Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shopping, hairy Greek boys, and then feet up

We got up at 8am, there was shopping to be done. There are sales on, Santo’s favourite expression. There was no coffee to be had, as the coffee pot has finally been deemed too unsafe to use and it has been retired, Santo’s orders. I was tonguing for some caffeine, I have to say. But, the coffee pot wasn’t screwing up correctly any longer, the thread had crapped itself, so it was a potential explosion waiting to happen. So, a new coffee pot was on the top of the shopping list.

It is the end of the financial year and we are heading overseas soon, Vietnam in 3 weeks, so there must be things to buy. Sales and claiming back the GST, two of Santo’s favourite expressions. “Buy, buy, buy.” Santo has, actually, been disappointed that he hasn’t been able to spend money, he’s been looking online but he hasn’t found anything he wants. I told him if that was, really, the case he should give a large amount to the Smith Family, for the people who have nothing.

He laughed, like I was very funny.

We headed into the CBD to go to QV to their sale. Santo wanted to buy iTunes cards that Harvey Norman was selling at half price. Half price, seemingly Santo’s favourite words.

We got to the doors of Harvey Norman before they had opened. 9.50am. The guys were bringing out the out door furniture displays, but no, the shop wasn’t open as yet. We were the first there, so Santo took up his spot at the head of the queue and I went to find coffee.

The regular coffee place wasn’t open – clearly, they are earning too much money – so I had to go to the fat Greek boy to get our coffee. Smile. I don’t, at all, mind fat Greek boys, so everyone was happy.

Fat hairy Greek boys. Mama’s boys. Cute. Doughy. I like them like that. Black hair, olive skin, thick thighs, muscular arses, bum cracks out the top of their jocks, 5 o’clock shadows at midday, thick, wavy hair, naughty boys, mummy I’ve been bad. Slap their white arses, with their jocks around their thighs, make them tear up and pout. Their eyes turn red. Hot.

My brother is down from Queensland and he and my sister and I went to see our mum. Roz and Will picked me up at noon and we went to lunch first.  We ate at the local cafĂ© across the road from mum’s home, where we used to take her when she could still go out on outings. We can't take her out any longer.

We sat with mum in the garden for a few hours. She was more spaced out than she was the last few times I have seen her. She really seemed like they'd uped her meds, or maybe she had just taken them, I don't know, but she was more confused today than she has been.

Will and Roz talked about our cousin Big Christian Fletcher (there is two of us, yes two) in the car. Will said to Roz, “As (
Big Christian Fletcher’s sister) said, Christian never finishes anything."

I felt a twinge. That's what they say about me, or have. I thought, it must go with the name. I almost said it, until I stopped myself. I remained quiet in the back of the car as we headed back to my place.

Santo and I took Buddy for a walk just as the day was changing into dark. We went to the supermarket. I waited out the back as Santo shopped. I smoked. The smoke feels grand curling from my lips.

We ate vegetable stir fry. Yum, yum. Santo’s specialty. Actually, it isn’t his specialty at all, but I am trying to get him to take it up as a core recipe.

We watched TV, it is the perfect Sunday night feet-up thing to do. The dark, long winter night, at the far end of the weekend, with the open fire burning. I think there is a moment, say about 10pm, where a small ceremony could be held, a touching of hands, where the morning of free time is allowed and the bracing for the coming working week shall begin.

I’m still somewhat disappointed. I am still feeling like I have damaged confidence to do anything, its became apparent to me this week just gone. I’m still feeling heavy from every thing that has gone down. I’m still a bit thrown by the stresses I have felt. It is still weighing heavy on me. Call it a realisation, call it an acknowledgment, call it reality, but my present financial situation isn’t sustainable and I am going to have to change something, I just don’t know what yet. It is making me quiet and serious though. It is making me feel gravity weigh heavily on my shoulders.

I’ve had a funny feeling in my lower jaw all day, like a nerve problem. I could feel it like, what is it they call it, neuralgia. It seems to be a hidden pain, an elusive pain that I couldn’t find the source of.

I flossed my teeth late in the night and a large piece of chalky calculus broke off and I chewed it and it dissolved between my teeth. I could feel the nerve pain just a little as I flossed. It was like scratching an itch. It was like massaging a strain.

the sky was very blue and the contrast with the white was kind of cool

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Saturday

I headed to the supermarket, first up. I had to buy coffee and ciabatta bread and juice and butter for the crusty bread. I tried to claim supermarket credits, as I like to do, from Santo, but he just laughed at me, as though I had more chance of walking on the moon, or winning 50 million on Tuesday. But what about my numerous solo trips to the supermarket these last few weekends, Saturday and Sunday mornings? What about those? They must count for something? He just waved his hand in front of him, between he and I. He laughed as thought the discussion was over.

