutely fuck all over the years to earn anything but our mistrust.

But science and medicine aren’t political. They deal in facts, not feelings. People are scared, cos we’re not well-led. In fact we’re completely abandoned in our time of need. And that’s when the little trouble makers start trying to play into our deepest fears. Our so-called Leader is literally on holiday while the country is on fire and busy getting hair-plugs instead of vaccines while every state is locked down, terrified, not only of the pandemic, but also of immanent homelessness and starvation. Not to mention Clive Palmer stooge Craig Kelly  (talk about the frumpiest evil duo in history) trolling the entire country with misinformation via text.  So yeah, no shit, people are stressed and scared. Who wouldn’t be? The average bloke is wary of big words and complicated numbers at the best of times, so when Science does its thing, steps in and tries to help and lead us, it’s all too much for our overtaxed brains, we’re a little lost and confused and worry we’re being led in the wrong direction. Exhaustion tends to shut down critical thinking and go with feeling. And when that mistrust of the pack arises, we start thinking of going AWOL ourselves, get the fuck outta dodge, thinking maybe it’s better to go mercenary. We worry we’re willingly walking off a cliff and we suddenly think autonomy might be the go .. like a cat running off into the storm cos it’s scared of the storm. People fear losing control, naively unaware of the very little they had to begin with, and so they think they might try being a lone wolf for a bit, just as naively unaware how cold and lonely those steeps are night after night. Humans don’t wanna think of ourselves as sheep, but face it, we are very much like sheep,  as are many other animals, and we’ve successfully survived and evolved because we are a group animal. Even intelligent lay people can’t individually know everything, so we have experts. And then we live and work together. But suspicion of the unknown is a suspicion of each other. We have to trust our neighbour because we are not experts of their field, they are the expert of their field, as we are of ours. There are dodgy people out there and money to be made from our fear and encouraging this mistrust of experts, lots of misinformation thrown about by people who wanna rock the boat and pick off the stragglers that fall behind. The internet is an absolute marvel, but it seems to have encouraged everyone to have an opinion on anything and everything. Once it was quite excepted to listen to experts without a word. Now they’re shouted down by so many voices it’s hard to determine which is the voice of expertise anymore (and make no mistake, being able to discern this is key to life or death.) So please, friends, don’t let fear get you wandering from the herd. You may think the herd are sleepwalking into oblivion, and that we’ll may be the case in general, but remember, the herd aren’t intentionally trying to harm you or themselves. Of course not. Why would they? But there certainly are a few jackals circling looking for vulnerable strays. Work as a team, and always look where the information is coming from. We have power in unity, not as outliers.

Ps: You know Conspiracy is a Latin word for “the air we all breathe”….?

Traveling Light with a Heavy Heart

I went out to get merry and woke up god knows where

More worried now how I’d get home than how I got there

For my frivolous race was surely run and I looked back to the start

It was easy for I travelled light

light with a heavy heart

I called out to my friend for a lift back into town

He said I’ll make some room if I shift some stuff around

I thanked him and assured him I’d fit somewhere on his cart

For a man must surely travel light

with a heavy heart

He dropped me at the station and I waited for a train

But when it arrived it flew right by so I waited there again

Eventually another came, its whistle gave me a start

I stepped aboard and found a seat

alight with a heavy heart

Well, it took me to the airport and I went to check aboard

Among so many others I got lost among the horde

But the baggage lady found me and she grinned and stamped my card

Happily I travelled light

light with a heavy heart

Now the plane it flew me home again across the night-lit sea

Back to where my feathered love was once taken from me

And as the plane it landed I swear it threatened to break apart

I grabbed my bag and thanked the lord

I travelled light with my heavy heart

I called out to the bus driver as I finally stepped aboard

Sorry I’m late, my flight was delayed and I’m living by the sword

What about your suitcase, he said, before this engine I must start

Not tonight, boss, I’m travelling light

with this heavy heart

I ended up upon the street when I finally hailed a cab

And as he drove I told him of the long journey I’d had

And when we finally made it to my home it had gotten very dark

Luckily I’d travelled light

light with a heavy heart



Growing up in innocence

held on to far too long

Every new experience

kicks the can along

Fighting for each liberty

you have to break the mold

But every break the heart takes takes its toll

With dreams come responsibilities

you must do the right thing

Don’t scratch the backs of careerist hacks

it’s a priceless song you sing

Be proud to fight for Truth & Love

with your back against the wall

for every new rejection takes its toll

Blindly steered through the lean years

with piss & vinegar

Endless nights happy to fight 

no matter what the war

Shadow boxing mostly

even when you’re on a roll

But lean year after lean year takes its toll

Existing on the breadline

just to keep making your art

While the crowds may cheer and the critics jeer

as you tear it all apart

Try to keep your eyes on the prize

when you hear the muses call

But ‘fail again, fail better’ takes its toll

It’s hard to keep relationships together

out there on that road

It’s difficult to keep your feet

as new horizons unfold

One isolates oneself to connect to the masses

one and all

but paradoxes like this sure take their toll

And at the end of the day you look around

and naturally take stock

A couple of flowers if you’re lucky

the rest of it just rot

Sometimes perhaps attrition

was the whole point after all

Work it hard and let it take its toll





Halo effect

Edward Thorndike’s 1920 theory of knee-jerk cognitive bias. The theory is that we initially judge a persons character by their looks. Or by their talents or other socially desirable traits. And of course, by the same token, there’s the opposite. If someone is ugly, or unfortunate, or lame, or poor, they must be a piece of shit and somehow deserve it.
When I was younger I was an athlete which will always make one popular in a small town. People either take a shine to you, or at least give you the benefit of doubt, even if they resent you privately. At 16 I quit at that. Pretty much stopped exercising completely, drank excessively and neglected myself physically. I’m still the same person (perhaps even more authentic) but people treat me much differently today. I’m a musician, yet most people think I’m the Bouncer when I rock up to gigs and if I don’t introduce myself or correct them initially verbally, which I sometimes don’t do as a test, then sometimes they won’t even look at me. Then after I perform their attitude once again changes. Usually more positive and attentive. I had a girl in Europe actually berate me cos she thought I was just the roadie before I played and had sat in the background and remained silent, and after I played and she was more interested in me she said ‘why didn’t you tell me?’ As if it was my responsibility to. I explained I often don’t tell people on purpose, then I can more easily evaluate the people I want to associate with based on their character, not looks, and left her to her drugs and looks, and distinct lack of interest to me.



Reflections in the Glass

I was leaving a bar the other night when a well and truly rinsed acquaintance demanded I sit with him, accept a drink and lend him my ear, which I was willing to, but he wouldn’t spit it out. Instead he kept buying drinks and telling me he loved me and that I was the best songwriter in town, blah blah.  Of course his obtuseness meant I was not short of drinks, still I encouraged him to just tell me what was really on his mind. It was late, and it was truth telling time. And yet he couldn’t. So then he started telling me he hated me and that I was a piece of shit and to go fuck myself. I found this amusing but, perhaps foolishly, wouldn’t be so easily put off. Yet the more I asked him to just tell me what he before seemingly so desperately needed to, the more he’d respond with, Go fuck yourself… as if I was making demands on him, and not the other way around. Still, he was in terrible pain, constipated with questions, and though a scholar, totally under the thumb of his own shadow. I was laughing while he insulted me, hoping he’d eventually give in, see the absurdity and finally tell me what was really bothering him, when a girl walked in the bar, a girl I knew, and as she walked past us and I smiled, she looked at me and said, Fuck You, Van.




I often wonder why some people are so exhausting, and why eventually I need solitude like sleep. Most people seem determined to undermine themselves, get in their own way, fuck it all up beyond recognition, and then cry helpless when from the outside it’s so clear there is nothing more to the problem than simply themselves and if only they could get over and around themselves they’d be relatively okay. It’s taken many years but it’s finally occurred to me that most people don’t want to be free, hence this somewhat chicken/egg scenario. But being the way I am, I have also finally realised it’s far too dangerous for me to play with people like this, and be burned up in their games. I’m someone who feels very deeply and has a degree of empathy that can often be quite painful (making me feel at the extreme stage strangely suicidal around people I care about the most). But no one has infinite stores of empathy, and these people would gladly drain these coffers dry just for their own sad fucking amusement. It took me a long time to realise this, but there are people in the world who are Drowners. Straight up. They cannot swim. Either simply cos they’re maladroit, unco, bone lazy, or just plain pigheaded and they refuse to – but whatever it is, they will pull you down with them as they drown, gladly.



Rotund Reflection

I was at a bar the other night I’d never before frequented and I was standing in a weird nook with nobody else besides a youngish couple cuddling and canoodling in the corner. I pretended I didn’t notice them, but then I overheard them talking about me (had to be). I didn’t quite hear what she said, and the guy responded, “Him?” And she said, “No, that’s just Happy.”

You can tell a lot about a person by how they see the world. I’ll go one further and posit: She is happy and He is not.

ps. I think she meant Jolly.



