Keep In Touch

Her parents named her after a writer I'd never heard of before. Neither the name nor the writer. I was behind the bar and had just made her and her Korean friend a Vesper. That's a gin and vodka drink that's shaken with a dash of Lillet. The white one - not the Lillet Rouge. 

She asked my name and at the same time her friend asked where I was from. It is polite to answer those questions directly and honestly and then ask them back in return. This is the way things are expected to go. Once, for about two months, I used to tell people in a posh part of Hollywood that I was from Mumbai.

"You know - the place with the bombs and the cricket and where they answer the phone when you call Verizon..."

That's different though - I was trying to be impolite and unexpected back then. 


A Letter: When I Was a Kid, I Was Really Young

I was eleven years old when I started 7th Grade. I think you're supposed to be twelve. Twelve turning thirteen. I think you're supposed to have your Bar Mitzvah in 7th Grade. But I was eleven, turning twelve.

It wasn't that I was smarter or more advanced or anything like that. It was a time of the year thing. See, the people who decide such things have a cut off point -  a date on the calendar - and if you're born after that day they bump you in with the next intake. The next year. I was born just in time to ride just above that line. I snuck in by a matter of days.

All of that which is only to let you know that I was eleven when I started 7th Grade. It is important to be accurate. Even when telling fiction...... especially when telling fiction.

I was brand new to this Secondary School, but I did have some history with the place. It was part of a small private school that ran all the classes from Kindergarden to 12th Grade out of one asphalt, tanbark and orange brick campus. So signing up for the Secondary School simply meant rocking up at the same damn address, with the same damn tanbark and same damn asphalt. The only changes were the new teachers and a new principal to answer to.

But I had more history than just that with the place itself , I also had history with said 'new principal' - a man we shall call 'The Baker's Son'.

That history had been foisted upon me. I hadn't asked for it. Nor did I even know it was available to be asked for. It wasn't a history that I had made or participated in or been present for. It was a history that my uncles had cultivated through years of arrogant and pointless struggle against the stubborn and petty force that was The Baker's Son. He then turned those collections of running battles into a grudge to be played out with and upon me. Their history was now my history and with all that hanging around, I started Secondary School..

Years later, as an older and far more distant fellow, I'd come to understand The Baker's Son better. His way. His method. Why he acted the way he did. It was not due to some misguided romantic vision of providing us with that which we needed to face the world. It wasn't because he had an idealised notion that what he was doing was for our best. It was because he was - and I'm sure, still is - a Pathological Narcissist. A man without reproach. Who felt no empathy and was filled with the zeal of a predator who wanted nothing more than to inflict pain. Or something.

But back then, as an eleven year old, I simply thought he was an arsehole. Though, to be fair, that too was certainly accurate.


Mop and Repeat

For me, it is Bleach. The smell of Bleach. To be precise, it is the smell of Bleach, diluted with warm water and dragged over white tiles with a damp and clean sponge-mop. As the streaks evaporate and the smell of watered down Bleach lingers with only a hint at its potency - that smell. I like that smell.

It is not nostalgic nor evocative nor comforting nor escapist. It is just a smell. It is its own thing and I like it for what it is - without your judgment or need to explain it to or for me.

The time some waiter told me that he liked the smell of Gasoline, was the first time I realised that folks out there like some fucked-up smells. Gasoline? The smell that rises up off those few drop that drip out when you pull the nozzle back out of the tank at the gas station? That smell? Really? Why?

Because he did. Because I like Bleach. Because her neighbor likes a reed diffuser set (do you know what that is?) that pushes out a sickly sweet and thick odor, that can only be described as: a plastic cup of coconut bubble tea sweetened with a kilo each of icing sugar, sweet & low and stevia, so that it's almost glowing.

Because your Mum likes the smell of the ink and paper in the glossy magazines at her divorce lawyer's reception. That smell is also there at her personal trainer's, her realtor's and her osteopath's. Because his boyfriend likes the smell of nail polish remover. Because they said they like smell of wet dirt.

Because you like what you like. Whatever weird smell you like. You goddamn, fucking weirdo.


And A Plastic Warning

Farringdon is such a fun word to say.

Say it:


It can also be a dramatic word to say, if you can pull together a partly hoarse voice filled with a jumble of recognition, remorse and wistfulness.


It is after midnight and I'm not drinking nor drugging - neither myself nor someone else. So it is just me and the beige mist and the cotton touch of the sheets and the still, thick warmth trapped and left over in the room - even though the heat of a blazing afternoon has long set off and away. That balmy, floating atmosphere tangles and fights with the cool breeze entering in off the fly-screen door that opens out onto a timber-slat decked courtyard.

Except those slats ain't no timber.

They're plastic or resin or composite or something. I'm not exactly sure. I just know they are not timber. The landlord told me that. We were signing the lease and he hadn't said much and I'd asked even less. The questions usually come when one party doesn't pay the rent or another party doesn't fix the rusted hot water system. But I was just signing the lease and he was just giving me the keys. Neither of us had any need for questions. I just silently scribbled away and he spoke none.

Except for on his way out.