It is true, so often when we go to the supermarket at night, I wait outside holding Buddy as Santo goes into the shop and buys the supplies. He goes to the supermarket more than I, he knew it and I knew it.

“Off you go,” he said.

Santo cancelled his appointment with Doctor Johnny first thing. Yes, he is still having trouble with the wart on his heal. It is still sore. It doesn’t seem to be getting any better. He didn’t feel like going, which is very unusual for him, he is always so duty bound. He is going to go and see a podiatrist. As I said to him, people need to take their medical treatment in hand and be proactive about it. If the doctor you are seeing doesn’t seem to be getting the job done, go see someone else. It is not really good enough to say later that the doctor let you down. No, take responsibility for your own health.

We walked down to Victoria Street and ate Pho. I said to Santo that I knew it sounded boring, the same old meal every Saturday, but I love Pho. There is something nourishing and warming about it. It is big and hearty. It is tasty and filling. It is simple and wonderful all at the same time.

We shopped afterwards. If pho is our Saturday lunch, pork belly is out Saturday evening meal. There is something comforting with the rich, dark, strong taste of pork belly. I love it.

Victoria Street is vibrant and busy and interesting and alive. The sun is shining, the sky is blue. We walk. We walk to Victoria Street, we walk home. I run across Hoddle Street. Santo struggles with J walking, he needs red lights and green men to negotiate the roads. We are very democratic with the shopping bags, each of us feel the weight and we distribute it amongst ourselves evenly.

It is nice, I like the weekly walk to Victoria Street.

God there are some toothless losers in the world.

We took Buddy down to the dog park. He ran around the perimeter of the park and then he ran into the middle of the oval to where three Labrador kind of dogs were. Buddy ran in between them and immediately the owner of the more wolfy looking black dog started to say,

“Don’t you. Don’t you. Don’t you dare,” to his dog. He then grabbed for him. His dog, as was clearly expected by his owner, bared his teeth and growled and then snapped at Buddy. I grabbed Buddy and took him away.

We walked off and I released Buddy when we were some metres away from the group of dogs. However, Buddy, as is a bulldog’s want, did a big circle and doubled back to the group of dogs, of course. They are tough little dogs, bulldogs, they are not frightened of much. If he is true of all bulldogs, they don’t shy away from any of the mean dogs. They seem to be attracted to dogs who are a challenge. They have a have an undefeatable confidence that they aren’t afraid of the tough guy in the play ground. He always takes it, in a sense, in his stride and just bulldozers on his way. 
 He never gets perturbed by another dog snapping at him. Brave, I don’t know. 

He headed straight back to black wolf and his two labro buddies. We had only just got there and Buddy is always full of enthusiasm when we get there, he just wanted to play, roughhouse, bounce about with K9 buddies. I ran after him and tried to head him off, but sometimes he is a greased pig when it comes to grabbing hold of him. 

Again, the dopey husband said, “Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare! No! No!”

The black wolf bared it’s fangs, he had huge white teeth, and he snapped at Buddy, as his owner grabbed him and I grabbed Buddy, as Santo put his lead on Buddy and led him away.

I turned back to look at the owner. I had to say something. What is it that they say, badness flourishes when the good say nothing... or something.

“If your dog is going to bite other dogs he doesn’t belong here and you need to take him home.”

“Take your dog away,” piped up the toothless hag wife... spitefully. You know, the best form of defence is offence.

“I’m sorry,” I replied.

“It is your dogs fault.”

“My dogs fault?”

“Yes, your dog…” she insisted.

You know how the stupid argue, like it is word association.

“Your dog bit mine.”

“Did it?”


“Everybody was fine until your dog came along.”

“Your dog was the aggressive one.”

“Was it?”


“Your dog caused it.”

“My dog? It was your dog that bit my dog.”

“Bit your dog?”


“Bit your dog?”

“Well, bared his teeth and snapped at my dog.”

“So he didn’t bite your dog?”

The stupid just keep talking, instant response to everything.

“It was your dog that was being aggressive.”

“You dog caused it.”

“It is your dog that is being aggressive.”

“Really? In what way? I didn’t see it.”

“What?” It was arguing with a rather stupid five year old?

“Don’t waste your breath,” said a nice lady with a Chow.

“Take your dog away.”

“Take your dog home, if it is going to bite other dogs.”

“It is not you, it is them,” said the nice Chow lady. She shook her head.

Dog park trash, how sad.

“Oh why don’t you post it on Twitter and Facebook then,” called the idiot woman.

“What?” The stupid hag thought she was being very clever. If it wasn’t so sad, it may well have been funny. “That doesn’t even make sense.”

I wanted to leave, but we didn’t. Santo kept Buddy on his lead until we had got far enough away from The Gruesomes. And then not long after we saw Stupid and Creepella leading Wolfy to the gate and they left.