Fur Babies

When people ask if I’m a cat person or a dog person, I’m neither. I judge everyone individually. Though I do have cats, as they respond easier to my lifestyle and look after themselves if I’m away for a few days. I’ve lived with a lot of cats, and I don’t mean jazz musicians. Strays, kittens, long term lodgers…. but the two best cats I’ve ever had where the two I had from birth, from their very beginnings. Syd and Stu, and both were amazing cats. I cared for them, hands on, from birth to death, gave em loads of attention and autonomy and they were both extremely affectionate, chilled, bright, happy little campers. But Stu’s mother, Marilyn, a stray who wandered into our life long after she’d already been programmed (or in this case) unprogrammed, she is almost a lost cause. We’ve done our best and she’s come along way, but whomever had her first and kicked her about, or even worse, ignored her and didn’t give her a cuddle, just turned her brain to mush. It’s so hard for her to understand basic things and get along with the rest of the world. She’s so skittish and awkward. Even her shit smells wrong. Much worse than any other. (I’m joking… not about the rank smelling shit, but that it corresponds with her initial upbringing. But yes it smells as odd as she is. You could buried it under the sea and you’d still smell it). But it makes me think about people out there in the world and how our initial entry into life seems so important to how we’re gonna turn out later. It’s not diet or genes or country and climate, rich or poor… It seems to be simply how much attention we get. That seems to turn the brain on. So when you have to deal with these absolute dingbats day to day, don’t hate them. Just hug your cat.




heaven & hell

I wish I’d never eaten meat. If there is a hell I’m sure it’ll be an human abattoir run by animals. Or else an underworld in which we suddenly understand our place in the huge animal family and must suffer eternally the guilt of our arrogant murderous carnivorous avarice. Which may be worse. Blake wondered what kind of God could create the ferocious. Tyger, but what other animal but a fucking human could terrify and brutalise every other animal on earth? Only ‘the weakest’ and ‘most civilized’  Lowry writes about being on a boat that was bringing these wild animals back from the jungle to English zoos on the high sea with the elephants vomiting and the lions dying and the panthers moaning like frightened children such was the torture of being so far from their natural habitat. Only Man could be so savage, so heartless, and so preoccupied with his own madness. One thing is for sure, in the afterlife, any human who thinks they’re getting into heaven is in for a shock. Heaven will be like a Gary Larson cartoon and Col. Sanders is gunna be fucked.



End Game

Drink up folks, it’s much later than we think. Good ol’ exponential growth means the end is surely coming. Oh, the foreplay might take awhile, and to little effect, but the vinegar strokes are gonna be lightening fast. Exponential growth. We can quit coal, cut down on meat and dairy, and recycle till those methane tootin’ cows come home, we’re still doomed.  We snoozed, we loozed. The arctic is heating up 6 times faster than the rest of the world. Within the permafrost and ice is trapped masses of deadly methane. When the ice melts, the methane will be released, which will melt more ice, releasing more and more methane. A vicious cycle of apocalyptic proportions. Already Roundworms have awoken in melted Siberian permafrost that have been frozen for 40 000 years. Apparently the oceans store 1,100x more heat than the land or the air, and the oceans are hotter than they have been for millions of years and getting hotter, and polar ice is absorbing all this extra heat, effectively hiding the actual global heating. But soon even the great Poseidon wont be able to survive such heroic efforts. When all the oceans are dead, instead of producing oxygen, they will produce straight up hydrogen sulphide in massive quantities, which is much more deadly than cyanide. Populations living downwind of oceans will be wiped out overnight. This will be our inevitable extinction. And it’ll be quick.

Look, I don’t want to come across as a complete crank. I wouldn’t want these rambles to seem like the… rambles of some bitter and twisted old nitwit. I’m just a songwriter, after all. What do I know? Well, this! The one chance we might have to fight back, the one glimmer of love light we might dare hope for in this truly pitch black limited future we have created for ourselves, could be fertilizing the oceans with Iron Dust to trigger continuous plankton blooms. Hear me out now. This might just save the planet. Farm the goddamn oceans, people! It just might sequester incredible amounts of carbon at the bottom of the sea as limestone, forever. Also, convert all the evil chemtrail planes from dropping poison, to instead dropping non-toxic soluble iron. Hey, crazy is as crazy does. But it would only take 42 supertankers to drop enough iron on the oceans each year to remove all the man made CO2 from the atmosphere for that year.  It’s doable. Come on. What’s your solution? True, this is no long term solution, but it is a safe and easy way to at least buy some time, before runaway global heating becomes unstoppable. Talk about too little too late. Okay. So we fucked up. We dropped the ball. We had so many chances to see the light and we continually looked away. The main problem is ourselves: the Psyche.  As Jung said, the fate of humanity depends upon it. Yet we are so far from understanding ourselves, the world within us and thus the world around us, and even less interested. I guess we’re meant to go. Line up behind the dinosaurs. It’s like so many people’s instincts are so skewered. It’s amazing how willingly some people take their murderers hand. Their instincts are either non existent, or just very poorly trained, or malfunctioning. Who knows, maybe performing some kind of species-serving mutiny on the individual, and thus strengthening the human race. Do the rest of us, with instincts sharp enough at least help ourselves if not others, really do them or the species any favours to lead these lambs from the slaughter? Maybe this very kind of thing has in fact bred more of them. Look at working class Lib voters. What else could be the explanation?? If we are to survive as a species we can only do so working together as a species. We all must come together and quit being divided and distracted by the powers that be. Instead of raping the oceans, international fishing fleets could spread iron, to replenish the biomass they instead remove. Otherwise, to say it’s all looking grim is the understatement of all time. The last mass extinction, a global methane release, happened 55 million years ago, and we are gonna see an exact repeat of the PETM extinction even in the next decades (Yes, DECADES… Good ol’ exponential growth) if we don’t fertilize the oceans with iron immediately. Or we could nuke a couple of major volcanoes (let’s say, and I’m sure the late Malcomb Lowry would agree, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl in Mexico, as they are in such close proximity) Sure it would kill countless people, depending on where the volcanoes are, but it just might kick off what they call a Nuclear Night, or Frozen World, which would last a couple of decades. We would just have to somehow survive it. Survive an Ice Age. Either that or be poisoned by the broth off the boiling pot. I’m up for it. I’m ready. I’ve been storing fat and building my resistance to the cold all my life. All these skinny cynics wont last a second. On the other hand, what exactly are we preserving? Maybe the sooner the mad monkey is gone the better, for the overall good of the world. 70% of the major damage to the world is made by such a small number of massive polluters, but the rest of us, what do we care. People are beautiful at their best, but at worst we are just dying by the very weapons we adore. We have failed to wake up, to take the Psyche seriously, and in our fugue state we’ve sleepwalked off the cliff. It’s now not a question of IF but WHEN.  Either way, enjoy the jetski.


Purring Revenant

One of the cats has disappeared. Haven’t seen her for a couple of days. No sign of her anywhere. I thought I’ll give it one more day before I break the news to my ex partner, whom used to look after them also. My housemate gets home from the studio around midnight and we’re lamenting the almost certain demise of little Dimmy Lee, the diminutive powerhouse with the roar disproportionate to her size. Prolly nipped by the inevitable car or snake. Something like that. How it usually goes. Her mother Marilyn, the mute albino, pads past to the back room and I hear a little meow. Still talking I think, that was a loud voicing for mama, as I open backdoor and in hobbles Dim in all her ragged glory. Me and my housemate celebrate with a ceremonial dance of pure joy and relief, welcoming back this revenant, gaunt AF, hardly able to walk, straight to the food/water bowls. I turn the light on and she squints wearily. There’s no interrogating her. Out in the tiles, lost in suburbia? Down a hole, trapped in a tree? Dimmy the Mysterian. Eventually she drags her carcass into the lounge room and can’t even jump onto the couch! Tries twice and just can’t get up there. I help her up, worried she might not be able to get back down. She is literally skin and bone. And fur. And she stands a while on all the blankets before curling up, as if she’s forgotten how to sleep it’s been so long on the road, but she’s purring, just, and now she’s sleeping and everything’s right in the world once more. Some people hate cats. Some people love them, dearly.



Mutiny of the Mind

I promised I’d write about this as soon as I was able.

Let’s start here:

The human body’s natural vitality produces an Energy, what was once called Libido. Not just Sex Drive, but Life Force, Primal Fire, Creative Mojo, Lust for Life… whatever…

If we drink too deep of this resource we will become exhausted long before the entire reserve is depleted, so we keep always a little more in the tank, just in case. However, if we seriously burn that candle too long and dip into our 2nd wind (and 3rd and 4th etc) too often, over too long a time, we risk draining this natural vitality completely. We ‘Burn Out’ as they say. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. Like a flat car battery, it cannot be reanimated by the old means. We then face very serious ramifications : physically, emotionally, and finally mentally. We enter the dark realm, a realm of deep dangerous depression and bizarre autoimmune problems. Basically, shit starts to fall apart quickly. For reals. Things you never imagined. The White Flag goes up. That’s what happened to me.

It’s true I’d been fart-arsing about on the edge for far too long anyway. Making a tightrope walk look like a morning stroll and, god knows, keeping my balance for years. But when the love of my life finally left me… Jenga! And trust me, it’s a long way down.

“Yeah and it’s a long way back again…” 

When it all went down my whole value structure collapsed with it and I was left with… the opposite of Love. Not Hate. But not Nothing. Not Emptiness. The opposite of Love, or Faith, is Doubt. Maya. Illusion. Disillusion. The sun also rises, but sometimes it doesn’t for a long, long time. And sometimes when it finally does, it’s that dark sun. When the only thing you trust turns on you, or turns out to be a lie, then ANYTHING can turn on you. Everything is a lie. This is as near to Nihilism as you can get, folks, subtle but omnipresent. One becomes 24/7 absolutely and utterly distrustful, of everyone and everything. And I mean everything. And that includes oneself and ones own thoughts. Yes, EVERY THOUGHT. Everything is, not only turned upside down, but lost. One person leaves you but you actually lose everything.


That was about 3 or 4 years ago (2015). Even after she left, I kept going. It’s all I knew. I’d been going hard for so long I just kept on at it. But somewhere behind it all I knew I needed a break. Something must have smelt a bit odd. I was burning bad gas, and I desperately needed a pit-stop. I knew I’d eventually take one… soon… soon as I’d seen through my booked commitments. Four months solid. Big mistake. Should have just canned the lot and stopped immediately. I was already cooked! The four months felt like four years. And I pushed myself to breaking point. Well, beyond that. By the end of it I was actually struggling, emotionally and physically, just to keep my head above water. I seriously needed to throw it all down and call it. But we push on cos…. that’s what we do. That’s what we’ve always done and no one questions it. And it’s invisible, mostly, to outside world, what we continually overcome to keep going. What is visible are the symptoms. You see that a lot at any bar in the world.

Anyway so as I said, I didn’t take a break and I broke.

And it broke something deep inside me.