He picked up the papers and after putting a hand on the front door handle, he turned back around, pointed with his chin and said:



I live in an aluminum half boatshed. I eat panadols three at a time and drink sharp mineral water. I fall in love when I shouldn't and only take intimacy in ounce shots when I should. I report on places I'm not in and tell stories that you think are true. I find hope and lose guitar picks and take time and miss calls and respond out of order. And I'm lucky. Luckier than you. For sure.

I like accents. I like it when there is a disconnect between what is being said and the accent it is being delivered in. Like a French person dropping Australian slang, but slower and rounder and more romantic than we would spit out the same phrase or shortened word. If I didn't want to be the sort of writer that I now don't want to be, I would have written that I like it when there is a "dissonance to the delivery". But I don't want to be that sort of writer. And I don't want to put a baby in your guts. And I don't want to know what your dietary requirements are. And I don't want to pretend to care.


a hyphen is as good as a comma to a blind man

A few years back there, somewhere in the middle of England, I meet this guy. Actually, now that I think on it, I remember exactly where it was that I met him.

Just below the dawdling canal running through Startford-upon-Avon, winds a road heading east out to Wellesbourne - or some town just as equally dull. It was on that road that I met that Welsh-born, Midlands-raised, Red-head. Let's call him 'Welsh-Red'.

If you head the other way on that road - towards Bidford - you'd find yourself along a stretch of tar flanked by houses of the very rich and the very poor. No pattern to their procedure - they just all jumble in all together. A few mansions, then a shack, then a twisted metal garage door, then a tiny yellow car, then some more large houses, then a council flat. Another council flat and then a bald, high-price lawyer leaving the sprawling, low-slung house he bought for his bride some twelve years earlier. He was just dropping off the kids.  He doesn't live there anymore. That same bride done tossed him out months ago. She had been OK with his late night fraternising at the office, but once the gaggle of single mums in that line-up of cars outside school learned that he had unzipped his trousers with one of their very own in that very same line-up, well, you know...disloyalty, shame, embarrassment, betrayal, rage... it all leads to the same place - late Saturday nights at that grey-toned house with the kids and the estranged husband replaced by young men, strong drugs and un-eaten take-away. Only way to treat that particular pain....

But all that is on the road to Bidford. I met Welsh-Red on the road to Wellesbourne - whole different set-up on that side.

I Don't Remember

I can never remember which stripes are meant to be the slimming ones. Is it vertical or horizontal? I've been told that this is the stuff that matters, but I can never remember which ones are which. So I don't wear stripes. Not the vertical nor the the horizontal ones. Because I can't remember.

There is so much I don't do simply because I don't remember.


Always a Train

Elizabeth Cotten.

I have her story in my mind. A story about her. It might be true. It might not be. She is a real person. Was one anyway. You can see how real she is in the photo above. Photos don't never lie. So she definitely had a story. I'm just saying that I might have confused myself by borrowing a few different parts from other people's stories and then brought those pieces together into one story and then gone and attached all of that to her. That is certainly something I've done before.


Make It Stop!

Time for a rant. It's been a while. I'll get back to the more lyrical stuff in a minute, but today I’m gonna get my Grumpy Old Jewish Man on.

First let me identify my target: Food Bloggers.

So Food Bloggers are those clowns that maintain personal sites that cover things like:

  • over pictorialised restaurant reviews, complete with contrived metaphors and over anxious emotional descriptors;
  • essays that unnecessarily (and failingly) attempt to use the depth of narrative and style required for a first hand account of a Spanish Civil War battle for a recounting of a Wednesday night spent following Grandma's chocolate cake recipe;
  • breathless stories of some food-stuff that an old sorority sister found in a tiny store with the tag 'Gourmet' or 'Artisanal' or 'Overpriced Nonsense' plastered across it;
  • and other vapid topics and posts that, to be frank, I just couldn't be bothered to Google, check and then describe to you.

Of Paragraphs and Choices

The Fork in the Road.

We've all been there. Several times. Maybe you're not out on The Road as often or much as I, but you've certainly seen a Fork or two. Even if your Google Maps works better than mine and you felt you thought you knew what was coming over the next rise, you still have to take and make decisions on whether to turn right or left. Most often I only realise that I had come up to a Fork after the fact. This is when a route I take perhaps doesn't work out as I expected it to and after mentally retracing my steps, I become aware of the singular, fateful choice that is that one 'wrong-turn'.

But there are times when I know I'm facing a Fork at the very moment I come up to it. It is so clear, that in my mind I see it as a real scene. I am wearing a faded brown suit and an emerald green button-up-vest that are both laced with thick markings of dust that have risen up off the road and clung to the parts of the material that are most moist with sweat. My right shoulder is slumped down due the stiff, red leather suitcase that hangs from my right hand. Across my left forearm and cradled into my stomach, lies a bouquet of wildflowers, wrapped in a light, tracing paper. I don't know exactly how long I’ve been carrying this spirited melange of purples, yellows and whites and neither do I know whom they are meant for, but they seem as fresh and as lively as the ones still growing and attached to the ground around my feet.

