Because the world needs more overwrought candour.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

This post is insomnia speaking. The second night in a row, long, frustrating nights. The usual solution to sleeplessness is to let my mind roam until it unearths the splinter of thought that won't let me sleep. Hasn't happened so far; I've lain awake thinking of fucking huge essay (gnawed my fingernails incessantly today), Japan (should apply soon. Do I really want to go? How on earth will I say no if I get a cadetship interview offer?), whether I can visit Europe on the way back (everyone I know seems to be fleeing the country), my year 12 media CAT that I'd forgotten/repressed. That was a surprise thought. The film wasn't great, a wanky exposition of a high school friend of mine, a gloomy goth. I filmed him looking moody walking, looking moody smoking, oh, you get the drift. The sole redeeming feature was the interview I did with his dad which I put over the top as audio, so you hear him talking about how he doesn't understand his son, but would like to. I think it brought them closer together, in an embarrassing, almost anthropological outcome. Then, mind lifts away, I listen to laughter from downstairs; what our house calls a gag session is in progress, five or so people sitting round the table vying for hilarity. Should I go downstairs and join in and give up the pretence of sleep? Nah. Unconsciousness can't be too far away. Oh, here we go: at last the splinter rises to the top, a little shy perhaps, and a little self-aware of its importance. I think of something Laura told me on the phone recently: I wondered who I'd miss, I wondered who would linger in my mind, she says (she's elsewhere). Who will I miss in Japan? Is this why I'm going, to achieve a kind of clarification? See, my approach to friendship has always kinda worried me: I come in close to someone, form a link for a while and then find I'm too happy-go-lucky, unable to think of the minutiae of friendships. When I'm with a friend, I'm intensely there with them (most of the time) but when I'm not, they vanish, retreat back to their own lives. I just live from now to now, only rarely linking up with the greater, linear flow of time and events. In that respect, I'm a bad friend: I forget birthdays, have no idea what to buy for presents because I don't know people well enough to assume their tastes for half an hour. So do I have the capability to have a true friendship? Mmm. Still undecided. Points in my favor: two year relationship under my belt (though probably closer to friendship). Points against: I got bored.

I meander on from who would I miss, to (of course): god, I want to be in love and to be loved. I'm tired of the inequalities of lovers, tired of heartbreak and airports, this year of living like this. I swill this around my mind for a while. A common thought at the moment, but one that strikes only at night. It gets nowhere, as always.


Someone just found my blog by typing 'kiddy porn' into Google. Great. Wonderful. Fantastic.
Still, if a single passing mention for some kind of bad social satire from months ago gets me high up on the kiddy porn Google lists, Interpol must be doing their work. No doubt I'm under constant surveillance though.


Reading the personals again. I think I have a new favourite.
"Man with herpes seeks understanding woman."

Or this, which has provoked much merriness in our little household:
"Inexperienced young man sought by attrac. older woman for relationship"

We've been daring each other to reply and set up a date, just for the hell of it. But what if it was my grade five teacher? What then?


Death's still around. A family friend with malignant melanoma; successful, hard working, 2IC of a big company, three kids, good marriage, nice house in Queensland, too much sun exposure earlier on. A friend of my brother: testicle cancer. Fucking cancer. It's more than a disease. If we, the people living now, are the constant migrants, the unsettled, the existentialists, the post-Christians, the now people, then cancer is our antithesis, the looming, the ponderous creeping betrayal from within.


Still missing her. I don't feel remotely capable of seeing anyone. This is most frustrating.


(this is from last night - jumbled, not quite coherent, but hey)

Monday, October 25, 2004

I hate emotional lag. You make a rational decision to quit feeling for someone for a good reason. But the message takes a long time to get down to the frontal lobes, the primal emotional centre, and even when it does, it’s like Chinese whispers – diffused, meaningless, a slap on the wrist. See, I would like to withdraw the remnant emotions from a month ago and store them for better use. But I can’t. Which means I’m just not interested in anyone, a frustrating state of affairs.


My dad gave me a package last night as he walked me down the driveway. What is it, I wondered. He dissolved into giggles. I pretended to open it. More rapid giggling, some pointing at the car and an attempt to push me into the vehicle followed. Thought: if I didn’t know better, I’d say my dad was hugely embarrassed. I drove off before he had a fresh spasm of laughter, and opened the package a hundred metres down the road. As I suspected, a packet of condoms. But not just any condoms. No, the packet had been specially modified: a lurid colour photograph of a syphilitic penis adorning the cover. Pustules, buboes, rotting flesh. Good god. And a letter about the practical perils of the joys of the flesh. I laughed for a long time in the car and again at home, providing my housemate with a gruesome show-and-tell. Housemate laughs. Housemate looks at picture. Housemate laughs again, a little less emphatically. Housemate pauses. Housemate wonders aloud whether he should get an STD test done.