When a long term partner walks out without even a word of explanation, the word devastated doesn’t even begin to cover it. I can take a punch, and I’ve taken my share, but it’s the king hit that’ll kill you. An emotional sucker punch does much more damage because one can’t defend oneself, much less prepare for the impact. It causes so much more needless harm. Anyway, I spent a long time recovering. Down and out for the count. But it really wasn’t as clear cut as even that. After the initial shock, I was a fucking mess, obviously, and remained so, but I also felt almost relieved somewhat. It was bizarre. I played around again and enjoyed my freedom. But soon I let all that slide too. Promiscuity was as futile as monogamy. Then came the pain again. The second round. The good stuff. Extreme agony. Black days that lasted months. The real Test of Endurance. The Unguided Tour of Hell. Then, after this impossibly prolonged period just trying to make it thru every endless day, the darkness mercifully began to recede. Maybe I was just numb, but it started to ease up. Maybe there’s only so much anyone can take. But just when I thought I was finally out of the woods, then came a third wave. Grief. A black grief I had never before experienced. Absolute desolation. Constant thoughts of suicide and self recrimination. The 9th level of Hell where old Nick himself resides along with all Betrayers and the Betrayed. And during that dark night of the soul or whatever you want to call it, in the eye of that silent maelstrom, I experienced what can only be describe as Insanity. Not just prolonged irrational panic, but the distinct feeling there was an intruder in my home of homes, a thief in the night who was not my friend. It sure as shit wasn’t speaking my language. My thoughts were not my own. My frazzled brain was sending me false information, whispering evil intent meant only for me. Twisted logic that seems like sound advice but is in reality the poison of a false friend. It’s hard to explain, but to experience it is undeniable. Like a mutiny of the mind.

Anyone who admits to madness is probably somewhat sane from the present perspective. Just as anyone who believes they’ve got a firm grip on things and has never experienced mental illness is probably so far gone they can’t even tell anymore. They probably get on fine in society fine, besides driving other people mad. But one of the first signs of mental illness, a common symptom called Anosognosia, is a loss of insight and self awareness.

Madness becomes more and more difficult to define these days. I mean, ffs, look around, it’s bat shit crazy out there, and personally, before any of this, many of my everyday hypocrisies could well be labelled unsound, if not insane. Yet I’ve only once experienced what one might call classic mental breakdown. Truly fucking horrible. Like a waking nightmare. I knew it wasn’t real but… it was real, emotionally. Existential darkness in tsunamic waves, kind of drawn out, until you go under, deeper and deeper… and it takes a long long loooong time to subside. But it does subside, thankfully.

Yet at the time, the over riding fear is it wont subside. Ever. And that fear is the heart of the problem. It is the problems very energy. Questions of Why or How don’t matter anymore. Only When and, more so, Will, it ever end.

So ultimately this breakdown came about through an extremely dangerous combination of ongoing emotional trauma, substance abuse, and lack of sleep. It was something like a sustained panic attack that just wouldn’t let up and eventually the only thing I could think of doing to stop it was to severe my right hand with a hatchet. Yes, you read correctly. Lop off my guitar scratcher. As much a punishment as an escape. I’ll try to explain this the best I can, but, if it sounds pretty crazy, well, that’s my point. Thankfully, some part of my mind agreed and nixed the idea before it was too late.

Stress is a common, given, daily part of life, for all animals. However, usually we somehow manage to regulate it, drip feed as much as we can handle, day in and out, and otherwise rest from it, then start again the next day. It’s the only way we can shoulder it. But when it’s extreme, when it’s intense and out of control and constant for weeks and months on end, it can lead to psychosis, and with the frontal cortex flipping out and generally not functioning properly comes psychotic rationale: like the severing of the hand.

There’s often a twisted logic to madness, a logic missing in healthy random day to day life.

Being a musician, and having met my partner through music, living and travelling together playing music for so many years, and then suddenly losing my partner, I somehow felt music had become a malevolent force in my life. Of course it was nothing if not the very opposite. But I was so mentally and physically cooked and on what seemed like an endless carassel of touring that seemingly had no end and I without a clue how to get off…well, I wasn’t really thinking my best. And a dark, twisted rationale crept in. I had an old injury to my right hand that I had hidden and ignored for years but needed attention. Frankly, I needed surgery to fix it and time off to recuperate. This was more and more on my mind with every passing year I put it off and I was increasingly worried as to when and if I’d ever get time to do this. Then I considered perhaps the surgery would be the very excuse I needed to stop touring and take a much needed break, if only for emotional respite. However, after the idea was planted in my ailing mind, somehow during a long night of insane panic my poor old head warped it into a much more irrational and extreme plan to get rid of the hand all together, and thus get rid of music and touring once and for all… and that’s when I had to concede defeat and admit my sanity really was waving the white flag. I had to fight the desire to do it all night… Luckily a skerrick of sanity prevailed.
The life of a musician, or any artist without mass appeal, bold enough to follow their own nose, live hand to mouth year in and out, is a bit of a slog, but no harder than most deals anyone makes with the corporate word. The difference is one begins to develop a bit of a battle psychology. You stand up and you do the work, get knocked down, stand back up, and you do this so long you soon start believing the endless FIGHT is pro-active. Fighting and not-yielding, to fears and frustration and all the difficulties of your undertaking. But fighting constantly for a living, it becomes harder and harder to see when it’s a losing battle and one should just back down. You don’t know how to back down. Check yo self before you wreck yo self. So used are we artists to battling stress, exhaustion, poverty, penury, judgement, misunderstanding, criticism, all the while baring a more and more battered soul, until eventually, we’re battling depression and madness (which is, in of itself, crazy) batting them away heroically instead of listening to our bodies and taking note of all the red flags waving blatantly in our faces and simply take more care of ourselves. The kernel of my mental health deterioration started with prolonged self recrimination, like myriad black birds descending. Death by a thousand pecks.
The Specious Rationale of Guilt: I feel bad. Bad things happen to me: I’m a bad person.
But guilt can be overcome. Unlike shame.. which is inborn.

Shame : I was born bad. I don’t deserve love: In fact I deserve this pain
Over and over, 24/7
Year after year
Into an abyss
Down down
White Noise
Unendurable pressure
Everything stops

Everything, except Fear.
Suddenly you understand that you cannot take anymore. You cannot process anymore negative information, anymore hurt. You cannot internalise any more blame or rationalise any more pain… And then everything just grinds to a holt and you realise only one thing: the ultimate fear: you’ve finally lost your mind.
Snap. Like a rubber band. The tension suddenly ceases. Thankfully. But there’s bigger problems now. Shit is broke.
In time, if you survive, you may come to greater understanding and realise you had to lose your mind temporarily to save your life. Like losing consciousness after a head injury. But at the time there is no insight, its just an animal caught in wire that struggles in panic only becoming more entangled. One needs to eventually give in to absolute stillness. And that’s what I did. Literally. I desired absolute stillness like water in the desert. And sustained stillness. To slowly untangle. For a time I may have looked frozen and hopelessly stuck, but I was internally saving my own life. Slowly, very slowly ceasing to struggle, waiting, breathing, and slowly untangling, slowly moving and willing the sun to rise again like the most profound gift imaginable. An act of sublime magic. The ice begins to melt and the prisoner is freed once again. The actual person is released. Of course, it’s not that simple. In reality it’s gruelling beyond any attempt at description. Every minute, any moment, the thought of suicide flickers in your peripheries like a constant shadow. It haunts every thought and seems to beckon you like an old friend, like the only true allie you’ve ever known, just trying to bring you home to a safer place and save you from all the endlessly insanity and pain. It just comes down to the individual and the individual experience and I hold no judgement other than my own where I have no experience. In my case I survived it. It took a long time but I held on. I documented my every emotion and rode it out the only way I knew. But it was awful. And it saved me. And it still kind of haunts me.

Looking at my poor old hand now (still hanging in there) I just feel foolish. And incredibly lucky. Because it’s impossible to ever again piece together the twisted rational of insanity. And yet it was happening, like a living nightmare and that is why it’s truly amazing. You can hardly remember it, like a dream, none of it seems real, but if nothing else you very definitely remember the Fear .. and that nails any doubt.

Stranger still perhaps, but in the thick of it, I used to read this poem by Robinson Jeffers, daily, sometimes hourly, reaching for it like a drunk reaching for a bottle as the horrors kick in. And it would calm me and get me through, until the next build up of fear.

Then what is the answer?- Not to be deluded by dreams.
To know that great civilizations have broken down into violence,
and their tyrants come, many times before.
When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose
the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.
To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted
and not wish for evil; and not be duped
By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will
not be fulfilled.
To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear
the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand
Is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars
and his history… for contemplation or in fact…
Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,
the greatest beauty is
Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty
of the universe. Love that, not man
Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,
or drown in despair when his days darken.


It was like a old friend who loved me enough to remind me of some harsh truths, but who was always there and thus did love me.

“There ain’t nothing like a friend who can tell you you’re just pissing in the wind.” Neil Young

The term ‘Losing One’s Mind’ in my experience is quite literal: I didn’t recognise my thinking process or internal monologue. My forever guide abandoned me. Jumped ship. By all accounts I’d become such a lost cause it cut its losses and ran. And I was left with a stranger I didn’t recognise, a replacement, not necessarily any more malevolent – god knows my usual one rides me pretty hard – but at least I recognise it, I’m used to it, it’s mine, my ego, my life long comrade. This new one was an imposter, it was unknown and unwanted, perhaps needed but certainly not trusted. I cannot imagine anything more terrifying than this, the ultimate abandonment provoking the ultimate primal fear: madness.

I guess my experience of madness was just a deviation from the normal crazy. Normal crazy may be called eccentric. That’s the irony: if it’s constant, it’s not madness, and if you’re not destitute, it’s called eccentricity. It may be irrational but it’s readable. There’s a patterns of consistency. It’s known. True madness is a trip into the unknown.

How do I wrap this up? Does it have a neat end. Not really. All I’d suggest, seriously, is look after yourself, mentally and physically, and do not neglect sleep. There be monsters.