Um, What's Your Number

If you could quote Tex Perkins, Gillian Welch and Lester Bangs. If you could recite the entire lyrics to 'Isis'. If you read Doctor Gonzo's letters. If you got the desert in your toenails and hid the speed inside your shoes. If you had wet hair, black trousers and smooth, bare heels. If you cooked linguine with saffron and cream and fresh crab and diced sea bass and barely sauteed scallops. If you ate New York Strip steak, that had been brutally char-grilled just past rare.

If you danced for me and let me sing for you. If you sat, stayed and cheered for a fourth quarter comeback. If you had seen Melbourne in the rain, Nafplio in the chill and Prague in the snow – and you still wanted more. If you have dug a hole in the sand, filled it with hunks of dried Red Gum wood and lit a searing, midnight bonfire, that made nearly as much noise as the crashing surf in the distance. If country music had saved your life.

They Call It Black Friday, But Tuesday's Just As Bad

Coming back up Wilshire, as we slowly made our way out of Santa Monica and towards Brentwood,
both of our easy strolls gave way to pronounced limps. We had started our walk back at 3rd street and were now approaching the 20's. The Virginian wasn't equipped with the right footwear. That was her excuse. Mine had more to do with the same 'old before my time' afflictions that come and go like the weather over the bay. Whatever it was, we both needed a break. A little pit-stop from the exercise.

Around where we were, Wilshire opens out into a wide, multi-lane carriageway, buffered on each side by stubby commercial spaces. It has the feel of those wide, winding highways that accountants ride through as they make their way home after work, past outer suburbia and on towards the outer, outer suburbia of their pre-fab McMansion houses. The white noise of never ending cruising steel, crunching changing gears and screeching brake-pads is often accompanied by a visual palate of blacks, greys, charcoals and browns. All over the world, such exact roads exist and on their sidewalks, as this all rushes past you, one tends to feel lonely and silent.

Red and Yellow

I'm listening to a lot of Tom Waits lately. And Tex Perkins. It has been almost exclusively the two of them on the iPod. They both have more than enough stuff out there to keep me occupied for endless afternoon walks through the rolling and sweeping - yet concise and compact – silent , side-street opulence of Hancock Park. Both of their recorded works cover an almost unbelievable variety of styles and genres.

Waits started off with a traditional wounded, boozy, New Orleans feel and then progressed towards the more loose and avant-garde - sounding something like a giant, red circus tent with straw flung across the ground, silver shining stars stuck to the roof and the smell of whiskey mixed with elephant dung hanging about your ears. Tex's sound started off more experimental, bawdy and bourbony and has slowly made it's way to traditional and nontraditional Country, with little pit-stops for disco, ladyboys, drum machines and heroin-addled-bluesy-funk.

Feels Like I've Written Before

I've probably written about some of this stuff before.

I wrote another post about breakfast a while back. I write a lot about breakfast. Not only on this blog, but on the pages of other notebooks. Breakfast and Trains. I write a lot about breakfast and trains.

No trains around here lately. I’d love one, though. Sleek, low slung, high-speed carriage, high-backed red chairs with fold down armrests and scattered with high-nervous company. I would love to bunch up into a corner, sitting with my back towards to driver's seat and my head resting on the big window. My earphones plugged in, I’d pump up as much Ella as I could find and just stare, watching the outside go by as I held as still as possible. Hold my ground, whilst everything else rushes past and away.

Hasn't been that much Breakfast either. I’m eating. I’m having an early first bit of something, but not that breakfast 'thing'. That early morning salvation that is a dance of compassion, care and activity hasn't been around me for a while now. Until this morning. This morning was one of the greats. One I will remember for a while to come.

Of Topography

Tallow Beach. 

The locals call it 'The Back Beach”. It runs from south under The Byron Bay Lighthouse, past Suffolk Park and ending down at Broken Head. How long that stretch is I couldn't tell you. I suppose I could look it up, but I’d rather not. I want to write about my memories of the beach, not of an image that is adulterated by another's perspectives. You can look it up, if you like. If you need to know. It's a long way. It runs a long way.


Insomnia Ain't No Kind Of Lady

Sleep comes hard now in Hollywood. Similar to before, but even harder now. Last time I was here, I converted that lack of sleep into early mornings for exercise. The fresh air – still crisp before the sun had time to take full effect - and the silent green sidestreets, would be followed by the muggy, filled air of a clanging gym. All done, showered and completed from with plenty of room to spare before a full mid-morning breakfast. Later, at night, I’d be served a heavy dose of drowsiness well before midnight. I'd finish work and almost run home to collapse into bed, whilst begging whomever takes such requests, for even thirty minutes more than four hours sleep. But that was before. That was last time.

Now sleep comes even harder than that in Hollywood.


Sure There Is

I've woken up thinking of live music gigs I've been too. Specifically, I’m trying to think of which ones were the best. I'm not sure why that is. It could have something to do with what I was listening to as I walked around Hollywood last night. Perhaps. I think there is probably another reason. I’m sure there is.