Maybe something I said, actually, sank into their welfare brains.

They left not long after. I, actually, wish I’d taken my phone out of my pocket and started taking photos, maybe telling them that I wanted to use them when I went to the council. I bet you that would have got Stupidity going.

I’m not going to keep quiet about aggressive dogs any more, not since that other dog attacked Buddy a few months ago.

We came home as it was getting dark. I love that idea of driving into the back yard at dusk. The roller door slides open and the dark door filled space becomes a light filled oblong, like a huge picture window, letting the world in and the light expand.

We ate porkbelly for dinner. It is lovely the way Santo does it. He served the pork belly with boiled eggs. He served bok choi with shrimp.

We watched 17 Again. I’m kind of keen, as Zav Efron is, just about, the perfect male. Of course, this movie is a little old and he is a bit more like a kid, than the man he is today, but who cares.

I light the fire. The night was cool. We set up both our laptops on the coffee table.

Santo thinks 17 Again was rubbish, so he dons his headphones and looks at his computer. The he wants me to look at Playstation4. I tell him that I have no idea what a PlayStation is, 1, 2, 3 or 4. I have never used one, I have never played one, it would mean nothing to me. It is just not my thing.

“Look and don’t be rude, he says, “It is exciting.”




I must be a great disappointment to him.

Hey Christian, I had a beautiful dream with you in it the other night. We were walking down X Street towards Gertrude Street holding hands, and looking at the house. The front bedroom was messy, but I was not living there so it was not my mess for a change and we were laughing. It was lovely. There was also something about Jill being in South Melbourne? Anyway. Missing you. Having a great time in London. Got offered a job this week that I have accepted. Fantastic that I don't start until the 22nd July. Hugs to you, Santo and Buddy. Love Shane xx

This boy was a nice piece of arse. Yep, perving on straight boys, well, why not, straight boys practically invent the "perve."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Way down south

I worked in Dandenong at (name of the company). I took EastLink for the first time, I was kind of excited about that, as pathetic as that may sound. Well, I’ve never been on EastLink. I’ve only got as far as Ringwood and I’ve negotiated the confusion that is the Ringwood bypass. First turn off? Second turn off? Which? What? Where? But, I have never ventured onto EastLink itself. 

It only took me about 30 minutes to get to Dandenong. I didn’t even study up on the non-paying alternatives, it was EastLink for me all the way, baby, as soon as I realised I could go that way. My toll tag beeped about 8 times, but I chose not to think about that. What do you reckon 8 beeps costs?

I was thinking about it as I drove out the Eastern Freeway, the concept of user pays. One of the proposed payment options to get the EastWest Tunnel built, is to sell the Eastern Freeway to whatever company it is that builds the tunnel, and then that company can toll the entire freeway. Really? We have to pay a tax on a freeway that has been built for more than 30 years?

Why is it that once our governments used to be able to pay for roads and infrastructure and now they can’t? Why is that? Nowadays, whenever we move we are taxed? Why is that? Why is it that governments now can’t for these things? What has changed? I know the golden age of the planet has passed, but surely building roads is a core reason for a government’s existence?

Politicians, you do understand we vote you into power to pay the bills and to maintain the place? You do understand that, don’t you? We don’t vote you in to entertain us? We don’t vote you in so we get to see the latest episode of the Mal and Kev show? We don’t just have you there for our amusment? Build a road, pay the bills and shut the fuck up!

The sun was shining when I got to (name of street) Street, as I stepped out of the car. What was I looking at, a grey Bessa brick building up a slight incline from the road.

It was cold, and I was just over 10 minutes early. I walked to the corner and took the last cigarette from my packet. (I have had a financial issue this week that has really stressed me out that I was going to write about, but now I have decided not to, but it led to me smoking again. Pathetic? Yes.) I stepped to the edge of the footpath so the sunlight fell on me. It warmed me as I puffed away.

There was an oval opposite and beyond that EastLink. There was the constant sound of traffic. I wondered what it was like before the freeway was built. It would have been quiet, with open spaces in all of the residences sights. Now there was the sound of traffic rushing past not even noticing the disruption in people’s lives that it was causing.

I stepped inside the Bessa block building and stood at reception… but no receptionist came. Nicholas arrived, the contact name I had been given. Santo and I had discussed his name last night and Santo thought it sounded like an Indian name. Nicholas was indeed Indian. He led me out the back to 2 portables in the corner of the factory. We entered the first of the two portables, where I met Alice.

We chatted a lot, so much so that Nicholas came in several times, as if he was checking up on us. I told her about Santo and going to Vietnam. 
 I told her I have been stressing about money lately, so much so that I nearly cancelled our holiday. Alice told me with a 150K mortgage I should go away on holidays and enjoy myself. We talked and talked and talked and talked. She was nice. 