None of us are perfect, and none of us are without blame, but there’s no point punishing ourselves forever.

As the Old Testament attests,
It rains on the just and the unjust alike.

We all have our mountains and valleys and I almost came undone in a deep, deep ravine, and almost threw myself off a snow capped peak, but thankfully I didn’t, and thankfully there’s a sunrise on the other side.




RIP Andrew Bailey 13.10.1957 ~ 15.11.2018

‘To be unable to grow old is terrible…

Death is not the worst… There are things more horrible than death… 

The absence of love is the most abject pain…’

To be continued …..
That was the last text I sent him.

But Bails bailed.
A man of his word, turns out.
He finally did it.
Fitzroy’s overalled engraver
learned historian
and passionate piss artiste
My mate.

I’m standing in the sunshine
But the moon is in the sky
I’m living for the both of us now
You never even said goodbye
We both hoped for a brighter day
Yet you never saw it through
And that old moon came down too soon.

I was born the day you died
You took leave and the world came alive
Every leaf
on every tree
Hyper real with beauty
Standing under the blazing blue
Here without you
And that moon coming down too soon.

I won’t say
You should be here with me now
I won’t say
I should have been there for you

We all die alone but I wish I didn’t leave you alone. No one can take another man’s life choices personally. We are barely in control of ourselves, much less other people.

We all die alone but it’s the living that’s difficult.

To stand in the pain
and chaos
without judgement

Death is a given
and as easy as not breathing.
But never forget it is very, very hard to kill oneself.

It must have been hard for Bailey to be so intelligent and live in Fitzroy.

I always wondered how someone could be so utterly paradoxical … one minute the most charming erudite person I’d ever met, the next the most puerile, immature pain in the arse on the planet. And sadly, only with his death do I perhaps even begin to understand why.

Because he wasn’t just knowledgeable. He was also cursed with that most lonely of beautiful things… depth… and that will either serve to estrange a person a million times a day from their fellow man, unless it can raise them above the bullshit to a higher place. Unfortunately, even the higher place is still lonely.

I wish I could have been a better friend to him. But I was his friend and I gave him everything I had, most importantly, my heartfelt attention. I know he knew that. Again, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. We all need love, and not just words. Physical love. Life is tough enough, it’s unbearable without it.

But we all live and die by our own hand. Our own choices. His death was one choice, in a life of many happy ones. His enormous circle of friends attest to that. Bailey almost prided himself on being misanthropic. But often these so called misanthropes in fact love people too much, and are endlessly disappointed. Thus the demon drink. Dull the senses. Rant and rave.

I shall miss bending the elbow with Bails. And him bending my ear off about all things arcane and ancient. The twinkle in his eye, the maniacal giggle, the “element of irreducible rascality” and of course his overall sense of fashion.

Goodbye, my friend.

Nothing will be ever the same.




Joyce Carol Vincent


Born in 1965
the year the Post Office Tower opened
into an age of mobile phones, the internet & television programs

She was young & single
Beautiful & clever
She died alone in a bedsit
It was 3 years till they found her

Her bills were in arrears
Piled high inside the house
The light from the television flashing over her skeleton on the couch

Joyce Carol Vincent
Alone & forsaken
Forgotten in this so-called
Age of communication.

She seemed like one of the lucky ones
So striking & confident
The world was her oyster
She was strong & independent
But everybody struggles
& her brave face was a curse
When she disappeared
People assumed she was living a better life
not worse
All kinds of men were drawn to her
the good ones & the bad
She ended up in a halfway house for domestic violence
Terrorised & sad
And that was it
No one knows how she died
She lost contact with her friends
No one even tried
She was smart & beautiful
Only 38
But some die for attention
& the love comes too late

Joyce Carol Vincent
alone & forsaken
Forgotten in this so-called
Age of communication.

Thoughts Unseasoned

Before the world was automated
people had soul
You know
Watching the performance
like the telly
They don’t know how to get
their souls have been charmed to
by the wolf pack
Now they are shy deer & good
good sheep
Lulled to sleep
disconnected from their souls
their fight
their self respect,
by these creeps
in peeps clothing.
Thus the world is lulled
& the soul impoverished.
We breed an impoverished culture
of kids with strong thumbs but no
with strong senses of entitlement but no
with less chance of surviving these
to love the wolf
as it devours you.
You don’t believe me?
Of course you don’t
I don’t trust me
Constantly reavaluating reality
Who’d trust me?
The curious case of the missing
“Popularity is a sign of certainty!”
In fact, it must be the very opposite.
-How’s the leg? she asked.
-Still kicking.
Holy smokes!
I protect the abandoned lighthouse
project the stoic light
Before the world was automated
Soul was key.
Intuition. Ignition. Imagination
The bedraggled
I call him the Massuer
Although some call him The Cramp
Home just in time to leave.
They say it’s always in the last place
you look….but who keeps on
looking after it’s found?
A crack in the curtain
is more enticing
than an open window
Empty souls chase empty love
Fame is fake love (modeled &
fleeting )
Real love is obscure
& eternal
Where ya been? she asked.
Growing a beard, growing a gut
Falling in love, falling in luck
People who don’t think for themselves
always assume they’re normal.
And they’re correct.
‘Where ya been?’
While you were running on a tredmill, I was eating chicken skin.
While you were working in a dead end job, I was playing in a deadend band.
While you where screaming in the audience I screaming from the stage
& while you were living in an old folks home I was deep down in my grave.
Thank god for chicken skin.
Heaven is nothingness.
simply unconsciousness, or
consciousness unconcerned with
Yet consciousness seeks only perfection
& is thus never satisfied.
Dissolution’s more my thing
Orchestrating oblivion
aboard the celestial railroad
through fleeting artificial paradises
to side step old age
Poverty without impoverishment
so long suckers
One decent album is all I ask
One decent song
kick the bucket with a sore paw
Universal Crystallisation
We know our broken heart.
Everybody does. The first thing that happens is you vomit,
like being struck over the head with a blunt object. Then you
lunge for the first exit,
like a trapped rat,
& take refuge in a quiet corner without an exist
a deadend
to guard the only entry
your back to the wall
like a dog retreating
under the house to die.
The alternative is to walk without
floors, without legs, on streets
without place, without sense,
without direction.
The sorry songs & poems come
much later
long after the scar has healed &
deformed the heart
All strangers are enemies.
Instinct of pessimism.
Anticipation of pain.
Ruin & Refuge
Bad love.
But to break anothers heart, which we are all witness to,
is impossible to know.
Oh well.
She’ll be right.
Right as Rain.
Dumbing down on the windscreens
dripping from the magazines
& billboards & pop songs &
junkfood & modern culture
dum-dum-dumbing down like rain
There’s a green light & no ones moving
Be positive.
People only take you as seriously as you overtake yourself.
Moons half full.
Mines overflowing.
Trees overhang with fruit
like bees weighed down with honey
I must write
Words are dynamite
Just like a roofless house lets the sun stream in
because it cannot help it
Lewd I did live & evil did I dwel.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
But you can’t trick an old dog.
Part of me wants me dead
Empty your pockets & line your
But beware the throat
Between mouth & stomach most men choke
If you give em enough rope
Laughing at the same old joke
Drinking in the same old bar
Stalling in the same old car
The rain makes the flowers grow & the blues bloom a stronger soul
doncha know
It’s as easy for a wise man to get confused
as a fool
a fool about foolish things
a wise man in his wisdom.
The blues is life & death.
Both sunrise & sunset.
The emptiness at the heart of the
modern world.
Dumbing down like rain.
Emotional generosity has gone
& thus intelligence,
which go hand in hand.
Being able to admit ignorance,
admire resolve, trust virtue,
wanting to learn, wanting to share.
Alas, regret was released from attics
into concentration camps
Dumb is cool:
Smart is safe, Square:
I don’t buy it
This fear of death, that venerates
youth & stupidity
Experience is unattractive to these
terrified soul-pedos
They see soul survivors as damaged
I call it Action
The instrument needs to be played
before it earns its Action
The equipment needs to be tested
See what breaks down  & what
Breaks out.
Animals aren’t Stupid
It’s bred out of them by the harshness
of their lives
if they can’t function, organize
& think smart,
they die & don’t breed.
Humanity is the complete opposite.
All our history & technology &
is designed to make life easier
for idiots to safely breed
more idiots.
Stupidity is a by product of luxury.
Intelligent technology to make life
easier for idiots.
But who are  the real dummies?
Borderline Deficients
Dull Normals
And what about …
Emotional Intelligence?
Safety is the lowest common
The majority are the middle
of a Bell Curve
which is safe, consistent &
Thus mediocrity is encouraged.
In Art as in Life.
Be at either end, genius or idiot,
& you cop it,
same disadvantages,
same discrimination:
Weirdos, rare & outnumbered.
Fear rules this world
And fear is but ignorance in action,
in self defence.
A closing of eyes, rather
than opening to see both
the beauty & horror
Of truth.
We are all our own slave drivers
We construct our own deep dark forests
to become lost in
And to find our way out
To gain the forests depth & darkness
For ourselves
The girls love it
Almost as much as we do
I say
Let the mean ol’ world go its merry way
Escapade & Debacle.
You do what you do & you are where you are
Side step the snakes
the wolves
The blue eyed psychopaths
Struggle with your  emotions.
Feed them, doubt them, fight them, believe them,
worship them, misinterperate them,
be decieved by them, consumed by them,
heartbroken, tormented, endlessly surprised
& dumbfounded by their depths & dimensions
longing only for stasis & consistency
For restpite.
A rest spot.
In other words: truth.
But truth is ever changing, as are emotions.
Perhaps sanity is simply the difficulty
of surfing this tumultuous sea of feeling.
Because one thing is for sure:
it’s only the psychos who have them under control.
Little men
desperate for power
are gonna fuck with you
They’ve failed & tripped up & are out
of the race but are gonna try and trip
as many others up as possible,
cos their failure makes them take the
race too seriously.
Only ants work for power
The Gods
They don’t give a hoot
They’ve forgotten more about power
than we’ll ever know
Submission becomes more interesting
to one who is naturally powerful
And allowing peasants to take the piss is the
most profound power trip there is
Greed for power is admittance of
The delusion of Control amid Chaos
But a good rider still only rides the horse,
he doesn’t control the animals mind,
just it’s body
Better to be a good rider, than a
horses arse.
The masterful servant.
Put it this way
The difference between the little man
& the big man
is the little man likes to imagine
he’s a big man
& sometimes even BELIEVES he is.
But the big man, in his bigness feels
his own littleness acutely – & always
regrets the littleness of his thinking
& behaviour. He does not deny it,
but rather is acutely aware of it &
wishes to change it
just as a humble man regrets his pride
& a vain man talks up his modesty.
You do what you do & you are where you are.
Pain is often a test, and more so, ones
fear of pain.
Fear too, is a test. To succumb or
If you want to leap higher than ever
before, approach a tiger. You won’t
jump half as high at an oncoming
Venture into the silence, the great loneliness.
True wisdom lives far from mankind,
& can only be reached through suffering.
Privation & suffering alone can open the mind
of man to all that is hidden to others,
Or else true sickness prevails
& becomes sanity.
But it’s a pity.
Sick city.
No one is safe.
Sometimes I read the blurb instead of
looking at the painting. It’s all wrong.
I feel the virus in me also.
Lazy mind
Good slave, bad master.
I been shadow boxing for years
Too many people will test anyone’s humanity.
It’s not natural.  The city’s will tell you.
Too many aimless meatbags waddlin around waiting
for something to happen
someone to notice them
something, anything to scoop them up & away
from their regretful lives.
Instead they just wander about,
getting in the way.
Packed in the throng, its uncanny to notice
how many of them
shave their backs.
Misanthrope, I may be
but Lycanthrope, not yet.
The glaring light & dry airless heat
blows fine off the streets
leaving a breathless, mysterious
stench in odd pockets of the city.
Cabs blank you, one after the other, aggressive tram drivers
ring their bells threateningly & wave their fingers
at pedestrians waiting idylly on the side of the road.
A sales assistant points to my inquiry
without even looking up at me.
I ain’t buying this shit.
I turn around & get the fuck outta there.
On the street a charity worker
in an oversized yellow shirt asks me backhandedly how my day is
& tells me I look lost.
It is all I can do not to tell him to do the same.
In the next store the cute teenage sales girl is such a low talker
I can’t understand a word she says.
Her boss winks at her & she giggles.
I walk out again into the dry dusty heat & stink
& weave among the beggars, buskers, dawdlers & off-road strollers.
Men carrying televisions, women with prams the size of small cars
stop in front of you, lost in a bitter revelry, young girls with too much
perfume & makeup & not enough clothes on trot by in pairs,
earphones in, sunglasses on.
A woman is getting a tattoo on the side of the road
while she talks on a mobile phone
flush, smoking, perfumes, sweat, clothes stuck to skin,
constant car horns & bike bells, skaters skoot past
clack clack
whiz by suddenly
& scare hell outta me.
I enter a shop to get a cold drink, reaching into my pocket waiting
for the cashier to tell me the price, but he says nothing.
I look up & he’s chewing on his lunch.
No hello, no goodbye, just looking at me like I’m a bigger prick than he is.
I soon will be if I don’t make it to the train station
dizzy with people, all as pissed off as I am.
Aboard the train is packed with exhausted stoicism,
many people on the last stretch of their journey home
but well past their patience.
I spent an hour in that cluster fuck & an hour too long.
I’ll just squeeze into a corner  seat & look out the dirty window
as the trees burr past & imagine
my home & the cats
tiptoeing around the edge of a cool bath.
Just ride it out.
Before the world was autamated,
you had to have soul.
You know?
Now it’s just a weakness.
Zombie audiences
Live performances
like they’re watching TV
(watching waiting wanting)
their souls have been dislodged
charmed to sleep by the media.
They are now shy deer
& good venison
Good capitalist cutlettes
disconnected from their fight,
their self respect,
by these…
Wolves in wooly earmuffs.
The world is automated,
the soul impoverished.
We’re living in an impoverished
Breeding kids with strong thumbs
but no imagination.
With strong senses of entitlement but
no manners.
With less chance of fighting the
but rather being hypnotized to love the wolf
as it devours you.


