fatman Find the clues!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Be My Yoko Ono

Every Thursday for about a year Nat and I would catch up at Degraves Cafe on Degraves street. Our pays (read: dole checks) would be on alternate Thursdays so one of us would shout the other before we went out (4 months), during (about a month and a bit) and after we broke up (another 4 months) regardless of whatever arguments we may have been having that week. This little bohemian espresso joint with the funky old school cinema chairs would be the ideal place to resolve old arguments and to start a whole host of new ones.

We're sitting there sipping our coffees quickly- it's cold outside and Nat wants to grab a beer somewhere else. 'Do you hear from Nifty at all?' she asks between caffeine gulps. Nifty is Micah's brother. Back in the Arthouse days he and I were the best of friends. Inseparable. Like co-joined twins sharing a heart, like Bert & Ernie sans homosexual undertones. Until Kim. In comes Kim, out goes "inseparable".

'What's Kim like?' asks Nat.
'Honestly? She's Yoko. She has the soul of a scorpion. She'd get upset if you used words that she didn't understand because she thought we'd be making fun of her (which, admittedly, would be a correct assumption most of the time). One day I walked out of my bedroom to find the whole lounge room rearranged by Her. She wasn't even living there at the time!!'
'So what did Nifty see in her?'

Who knows? There's no such thing as a perfect carpet. Love is a rabid rottweiler. It doesn't matter if certain people use your heart as a pinata-you love 'em anyway.

'Did I tell you he's living in a place called Moronville up in Canada? I'm not making this up.'
Nat snorts a mouthful of coffee and laughs. 'What's it like?' she asks when she's sufficiently recovered.
'Haven't got a clue. Seems pretty boring. Of the three phone calls I've got from Nift in the last five or so years I reckon it's one of those places where people drink beer on their rooftops. Shotguns on laps. Box of tissues near their stack of Guns & Ammo.'

Coffees are finished. We get up to get some beer.

Objects in mirror may be fatter than they appear,

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Nine Years in One Day

This is the facial expression that I have when the first girlfriend I ever had walks into my bar after a nine year absence: my eyes are unfocused from trying to fix an old image into a present context, superimposing an alternate universe to a pre-existing one, my eyebrows are playing tug-of-war with itself, my lips are adjusting from a stationary position to that of a lazy, disbelieving grin as my mouth fills up with a million and one questions.

It can happen just like that. One moment you are watching a strange, schizophrenic couple dancing a graceful waltz to a re-mixed version of Coltrane and the next you are staring at the ghost of a past, suddenly corporeal, walking out of the rain in fact, and bulldozing her way from a time long lost and into the shambles that is today.

I'm well impressed she managed to track me down. The only "S.Heazlewood" in the phone book is a Steve, most of our old aquaintences have either moved on, been imprisoned, addicted to something or dead...maybe even all of the above and I've moved about a dozen times. And yet there she was, flesh and blood and smiles, with all the little imperfections that make us human.

Natalya and I embrace. 'So,' I ask, 'How's your almost-decade going for you so far?'
'Well you remember that after I left the Arthouse (a place that so defined the rest of our lives that I'd have to write an entire book to do it justice) to go to my grandmother's funeral in W.A. with Dorian (a Harry Potter-looking nerd that she went out with a fortnight after she dumped me on Valentine's day. Got to be honest- I was always kind of lukewarm about him. Not a bad guy...just lacking something. Let's call it chutzpah). His friend Steve who everyone said had a crush on me and I didn't believe turned out to have a MONSTER crush on me, forbade D to even associate with me in Perth. We broke up the day he arrived. I only saw D on the day he left for England. His parting words?" I never should have broken up with you."'
'Yeah, I know. Better for him to just shut his mouth. So my parents moved house (which was when we lost contact with each other), I picked fruit for awhile, sort of became a hippy. Met a guy, fell in love, went to Scotland for a few years, moved back and eventually married the guy on a beach up north last November.'

The guy she married on the beach who has been patiently listening to his wife recap the last nine years then shakes my hand. Cormac is his name. He's a big guy, like impressively big, with a good handshake. A musician's hands as I was to find out later. 'Heard a lot about you,' he says affably,'Hon. Don't forget to tell him about the kid.'
'Kid? Oh yeah. My last boyfriend and I adopted a child for about a year.' Nat then proceeded to tell me about the trials and tribulations of adopting a little arsonist. It's riveting stuff.

