Inside Every Pore 

On balmy summer nights

We open all the windows and doors

To let the night come in

And whisper us to sleep

But in the winter we shut up every orifice

And wrap ourselves in teflon blankets

To happily boil

The problems is the night never left my house

And even when I hide myself deep in my sleeping bag

It’s inside with me

 

14/12/17


Photo by Jakub Gorajek on Unsplash

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Things You Didn’t Expect To Be Told To Expect When Electing To Undertake An Intro To Philosophy Course

  1. There exists an approximate venn diagram with: art students and beautiful stoners on one side; pedantic neckbeards, mmorpg-players who bring their Nintendo Switchs to class, and armchair physicists on the other. It’s probably best to fall in the first category and sit at the back in your ironic Korn t-shirt smelling of sativa if you wanna get laid. If you want good grades and to personally hector the lecturer into early retirement and grey-haired horizons of gardening away stress, the latter is your option. It really depends on what you want. If you fall somewhere in the overlap you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting decent grades and maybe even forging a personal relationship with the professor, so long as you keep to yourself and make an attempt at furthering class discussion when called upon. If you can’t work out where you sit, it’s probably in the latter category and you may wanna invest in some Lynx and shave your adam’s apple. Also, stop playing Bloons on your Iphone — you’re not and never will be the incarnation of master strategist Sun Tzu (most likely).
  2. No one has the right answer — some people just have more comprehensively wrong answers than others. If you find your hand in the sky and some erroneous analysis exiting your mouth, push on! Try to bend the thought around to its proper home using the lecturer’s pained facial expressions as a weathervane. See a microexpression of pleasure when you bring your thought in blurry cohesion with the week’s topic? Go on. Destroy his/her joy with a radically irrelevent and borderline inappropriate tangent.
  3. Talk about your personal life as much as possible, preferably in long-winded monologues that involve much um-ing and ah-ing and staring into the distance for the correct piece of vocabulary you wanna flex. You know what “postmodern deconstruction” means, or at least that it means something. You know it’ll sound mature to evaluate the merits of De Stijl as “an example of a perennial artform now outmoded through the flux of time’s relentless forward momentum”. You swear you’ve heard “Transcendental subjectivisim” somewhere, even if it was just when you were drunk after an O-week party and were actually reading a post-it on your door saying: “Sam, clean up after yourself. Everyone uses the house — cleanliness transcends just your subjective definiton of moving mouldy coffee cups from your desk to the kitchen.”
  4. Bring up unrelated philosophers that you know something about in weeks where that philosopher’s thought could not be more irrelevant. Yeah you read ‘Hell is other people’ on tumblr once. Use it big fella. Super effective when the quote is preceded by “it’s kinda like what x said”. Bonus points for misattribution. Don’t worry, we’re all novices in this discipline. It’s okay to confuse Hegel with Heidegger and Nietzche with Chuck Palahniuk. Just don’t claim Germaine Greer created the concept of Penis Envy and that Freud was an early progenitor of feminism.
  5. I know I uttered the words ‘borderline inappropriate tangent’ earlier, but in Philosophy 1101 classes there is no such territory. Wanna drop into the discussion of how we can’t be certain we’re not brains in vats an anecdote about the time you smoked cones with shamans during a visit to the Himalyan area and for all you know you could still be there now hallucinating this class? Do it. Imagination is approved, correctness and context-awareness are more optional. You’re in uni now, everyone treats you like an adult. Roll a ciggie in class, get up and go to the vending machine without asking for permission, say ‘fuck’ without lowering your voice conspiratorially. This isn’t totalitarian rule. That’s next weeks topic, and please read pages 68–130 of Hobbes’ Leviathan.
  6. Don’t do the readings, just sit down and wait for some conscientious person to summarise them to the class then raise your hand and say, “yeah, it struck me when doing these readings how similar Schopenhauer’s lack of appreciation during his life is to the time I was in Mexico with half a gram of coke in my boot sole and me and my mate were trying to convice the bouncer of this exclusive nightclub that we were Daft Punk.”
  7. Analogies are God, or at least an egotistical monarch. Philosophy is infintely complicated by language (word to Wittgenstein). When talking about abstruse concepts and definitions a well-hewn analogy can dispel innumerable confusions and prevent faux-pas like the misconception you’re racist, sexist, idiotic or simply a flawed human.
  8. There’s always room for a Rick and Morty reference. Similarly Fightclub, The Matrix, David Lynch movies and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind are generally apposite if a little reductive. (Beaudrillard wasn’t simply saying we live in a simulation, he was saying that simulation and reality have advanced to a stage where they’ve imploded into each other and differentiation is impossible. Kind of like trying to tell the difference between the Kardashians.)
  9. It’s okay to hate yourself, to truly and deeply loathe your entire complacent being, after an Intro to Practical Ethics course. In fact, if you don’t hate yourself and consider selling your car in favour of paragliding to class and adopting a diet of only raw pepitas for the rest of your adulthood you’re probably an insufferably ignoble assemblage of atoms not worthy of blowing around in the void.
  10. Yes, once you think you’ve mastered Western philosophy we will move on to Eastern Philosophy because Fuck you, the more you know the more you know you don’t know and the paler you get staying in your room underlining and re-underlining the same paragraph in The Critique Of Practical Reason.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Bonus advice: don’t smell that guy’s dreads. Why did that even sound like a good idea?