We struck a problem around lunch time and we were still waiting 4 hours later for (name of my company) to call with help.

We sat together for the rest of the afternoon, as we waited. During the course of which, she told me she had grown up in Cambodia, really missing all of her childhood and education until she came to Australia at the age of 13. She told me she had 3 children, 2 of which were very smart, that she lived with her parents, so she could buy three investment properties, which she had a 700K mortgage to finance them all.

I headed outside for a cigarette, bored with the wait we were enduring. It seemed like an IT problem to me, more than an application problem, and I thought, what would be the basic instruction from any self respecting IT person? What could I try? What would the IT guy suggest?

Switch it off. When in doubt shut it down.

I went back into the office and did just that and of course the problem was fixed.

(name of my company) called back not long after, of course.

I left at 5.30pm, when I probably would have left earlier than that if the problem hadn’t happened.

EastLink was busy with traffic as I head home.

After Doncaster Road, the out bound lane on the Eastern Freeway was a car park. How could they funnel more traffic along it with the proposed EastWest Tunnel when it is a car park at peak hour already? Don't they know that the more freeways you build, the more people will drive their cars.   Freeways don’t solve traffic problems, freeways create traffic problems.

Santo was home before I got home. It was dark by them.

We ate prawn pasta with bacon. We watched all of the shows recorded on the hard drive. You know when you bang on the hard drive and record stuff and the hard drive gets more and more full until it is in danger of running out of room and you just have to spend a night going through them, watching them and deleting them? You know that? Well, tonight was that night.

I smoked outside. It was the second day of smoking and the last, I quit when I went to bed.

Leaving Dandenong tonight

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I was having a quiet morning reading, I haven't done much lately. I was curled up on the couch with the open fire burning.

Dean arrived later in the morning. He wanted me to help him with his newly joined Facebook profile. As it turned out, he accesses his Facebook on his mobile phone and I didn’t seem to be able to work that. He didn’t seem to mind, he said he’d get his girlfriend, (friend who is a girl) Kat to help him.

He’s good, same old Dean.

Dean asked me if I'd finished my book?

I laughed.

"Why not?" he asked. "I want to read your book."

What happened to it, indeed.

I was making some more coffee with my still dodgy coffee pot. No, the new seal still hasn't arrived at the coffee shop. He and I were standing in the kitchen and he was still trying to work his phone, which seemed to have frozen. I reached over to get the coffee pot, as I turned and all I heard was whoosh, zoomped, zzzzz as the coffee pot exploded everywhere. The top part popped off the bottom part, the seal seemed to have finally given way, and the flying half hit the roof over the stove and coffee and coffee granules and water sprayed over the stove, the inside of the chimney, the fan, the light, the chimney breast, the walls, the ceiling, the cupboards, the door to the pantry, the floor and, of course, me.

Dean laughed when he looked at me.

When I looked in the mirror, in the bathroom upstairs, I looked like I'd ridden through a insect plague on a motor bike with no helmet. My glasses, somehow, resembled old fashioned riding goggles splattered with bugs. I'm sure I had coffee granules between my teeth. I looked like the coyote after his latest booby trap for the road runner exploded in his face.

Dean helped me clean up for a bit, but he had to leave.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon cleaning the kitchen.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Monday

I woke up at 10.45, or thereabouts. It was nice and warm in my bed. I thought that Santo had added my Amish Quilt (my favourite and my dearest article of bedding that my mum made me, pretty much, as the last thing she did before her brain disintegrated) to the down doona and the wool doona we now have on the bed. I’m sure our weather is changing, has changed, global warming is real, as I have never needed such layers on my bed at night to feel warm.

I was toasty. I worried that my pumpkin had been cold in the night, having had to add the Amish Quilt. I don’t feel the cold, you see, and he isn’t so demanding on such things like that, until he is shaking, if you know what I mean.

Santo would point out to me later, when I asked him if he’d been cold, that the Amish Quilt was already on the bed and he didn’t add it to the bedclothes.

Oh yes, I remember, the Amish Quilt was on the bed Saturday night, when I hid the laptop under the pillows and pulled the doonas up around the pillows to hide my hiding spot, before we left for the beach.

I flattened out the large purple triangle and the smaller crimson rectangles and the green squares to make the pattern straight, as the quilt covered the bed. I remembered, as I lay in bed this morning.

I didn’t have to get out of bed this morning, so I didn’t. I got up and had a piss, but I raced back to bed straight away and dived back under the covers. Whoosh. Sloop. Pfffffff. Fttttttttt.