What does an ex-girlfriend say about you after you've broken up? Many stories about how you hit her in the back of the head with a book as you went about your business. Or when the first time you met and someone else(Debbie), trying to make a new girl welcome, introduced you ('Haze, this is Nat!'), you turned to her slowly and just said: 'So?' She remembers odd habits you had like keeping a drawer full of cigarettes even though you're a non-smoker. She remembers how atrocious you are as a dancer. She remembers how the Arthouse cat, Molly, was doing something one day and she was so excited to tell you about it she interrupted what you were doing (obviously something important)and showed it to you. 'Nat,' you explained calmly, as if to a child, 'Molly is a cat. It's doing cat things.'

Nat says,'I once saw you a few years ago although you don't know it,'
'Oooh. Were you on a bus or something?'
'It was a bank security footage that a friend of mine taped from the news. The bank was getting robbed and you were standing outside with a little redheaded girl, embracing her.'
'Really? I don't remember'
'How could you not remember a bank holdup?'

I don't remember any of it. Holding on to someone, oblivious to the chaos and confusion of a robbery. Imagine that.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Boo me off Open Mic Night will They?

I wrote this first draft speech idea for Matt. I'd been staring at a blank computer screen for about two days while I was writing the previous entry: "Rendered Speechless" and was getting frustrated that nothing seemed to be forthcoming. So I sent this five-minute e-mail and promptly forgot about it. Matt seemed to think it'd be the exact sort of thing he would say at the wedding and showed it to some of his employees at his bar ('monkeys' in Matt's parlance) who agreed with him. Enter Clark. Clark hears that I wrote a 'speech' for Matt after a vague reference and wants to see it. I said it's nothing worth worrying about. Clark said I don't care just send me the effing thing anyway. Despite my protests that the 'speech' is pretty underwhelming I sent it to Clark and thought while I'm at it I'll post the sucker on my blog thing:

Here's a basic speech idea- it's still in it's
embryonic stage so feel free to tweak away:

Da Speech for Clark and Hayley's Wedding as read by Matt Sanger (First Draft)

(Stagger up to the microphone and swipe it out of the
compare's hands. Glare at him. Stare at audience for
about eight minutes till all joviality is gone from
the room.) Right, right, right. Wedding. I'm atta
wedding. (Fumble about for cue cards. Drop some on the
floor.) Bah! It's all crap anyway..... When Clark ask
me to be BEST MAN because none of you other FUCKERS
could write a....a.....a.....goddamn speech I wuz
thrilled. (Sip beer) For about a day. Then this mother
fucker...excuse me, excuse me....I didn't mean
to....anyway....this fucking CUNT ups and retracts his
fucking BEST MAN shit because his ball-less fucking
friends cried on his fucking shoulders.
Wha....(Audience booing. Get Off! Clark: I think
you've had enough mate.)Yeah? If youse-a so much
better why don't you fucking come up here and fucking
say a better speech! I'm better than all of you
fucks!(dodges a flung beer bottle ) Is that the best
you can do.... Mum? Fuck you all! I'm signing off!
(collapses on ground.)

I realise it needs a bit of work but I think we have a
solid foundation.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rendered Speechless

When exactly do the beer guzzling hooligans you used to hang around with become semi-respectable people? It seems only yesterday that these very same people were spending days on end on your couch eating four-day old pizza and blasting out farts that did in fact register on the Richter scale and triggered car alarms in a two-hundred metre radius, they would be arrested from time-to-time for beating up guys in chicken suits, and they'd be calling you at three in the morning to ask you a favour involving driving to a swamp so you can bury a bullet-riddled corpse.

Now they have haircuts that are nudging on the almost respectable, they emit odours that suggest they eat vegetables rather than the way-past-expiry-date meat that contained a tribe of surprised maggots and they stop getting fired as frequently. In short, the very same kind of person that not two years ago you would have to help bury in a swamp at 3 am because of some argument they had at the footy.

What I'm trying to say is that more of my friends are getting married. That's the good news. The bad news is that I fear the 'choice candidates' of best men may force certain individuals to take a cold, hard look at their friendship base. Take Clark for example.