I have an eight thousand word essay to write in under two weeks. I’m doomed. I’m not normally this lax about work, especially not work of this size and shape, but this one seems to have snuck up. Eight thousand. 8. 8,000. I have maxed out my library card with 30 books – a personal first and photocopied innumerable articles. I have spent sixty dollars on microfilm printing at the State Library. I have, in short, a motherload of research, but very little of it in my brain and even less on paper. Think happy thoughts at me.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I've been getting excited about the whole teaching English in Japan thing - the idea's been a maybe for a long time, and only recently has started blossoming into reality. So, I think I'll do it, for at least six months. My brother wants to do it as well. I'm a bit over Melbourne, and more than a bit over John Howard's version of Australia.

Added to this, a potential house implosion. I haven't written much about my house, which is strange, perhaps, considering how big a part it plays. There's seven of us, six boys one girl, and when people have asked how it's going, they have a look of expectant doom. Until now, they've been wrong - it's been like a mini community, full of cheap wine, burritos and much laughter. But there's tension between housemates, and people moving in different directions so I don't know how much longer it'll last. If I'm out of the country, though, it won't matter in the slightest.

Friday, October 15, 2004

"Are U 22+ and wanting to have a baby?"
"Unhappily married man looking to meet a special lady"
"Submissive man, 60+ seeks very dominant woman for relationship on her terms"
"Young guy 22 seeks older hairy man for noisy fun times"
"Couple's party companion female sought by prof guy 38 to attend party"

Oh, I do so love personal ads. I love seeing people distil themselves down to their basics and make themselves acronyms (n/s, s/d, tert ed, DTE, fin sec). I love most how people seem to know exactly what they want - and have the surprising belief that this person exists, reads personal ads and thinks of themselves in the same distilled fashion.

Sample reader deep in thought: Mm.. 30+ (yep, that's me), fun (of course), Hawthorn supporter (can pretend), slim (borderline)... Asian? Damn. Pipped at the post. It's the best page in any local paper.

The Indian matchmaking sites are fantastic as well - in keeping with the caste system, you can select your chosen skin colour and ethnic background. Wow.

Monday, October 11, 2004

John Howard’s acceptance speech nearly drove me insane. I've never been as angry about politics. As if a huge swing in the House of Reps and – shock horror – a majority in the Senate wasn’t enough, our beloved Prime Minister had the audacity to thank Australians for trusting him. Trust! He also mentioned the word ‘tolerance’ in conjunction with the contemporary Australia he’s created in the image of the 1950’s. His sheer gall was unbelievable. The only small saving grace in a very, very dark picture is the fact that 3 years of uninhibited Coalition rule should (hopefully) dispel the smoke and mirrors.

But first, cross media laws? What, you mean market impediments? Goodbye, independent Fairfax, one of the Howard government’s most dogged critics. It’s a pity he can’t risk the backlash of privatising the ABC and outsource dissent.

And for those worried about the appearance of the dreaded religious ‘far right’ (in the guise of Family First), don’t stress. Most of their social policies are far more small l liberal than the Coalition’s, save gay marriage. What a turn of events.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Spent the day in the library - boring and, as always, overwhelmingly hot. The only noteworthy event was catching a glimpse of movement from the next computer and watching dumbfounded as a head bobbed up and down on what I presume was a penis. Yep, my fellow researcher - one of the strange middle aged men who inhabit the uni - was watching gay porn, right in open, regardless of social policing. Amazing. While he did deploy a cover up screen - a newspaper, probably - it doesn't take away from the brazenness of the act.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I used to hate being in mobs, temporary seas of people - found the momentum of a thousand feet unnerving, like an act of bodily betrayal. But there's a thrill in giving up to the thrum and pulse of base emotion, in being part of something greater and lesser, moving without thinking, direction passing along without words. Remember how in 2000, S11 meant something different - in the age before terrorism, there was rebellion brewing against the neoliberal/neoconservative brand of globalisation and 10,000 people gathered to protest the World Economic Forum, a talkfest of less importance than the WTO, but hey, still worth an anticapitalist carnival. A semi-tourist like most other people, I walked around Crown, picketed by linked arms and the stench of young idealistic sweat (it's got a certain tang to it, a little acrid, a little sour - the thrill that dips in and out of fear). A little moment: the main entrance was filled with the keenest, who chanted no-one in, no-one out and swayed and eyed the police regiments warily. Without warning, a man burst from the crowd and charged the line, arms swimming freestyle through the protestors and the line sank inwards a little, giving under the onslaught of one - and then, a tiny electric pulse, a surge and the man is thrown back, hair and eyes wild, out of control and he shouts something incomprehensible and then again, clearer: "I came from fucking Warrigal to play the pokies and I fucking want to get in."