I poofed up the pillows (well, what else would you expect me to do?) and got the MacAir from my desk and sat up in bed and pissed around online. I had to keep myself, pretty much, snuggled under the bedclothes, as it is still very cold in the mornings. I read the news. I don’t think I will bother reading the news if I have to pay for it online. I think when they start to charge for it online I will simply stop reading it, because it isn’t the news, lets face it. It is a collection of the worst things that have happened in the world that will sell the news services product and, hopefully, win the ratings. It is the world psyco drama, real or imagined, or manufactured, served up in such a way that will win whatever time slot it is presented in. If it was the news, it would be a well balanced representation of what had been happening in the world, which the “news” no longer is. The news should never have been included in the ratings war, because when it was it ceased being the news and started to be entertainment.

I had to cancel the wood delivery for Sunday, to head down to the beach. We are nearly out, and it is rapidly developing into an emergency situation. It certainly is for those among us who are from NSW. (it doesn’t take them long to convert to whingey NSW bastards, let me tell you) I was supposed to order it first thing this morning. Oh well. Bad me. Fuck it! I don’t have to work until Thursday. And I don’t feel the cold. Ha ha.

I didn’t have to get out of bed, even if Mark was visiting. I guess, it would have been good hosting, even if we have been friends too long for that. He does his own thing as it pleases him, which in turn means that I can do mine, of course. Sometimes, I wonder if it does work both ways?

It does with Santo.

I think that is what we all feel, however. We all feel that we don’t get to do our own thing, while the other people do. We all feel that? No doubt Mark feels that too. I guess, some how, the realty is somewhere in the middle. That’s what life is, a compromise. That’s what life always is.

I chose not to feel guilty about staying in bed, so I didn’t feel guilty. It was warm and I was comfortable. I could lie there all day, if I chose.

Eventually, Mark came up and opened the door gingerly.

“It’s late in the morning,” he said. “I thought you were still asleep.”

“No, I am having a lie in.”

“A lie in?”

“Yes.” I kind of felt smug. I had no one to answer to.

“Don’t we have to order wood,” he said. He headed into the bathroom. “Get up, I am lonely.”

I was already getting up, when he said he was lonely. I had got out of bed once I had been spied lying in. It seemed only polite.

I came downstairs. Mark had made coffee. He was watching terrible midday television, as he likes to do. Mind rot television, that’s what I think. He had the lounge room fire roaring, despite the diminishing wood supply.

I put on thick socks, to match my tracksuit pants and thick woollen jumper. They were warm, woolly clothes for a warm, woolly kind of morning. Thick, comfortable layers, for a thick, comfortable day off. Soft, sloppy, thick, comfortable, wrapped up against the cold. I love that feeling, sloppy and layered and soft, it was that kind of day. I called the woodman, who would deliver on Wednesday. Wednesday? I drew in breath. Mark would be cold by Wednesday. I made mashed bananas on toast and more coffee.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Light in Winter and then waking up by the sea

Oh, jesus, the road works are really too much. They are replacing the tram tracks and the thump thump thump thump thump of the big machine with the pointy thingamy hanging out the front digging up the old tracks woke me up on Friday night. Me. The person who sleeps the sleep of the dead. Me. The person who can sleep through a hurricane. (Okay, it was a bad storm, but you get my point.) Me. Who is woken by nothing on earth. Knock on my door, ring my doorbell, call on the phone, I won't hear once the land of nod has enveloped me.

Oh, some time in the early morning I woke because I needed a piss, to be truthful, to hear the boom boom boom boom of the before mentioned jack hammer. I tossed and turned for, oh, um, probably 10, or 15, minutes before I dozed off again, but that is long enough, too long enough. Well, it was enough for me to worry about sleep last night. The workers will be in full swing by then. As nothing really disturbs my sleep, some thing that does is a big deal. They were working right through until Monday morning, I asked one of the chaps in a reflective yellow jacket.

"Monday morning, everything must be back to normal," said the workman.


So, when Jane suggested that Santo and I come to Ocean Grove with she and (father) Mark, I thought it was a damn good idea to get away from the now exponentially increased noise of the inner suburbs. One night down, one to go, as they say. The quiet of the country suddenly seemed so appealing.

We all took the youngest boy child of the family to see Despicable Me 2 yesterday afternoon at Melbourne Central, Mark, Santo and me. It was hysterical, we laughed and laughed. I love the way Santo laughs when he really thinks something is funny, it is pure joy. Mark and Jay ate McDonalds, because Jay is like most 9 year olds and he won't eat anything that he hasn't eaten before. Santo and I ate Sushi. Oh, the food court at Melbourne Central, it would be easier to name the food that you can't buy there.

The designers had tried to be stylish, they had given it a really good attempt but, really, it just ended up looking try-hard and a bit flaky, eclectic would be a kind description, but they nearly got it and full marks for trying. The place was full, there were people every where. I managed to pick a table next to two beautiful blonde girls who spoke incessantly and loudly in Finish, or Swedish, or one of those languages and they couldn't have been more annoying if they were trying to be annoying. We should have just farted loudly, or picked our noses and flung it, no eaten it, but, of course, we didn't and we just ignored them.

