I saw Zoe years ago at a gig with Amanda Palmer and Meow Meow. Says a lot that I'd never heard of the cellist but that she stood out between such limelight personalities. I love the cello - it does wonderful things with your emotions. I loved what I was seeing someone do with the instrument. It was mesmerising. I loved seeing how absorbed by her music Zoe was. You can see it in this clip. She is obviously a passionate person.
Today she lost her partner of 17 years. The news made me incredibly sad because I had been hoping everything would be all right, but kind of thinking everything was probably not going to be all right.
at a restaurant at Brighton beach, just as we were leaving, a young
waiter dude came over to me and said, "Man - sorry but can I just ask
where you got those pants? They're awesome." I told him that I got them at Rainbow, and this
started a very, very, very enthusiastic conversation about festivals,
Maitreya, psytrance and just how much the young guy loves psytrance and
I think he'd probably had a pretty good night the
night before. I didn't think he would be quite so enthusiastic later in
his shift. I also thought it was pretty funny that he was having this
kind of conversation with someone literally old enough to be his father.
I also recognised a kindred spirit and told him to feel free to drop
into the cafe some time and we can talk some more about all things doof.
Was kind of cool meeting someone new to the scene who loves it so much.
If your life has been like mine, you do a lot of different things. You are a lot of different people with lots of different interests. Maybe you are several different people to different people. I've never known who the fuck I am and have always craved some sort of consistency. But that consistency has never been there.
Right now I'm the co-owner of a small and banged up little cafe on a cool street in Melbourne, hands-down the coolest city in Australia. We do good, unpretentious food and good, unpretentious coffee, all served by - I hope - good, unpretentious staff. I'm enjoying my work life right now. Lately, especially, I've been humbled by the good workers I've managed to find. Properly awesome people.
But 10 years and little bit more ago, this was not what I was doing or who I was. 10 years ago I was bumbling my way through a steep learning curve of magazine editorship and writing, and starting to realise that my sense of humour was worth putting out there. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I did enjoy being in this rare position of writing stuff that amused me and putting it out there, and I enjoyed the limited feedback from friends and occasionally strangers who told me that they enjoyed my writing/humour. Most of my working days were spent writing stuff that I knew amused me, sometimes found out amused the rest of the office, and rare occasions found out amused anonymous civilians.
But I did get feedback. And it's cool and nice to get positive feedback. The random text saying I've just made a twat of myself laughing at your latest column. Or talking to a new friend who, upon finding out which magazine I worked for, asked if I knew Grumpy.
And I got to say yeah... I am Grumpy.
Another friend recently said dude, always loved your writing - it was always the first thing I read in the magazine. Hearing this is weird because I didn't know this last friend at the time I was doing this writing.
But all of that is history. 10 years later I'm still Grumpy, partner of The Dreaded One in Grumpy & The Dreaded One's Little Cafe Of Awesome. The many years of my Grumpy column appearing in the pages of Tsunami mag have long ended. I make coffee now. I enjoy hospitality. I care about service and gathering a team that makes working together a pleasure. I'm not perfect on this last part, but I'm working on it and I'm getting better.
Yesterday... I get a message from the partner of a kind of oldish friend. He says that his girlfriend has mentioned that I used to write for a mag in Sydney - which one was it and what was the name of my column? I tell him about 3D World, about Acid Tongue, about Grumpy and my other writings, thinking he is maybe a writer thinking I might still have contacts, which I don't. I'm so out of the loop these days.
Turns out he was just curious. Had thought about the name of the cafe, the fact that I used to write and maybe I was a writer whose stuff he used to read. Things fell into place and his reply was something along the lines of... no fuck it I'll copy and paste... "I fuckin knew it, used to love that column. Thats why i asked.You sir are the man."
This was a little, unexpected poop of happiness. Made me wonder how many complete strangers out there enjoyed the thing and were made happy by my idiotic musings.
Now awaiting the PS: "Sorry man - I was thinking about another column written by another dude. You're probably okay, but you're not the man. Soz."
Although I said I wasn't going to do it again, I did it again. I chose one single potential worker from the pile of resumes dropped off based on the resume itself and The Vibe.
The Vibe, it seems, fucking rocks.
While I doubt I will ever get another front-of-house cohort as perfect as the divine Miss D, this one is quite lovely and did something today that says wonderful things about her character and has made a big impression.
We had some roadworks going on right outside the front door of the cafe and the day got off to a really slow start. Not a single customer for the first hour. Not good. A few regulars came by after that, commenting on the jackhammers and barricades.
At about 9.15 I texted Clara, our new helper of four days, and said if she wanted the day off she could have it because I think it's going to be quiet. She has made it clear that she wants some work but wants time off wherever possible to enjoy our fine city, being the traveler that she is. I really thought it was going to be a three person day today. She replied that yeah sure, if that's okay with you.
It started getting a little busy, and the roadworks situation quietened a little. They basically finished the heavy digging and left for the day. I pooped my pants a little because what if we had a busy lunch and we need four people? Goodcall?Badcall?nnnnng!!!
This is the bit that impressed. During a gap in the customer traffic, I texted Clare and said look actually it could get busy during lunch and would it be okay if you came in after all?
Most people would have switched to oh-cool-unexpected-day-off mode and said sorry, I've just made plans. I think that's what I would have done, unless this was someone I had been working for for a long time.
Her reply? "I was going to go to the beach but you guys are my priority, so if you think it's going to be busy I'll come in. I don't mind."
She came in. She was cool about it. Then we got properly fucking slammed. And she was still cool about it. I was in a happy mood because it had been a close call... and what a gesture from someone we've only had on board for a few days.
Very glad my arse was saved again. Mostly, though, impressed by the kind of person who does something like that.
I was looking forward to a left-over chicken snack, but, astonishingly, there was no
chicken. Apparently I had already eaten the chicken, perhaps during one of my late night, gastronomic somnambulations. I don't remember
eating the chicken, but all the evidence indicated that I had already
eaten all the chicken. This was very confusing because I have no recollection of
eating the chicken.
There was sadness, too, because I was really, really looking forward
to eating some chicken.
Alas, the chicken wasn't there.
And that's my romantic tragedy - perhaps the greatest romantic tragedy ever told involving chicken - titled The Chicken That Wasn't There.
Random writings, stories, magazine theatre reviews and interviews, fiction, and occasionally my bi-weekly column Grumpy, which used to appear in the pages of Tsunami mag. Oh and be sure to check out my ebook, 17 Stories Of Love & Crime.