Against the advice of his wife-to-be Hayley, his family, his friends ( excluding yours truly) that crazy guy at the bus station and even little unborn Yevgeny Danger Randerson he has decided that the guy best suited to mouth off at the wedding should be Matt. This is because Matt has the most experience in giving a speech (he once decided that it would be cheaper to represent himself at the Magistrate's Court. He got a two year suspended sentence) and has the best drinking stories.

Will there be a brawl at the wedding? The smart money says yes. But what's a wedding without a few tears?


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Picture a Train Heading Somewhere (Part 4)

The most half-assed, cursory, bare-minimum way for me to attempt the Tran-Siberian was to buy a guidebook of some description. Plus I had a "$5 off " Reader's Feast voucher which would have gone to some fun but utterly useless book otherwise ('Self-Defence guide against a Pacifist', 'The History of String', 'Fast Food in the Middle Ages', 'The Inner Musings of Paulie Shore', etc.).

Now the travel book section in any bookstore tends to always be teeming with life. All those colourful books that promise adventures to come, holidays and honeymoons to be had, written by people who know of cool, secret places that only people who buy the books will ever find out. Brilliant. It actually looks very pretty because the photographers and the layout guys can go batshit crazy with the book covers in an effort to be enticing.

There's about a thousand books on New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and London. Many guides to Exotic Asia- Bali, Thailand, Vietnam. The Greek Islands. Budapest. A few on Ireland, Switzerland, India, South Africa.

Nothing on Russia.

I'm halfway into the childcare or gender issues section (the book 'Should my gay child kick the football around or play with dolls?' got my attention that I was no longer in 'Travel') when I double back. How could there be nothing on Russia and Siberia? It's massive!

Finally, after what seemed like hours (probably only two minutes. I only have a vague concept of time) I finally found the lonely planet 'Trans-Siberian Railway: a Classic Overland Route'. I take it to the counter and hand it to the counter lady. She blows the dust off the cover and says 'Wow. You're actually thinking of going on the Tran-Siberian?'

As I leave the store I have a quick look within where the 'About the Authors'( Simon Richmond and Mara 'No Relation to Jason' Vorhees) bit catches my eye; " Classic rail-journey enthusiast Simon Richmond clocked up his first Trans-Siberian trip from Vladivostock in 1997, during which he was attacked by dogs, robbed on the train and got so plastered at Lake Baikal that it's a wonder he ever found his way back to Irkutsk let alone Moscow."

I should be in capable hands,

Monday, August 08, 2005

Picture a Train Heading Somewhere (Part 3)

Things that will prevent the Trans-Siberian Railway trip from happening-

Money, or lack thereof

The Countess: If you could have any amount of money...any amount of money at all...how much would you want?

Cerebus: All of it.

The Countess: No...I mean what amount?

Cerebus: All of it...whatever you had.

The Countess: Okay, say it wasn't me. Say it was Lord Julius...how much would you want then?

Cerebus: All of it.

Dave Sim, Church & State

Serious savings need to be done. There are plenty of ways a smart, street-savvy and not to mention good-looking guy with a lust for life can make money. All I have to do is chloroform him and rob the sucker.

Language Barrier
My sum knowledge of foreign language is:

I can speak Japanese fluently though like a rude,uneducated child (I learnt Japanese when I was a rude, uneducated child) and read it well enough to make sense of most comics. I studied French at high school and ,if my life depended on it, could probably order an entire meal in France with the manner of a backward peasant who has undergone a lobotomy. My German consists of phrases used in WWII films ('Good Morning Kommandant.', 'Seize the Prisoner!', 'Kill! Kill!') and I'd have a fair stab at the military vehicles and weaponry circa 1939-45 thanks to 'Return to Castle Wolfenstein' and other games of that ilk. And I know the pickup phrases in Italian, Swedish, Thai, German and French but I'd be too embarrassed to use unless extremely drunk. No Russian though...the closest would have to be 'cheers' in Polish (pron: Na Zdrovyeh) which works in Russia as well...I think.


Let's be brutally honest: I have honed my laziness to the point of tragic perfection so to even think about thinking about doing something causes me to grimace in physical pain. My blogsite is a monument of projects unaccomplished, dreams shattered and plots foiled due to the parasitic laziness that has clung to the very fabric of my bean. You heard me...Bean.