Then, afterwards, we wandered down Swanston Street to meet Jane and to watch the Light in Winter in Federation Square. Ah, the lovely boulevard that is now Swanston Street, it has been beautifully transformed into a lovely promenade, it is so much better without cars. It makes one wonder how much more of the city could be made carless. 

I like Fed Square now, when originally I hated it. But now I think it is charming and quite cool. The light show was interesting, but the music was uninspired and, quite frankly, boring to snores. The singers before hand were dull, the choir was rubbish. There was one terrific female singer who sang with the choir, who was fantastic, but the rest, shake of the head, not so much.

Then we escaped to the beach. Lovely. Buddy staid home, poor Buddy, as he loves the beach. He sat there and watched us all get ready and you could see in his face, that he knew something was going on and that somebody should be putting his harness on him and giving him directions to the car, but they weren't. He kept looking from one to the other of us.

Then it was a night drive down the highway out of the city. I love a good night drive, it is like an escape, it is like an adventure.

We lit the open fire and I fell asleep in front of it with my head on Santo's shoulder.

So this morning, I woke to the lovely, sunny open spaces of a suburb by the beach. Ah, fresh air, breath it in. Yes, big breath. Ah, the light and the depth of the atmosphere, some how, it is different in the country, it is different again by the beach. It is lighter and airier, it seems healthier and cleaner.

I could move to the country one day. I think I probably will, one day. Out of the rat race.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

We should stop demonising the commission flats

I don't really understand all the negativity that surrounds the Atherton Gardens commission flats, no I don't.

I walk through the grounds quite often, with Santo and Buddy and on my own and I think it is quite nice. There are nice wide open spaces and gardens and a bridge to walk across. There are children playing on the ovals, seemingly enjoying themselves. The people I meet, as I pass through, always seem quite nice, like you would meet any where else in Fitzroy. Friendly, personable, chatty.

Okay, true, I haven't ever lived there, however, I did head up to Nicholas' cousin, P's, flat on the 19th floor late one night. The lifts seemed quite functional and clean and serviceable  The corridors and walkways seemed quite well kept and respectable. The lifts didn't smell of urine, the walkways weren't rat infested and there were no signs of crack addicts laying comatose any where. It all seemed very normal. P's apartment was large and spacious and, quite frankly, it was nice. It was plain, sure, but perfectly okay other than that. The views from inside were quite spectacular.

I don't really get it? Why are they condemned so harshly? Is it our collective middle class guilt that makes us judge them so harshly? Or fear? That none of us want to end up there, so we criticise them so, making us feel better about ourselves.

Is it because suburb clearing was one of the biggest mistakes a state government has ever made and we as a society have never quite got over it?

Is it political manoeuvring to sell the now expensive land the flats sit on? Because, quite frankly, I can't see a lot of difference between the apartment towers that are now being sold by property developers for the general public all around the city? In fact, if P's spacious flat was anything to go by, I know I'd rather live there than in one of the 400K motel rooms that property developers now offer the public.

If property developers got hold of the Atherton Gardens, they could probably double, triple, quadruple the number of tower blocks on that land and make a fortune in profits. They could conceivably sell the "penthouses" for millions of dollars.

I can't help but believe this is the reason for the constant condemnation of the commission towers, political parties making good for the political donations of their property developer mates. In 21st century political speak, it is far easier to change something like this if you create a problem that needs to be fixed in the first place. 

I also had a friend who was an immigrant to this country who lived in the South Melbourne Commission flats and she always said she lived with million dollar views. She said she always enjoyed her time in those flats?

She enjoyed living in the South Melbourne flats.
P enjoyed living in the Fitzroy apartments.

If they are so bad, why did the government just build more of them, ostensibly exactly the same in Brunswick Street just recently? They look the same to me.

I think we should embrace the flats and decide to like them.
Let's face it, they are no different to the apartment towers that are now being built on every spare block in Melbourne, sanctioned by the governments planning minister.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Still, what do I care about officious bitches in copper drag, it was a beautiful sunny day in Fitzroy and I had the day off.

The Nana State police in the parks and gardens of our fair city

Santo and I were walking through the park when we heard a voice, voices, behind us, saying something, I’m not sure exactly what now. They were indicating to us that they wanted us to stop. There were two of them, two women, for a minute I thought they were the police, by the way they were dressed. They were both holding up badges of some sort, you know, your generic official, law and order type badges.

Then they were asking about the dog and they were saying something about the dog not having a registration tag on him. Then the smaller of the two was asking, all official like, who the owner of the dog was and that she would need to speak to whoever the registered owner of the dog is.