I consider myself lucky. I've managed to be at quite a few truly great gigs. That is lucky, for I don't go to that many. I’m held back by knowing that on occasion, I will have certain 'issues' with large crowds. It's easier to just avoid them and so, consequently I end up avoiding many gigs. There's a word for that sort of thing and you'll probably want to fling it at me. It's actually a little more complex than that and like so many of the quirks of my days, it involves a train in one way or another. I'm fascinated by trains and trains seem to be fascinated by me too. (Mostly it's Freight Trains of old and lore that have done me in, but in this instance it was the fault of a more modern, underground one.)


“Bessie was more than just a friend of mine; We shared the good times and the bad”

That's a lyric from The Band song 'Bessie Smith'. It is an ode to the grand old dame of all blues singers. Bessie had long passed away before any of those boys were born and none of them ever got to actually meet her. They're singing about a connection they felt to her through her records. Not just a simple connection of recognition or empathy, but a connection of more than friendship. A bond, that was a reciprocated, circular, personal exchange. One that rose above convenience or ease and was strong and present in both the good times and the bad.

What a great bond to have. To know that because she had been there on both sides of the coin before, she would certainly be there again. She wouldn't change with the winds of time or the cast of a glance, because she was frozen in a moment on those records. They could put on 'Careless Love' and the emotion and the caution and the regret and the pain would sound the very same as it always did and leave them exactly desperate and hopeful. Bessie had been there. You could hear it in her wail. Bessie had probably been there much worse.


A Note and a Warning

This here post is an exercise.

I want to be a writer. I mean - A Writer. There's a difference.

See, anyone can write. Every monkey and his cousin has a blog or a tumblr or fancies their Facebook status update as concise, social decelerations. There is Twitter which is for those that are trigger happy with quickly constructed, oblique aphorisms, whilst hundreds of literary journal take submissions from those who take the time edit and re-edit. People all over the world, in all languages, write every day and they all do it for different reasons.

My reason? As I said, I want to be A Writer.


“If all I had left was ten dollars, I’d spend it all on a service laundry.”

Some of my most intimate memories involve Laundry. In fact, many of them do. This sounds like an odd declaration – even in the context of other declarations made on this blog – so let me explain a little:

To you, the word 'intimate' may suggest moments shared between people. Moments of closeness experienced, understood and remembered only by them. To me, in this instance, 'intimate' means private, alone, quiet and personal. Laundry means all of this in my memories.


Of Rain

I miss the rain. I know it rained today, but that wasn't what I wanted - what I miss.

It was heavy for a while out there. I stood inside a street-level, glass-wrapped lobby off Union Square and watched it. Yeah it was heavy and it was hard. For a while, it scared away the oversized, primary-coloured golf umbrellas. You know you're dealing with something above a patter when the rain is too much for even those over-protected folk to withstand. I felt secure, like a hedge-funder with a full bank acccount in a shrinking cash economy. I felt above and safe and beyond the deluge. And not only because I was dry and inside, but because I was dry and inside a cinema. Not any cinema, but one I have used before, last time I'd lived here. One with many screens over two levels and a stairway connecting them that you can climb or descend unsupervised and flow on for free from movie to movie. You can keep that Movie Marathon going from morning to midnight if you know how to read the program right. And I can read that shit better than Bukowski could read a formguide down at the track.

Of Spray Paint, Cake and Change

So, there is this wall down on Fairfax. It runs along the side of a vacant lot. It is covered in various, unrelated, spray-painted images and letterings, that make up one whole body of work. The list of folk responsible for these individual pieces, reads like a who's who of local and international Street Artists.

The other day 'they' partially buffed that wall. There is a whole story to who 'they' are and what 'they' did and what may now happen to 'they'. It's actually quite interesting. But that's not the story I wanna tell today. So I won't. It's really just an introduction to the one I do wanna tell.

Sushi and Rain

Why aren't there more Blues songs about Sushi and Rain?

In fact, I don't know of any at all. Not even one. But there should be. Several. There should be several songs about Sushi and Rain. There are Blues songs about The Rain. Plenty. Either Rain on it's own or in combination with other items or things. But not with Sushi. And there should be songs about Sushi and Rain.



I wanna drink more alcohol.

I do. Lots more.

I wanna grab at whole bottles of Sailor Jerry and drain em straight down my throat. I wanna wake up with the taste of last night's bourbon, which I then wash it away with a fresh, ice cold beer. I wanna order two gin and tonics for appetizer and take a cloudy, sweet cider as my dessert. I wanna do shots of tequila with you behind the service bar. I wanna sneak swigs of wine at the back of the classroom. I wanna impress you with Amaro and Lillet Blanc and then depress you with warm, supermarket brand vodka and cooking port. I wanna drink more alcohol.

When I Was King For A Day

Playground space was always at a premium in my younger days. The private school I went to was not one of those affluent, serene, tie and blazer scenes laid out over a sweeping campus grounds. Ours was more so a small, grungy, religious collective school, set around an open, crumbling ash-felt rectangle. A high, cyclone fence separated the couple of less-than-regulation size basketball courts on one side from a nondescript square on the other that would be used for outdoor school assemblies and epic cricket matches. At the bottom of this, was a raised square, which was laid with tan-bark and comparable in size to a 7 spot carpark. Sitting in the middle of this was a wooden jungle gym, complete with a swing, two slides, monkey bars and a swinging, wood slat bridge.