I read once long ago an article regarding a young boy with severe autism, who, every time he was taken by his parents in the car to a relatives house in the country along a certain stretch of road, would become extremely agitated & upset, much to the mystery of his parents.

As the boy grew up his speech & communication abilities improved considerably, and when asked why when as a child he would consistently become upset being taken to these otherwise kind & loving relatives, he explained it had nothing to do with them in particular, but rather the stretch of road they consistently traveled on to get there. Bewildered, his parents wondered why the road could be so upsetting. He explained it wasn’t just the road but the hour of day they would pass along the road, which was often late afternoon. The man’s parents were even more bewildered. How could the time of day be of any consequence? The man then explained, as a child, every time they passed along that same road at dusk through the valleys to visit the relatives, he feared the low clouds would shatter on the hill top trees.

There is strong logic at work regards all delusion, and sometimes it would seem far safer to embrace a certain level of nonsense than to violently misinterpret the world.

For example: if  a rational individual, during his daily routine, continually came across only other seemingly irrational individuals, the more rational explanation would be that he himself were irrational, not them.

And therein lies the paradox!

If a seemingly sane individual were to one day walk out into the world & meet, one by one, ten seemingly insane individuals, the rational odds must surely be more likely – to logic, to reason, to sanity – that he was, in fact, insane, & not they.

Insanity has an overt thread of logic. Perhaps individual logic & not herd logic, but by using this logic, a sane man has become insane.

Ergo: I realised I was insane when everyone I met seemed to me totally batshit crazy.

Lastly, & perhaps most importantly, maybe all ten are, in fact, insane, only because they never doubt their sanity. They are not individuals. The world has formed them & encouraged them to mold their actions & expectations to the universal insanity, while the individual only doubts his own because of lucidity & singularity.

Deckchairs on the moon

“What you reading?” I asked her, finally bored with the view.

She didn’t look up, just said, ‘A book.’

“Oh, yeah?” said I, determined to be positive, but feeling that curious disdain common whenever she answered one of my questions with an answer too obvious to even warrant the damn question in the first place. “A book, hey?”


I took a suck on the straw in my drink & wiggled my toes. (Game on.)

“So… What’s your book called, babe?”

She flipped it around & read the front cover, peering over her glasses. “Listen Little Man.”

She seemed surprised by the title herself.

“Listen Little Man?”


‘”Listen Little Man.” I contemplated the relatively meaningless title, waiting a moment to let this new information settle.

“Any good?”

She made an ambivalent noise, closely approximated as “Ugh” and kept reading.

I looked back out to space, into the immensity of the darkness, & let the silence do its work. Any statement left hanging out here could become poignant, any moment soon pregnant with immensity out here in the cold expanse of nothingness forever beyond our reach, for even without gravity, any statement held a certain amount of weight, if one only waited long enough.

“Can’t be that bad a book if you prefer to read it rather than enjoy this view…” I said carefully.

She made the same ambivalent noise.

“I mean, his is one hellava view!”

“Oh yeah?”

“Oh yeah.”

“What  you lookin at?”

“Oh…. all kinds of stuff. Planets, stars.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Heaps of stars.”

She didn’t look up.

“Nebula, galaxies, gases, floating .. space debris…”

“Uh, huh?”

“Monkeys…. Space dolphins..”

“Uh huh?”

“Yeah, all kind of things. “

I took another sip of my drink & wriggled my toes. I looked at the small blue planet just over my left foot and remembered an image I had seen many times of dolphins, arching out & back into dark blue ocean water, in film & magazines, but never in actual reality. Supposedly intelligent creatures. But look where it had got them: ultimately in films & magazines. They weren’t kicking back relaxing on deckchairs on the moon. Nobody was. Only me & my old lady. And we weren’t no rocket scientists. Just a couple of average non-oxygen breathing self-gravitating folk from suburbia.

Lucky I guess.

“Yeah, I mean, it sure is something. I mean, the atmosphere out here is quite something, aye, babe? I mean, you could hear a bloody pin drop, if it were even a possibility. Ha!”

“What’s that, hon?”

“I said, you could hear a pin drop it’s so quiet out here.”


“Goddam immensity of the silence…It’s breathtaking. Or is that just the lack of oxygen? Ha ha ha!”


“Oh, you’ve got to laugh, right, babe? Look at those gas formations, the pinks & greens. It’s so beautiful. I just can’t believe my eyes sometimes.”

I gawked out at the universe before us, in a show of awe, but she took a mean little sip of her drink & kept reading.

Finally I picked up my pad & pencil & started doodling comets & stars & ringed planets & stuff. Then I had an idea, and began scribbling down random words & sentences, and laughing to myself, making a big show of it.

Finally she looked over at me.

“What are you doing?

“Nothing.” haha

“What are you writing?”

“Nothing. I’m just writing.”


“Nothing, babe. Just thoughts.”

“Just thoughts?”

“Thoughts & observations.”

“Thoughts & observations?”

“Yeah” (hahaha)

“Like what?”

“Like… everything.”



“Like what?”

“Like what I see.”

“Like what? Tell me. What do you see?” She finally put her book aside.

“Ah… no, I can’t do that, babe.”


Scribble Scribble (hahaha)

“Why not?”

“It’s private.”

This shut her up. I kept writing, smiling, quite pleased with my work.

“John! Why wont you tell me?”

“It’s a secret! If you must know, I’m keeping a diary.”

“A diary?”


“A diary of what?”

“I told you: Thoughts & Observations.”

“So why can’t you tell me?”

“Because it’s private!” Scribble scribble haha!

“Whatever,” she said flatly, and slowly went back to her book.

I kept at it, finished the page and turning onto a new one with a flourish. She eyed me suspiciously from a strange angle, as her book too titled to an awkward angle of rest.

“John, what are you writing in there?”


“Is it about me?”


“Well, then tell me!”