She acknowledged that the dog was on a lead and seemed to congratulate us for using the lead while walking him. But that just seemed to be nonsense, as I always walk Buddy on a lead, there is never a question about it. She seemed to see fit to repeat the acknowledgment, I’m not really sure why. I wonder if it was a gauge to judge whether I was going to be abusive, or not.

“Yes, that is me,” I said.

“Why wasn’t the dog wearing a registration tag?”

“He doesn’t always wear his harness and he can’t wear a harness and a collar at the same time.”

“So is the dog registered?”


“Is the dog microchipped?”


“Is the dog desexesed?”


I wanted to say that I wanted to cry for this country if they saw fit to hassle a dog that is clearly under the control of its owner who is clearly being walked responsibly on a lead. Did they not have any thing better to do with their time? However, they seemed to be taking this very seriously… so, I thought it was better just to keep my mouth shut and take whatever it was that this official mad, security ridiculous, nana’centric society wanted to throw at me. Just shut up, just lie back and take it for the good of the country, and take your dressing down and it will soon be over once these uniform wearing, trojans (big empty vessels that carry the official message) of big bother got out whatever it was they felt they needed to get out over the heinous crime of not having a small piece of plastic wrapped around some part of Buddy’s apparel.

“Do you have pooh bags?”

Pooh bags? I rolled my eyes, I couldn’t help it. “Yes.”

I made no attempt to produce them. Surely, that can't be a legal requirement, after all, they are available in most parks for dog owners use.

“Can I see them?”

“Yes.” I reluctantly pulled them from my rear pocket.”

“One, two, three. I always need three pooh bags per walk.” I thought that might prove that I always carry pooh bags with me, which I do, religiously. (I kind of like the association of shit bags with religion) I always pick up his pooh, even though there is a part of me that doesn't really agree with it, - it is biodegradable and surely we can't be that anal and uptight - because that is what is agreed that dog owners must do.

The appearance of the pooh bags seemed to lighten her demeanour, I’m not exactly sure why. (Farts are always funny?) There is no accounting for taste, I guess.

“I will be checking all of your details and I may, or may not, be back in contact with you?”

“Okay.” I mean, what was I to say to that? Lovely. Check what you like.

“Did you know it was a legal requirement for your dog to be wearing a current registration tag,” I think she said at this point, “while walking him in a park.” I think that is what she said, although I am not, exactly, sure now. 

I shrugged, looked confused, made big eyes - tick the appropriate box. Really?

“On this occasion I will be giving you a warning…” yadder, yadder, yadder, blah, blah, blah.

Still, what can I say. I was in the wrong, let's not forget that. I was putting the very fabric of our society at risk by walking my dog fully controlled and fully under my supervision, on a leash, which was noted several times for the record, without a small piece of red plastic attached to his neck where very few people would even be able to see it. People's lives were at risk... um... er...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cool old Falcon parked in Gertrude Street early in the evening
The hot council boy, shame his head dipped behind the sign and that I was too slow to get a good one of him. He had the most beautiful brown eyes and the most handsome face

There was ice on the grass this moring

It is icy cold again today. 

This morning, at least, I got my lazy arse out of bed and walked Santo into the CBD, well, the edge. I stand on the La Trobe Street side of the Exhibition Gardens and wave him good bye as he heads into the CBD. I keep waving until he disappears out of sight, which is behind the wire fence of the meteorological measuring station. I guess that is what it is called. You know, where the measure the rain fall.

Then Buddy and I turn around and head home again. Buddy sniffs at everything between here and there. I must write to Cesar Millan and tell him that I have a bull dog that never stops bloody sniffing. And he pisses on everything else.

It is freezing again today. I guess, I say that as if I don't like it, the cold, which isn't exactly true. I find the cold quite bracing, invigorating even, and it is good to get out and walk in it, as it certainly moves you along, like a hand behind your back. While I don't, exactly, like it on my fingers and my feet and my nose and my ears, I don't mind it at all generally. I love the breath visibly puffing out of my mouth. I like wrapping myself up in my big woolley coats. I like being able to walk and walk and walk without sweating.

I like the seasons.

I love the winter sun.

In my lounge room where I sit on my computer, I have a window where the winter sun shines through at about 10am and it bathes me, no saturates me, envelops me, in the most gorgeous winter sun, it dazzles my eyes, as it is doing right at this very moment. It is just lovely really. I can tell the time by it this time of year. 

Buddy and I sit back in the sun and close our eyes and snooze. He snores.

Buddy just loves the sun, he follows it around the room. He's a sun baby.

Mark arrives at 3pm, he will hate the cold. Like all of them from NSW, he will complain. Oh well.
Buddy had crawled into my lap by this stage to get the full effect of the sun

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Too cold to care

I did nothing all day, zip, nada, niente. I didn't even get out of bed and walk Santo into the city, I stayed wrapped up in the toasty warm bed clothes. Lovely. Then, I sat on my arse and the day slipped away. 