For the several years prior to adolescence, whilst we were not senior enough to fight off our elders for the use of the basketball courts, this was the recess area we made ours. And there was just one game we played on it, at both morning and afternoon recess, everyday – King.

Took. Take. Tired.

At times, I've heard and over-heard people talk about how hard it is for them to 'get' certain artists. Modernism did that. Still does. Sure, before Modernism there was art that made you stop and scratch at you head, but it was Modernism that really went at this ethos hard.

Life can sometimes be hard to get. Most of the time sometimes. Even when it does make sense, the next day you can awake confused by that which was so crystal yesterday. Or you can come home from your jog, aware of that which you didn't 'get', when you left the house in the early morning. 'Getting' anything on this planet is relative – relative to when and if you are 'getting' it or not. Somewhere around the beginning of the 1900's, artists began to feel the need to transcribe and retell this relativity.


For Bukowski, Waits and Bogey

on these here streets
once walked
once stumbled drunk
those whom i now turn to
on these here streets

in tousled bed sheets
they wrote of what they believed in
of what did not believe in them
and i believe in what was left as i hide
in tousled bed sheets

black and white density
spoken in deep tone and true
repeated so oft it is now purest lore
and i whisper them to myself in this
black and white density

the blues from back east
faded to the music of my now
which tastes stronger because of shared proximity
however still haunts and hangs the smell of
the blues from back east

in this here city of sun
that shone firm upon 
rendering many golden through the ages
yet still lonely dawn is so damn cold
in this here city of sun

Leave Room For The Gaps

So, I went to The Met to say Good-Bye;
Not the Final Good-Bye, but to begin a sort of 'Long Good-Bye';
I am leaving.
I think.
I hope.
And I must pay tribute to the tribute I will leave behind;
I will return.
I think.
I hope.

You, who's eyes look away as much as they look towards;
You, who rolled carpet;
You, who will not follow, for fear of leading;
They, who owe me for what they no longer have;
Will come with me for "as if it was a purse" it is ready for travel;
And I;
As I do;
Live with the over-the-shoulder-flicked: "No Good-Byes!".

That which is unchanging - if not for mood of light;
That which enters from the 'six inches in front of your face';
And stays visual  not animate;
That, we say Good-Bye to.
If I choose;
And I do.

Look, the bottom line is, that the Dribble above probably wont make that much sense. To you. It does to me, cause I know The Key to unlocking it's meaning. I will read it back knowing that it is Fiction simply spiced with Reality. You, who does not make sense of it, will ignore the Fiction, attach your procedure of Logic to the Reality part - because it is familiar to you - and will not be able to see the forest for the trees.

Too bad.

For if you could understand it like I, you would see it for the Dribble it is.....

All therapy lies in the process - the complete process - so the Subway ride uptown is where it begins for me. Underground trains and I have had a fractious relationship over the years, but they have always brought me upon another story and this forgives all their misdeeds. One pops back above-ground few blocks east of The Park and must walk past toy stores, street vendors, the elderly in Parisian Brown fur and the hotel job I never did take. This utility of traverse is perhaps best endowed with purpose and if one uses the time it consumes to select the appropriate album on the iPod to soundtrack the visit itself, such purpose will be achieved. Cross 5th and gallop up those off-grey steps, suggest your own 'Suggested Admission' and in you go.


There's a time and a place for everything.

Conversely, everything has it's own time and place.

This is what I believe. I'm not saying that these above statements are The Gospel to be taken in and under as such by one and all. No, I am not. These statements have, over the course of time, become the faith of my days and of the ones that are to follow. Occasionally, this faith will run up and against those of differing faiths and it is always, at the very least, a discord of unease that will ensue. Those such opponents may be friends living in studios or strangers hiding in iPods on trains or ex's at the beer taps or leaders written in print or lovers who disclose via street-art or hopelessly inefficient servers at a bagel shop (just because your lifelong dream of finding happiness in the warm satisfaction of a growing career with The Sanitation Department has failed, there's no need to stunt the flow of my morning by taking umbrage with the fact that people in a bagel shop just want their fucking bagels quickly and efficiently. The bagel shop IS the time and the place for bagels....).

In certain circumstances, I am not at ease with this unease - however it chooses to manifest. Mostly, I couldn't give two shits about the wider public's consciousness and expressions, but there are certain people, who, for varied reasons, have a place in my heart and their 'upset' makes this here boy 'upset'. It is a difficult quandary to be in - caring generally is -  for, though I can become even desperate at times to placate and restabilise a loved one's 'upset', I simply cannot concede any ground whatsoever in the faith I began this piece with.

There is a time and a place for everything.


Bit of Turf

It's just easier for me to associate people with places. Not easier in the way that Memory Association Triggers work. More so, I find it easier to use the simple tag of a city or a country or a place, to wrap up and concisely state the emotional compartment of my heart and mind, that I may reside a particular individual in, or express the initial first judgment I made of their strength of character, or romanticise the wistful, longing, yet forgotten or lost connection I have or had with and for them, or even just describe the way they appear in their physical presentation to me.