“Why, babe, then it wouldn’t be a diary! It would be public, not private. Then it would be…. ah, then it would be a….”

“An article?”

“Yeah…I suppose… An article.”

“Idiot.”  She hissed. “Oh, yeah, well, how would you like it if I kept a journal? Hey? I have thoughts & observations too, you know.”

“Oh yeah?”


And she threw aside the paperback and picked up a little note book and started scribbling stuff down. Both of us, scribbling, and looking around at space, looking for things to observe, turn into thoughts, and thus into notes.





“SCONA RINE” (so take an umbrella)


A harbor town. Grating island raised and lowered on grooves as a defensive gateway. Curtains over a doorway. A tubby attendant at the door with a divided leather trunk on wheels, containing loose paper.

A foreshadowing omen.

“Any strong red wine in a storm.”


The altered head of state on bad dole form & over the weather or not wearing halfa pair of shorts ox preferred to pay the price than profit from the past made a cut throat deal down my neck of the woods a lighthearted house down a gravel voiced road.





Avast! Alas, A fool afoot!

A Dream Swaps Sleep For A Bed

2 hours before 10

my alarm woke up and I uncovered my eyes.

“Privacy is utmost” I thought.

I beat the alarm back to sleep and shook off my bed.

In 35 minutes I’d be five minutes late.

I undried myself in the shower,

soaked a towel,

covered my body odor,

undid my hair,

shaved a mustache under my nose,

turned a door that was shut into an open door                                                                                                                                   and stopped standing.

I gave myself skin on my face, hands and feet and stuck them in socks      and tied them in shoes.

The mirror winked at me and the pictures moved past in the hallway.

I took the shell off an egg and didn’t fry it, watched my wrist, cooked the front of a slice of bread, and put it on the bottom of the egg, unwashed a plate and was not even hungry.

I was to have meet me in the meat market the one I am friends of at a cafe for coffee

before going to the work I’m paid for.

I locked the furniture inside my flat and a bus caught me.

I rode in the bus while others rode on cars.

I didn’t make a superfluous deal about it.

I don’t even spell pedantac properly.

I made a woman sit beside me and let my clock watch while the woman (who was not exactly Elle McPherson) tried to make me listen to her mean – but not say – “I’ll ask you a question if I can talk about myself next” but I pretended to be nonchalant.

The bus released me and I stepped into the street and turned to walk forward

ignoring a stop sign and alternating my front foot.

A building on a billboard leaning against a policeman read: The Future is Now…Past by as I heard a nervous voice mutter “act naturally.” I walked within a crowd, oblivious to them; those who were lead to believe in conformity.

I wasn’t going to be on time; that had just become apparent.

Or early; that had been apparent at least twice as long.

I knew what she’d think but I was skeptical.

She’d think I was clairvoyant

and yet I thought: “If I were her I wouldn’t like to be in my shoes”

and so I made everybody else walk slower.

She met me at the cafe exit and we went out.                The waiter waited immediately.

We stopped standing at a high table and ordered two flat coffees as a big fly sped through the tiny room.

After a time…and before a briefer period, I was no longer unaware that she’d written on a napkin          “I am in pain”.

I kept thinking of a dog drowning but I couldn’t help it so I said “I love. You?”

Her face showed no expression.

I was looking the wrong way.

I tried to relax but it was too much effort

so I looked at the window and noticed there was a lot less in there than usual.

Usually there was plenty of unusual, but today was unusual in that it was all just usual.

The light had disappeared.

Nothing grew.

And kept on growing!

Tomorrow was rapidly beginning.

And when I turned my back to her

she was looking right at me.



This is the story about the time I met Will Oldham. Yes, THE Bonnie Prince Palace Brother.  Believe me, I’ve dined out on this story quite a bit over the years. But as I got the shit kicked out of me I figure I earned it.

Here we go then. I’d been drinking all afternoon at a Richmond pub with a couple of old mates, one female, one male, and as the afternoon turned to evening the female of the species turned maudlin over an ex partner, who by all accounts was an arsehole anyway and as I was lovelorn myself, I was getting a tad fed up with her constant one tracked conversation. You know, that self-defeating yet somehow self-serving self flagellation that everyone notices except the self.  Not to mention particularly annoying to me, being as I said, myself bereft, as seemed to be the general fashion at the time (at least in that pub). However, rather than raise the white flag I wanted to raise some hell & get drunk and fuck anything that moved, not wallow in my own suspicion that people where generally oxygen thieves not worth falling in love with, barely worth fucking, & definitely not capable of talking anything but mind-numbingly boring self-serving crap disguised as conversation.  But one tries to remain positive.

Anyway, knocking back the last of my drink (and the dregs of every other drink on the table) I bid my two comrades farewell & fucked off around midnight, slowly winding my way home toward St Kilda.

The night was, though not exactly stormy, undeniably dark.  And it had a certain spinning quality to it. So as I stumbled down Swan St, happy as a toad, a group of pissed-up funsters passed me by, their general might-make-right attitude forcing me to the far side of the footpath & making me surely seem more courteous than I actually felt. But I’d learned long ago not to insult large groups of wankers, so I let them pass, bidding them a merry journey & all the best with their herd mentality.

Me, I continued on my solitary yet infinitely more dignified journey up the gutter.

I was making terrible time when lo & behold along comes another chap towards me, dragging a girl by the arm behind him. I later realised he must have been a straggler from the larger group, but at the time he was a lone man – well, kind of a Man… maybe more a lone Rat-Boy – dragging his woman along by the arm as he made his shitful way through existence.

His Neanderthal charms certainly did not go unnoticed as he came towards me but for the most part I looked the other way and minded my own business.

Yet as he & his female possession passed by, the dirty rat turned up the rodent charm to 11 & somehow managed to hip & shoulder me, although he had the entire footpath to navigate (as you’ll recall I was already side of the footpath from the larger group).

Now, either I’m a complete shit magnet, or this was the most uncoordinated cunt God ever fucked bad breath into.

Maybe he was a little unsteady on his feet; it’s certainly no crime, but as he failed to offer even an apology, perhaps on top of being uncoordinated in the extreme,  he was also quite a deep thinker, lost in some profound mediation on the meaning of existence, distracted by some existential revelry & otherwise completely preoccupied.

Or perhaps his was the vessel of just another brainless, aggressive, chauvinist that this world is already full to over-flowing with.

Well, fancy my surprise! I was already in such a super mood that night, delighted by my fellow man & the constant invigorating surprises he held in store at every turn, so my immediate reaction was to make contact with this fellow traveler on the road to greater things. Yes, make contact with him immediately! In fact, spin him around & make contact with his nose. Make a bold statement! Hey, it felt so good I did it again. And again. And againandagainandagain! He must have envied my enjoyment for he too soon started to partake, doing the very same thing to me! We traded blows back&forth&back&forth & before I knew it I was surrounded by the rest of his gang who’d doubled back. Well… Turned out they too were quite good at this punching caper &, though I was outnumbered, this didn’t seem to deter these courageous young men, as they continued to punch & kick ten shades of shit out of me until I was totally bushed and couldn’t even keep my end up. I had to have a little bit of a lie down. Much as I would have loved to continue punching piss out of them, unfortunately I was forced to do the ‘merely defending constant blows to my head & body’ bit, which is not nearly as much fun.

Because there’s only so much fun you can have without needing a rest. So I ended up cornered against a shop window slowly retreating into the crouched position in preparation for the complimentary kicking these types like to finish their group beatings with, when, suddenly, out of the darkness, came a camp voice appealing to the heroic posse to stop attacking poor old defenseless me. The bloke from which the voice came must have noticed my humanity quickly waning & reacted immediately. And to my luck, & perhaps both our astonishment, the gang understood English & the beating ceased. They stood around overlooking their handy-work, while I tried to at least hold my head onto my shoulders. Then slowly they all must have realised their girlfriends had run up the road & were fucking the nearest dogs they could find, so they all pissed off. (Gotta be on guard these days: all it takes is a line of crank or a Hummer with a stereo & you can kiss your girlfriend goodbye.)

So off they trot into the night and I’m there left a puddle of pounded piss on the pavement.

I thanked the effeminate voice for his doubtless bravery, although, as I was still covering my ringing head with my arms, I didn’t see him.

And when I finally looked up he was gone.

Was it a bird? Was it a plane?

Was it Super Fag?

Whomever it was he certainly renewed my faith in humanity and that was and remains of utmost importance, so not all was lost.

Eventually I got up off the footpath & continued to drag my sorry arse home, being ignored by every cab that crawled by like spoiled fish who’ll only eat what they think big enough to justify the effort of chewing. Cab after cab drove by, slowing down as they approached only to accelerate as I hailed, which, believe it or not, was by now kinda  starting to get on my tits.

“Why are people so shit?” I heard myself think.

I had no answer.

Eventually I came upon a service station & went into the toilets to take a piss & seeing my reflection in the mirror I realised I was bleeding heavily. In fact, I looked like Sissy Spacek from the film Carrie. Except covered in much more blood.

I had long hair at the time & had to wring liters of blood out of it into the sink & wash the wounds to my eyebrow & nose, hoping they’d congeal. See, these tough guys like to wear large, sharp rings so a punch that would barely knock a toddler off its feet will still cut you open and bleed impressively.

So, cleaning myself up best I could with the last solitary square of dunny paper on the roll or on the sole of my boot, I walked back out into the now drizzling night to stand on the corner & play the Melbourne game of Hail a cab & hope the Cabbie FEELS LIKE picking you up – cursing having ever come to Richmond that day in the first place.

And while I participated in the ‘ignore the fair’ game with about two dozen cabs, a man approached me out of the darkness. He was a small, blonde bloke, balding & bearded, wearing long shorts & work boots, surrounded by a group of happily refreshed women, laughing & smiling & stumbling about, though the man himself seemed sober & dressed somewhat conspicuously like a normal dude, as opposed to every other gelled-up, faux-hawked, polo-shirted bogan out on the street that night. This man looked rather like he’d been gardening, had fallen asleep & someone had kidnapped him, locked him in the boot of a car, driven him to some mysterious undisclosed area and he’d woken up, struggled all day to unlock the boot, and having finally succeeded, escaped into the Richmond night.

