Sunday, November 30, 2014

That Thing We Have

Yesterday The Dreaded One and I spent the day drinking and eating and laughing. This might seem like an unremarkable thing - and when you think about truly remarkable things like black holes in space and the very concept and bigness of the universe, it is pretty mundane.

But it's been a long time now, (30 something years? Get outta here!) and we still don't feel the need to dilute each others company with the company of others. We love the company of others, when they're the right people, but equally, we're happy to just hang out with each other.

I never really tire of looking at The Dreaded One. She is amazingly pretty. She stands out in a crowd, has her own very individual sense of style, and it's stylish. I feel very lucky.

But it goes deeper than that. We spend all day long working together in a potentially volatile environment. Dealing with customers and food and deadlines and the myriad other issues we have to deal with all day long (and the days are long), we probably should encounter more friction than we do. There is friction but we try to make it fleeting and just get on with things. And I like to listen to her as well as look at her.

Then we come home together. Often I will walk home from the cafe. Sometimes I stop off for a beer, staring out through a window and letting my mind wander. Then I'll come home and jokingly ask how The Dreaded One's day was.

And then it's the weekend. Yesterday we spent the day drinking and eating and laughing. Just the two  of us. Often I think she is immune to my sense of humour. She's had a lot of time to get used to it, and lately it hasn't even been around much. But it was there yesterday and she laughed genuine laughter. We still seem to enjoy each others company.

I don't know exactly what it is, but I like that thing we have.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where Do You Stand On Michael Buble?

Watched Michael Winterbottom's The Trip To Italy starring the hilarious Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Loved it. Envy them for this being their job, but feel lucky to have been to so many places that were the setting for the movie... Naples, Amalfi, Ravello, Pompei...

I initially thought this shot was from the wonderful hotel we stayed at in Sorento - Villa Oriana Relais - but it wasn't. Must have been very close by though because the view is very similar.

Very funny movie, one you can watch over again and I probably will. Loved the first lines in this about where do you stand on Michael Buble? Hilarious.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another Muso In The Cafe

The person who works for us in Grumpy & The Dreaded One's Little Cafe Of Awesome had a friend call into the cafe for a bite to eat. He's a friend of hers from Sydney. Met them afterwards for a drink. Seemed like a really nice guy, full of life. He lives in our old Sydney hood, so it was nice to find out how the place is going. Talked about pubs like The Hollywood, The Cricketer's and The Hopetoun, which is still apparently boarded up and abandoned.

Turns out he's Simon Day from late 80s/early 90s band Ratcat. I had no idea. I know several songs, very evocative of a time before electronic music almost fully hijacked my attention. (Still love some non-electronic/guitar driven music, of course, but psytrance etc). I really liked their sound and it's fun to listen to this stuff again.

Ratcat are playing a gig at The Corner Hotel on Tuesday night. Hmm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Wish In The Darkness

I choose not to hate religious silly-billies who kill other religious silly-billies. I'm atheist; your books, to me, are nonsense but it's okay to study your books in my part of the world. I'm atheist, I do not believe there is a God (but there is a small part of me me who isn't sure... think about the universe for long enough and you come to the realisation that you know nothing).

But for fuck sake, please stop screaming at each other that God is great as you slaughter your fellow God-worshipping humans. Stop raping in the name of God. Stop murdering in the name of a Great Creator. Stop mutilating your Creator's creations. Stop believing that you are God. Stop destroying lives. Stop creating sadness and despair. Stop your pointless war of hatred against people who just want and deserve to enjoy a brief and peaceful life on Earth. Stop poisoning younger generations in other lands with your hate. 

Just. Fucking. Stop it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Restaurant Called Lee ho Fook

Here is a (very short) review by me of a local restaurant, Lee ho Fook, which is mentioned in the opening verse of this Warren Zevon pop classic from the late 70s. Amazeballs. Like, how did they do that? It boggles the mind. I mean - it's 2014 and, like, time warpy weirdness. Aaaah-ooooh...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Martha By Tom Waits, Just because.

Some vintage Tom. I think he wrote this when he was 22 years old. So simple, so perfect. It's amazing to think he got even better over the years. I love his funny stuff and his wild stuff, but I think I love his love stuff the most.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oy Vey

I have of late - but I know wherefore not - started saying Oy vey, a lot.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Have Of Late - But Wherefore I Know Not - Lost All My Mirth...

Back in the day when I started this blog, the whole point was to train myself to see the funny shit that is going on all around us, all the time. You can see shit happening and go hey, that's fucked up, or you can see shit happening and go hey that's fucked up, but imagine if this unexpected funny thing happened... how funny would that be? Or imagine seeing it from this angle? How great would that be?