Wsssssssshhhhhhhhh. Gone.

That's what I told Santo when he got home. Woosh. Gone.

"It was like two hours passed as if it had been one. Just like that. I don't know where it went."

"Just like that," he said. He waved his hand through the air as if it was sailing away. He shook his head. "Just don't know."

"Just like that." I made a similar hand gesture. "No idea."

"Beautiful life," Santo says.

Of course, I blame the cold. It was icy this morning, like a zillion microscopic needles stabbing me through my clothes and piecing my skin by a micro millimetre... repeatedly. Yes, it was bloody cold.

"Lovely," says Santo.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When I stopped cleaning and made myself a cup of tea, Buddy crawled under the coffee table and put his head in my lap and went to sleep

He's like a hot water bottle

Sad day

Oh, sad face, I have been cleaning up. I know... anything but, hey? Hands in the air, it only gets messy again, what is the point? Cleanliness is a mental incapacity, designed to give the bored something to do. However, be that as it may, it has now come to it... cleaning and tiding. Groan. So, I have been throwing shit out for a few hours. I am a few IQ points away from being an obsessive hoarder, so it has to be done from time to time. It started out with me filing my bank statements into their statement folder, rather than just throwing them on a shelf... and it just snowballed from there.  I have now thrown away all of my treasured car magazines, which I have collected over the last 20 years ago, or so, which I haven't looked at for um, er, cough, cough,  20 years, blush, in some cases. Oh, it is a sad day.

But, you know, it is time to embrace electronic storage. 21st century and all of that.

I have some big band music playing, that always gives me a hustle along, and I am getting stuck into it.

And a box of tissues, of course, at hand just in case. Ha ha. That would be for my years of inaction, really. I'm sure what I, actually, need is a stick of gelignite shoved up my arse. Being a gay man, of course, I might just like that...
... writhing around on the floor...

It is sad, really, now isn't it. I'll even sit here and write shit to get out of cleaning.

It was busy at the Exhibition Buildings this morning... when Buddy and I walked Santo to the city

Monday, June 17, 2013

Want to come over for a lamb roast?

Monday off, it has a nice ring to it, now doesn't it. It is what most of the world aspires to... don't they. Apparently. Well, I guess it isn't apparently really, it is common knowledge. Lucky me.

Buddy and I got up early and ate olive bread and drank coffee with Santo, then we walked him into the city for work. It is nice to be up early, it always makes me feel alive, it always makes me feel like I am making the most of the day. We walked Santo to the top of La Trobe Street, then we walked around the Exhibition Gardens before we walked home. There were a lot of white, puffy terriers with their owners, they were the dog du jour. It was nice, in our winter jackets warm against the brisk morning air. Well, I was in my winter jacket, Buddy was in his winter bulldog suit. (the one with the new zip. He he)

We got home before the rain fell, or as the rain fell, in its beginning of fine mist, like a translucent veil. My jacket was damp, Buddy's fur was too.

9am, just in time for coffee. I pissed around on my computer for most of the rest of the then grey day. I lit a fire. Lovely, hey?

Late in the afternoon, I went to the supermarket and bought a leg of lamb for dinner. Santo had left definite orders for some kind of roast for dinner. I can smell sage and garlic, and there are potatoes and carrots and sweet potatoes, now all sizzling away. I also got beans and corn on the cob.

Jill invited herself for dinner, when she heard what I was cooking. It was right after I told her I had bought a lot of food.

"I bought a bigger roast than I really needed, I don't know why."
"I'd love a lamb roast," she said
Which I didn't respond to... I was thinking about why I hadn't bought the smallest roast and what good will become of the extra lamb, which, in itself,  I guess, is quite rude. Cold lamb sandwiches like Mark always likes. Lamb with sauce? I always think that cold meat tastes of fat no matter how much sauce you smother it in...

"Hint, hint, hint," she actually said. "Hint, hint, hint."

"Oh?" Back to earth. "Yes, of course, come over for dinner. Lamb roast."

"I'd love to," she replied... as if it had been my idea.



Now, Jill is always late and 7pm means 7.30 in Jill time. Still, it was late in the afternoon by then and I had to get off my arse and prepare it all.

I could have panicked  but I didn't. I could have drunk wine, but I didn't do that either. Maybe, I should drink more wine. I normally don't drink any, unless I am out some where. I would have had a joint, once, but I don't do that any more. I haven't smoked for, well, I'm not really sure now how long, but I think it is 8 weeks and then that was just for 4 weeks, or a little longer and other than that I haven't smoked for most of the year. Who said quitting was hard. (Ha ha, it has only taken me ten years)

I just reminded myself that I can, actually, cook and I got on with it and it was done in 10 minutes, easy really, not hard. And in the oven. Shrug. Why do people think cooking is hard?

Then I made tea.