Life or something like it

And there's always the chance that something really good or really bad might happen in the next 6 months that may change my mind completely maybe even for a good reason.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Picture a Train Heading Somewhere (Part 2)

There's no real appeal for anybody to decide to go to Russia. Most folks would prefer to go to little tropical islands to get sunburned in style. The South East Asian old hands like my friend Secondhand Bookstore Steve would prefer to go to places like Nicobar Island ( a dot on the map that only rates a mention when things like a Tsunami hit it. Apparently the best way to get there is to go to the northern part of Indonesia, bribe a smuggler with rum and it's a light plane journey across the Bay of Bengal, one of the most shark-infested bodies of water, until you touch down in what is hopefully an airstrip) where up until six years ago the natives were still blow darting anthropologists and eating them with their morning cereal.

As far as I know Russia is basically just a cold, shitty place (In my mind it is always winter time). I guess for most people that I've met there is the nagging suspicion that all Russia consists of is a) starving peasants, b) long lines for toilet paper, c) Zombie Lenin...and that's about it. I know squat all about the place. I hear that there is a bunch of ex-KGB/ Mafiosi-types that run things but that's true for Melbourne as well so I'm used to that notion. I like the furry hats. I know they've got some serious game when it comes to dancing. I know that every year a stupid amount of people die every year from drinking vodka(something like 40,000 at last count) including a vodka-drinking champion . I know Yuri Gregarian was the first guy up in space, back when the Space Program was taken seriously and shuttles where held together with something more than just band-aids and faith. But that is my sum knowledge of the place.

I've just wanted to go on a long train journey for some time. Mum was always into books like 'Murder on the Orient Express' and I've wanted to be on a train in a foreign country where a corpse turns up with seven stab wounds in his or her back. The only things that may prevent me from doing this is a serious lack of money, the incredible language barrier and the fact that it maybe potentially very, very boring.
Oh, and the fact that I've never accomplished anything ever- not that buying a ticket is a real accomplishment, per se.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Picture a Train Heading Somewhere (Part 1)


In to the Bosom of Mother Russia?

'I knew only that I wanted to write a send-off. My next book would start:"Picture a train heading south." The line felt ordained, as liberating as October azure. But I couldn't wrap myself this opening and begin. I was stalled at departure, for the simple reason that I could do nothing with so perfect a lead sentence but compromise it by carrying it forward.

The words nagged me, like a nursery refrain. I began to imagine it an unconscious allusion. It felt so unsponsored, I could not have invented it.'

Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2

About a week before my 29th birthday I was grooming myself in front of the mirror, an act I normally abhor because of the glazed, blood-shot look of the reprobate that always stares back at me, when I noticed a grey hair protruding from my chest. It was only then that it sunk in that I was in my last year of my 20's and that I was slowly inching towards the next demographic for advertising; the dreaded 35-44. Products that are supposed to excite me will soon be lawn mowers, treatments for receding hair, liposuction for the expanding guts (stomach contents: all the donuts, choice of Coke or Pepsi, pizza, deep-fried caribou and MacDonald's that were a definite must when you are 18-34), recliners, cheap plots for the cemetery, vehicles that can hold up to 8 offspring, etc.

If this was a sitcom and I the neurotic lead , I might have started a list of things to do before I turned 30 that looks something like this...


1/ Catch a shark.

2/ Bed identical twins that look like Jessica Alba

3/ Consume the most amount of hot dogs in a single sitting

4/ Hunt down and punch the most annoying person back in high school (Note: In the event that you were the most annoying and hated person back in high school this should read- Avoid being beaten up by crazed former nerds who have decided to make a list of everyone that has ever wronged them)

5/ Find the real meaning of Christmas

6/ Star nude in a bed scene in a movie...with Jessica Alba

7/ Win the Nobel Peace Prize, even if it is for one of the crappy categories like Economics or Pumpkin Growing.

8/ Invent a new font.

9/ Cure hiccoughs.

10/ Learn to hacky sack properly.

But that would take too much effort. So what if I can't hacky sack well? And besides there's nothing on the list that I honestly want to do. However there was something that I'd always thought would be cool to do. The Trans-Siberian Railway. I don't exactly know why.