Sorrow is Pleasure When You Want It Instead

Do you know what Sorrow is? Not pain, not depression, not misery, not sadness; not that feeling of not getting that job you really wanted; not the doubt that creeps in when you turn back from that corner you've forced yourself into, only to find that the room has cleared out completely and its just you left alone to face your aloneness; not the compression felt when happenstance runs against your best intentions and the ensuing weight of which pushes down on your tanned, but brittle shoulders; not the stranded emptiness left behind when the show you've been putting on, is shown to be just a show; not the cat running away; not your guitar-picking-fingers torn apart by a still full, shattered beer glass; not the rain, not the wind, not a storm, not the searing heat and definitely not just the clouds above.

Bring Me Release

In strange moments and at totally uncalled for circumstance and time, random memories of my youth, will dance across my consciousness. I'm not one of those that mentally suppresses a childhood passed. In the memories my younger days, lie quite the fair share of pain, shame and remorse, that I choose to not share with many - if any - but I never hide from myself. My younger days are mine and I hold onto them as proudly (and arrogantly) as I hold onto the man I am today. They are the truth and are therefore never avoided. However, considering how far beyond that fat little kid I've moved, I am understandably surprised when lessons learnt back then, finally, and for the first time at all, have application, considering the so very different context I find myself.

Breakfast of Champions

First let me start with this:

I never knew what this blog was supposed to be. I did, however, know what I didn't want it to be. I never wanted it to become a lyrical, yet accurate journal - a sort of document that documented my traverse across distance and space. Sure, there are stories from my days -my days of traverse- that make it up onto here, but my life and the dramas that pull me into it, need not be recorded. I live them and they pass. My life and my writing, whilst at times interwoven, are very much separate whirlpools and I wish to keep them that way.

This being said, there are times when one of these whirlpools spins out, over and upon the other. The past few weeks have been such a time. In fact, if I am true and honest (something  I very much like to avoid on this here page), the past few months have seen a steady increase of said swirling and distracting mass of water - the one that is Real Life. I would like to say that I am out the other end of this particular episode but, what I like and what is actual is not necessarily in perfect alignment here.

What I am trying to say, is that if my life outside this page, has unconsciously slipped onto it (and it has - not in the words and paragraphs you are thinking of now nor would be obvious to you, but it has still stained it nonetheless), I am sorry. I am. I am not so insecure that I am unable to raise my hand and admit to culpability. It may very well happen again, for I know not why I make so many of the same mistakes over and over again and when this does happen, once again, I will raise my hand in admission.

I want you to like the blog. I want you to read it. I want you to return to it. I want you to demand (as some of you have) that I return to it. And I know what I don't want it to be.

Ok, now on with the business of the day.


Old Men

My father was the principal of the orthodox, Jewish day school I attended. (For the record, someone suggested to me recently, that I may be short on material to write about and so consequently, consciously and somehow create pain in my life just to fill that void - almost like a perverse form of research. Besides being a statement that hurt me immensely, the opening sentence above obviously renders their notion completely false. Anyone who can claim to have experienced any, let alone all the elements of that sentence, possesses enough mental anguish to fill books with.) Whilst all old collegians, excepting those that may have been his oldest son, remember him as warm, trusting and as a sort of early mentor, at the time they were passing through their days of attendance, they saw him a little differently. See, the old man, whilst on the surface quite cherry and literal, was also an incredibly and unconsciously idiosyncratic fellow. Extremely.

Of Dreams and Highways

On their 2001 album, 'Time (The Revelator)', Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings close out with a sweet, sparse, fifteen minute, song that drifts, lifts and rambles its way from pain to hope and back again, in the golden way that only they can. The song is called 'I Dream a Highway'.

Oh I dream a highway back to you love
A winding ribbon with a band of gold
A silver vision come and rest my soul
I dream a highway back to you

In my favourite moments of self-determination, this song is exactly how I see this whole wandering routine that I'm on. I'm simply heading my way back to you, I just need to find the ribbon with a band of gold that will lead me there. That's wrong, actually. I have found it and I'm trying now to find you. I must have found it, for I can see it. It's real. In my mind anyway, but I can see it and if I can see it, it's real. A real passage with real moments. A real winding highway.


Next Time

I used to manage Australia's first, fine-dining, certified organic restaurant. Or something like that. I'm not sure if it was the very, very first, or if it was precisely fine-dining, but it was at least an approximation, if not an exaction, of the two. It's regardless, for either way it doesn't really have that much to do with the story I wish to tell you here today. I used that statement, just to provide a historical timeline and framework. It was my first, real, restaurant management job. I was grossly under qualified and only won the position due to a combination of personal, dashing charm and a Machiavellian power struggle and reshuffling between some of the directors of the group, that owned the place. My hiring was meant to provoke a further on reaction and I am not so vain as to be so unawares, that I was simply a pawn in their game.

The Bicycle Thief

If you were to step out the entrance door of my East Village apartment and onto the sidewalk, the first thing you would notice would be the tangled up mess of rusted steel, that is four bicycles, chained together and around one of those upside-down-U-shaped metal pylons. The sort of thing that councils install, to act as a docking and locking up point for your environmentally friendly mode of transport.