“Who the hell are you supposed to be?” I asked the strange escapee rhetorically & not without a hint of the having-just-had-my-arse-kicked-sideways sarcasm “Will Oldham?”

To which he replied, ‘Yes, I am, actually. What happened to you?’

His concern seemed sincere, so I relayed the whole pathetic story of my smack down & the generally shitful night I was having.

‘Fuck that,’ he said. ‘Come with us.’

Who am I to argue with a complete stranger?

I piled into his transit van along with the others & was handed a beer as we headed off howling into the CBD to a karaoke bar in China Town.

Admittedly I had a little trouble initially getting into the joint, not just because my head was twice the size of the door & barely able to fit through it, but because the bouncers figured I had trouble written all over my face, more or less in a collage of cuts and bruises. Actually, I think what confused them most was that I looked coming in what people usually looked like as they themselves were throwing them out.

But old mate Will had a few words & let them know what ‘time it was’, so to speak (it was and I was let in with all the rest of the pug-ugly drunks & drug- fiends out & about in clubs at that time all over the known universe. Check out the sweaty, gurning, make-up run libertines in these places and tell me they’re any more attractive than a guy with two black eyes covered in blood.  Hey, I just looked like a friendly raccoon out having a good time.

Everyone was amiable enough & abided me as we imbibed & the girls got into the karaoke & in the darkness no one even noticed I looked like the Elephant Man’s ugly brother. And so while the girls cranked out ironic classic after ironic classic, Oldham & I found a table & drank & chewed the fat while the girls murdered songs that should have been aborted at birth. Will assured me he was not out on the prowl, that the girls were Aussie fans he’d met at a gig in LA earlier in the year & that, in fact, HE TOO was nursing a broken heart, like the rest of the entire human population. I believed him. Why wouldn’t I? As I said, it was all the rage at the time. And also, he was the first, decent, non polo-shirt-wearing-human being I’d met in the last 24 hours. Who was I to doubt him? He was well ahead of the pack. I’m not given to caring two hoots  as to other people’s business either way, unless I could write a song about it. And as I couldn’t (believe me, I tried) I’ve written this happy bloody tale, and he being the crux of the piece, I wont hear a bad word spoke against him. He is a fucking hero for all time, above and beyond all scrutiny, and certainly above tuning pissed-up Antipodean groupies. Remember, this was a man who had taken a poor lost soul down on his luck & turned his night around, single-handedly, all thanks to the power of his celeb status and the convenience of having a Tarago & a driver. After a gesture such as this, of such staggering sympathy & generosity, not to mention benevolent creativity, I would have turned a blind eye had he mounted each one of the young ladies in tandem on the table before me. Not that I could see much out of my eyes at this stage anyway, as they were starting to close up like clams, but you get the idea. He was alright by me.

Anyway, I can’t go into the juicy details of all that Will & I talked of that night, from astro physics to rocket science, for time waits for no man, not even the princes among them, & soon the sun came up (apparently) & I bid my bonnie buddy goodbye, thanking him for everything as he organized me a ride home to St Kilda in a cab with his brother, who was drumming with him on the tour (& not nearly as outgoing or friendly) (it was 7am, I’ll grant him that) & at around 9am I walked in the door of my Balaclava abode, to the shock of my bro, but I reassured him: ‘Brother, forget my busted head….Guess who I just met?’ & soon we set off to the Meredith Music Festival, where Oldham was playing that weekend, & I simply self-medicated even more than usual & donned a pair of aviator shades to conceal two eyes blacker than a raccoons butthole. And yes, I’ve dined out on that story ever since, even though I hardly know the man’s music. Plenty other people do & are impressed. And, let’s face it, that’s the main thing.

Because I like to think Oldham knew that I would brag to anyone in earshot about this chance meeting for years to come, & that’s exactly why he did it: he & only he, through his celebrity & Tarago, had the ability to turn my shit night around, from a horrible, unmentionable experience of mundane street violence & alienation, to a magical, once in a lifetime brush with fame I could dazzle my friends with for decades to come, all thanks to the benevolence of a B Grade celebrity & an A Grade stranger.


I’m supposed to write something about myself here, which shouldn’t be too hard as I’m always writing, and I’m always crapping on about myself in one way or another. That rippling reflection Narcissist once stared into, unmoved by Echo’s constant cries, will be my computer screen. And the crystal eye of Skype or Big Brother or whatever hell is on the otherside of that unblinking labyrinth will be my undoing. What can I say? I’m a simple guy with complicated motivations. We live in a complicated world. I’m not even sure how to spell it. My television set has three remote controls, and not one decent channel. I like to sit around the house in my SportsGirl muscle-top & contemplate all the big questions: Who is Alan Murry? Could it really be the worlds best low cost airline? Could it really be Australia’s largest Chemist? Can one’s legs be akimbo? Why do I always seem to be listening to someone talk about something they know NOTHING about? Commentary was invented by people who cant. Me, I’m only a couple of letters away from Val Wanker. I like to drink a beer, eat wasabi peanuts & chat to my housemates about the life I’m not living. There’s always washing up to be done. I like to read books I find laying about, walk round my neighborhood & kick passing cars as hard as I can. I might kick the footy with a friend or shoot some hoops in the schoolyard across the street, stroll Victoria Street searching for the perfect Pork Roll while fending off the propositions of sex & drugs (no one ever offers rocknroll, that’s a harder thrill to sell). I like to lay around reading graffiti, looking out the window, play my guitar, smoke like a fish & drink like a chimney & become quite literally an all-round entertainer while my peers starve themselves to fit into the scene (or some old carny’s britches). I like to imagine a place a little cooler. A place where you have shelter & room to grow. A place where outside is harsh but invigorating  & all the neon lights & billboards are hidden under snow. I like to imagine a rainy day that keeps all the bad ideas away & the creeps off the streets & the cops off their beats & the heat off my heals & a rain that washes away all the bullshit & conjures up all the hidden smells & spells so as it all can start again. Basically I like the rain & it never rains enough. And nor should it. We all gotta get ready for a hotter place.


Outside my room on the 2nd floor among the trees I can hear the children playing in the schoolyard. They scream with delight, though the same noise made by an adult would only be made in terror. Soon playtime will be over & this sound will cease. I can hear a small dog barking & whimpering. He thinks he’s the pack-leader & his owners have deserted him. He’s calling them back. Everyday he thinks they’re never coming back. From 9 to 5 he calls them. All he needs is some discipline & be put in his place & then he would happily wait all day for their return. Another bigger dog begins to growl, pushing his bowl around the concrete enclosure like a prisoner rattles his cup along the bars. For a long time I didn’t know what this sound was. Then there’s the possum in the crawlspace, scratching itself as it sleeps. He’s alright, not too grumpy a neighbour. Though sometimes it’s as if he’s tapping out some kind of morse code. Am I meant to reply? Traffic like the wind whistles in the distance. And a bloke hammering. Always a bloke hammering. Hammering what, I do not know. His masculinity to his chest? Now a car horn: someone riding his horn aggressively, tooting another driver he would never say peep to face to face.  I can hear a chopping, like someone walking briskly on stilts. And a drill, small, like a dentist’s white lies. The big dog growls again. A plane drones overhead, coming in to land. Birds in the trees are quiet, balanced on the swaying branches, like feathered surfers on a huge green wave. My own sounds are few: silver strings spun & songs sung & tap-tap-tap of the keyboard. Outside the sun light sparkles in the leaves. Outside is a world of noise that nobody hears. Inside is quiet, but each sound tells a story. Like birds we send our sounds off blindly into the arena to seek an echo.


I drink a lot. And for many reasons unknown to me. But I recognise a mysterious need to be sociable coupled with an almost comical social ineptitude. Growing up, my family were not in the habit of hosting parties or entertaining guests. In fact, neither my mother or father, though lovely, friendly people, ever had many close friends. So the social animal remains a fascinating yet unknown entity to me. Perhaps that’s were my solipsism begins, or the need to seek communion through art.

And I like people, generally. But as Marcel Proust, the great french author/ shut-in, recluse/socialite (& teetotaller) said ‘Without lies the whole of social activity would grind to a holt’. So drinking is basically a device of enabling oneself to be untrue. Another mask.

By the way, I lied when I said I liked people. I love people, which is why I find I can still hate them.

So booze, if I may be so bold, is that double edged sword that kills but also gives life. It quietens & enlightens, numbs & distracts, douses & inflames, turns up the volume, pulls down the shutters & lets in the light.

“Lord bless the vine

it gives me vision, it gets me blind

a drop of whisky, a drop of wine

why cant i stay drunk all of the time?

Lord bless the vine”

I wrote that.

And then, of course, there is the blue light…… The glorious hangover!

Consider the cons of alcoholism: 1. Depression  2. Constipation 3. Insomnia         4. Impotency 5. Weight flux 6. Memory loss 7.  Relationship loss 8. Amorous insanity 9. Socializing with bar staff… etc, etc

The list (like myself) certainly goes on.

Ah, but the divine hangover! Something like opening the blinds at 6:05am & letting in blue light. Some kind of freshness the mind has when you’ve tried to send it to oblivion the night before, as if in it’s repairing one can gauge the fundamental mechanics of the psyche & wash all else away. It’s as if one can almost observe the mind as it reboots – the zen like gems, the epiphanies of simplicity – like flotsam & jetsam, retrieve them & let all the other clutter & dross be gone forever. Memory loss is another double-edged sword. For there is so much that could do with forgetting. Heavy drinking could be seen in this sense not unlike reckless spring-cleaning, & throwing out all those cheap socks & ugly ties & birthday presents & unwanted gifts people pass on like a disease & finally freeing yourself of all that & sending it down the eternal shit-chute where it belongs, once & for all (just hopefully not including your car-keys, home address & important dates & anniversaries). I mean, isn’t that what real illumination is? Getting rid of all the clutter?