Squint a little and you will see it.

Sadly, I don't have any of that left. Apparently I have lost my mirth.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ooh - Scary Like A Viking

Grumpy: Do you mind shaving my head, The Dreaded One?
The Dreaded One: No, Grumpy, not at all.
Grumpy: This time, can you give me a Mohican stripe?
The Dreaded One: A Mohican?
Grumpy: Yeah - so I look scary, like a Viking.
The Dreaded One: Scary like a Viking? Sure, no prob.
A short, buzzy time later...
The Dreaded One: There. All done.
Grumpy: Cool. Do I look scary like a Viking?
The Dreaded One: Yes, you look scary like a Viking.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Almost Live On International Radio

Last Saturday I slept in like a boss. I really look forward to sleeping in after doing a full week of early starts. I got up just after 9.30, trudged upstairs and checked my phone; one voice message. I phone in to listen to the message, and unexpectedly there's the Northern hemisphere twang of a guy who does a show on CBC Radio in Vancouver. He wants me to phone him back so that we can have a bit of a chat. He wants to interview me but doesn't say what about. I think maybe he's got the wrong person but he leaves me with his studio number, his cell number and then says he'll also email me at

This is all very odd, he definitely seems to have all the correct contact details.

Still feeling sleepy, with a bit of confusion thrown in, I check my email, and there's a message from the same guy. He wants to interview me about Creepypasta. It's Halloween and I'm guessing he's read this story I wrote for Soot Mag.

He really wants to do this but it has to happen before 7am Melbourne time. He called me originally at 5am. I have waaaay missed this boat, baby. Bummer. Could have been fun, but I'm not sure how coherent I would have been at 5am or 7am. I didn't feel like I was going to be coherent for another couple of hours yet.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I Want To Write A Story

I want to write a story, a made-up story. I used to write made-up stories all the time, hardly have the time or energy these days. But now I want to write a story. I want to do it in one draft, in several sittings. No revisions allowed.

The story... it's about this guy. Not me. It's not going to be an I story. I did this, I did that. He? Third person? Hmm. No. My trusty, unfashionable, my favourite second person. It's going to be a story about You.

You work in a cafe. (I know what you're thinking - it is a story about the author after all. But it's not. You have to trust me on this).

So you work in a cafe. You make coffee and serve food and make sure everyone is happy, gets their food and coffee on time. You're not great at the coffee but you're not bad, getting better. You get your fare share of compliments. You never intended to be the barista. The person who was meant to be the barista didn't show on the first day the cafe opened. She was hungover and someone had to make the coffee so you stepped in. That first day was nerves and shaky hands and flaky excuses and more than a few dodgy coffees. But you've gotten better. Sometimes all the ingredients - the grind, the dose, the steamed milk, the decorative pour - they all come together in a satisfying way and you know they are going to enjoy this coffee.

Another thing you do is you get to know people. All kinds of people you would probably never meet. You get a glimpse into all these diverse lives. People in the street catch your eye all the time, the pretty ones and the broken ones, the lonely ones and the old ones. All so different, trapped in their worlds, but you pass on by, wondering but never knowing.

But here in the cafe, you get to meet them, and you've only just realised what a cool thing this is. Not really a people person, you've had to learn how to talk with them, the way you've had to learn to steam the milk to silky perfection. Not that the talk is ever silky perfection, but it bumps along in it chunky way. They are rarely long meandering chats, being interrupted as they are by other customers or deliveries or the metalic screech of the coffee grinder. But here and there, in short bursts, a bigger picture emerges, a fuller view of the person is seen. The pretty ones, the broken ones, the lonely ones and the old ones, you get to know them and you realise that like you, they all have stories.

Where to begin? Who shall we meet first? Let's start with Hector, the only customer you've actually kicked out of the cafe...

To be continued.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Wonderful Eyes

You see beauty a thousand times a day. It's the strangers with their hair and their tattoos and their piercings so exotic. The high-heeled girl from that designer shop just down the road, with her half shaved head and those eyes... those eyes... those completely wonderful eyes. And the random strangers with their accents and their histories, and the locals and the regulars with their quirks and must I sit here at this table or can I sit at that table over there? You see the scars and the bandages and you see and hear the wounds. You see and listen to the damaged ones, and you try to make them feel comfortable and at home, because you're welcome here. And it's all kind of beautiful.

Tonight I saw beauty again. In the mirror, Ann's eyes squinting as she shaved my head. Not aware of me. Not aware that I was looking at those amazing brown eyes. She trimmed and fluffed and squinted, and I had a few moments to look into her wonderful eyes and think, yeah you, you beautiful you.