Amused, detached I walked on, sipping on my waterbottle, smiling at everyone - a family day. We crossed the Yarra away from the casino, ready for a break and then it happened - people started running, one or two and shouting rose up and people appeared and swelled and coursed along and there I was, away from my friends, in it, in this alliance of movement, which sped around and down, off the road, behind Melbourne's World Trade Centre and the mob poured out, fast through the narrow corridors and slowing as we entered open space, like water and there in the middle of a nothing place was a bus full of WEF delegates about to try a sneaky entrance (at least, that's what I think they were) and no security and the mob paused, one, two, ten seconds, milling before the decision was made (who by?) and we engulfed the bus and linked arms, even me, who shies away from confrontation, two deep and chanted and we were a living thing, rough arms tugging at mine, the sweat coming out of all of us. For a time we were there, alone, without confrontation and a little energy dissipated and embarrassment seeped into me (what was I doing here?) and I wanted to relinquish this thing, slink away but my arms were tight and I was needed and thirty, forty, fifty police appeared silently and stood in front of us. "Let go of each other and step away" - a demand, repeated perhaps twice before they moved in to tear us loose and the sight of these anonymous leathery people was terrifying. Then it all became a flurry and shrill shouting erupted and all I caught was glimpses of people wrenched apart from each other before the face of my personal nemesis swam into view. One of the police, a burly man, decided I was his target - perhaps he didn't like my face - and he grabbed me, tore me free and got me in a headlock and I was beyond all care, no mind left, just a tumble of blurry impressions like my memory of being on a swing when I was three - sky, police, smell of his jacket, ground - somehow I took him down and we fell heavily and I ducked away somehow and he was gone and so was I, away. It was only later I realised I was bleeding a fair bit. Later still that I realised I'd been photographed, selected by an editor, put in The Australian and sent all round the country as evidence of civil dissent, the protestor who really wasn't. I've got a tiny scar as a testament. But I still don't know how I got there, or who made the decision.

saw somersault tonight - best australian film I've seen in a while. luminous, sweetly sad - it drew me in slowly, draped me in little mysteries and ended, leaving my trance to evaporate. later, we were riding down fitzroy streets in spring air, slightly warm, small gusts and talked of large things and small and I was happy.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Well, I’m feeling better – kinda drained, but definitely better. Normal life has resumed transmission after a month-long break. It’s spring – the air is sweet and darkness sometimes brings night scents.


I sat an exam on Saturday in an effort to gain an interview for a journalism traineeship. It was reasonable – my weakest areas are Arts and Sport – but the writing exercises brought a real challenge. Question 2: What’s your biggest mistake? Good lord – nasty question, that. I’m glad I didn’t have to tackle that one in a face-to-face setting. I would have fumbled for sure, possibly even muttering something about getting on the wrong bus or my regrets at not learning an instrument. As it was, ten minutes of concerted effort (which felt like oh, half a lifetime in the exam) conjured up the massive argument I had with one of my fellow editors towards the end of last year, an argument which had been brewing for months. After we finished savaging each other, we ended up at this bittersweet truce – the might have beens, the possibility of working together better had we tackled the issues we had with each other earlier on. It sounded a little twee, but I don’t know what else I could have nominated. That failed merger with ANZ? The line of chocolate rabbits in the late stages of myxomatosis which went down so well in the focus groups? My abortive glam-rock career? Difficult choices.

Anyway, the idea of work is freaking me out, as I may well have mentioned before. Especially journalism, the land of the workaholic drinkaholic. Would I still be able to have fun? (Apart from drinking to excess and talking shop). What about falling in love and mooning about? Is that permitted? See, my problem is that I haven’t as yet prepared a Work Personality – I generally try to make friends with my workmates and treat them as I would my friends, because I’m not great in terms of Professionalism. My dad goes to work as my dad, but once he puts on a white coat, he completely changes his personality – his voice doubles in volume, he becomes commanding and ultra-competent. Home, he’s relatively quiet, good-natured, friendly, his head a little in the clouds at all times. I’d like to devise some kind of work/home personality buffer, but I haven’t quite got there yet. While my personality does change at work, it’s not in the way I’d like. I’m meeker than normal, voice softer, more pliable. This shits me.

So, I’m not ready for work – but maybe I am. How can you know till you get there, I spose? I am a bit over uni, so maybe the solution is not more study, but dithering through travel. I figure if I travel now, I can scratch the itch good and proper so it doesn’t come back for a while. Current plan: 6 month working visa in Japan; teach English in Tokyo.