So alcohol abuse becomes like the work of a sculpture – sculpting grey matter. Dangerous work. Long, slow, arduous work, but worthwhile work nonetheless. And just as you begin to find the perfect form, the perfect balance, you would do best to stop, leave it be, cease & resist. But you wont stop. You can’t stop. You’ll keep hacking away at it with brews at the bar, beers at the footy, whiskey & wines & tonics for insomnia, if only for that blue light in the wee morning hours.

But somewhere along the line, even the lush might understand what he’s doing. And he’ll smile at melancholy, lose slabs of sleep, shit like a broken refrigerator & die young & haggard with the blue light fading from his eyes.


The Tote’s closing down. Here I am in frosty Berlin & my old local’s getting the arse, just as I did from there myself, so many times in the past. Originally the ol’ Ivanhoe Hotel (from Frank Hardy’s The Hard Way, the story was there was a tunnel under the jukebox to escape the Jacks that led to either the Old Bar or Amy’s – now The Gem. Something like that. Once Cal & I rolled the huge Jukebox back &, sure enough, there was a trap-door. But more about that later..) cum-Tote Hotel, Melbourne’s home of R’n’R (that stands for Rock & Roll and Rest & Recuperation) going the way of everything real in the world. Used to be run by Richie Ramone (changed his name by deed poll, that’s how rock’n’roll the place was) who was a great supporter of my band The Swedish Magazines. And we loved the Tote. A-bomb & I decided to live together for a while & rent a place as close to the Tote as possible. We got a place right on Wellington street, less than three minutes from the bar. Used to be my second home. I even wrote the song Girl from the Tote about this bar fly, a cute but clearly bonkers chick who was always there drinking but we’d never spoken a word to each other. One night we found ourselves alone at the bar & as I’d run out of money (hence why i was suddenly alone) i suggested she accompany me to my place for a bottle of vodka I had somewhere, merely a hop, skip & a hump away. I thought it was a pretty kind offer. But she started laying into me as regards to my intentions, my sobriety & sincerity. Moi! And this coming from a fellow bar fly! So then i started goading her, fishing for bigger & badder insults. She said i was too young, too this, too that, too two faced! Then she complained I didn’t look after myself. The cheek! I was an A.I.S athlete for ten years, woman, I’m having a fucking rest! Jesus, talk about the pot calling the kettle stout. Yeah, well, she might have liked the look of me when I was younger, but would I have liked her? Shallowness is uglier, I’d say. Anyway, she ended up going home that night with a friend of mine. I got a song out of it & by all accounts he got a crazy nightmare on legs for the next few weeks. The chase, indeed, better than the catch, as Lemmy has warned us. So the Tote has buckled under these ridiculous  liquor licensing laws. Pollies have to pretend their doing something so they kick the small guy in the guts. Same old story. Fuck it. Rock & roll is in the heart.


The ramblin van walker title came from an ironic take on the old cowboy singers (jack elliot being perhaps the most well known). Ironic because i’d spent most of my twenties as a vertual recluse, & so regards my loquasitic rather than peripetietic tendencies. Again, as no-one was to know this, it ammused only myself. But it still seems to make sence to me: if you’re gonna have something as meaningless as a title, have a misleading one.


But the artist has a deluded sense of generosity. Like someone who wipes their arse & wants to show you the paper (much less get on a stage & sing about it)  Although, like that soiled bog-roll, the art tells the story of the innards, the dark, hidden, unspoken reaches we cannot otherwise divine. (It’s a shitty job but someone’s gotta do it, etc,)

Speaking of jobbies, I remember reading once the one & only D. Boone from The Minutemen explaining how one can always spot an artistic child: they’re the ones who smear their shit all over the place (& certainly know it stinks!)

But i digress/digest.

The mask is not unlike the red rag to a bull. It’s purpose fun, flux, & also to protect the small flame of creation that can start a fire, but also so carelessly be snuffed out. So why do i write all this? Think of it as white noise as a form of silence. But keep searching. Those who have it all worked out are full & they take no more. We others pay our dues, bide our time, & look always a little deeper.

I want to tell you about the worst job i ever had. It was in an ice-cream factory with a bunch of dolts who where either old & cranky because they where embarrassed to have such a low wage gig at their age, or young, dumb, & full of drugs. I took more drugs in that kitchen than ever in my life. We’d huddle in the dry room (or the freezer) at the start of the day & your man would dish out whatever pills he had on him & then we’d spend all day making ice-cream like zombies, zonked out of our minds. I made thirty liters of strawberry ice-cream one day, then i re-read the menu: raspberry!!! I think i ate strawberry ice-cream for the next two weeks. Fed it to my cat.  But yes, it certainly was not a gas. More like a modern day gas chamber. Thank god there was a pub across the road. There was this old Glaswegian, who was fair enough, (tho when i first started there i was pointed in his direction & told he’d show me the ropes, to which he responded ‘i don’t get paid enough to teach you’ so there i was stood there like a prick between another prick & an even bigger prick) & the young lads where alright, but there was this gay junkie who was the most morose, pretentious fucking loser you’d ever wish not to meet less be trapped in a kitchen with who somehow managed to O.D on me after a drinking session & nearly caused me to murder him with my own  bare-hands.

The one vague pro about the place (beside the lovely icy temperature) was the fact you could nip into the dry room & take a hit on a bottle of Kahlua or whatever other fancy spirits they added to these la-di-da ice-creams. They warned us they’d sack us if they ever caught us, but i figured that seemed more like a win-win situation. In fact it sounded like a bloody bonus. Cheers! I’ll drink to that! It was a miserable bloody lifeless colourless capitalist nightmare & as we worked in our big white gumboots & big white spacesuits in our big white kitchen we were watched by the bosses through a big glass panel, not unlike 2001: an ice-cream odyssey. The bosses would get paranoid if we talked and laughed while we worked & they wouldn’t tolerate it. We explained it was a nesessary requirement to surviving such mind-numbingly, bone-achingly dull work. The bosses would also watch us through the glass & complain that we worked hard & heads-down for a couple of hours then slowed down & talked for a period while washing up, & so on & so on, throughout the day. We explained that’s how kitchens usually worked, but they wouldn’t have it. They probably feared seeing us smile meant their precious money was going down the drain. So they wanted us to work at a more consistent pace. We explained that would mean we’d have to work twice as slow all day. To which they where quite prepared to allow us to do! As if the situation was not crap  enough, now they want us to walk around in an even more zombie-fied torpor than usual. Thank god for alcoholic icecreams, that’s all i can say. The bosses where a brother & sister, & the lady was fair, but the bloke was a right prick. He was wider than he was tall. Wore a leather jacket & rode a motorcycle with a numberplate that read ‘SORBE’. Get the picture? As a six-foot plus ‘man’, he hated me. He once rolled his eyes at me & i seriously considered headbutting him until i realised i couldn’t possibly bend down that low. So i walked out & never went back.

ps. I did go back but that’s another story.


Long after i stopped smoking marijuana for breakfast, lunch & dinner, i would oft-times be seen strolling the bad lands of north-west Tasmania wearing a t-shirt displaying a large gnarly ganja leaf – the dopiest advertisement for a lifestyle i was certainly no longer apart of. But that to me was funny. How was any one else supposed to know i was being ironic? Well… you tell me. In reality, no one gave a shit. My point is: in this way i am a raving narcissist, be fore warned before reading any of this.

It’s easy to hide from people who make shallow judgments. Put on an apron & they think you’re a chef. Put on a suit & tie they think you’re a responsible, mature, financially secure, adult member of society. Serial murderers thrive on these deep seeded knee-jerk biases, & maybe it’s Gods way of perpetuating natural selection. A fool & their head are soon parted. However, a mask is sometimes also a mirror.

Some say people of average intelligence aren’t smart enough to comprehend just how dumb they really are, while intelligent people have to suffer the comprehension of their own sublime ignorance every moment of every day (people who are straight-up bovine stupid don’t know what they’re missing, believe me). So it’s usually those who think they’ve got another pegged who fall for the mask, hook, line & sinker. While those who humbly take the time to discern the multi-faceted labyrinthine & mercurial nature of any soul take the time to delve deeper, & as they are rewarded they come to see the many masks as one. (And, indeed, their own)

However, like the liars paradox (eg: if i tell you that i am a liar, you must assume that i am lying, thus you must then assume i am in fact honest, in which case my first claim was untrue, therefore… etc,etc,etc)  one must resist the temptation of drawing conclusions of the artist from the art, but rather begin to picture the art itself through the artist within yourself. The ‘artist’ is simply a distant boof-headed sun, the art merely shadows that stretch & shrink due to the artists’ own self serving solipsism. Much like the person who needs to interpret their dreams tells one more about that person than the dreams they’re trying to interpret!

The point?

I guess what I’m ineptly (and yet somewhat aptly) trying to say is it’s impossible to speak  about art, because true art should speak for it’s self. But we live in a world of twits & twitter & sticky-beaks & skype & instant access & immediate, incessant gratification, & as Rimbaud said, you gotta be absolutely modern. But my old pal, Uroburos – the snake that devours it’s own tail – is a symbol (in my opinion) of this kind of narcissism. However it’s also a symbol of magic, creation, & alchemy. So hopefully… (& here’s the belated point) there’s something of interest in this for you.

Just be thankful you don’t have to live with it.

I forget my point.

Always separate the art from the artist.

Art is merely the mirror (see ramble #1) thus to appreciate or take any level of enjoyment from art is to yourself  be artistic. This is arts sublime magic; it hides from the un-artistic (if that’s truly a possible state) & more commonly awakens the artist within anyone who seeks it; the seer within us all; the child at play; the creator of the ‘essence of existence’. In this sense art is an evolutionary act of self preservation of the highest importance, & has been so  from the beginning of mankind (we wont speculate what serves as art for insects) therefor it is also the most natural thing in the world, bar a morning dump (or a morning bar). Thus artists take inspiration from other artists, & live on. That is my one justification for this drivel.

Thank you for your time.