December 13, 2010

Describe someone crossing a room, and try to do it in a way that won’t perish. – Shelby Foote


I don’t know what this means yet, but I know that it’s very beautiful.


December 13, 2010

I breathe and wait to sink below the water line.

It comes, eventually.

I wait again.

At the start of the year I made a playlist (playlists…..bah…..I miss making a proper mixtape – the way it would take half a day, compared to the 5-10 minutes it makes to make a playlist- but now I’m getting all Nick Hornby on you and I’m not some fucked up John Cusack type.  I’d like to FUCK a fucked up John Cusack type, but I aint one.)

Where was I?  There was a LOT of punctuation in that last sentence and I totally lost my way.


At the start of the year I made a playlist that I could go running to.  That’s right, I run.  I also lift 20kg weights now, cos I’m a BADASS.  I am, I swear to you. So don’t fuck with me, cos I’ll fuck you right back.  And not in a fucked up John Cusack way.   So I made this playlist and then I was all “omigod I can’t run to this freakin playlist cos it’s all Josh Pyke and Paul Kelly with a bit of Beyonce thrown in and my legs keep wanting to slow down and then they get shocked when all of a sudden I’m being told to ‘pat my weave.'”  The playlist had to go.  In fact it had to go SO much that I ended up buying the Lady Gaga album.  I know.  I bought it online though, so no one will ever see the CD on my shelf.  The internet.  It’s so good for secret shame, isn’t it?  I love you, internet!  The one song I had to leave on though, nestled in beside black Barbie and her angry little Skipper, was From St Kilda To Kings Cross.  This is, for me, the song to end all songs.  Here are the places I’ve travelled to and listened to it this year.

  • Sydney – walking through the back of The Rocks, down to Millers Point…sandstone and water reminding me of home, chisel marks and waves.  Beer and honky tonk piano.
  • Brisbane – bubble headed geckos, The Wire, beautiful singers, wonderful director, lost childhoods.
  • Dubbo – cheerleaders, screaming monkeys, two dollar pants…a gibbon welcoming us to his show.
  • Mount Isa – riots in schools, loneliness and displacement by the river, truck drivers with easy horns…kittens and cats, cats and kittens, bedbugs and internet limits.
  • Townsville – black cockatoos eating snacks on the Strand, Beavis and Butthead in the classroom, Mr Mudcrab, car cheese, the Malteser and I valiantly attempting to move through waves to coral reefs…sunlight bouncing off the ocean floor..greens, blues, red, violet.
  • Moranbah – bingo, poker, survivor, I’m a totem, puppies, roadside ornaments, men with kind eyes…the keyboard provided to me is delivered by an old guy with a ute, has barely 4 octaves, no keyboard stand and no pedal.  But he made sure he got the headphones for me.  Dusty, scratchy.
  • Dysart – sadness, bleakness, practising piano in a disused hall with an apricot sunset and cockatoo choir.  Frankenstein two keyboards together to make one that will do what I need it to do.  “What the fuck is HE looking at?”
  • Clermont – practising piano in a supremely loved hall, chocolate polished floorboards.  A lagoon where 150 years ago the local Indigenous population were jained to the trees.  An outside jail.  Sometimes fed, sometimes not.  An elder begins singing.  Wailing and patient, he sings in the floods and the town as it stood destroyed.  Paris Cafe.  Evil goose giving me the evil eye.  No one is brave when faced with the evil goose.  I try to avoid his eye for fear of turning into a pillar of salt.  Jack Russells.
  • Adelaide – “You’re all kinds of wonderful, aren’t you?”…cha-CHA, dips and spins.
  • Melbourne – books and friends.  Pizza, pilates and scones.
  • Launceston – my heart soared as we touched down in my homeland.  This island buzzes inside me and even though I haven’t lived here since 1998, my insides buzz every time I come back.  It is my home, my Eden.  It always will be.  When I die, pack my ashes in fireworks and explode them over Spikey Beach.  There is nowhere else I’d rather spend my end days.
  • Hobart – Home.  Quiet euphoria.  Friends, babies, music.
  • Ballarat – lazy breakfasts, lazy dinners.  Isabelle Allende.
  • Bendigo – llamas, family, long baths in giant tubs, childhood confessions, marvelling at the llama whisperer.  Textiles, textures, everything screaming to be touched.
  • Sale – I look at this place through the Malteser’s eyes.  First as a married man and then as a man abandoned.  Bereft.  I cannot wait to leave.
  • Shepparton – people with vision, kids with spunk.  Beer and movies and friendships emerging.
  • Albury – family and markets.
  • Cowra – windy streets, red brick houses.  Craft shops on every corner with ladies who know what they’re talking about.  Sausage dogs. I see my first proper water rat…marsupial and webbed, it looks like an evolutionary throwback.  The sausage goes bananas.
  • Griffith – a vaulted grand piano.  Audition tedium.
  • Orange – daphne floods the cold cold air…wine, coffee…it feels cold like home.  This is good.
  • Armidale – my bed is a delicious mouse nest.
  • Coffs Harbour – an apartment that smells like dozens of salty kidded families.  I’m working, but this place forces me to feel holiday-ish.  Night time beach bonfires, I find a log as thick as my leg.  I dig it out and drag it back, excited and expectant.  I am Jack Russell in human form.
  • Grafton – lemon meringue, chocolate pots, lemon macadamias, trips to Byron, thesis corrections distracting me from essential rom-com viewing.
  • Port Macquarie – coastal walks, political and theatrical scandals, and my search for whales continues.  Everyone sees them but me.  Maybe I want to see them too much.  They sense my almost-patheticness.
  • Newcastle – family, living through my brother’s first night shift…lying awake wondering how he’s feeling.  I could never be paid to stay awake.  Never.  He is amazing.
  • Wollongong – op shops, op shops, op shops…black capes and red onsies.  Toy guns and green short shorts.  Absinthe flaming down my throat.  More than middle aged drag queens.
  • Wagga Wagga – family, shoes, lovingly weighted lunches.
  • Narranderra – traviata pinata, car park cricket, bbqs, first edition novels, teenage football with teenage tears, family, debauchery, impromptu mardi gras at the pub, overloaded pink boats, pig sheds, performing Verdi while wrapped in a giant man’s dressing gown.  My Bulldogs lose.  Again.
  • Canberra – friends, debauchery and tears.

All up, close to 35, 500 kms.  That’s right, that’s the right amount of numbers there.  As the tour went on, and more beer was drunk, and more opening night cheese eaten, and more sleep ins needed, my running playlists were more like sitting in the bus nursing hangovers and knitting toys for people playlists.  Still pretty good playlists.  But I probably didn’t need to get rid of Josh Pyke.  He so dreamy…..

I have been on tour for 228 days straight.  And now it’s done.