Nothing unusual there. Yet.

Now, look across to the East (that's towards the direction of The East River, for those of you who seem confused by direction. Can't imagine why they called it The East River.....). Only but a few feet away, stands another one of these blackened steel pylons. This is a fancier one, as it  more so resembles an upside-down-W and is able support more bicycles. Congregated around this one, is an even denser throng of rusted steel. This time, the orange of said rust is darker, richer and thicker. So thick, that one wouldn't even need to notice the punctured tires or the twisted spokes or the broken chains, to surmise that no one has sat on any of their seats or turned any of their pedals, for some time. Now look back to the first pylon, the one just outside my front door, and you'll realise that the bicycles around it, suffer from the very same tell-tale signs of idle languor.

So far, not too much to write home about. These two 'Living Sculptures' are interesting enough, but perhaps they are just an odd, isolated 'Happening'.

Ok, well, now suppose a friend of yours was going away and you were charged with the responsibility of dog-sitting her little joy. Let's say, for example's sake, that this particular Jack Russell Terrier was fairly advanced in years and, as such, ambled along on his several daily walks, at a particularly sedate and restrained pace. Furthermore (and I'm sure this is the domain of all dogs, so I'm not singling out this dear old fellow), his stumbling stagger, would be punctuated by frequent attempts to sniff at each and every street-sign, tree, dust bin, flower bed, pylon and, well, virtually anything that is stationary and rising up from the sidewalk.

'How Much?' in Two Parts - Second Part

Dear Reader,

I was going to wait until tomorrow, but a bit of Britpop on the iPod has fueled me. Here's the second half, freshly minted.

(if you are reading this one first, skip to the one below it and then return to this one second.)

How much?

I'll tell you how much: Everything.

Personally, I'm willing to give everything. Not because it's that important; nor because I'm the sort that is prepared to risk all; nor because I need your love beyond the reasonable level of desperation; nor because I've put you up on a proverbial pedestal and feel that the corresponding, perceived, example of perfection that I see you as, requires the highest price it's possible to be paid, in order to deserving of you; nor because a shortage of love provided during adolescent years, has resulted in a great fear of rejection and as such, I am afraid to let even the smallest spark fade out, for it brings up and out all those old, dark corners of depression; nor because your smile is my muse; nor because I'm too tired to do anything but lay my head down on your soft pillow.

'How Much?' in Two Parts

Dear Reader,

Today I wish to conduct a little experiment. All the postings you read on this page, are exercises in stream of consciousness. Not so much the flow and rhythm of the sentences and phrases, but more so the content of the ideas, emotions, stories and confessions. The ramble of the prose is somewhat more calculated and drafted, but the subject matter is supposed to be a collection random remembered emotions and happenings of the few days prior to construction. I believe this allows me to be most honest, for I am expressing with as little perspective of rational distance as possible.

However, this post will be written in two parts. The first will be with the agitated mindset of this morning and the second half will be with a more sedate and embarrassed mindset of in a day or two's time.

Feel free to Feedback me in between.


Love, or the expression of it, requires self-sacrifice - the sacrifice of 'Self'. To state it; to show it; to convey it and pine for a reciprocation of it, requires an action far outside one's 'Self'. An action that, if it is committed in a true, accurate and total way, removes one from within the comforting barriers, borders and turf of Self and Self-Preservation and risks the probable concession of some of those very borders and turf. To me, love needs expression. Not to make Love 'real' - not to validate it by action - but rather because Love is not and never can be passive. Otherwise, it is simply a deduced opinion on the emotional position one may have towards another, existing only in the mind and not in The World. One needs outlets to bring Love out into The World and one needs The World for Love.


Turn Off The VCR

Do you suffer from Vocabulary Correctness Readjustment? This is the syndrome that describes the particular type of confusion, blended with personal embarrassment and panic that one experiences when faced with the sudden realisation that a word, phrase, cliche or proverb that they took to mean one thing, actually means something else. VCR specifically only applies to that exact moment and not to the process of incorrect use of language prior to the realignment. I once went out with a girl who would mix her cliches in delightful fluidity like "don't burn your bridge until you come up to it" and "the early bird is better than two in the bush".  She has never experienced VCR, for, still to this day, she believes those tellings, those usages of language, to be correct. Her vocabulary has never been realigned and she has never had to suffer the reentry pangs of such.

But, to those of us who have experienced the rug of correctness-security being pulled from under our feet, the debilitating symptoms of VCR are well known. In a shifting flurry across the memory storage areas of the brain, the sufferer of VCR scans in harried, mental desperation back over the past for all the times his or her vocabulary was misappropriated. At the same time, he/she stares madly off into an imagined future, creating supposed instances where vocabulary is used with more accuracy and relevance, in a bid to reconcile these new requirements with their goals, dreams and visions for their life to come. Its a frightening moment, akin to the seemingly endless increasing peak of a panic attack, but, because attacks of VCR subside and pass with less visible impact than other social mental syndromes, many would not even know it exists or existed and choose to not even acknowledge it - just like the piece of outdated technology it shares an acronym with.

The Word and You

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Panama. All I wanted to do out there, was sit on a beach and immerse myself in The Pacific - some sort of quasi-metaphysical quest for cleansing and recharge. So I packed light. A few shorts and T-shirts, the obligatory couple of white button down shirts and some underwear. I packed it all into the overnight bag I had borrowed from The Luxembourger, and threw it on the floor next to my bed, where it sat half empty and projecting a depression at it's unfulfilled potential. It was still in that pose, slouched over and deflated by emptiness, when I arose at 4:30am to head to LaGuardia Airport. It called for more contents. Dazed by the premature rise from slumber, I scanned my room looking for what void in packing I had left. Of course! I had only thought of clothing, but I had forgotten to preempt for other requirements of eventualities. In the muted shadows of the early dawn, I danced around my bedroom gathering a couple of F. Scott books, a Hemingway and even a Saul Bellow. Then I tossed in the iPod, followed by all my writing gear. In went a half dozen varieties of pencils, a couple of sharpeners and the black Moleskin. Ontop of all that, went a copy of Vanity Fair and the bag was now full;. my luggage was now complete. I had packed 'Distraction'. 


The Deep South

Out on a far edge of Melbourne's inner-city, Hipster neighborhood, sits a small pub. In my mind, I can still see it clearly. The all dark, time stained wood, dusty floors, worn high-stool seats and formica tables, with dozens of retro, antique cowboy boots snaking their way along the top shelf of the island bar. There's a pool table directly to the right as you walk in, dual Technics Decks in the left hand corner and a small dining room and kitchen out the back. The men's toilets are lined with a wallpaper that consists of black and white, sketched recreations of famous photographs of greats of The South like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, The King and others I can't seem to remember.


Of Sandwiches, Shakespeare and Salvation

The sandwich is back!

Yep, there's a proclamation. One must always proclaim at the beginning. William Shakespeare taught me that, with such epic opening to his little plays like:

"Well, now is the winter of our discontent...."

Awesome. Grab the audience with a bold statement, pull them closer with the intrigue of that which requires explanation, set the table for what is to follow and they are yours, for however long your literary skills allow you to hold them. All one has to do, is follow such an opening with a few hours worth of dialogue, throw in something like 'a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse' at the end, and you have something approaching the quality of Richard III. Easy as that, if you just start it off right.


Previously, I have tried to ensure that my postings have not been targeted at anyone I know. They certainly have mentioned people I happen to come across and postulate upon others I may know a little more intimately, but they are 'about' them, rather than 'at' them. I speak only of my reactions to and lessons learned from interacting with certain people. This distinction is very important, for it provides me with the guilt-free freedom to broadcast stories and opinions on many of you who read this damn thing and not be later shaken off or up, by the numerous (and there are those, so don't think you are alone) emails that I receive with the most bizarre protestations of re clarification. (for the record - if you live in Darwin, then you are a Darwinite!)

Today, we break this barrier.


One Day

When banks first started coming out with ATMs, there was a certain reticence, on the public's behalf, against replacing their transactions involving human contact inside the bank, with an interaction with a hulking computer, stuck outside the front. People grow fond of tradition and get comfortable with systems of repetition. Change, even when the obvious and logical benefits of progression seem clear and self evident, can, sometimes, be hard to implement. So, in their wisdom, The Banks decided to make the use of all transactions on ATMs, free. The idea being, that there was already enough hindering a mass conversion to a system the banks hoped to, one day, save them millions upon millions of dollars in unpaid wages, that it would be counterproductive to encumber the public with another reason to avoid useage.

Their plan involved growing a comfortability and dependence upon, what would one day, become colloquially known as, 'the hole in the wall' and to eventually drip fees and charges into the process. This is exactly what happened. I remember, when Australian banks, unilaterally and quietly, went from 25 cents a transaction up to 50 cents, thinking that we had opened Pandora's Box and these charges could spiral out of control. Today, banks all over the world, reap billions of dollars in ATM transaction fees.

Simple plan and brilliant execution.

An intervention Letter From Australia

Dear New York City,

I love you. Totally. I always have. Even before I first arrived here to rest for a while, I adored you from afar. At that time, The romance may have been fueled by just the experiences and stories heard from those who had seen you or felt you or fed by further other's artistic interpretations and reconstructions, but, even then, the passion and emotion was true and mine. I loved you so much, from before I knew you and now, that I do know you, that love has only grown.


And I say this because of the love I have for you.


Goddamn it, noone in this fucking city has a fucking sense of humor!

Its not sitting well with me and, Big Apple, its time to shape up.


Someone on a Train

One day, I'm gonna fall in love on a train. 

I already sorta do. All the time. I'll be pulling into Union Square and the way that blond wistfully twirls the straw raising up from her smoothie, will seem familiar - a subtle revelation of a both calm and playful approach to the mundane of day to day. She'll remind me of someone I've never met. Someone that I will, one day, try so hard to forget. Someone, that in-between those times will seem so right; so connected; so easy. Then, the doors open and she melts out into the wider world, whilst I stay onboard for one stop more. Love gone.