Searching for Meaning at the Book Fair

Pdf version for your enjoyment

Searching For Meaning at the Book Fair 🤖🤖

I stepped out of car-interior penumbra and into an atmosphere streaked piddle and nectarine, filling lungs that felt like sourdough with bright Moet air. There were big plaster clouds in the sky, which shined like concealer in the wrong light, and which seemed to threaten rain though only in a cautionary way— unsure, reluctant to act, afraid of their own power and aspect like a spider in the corner that keeps running into darkness every time you get up to make sure it’s still where your eyes last fixed it. Under these clouds’ dangling feet blew the summoned leisure classes of Victoria along with scabby autumn leaves. The sky was like a migraine—just way too populated with contradictory white wisps and rolling heads and well-defined cumulus’ and veins of dark grey—and somehow, amongst all this sugarcane-white, the sun still managed to pour leisurely schooners of warmth down on everyone, whom nonetheless rushed to hold piping coffees to the waterproof exteriors of their overpriced jackets. There were thousands of people paying entry to the book fair with notes scribbled in pen and defaced by tape, fished from expensive leather purses and wallets choked with receipts, pictures of grandchildren, doctors appointment cards, invitations to join Probus. I walked along, letting myself be assumed into a flue of festival-goers, dragged down surely to the entrance, which I realised must be the discoloured marquees set-up at the bottom of the hill near the old historic town centre like a giant dacked arse.

In the midst of this slow-moving, heavily-perfumed, brand-aware contingent, I cut a louche figure, dressed in old black jeans, a baggy t-shirt with some remembrance of past dining on it and a black beanie with old sneakers. Kids milled about everywhere in uniform, looking at me like I was a statue and couldn’t look right back at their cherubic devils’ faces. Maybe I was wearing someone else’s clothes, what with how the crouch of the jeans kept attacking my nuts on the downstroke of each step. Plus it was not unlike me to mistake a female’s cotton hoodie for a male’s wool jacket in post-somniac fog and to chuck the wrong thing on and walk out the door feeling cute yet slightly vulnerable, although not because of the clothes (the vulnerability) but just because of the general pitch of modern life and its doctor’s-room busyness and disinterest in individual affairs.

I smelled a heavy aroma of dust and pickled figs and hoped it wasn’t emanating from myself, electing not to sniff under a chicken-winged arm just in case. Owing to my long legs I could, when I’d gotten frustrated enough with the elegiac pace, fire past everyone else, which I did but maybe a little too gruffly, disturbing the thawing tide of people mostly older than me and creating weird eddies of sidesteps and concertina compressions in the bulk, sending looks of recrimination and wounded self-righteousness, little waves that should have barely licked the ankles but somehow wet fringes, everywhere, which I hopped up on and rode, eyes at the sun, feeling momentarily free.

At the gate I handed over a note I was fully expecting my wallet not to contain to a bulldog of a lady and noted my surprise that my drunken cortex had managed to leave a tenner unmolested in plain sight. The woman manning the admissions box squinted at me over magenta glasses, her eyes unbelieving, going back for second helpings and really savouring the ragged long hair and stained shirt.

“You know there’s only books in here?” She asked.

Only books?” I replied, “Only, only, only.” I walked past the woman fondling my paper ticket—cousin of all those other pieces more significantly drawn—into an optometrist’s bottom-of-the-barrel. There were people in horned-rim glasses, because that’s what young’ens back in their day wore, and their were people in horned-rim glasses because that’s precisely what no-one their age wore; there were people with coiffeurs because that’s what movers-and-shakers in their day affected to go out, and there were people with coiffeurs because no-one else their age would be caught dead with their mum looking so preened. People were watching other people watch them drink coffee and sit stonily—readers checking other readers’ choices like dogs smelling a new butt. It was, in short, a regular Sunday supercollider event, bringing people from across state and aesthetic lines together, it all relaxed and disinterested except now looking like the different fashion waves and schools of reversion and revision and progression and stagnation had crashed mightily into each other in some profound basin and bled together so that everyone was confused when the saw someone else in the same uniquely affected guise as themselves and couldn’t any longer say whether they were friend or foe, imitator or influencer. A dialectic no book on Hegel or Marx could clarify. A question no solitary reader wants to consider over the page of a book they hope everyone notices them reading.

In the corner of one bookseller’s domain, balancing on my non-preferred leg while my right hand reached around over my left ear and gripped a handhold in two wooden boards gone out of flush over the years, I found a book I thought might have housed the answer I came for. It turned out to be a book on the irrationality of the quantum, bare and beige with no sleeve. Seemed like the right type. He opened it to a passage about 250 pages in and read: “The nature of spacetime is enigmatic, with no segment of space actually containing no matter at any precisely-defined point. But of course, just because something contains nothing doesn’t mean there’s nothing there, so even though there’s nothing in space there is space itself. So at any point of space, space can be empty except for space itself. Which begs the question, what is space if not another name for the molecules its supposed to contain?” He brushed a lock from his eye and put the chronically confused physicist back on the shelf before he got pulled into the black hole of speculating/ casting aside/ re—speculating. I didn’t need any more arrant questions— not now I had at last started narrowing down the field of acceptable answers. The heat in this tiny corner was becoming oppressive, populated by more bodies than a crematorium and the air just as heavy from people bleeding out 100 degree coffee heat through circulatory systems pulsing visibly in the skin. I jostled my way out, ending up with an Essendon Members keychain stuck to my denim and someone’s blue eyeshadow on the back of my hand— a sense that the answers I was looking for would be in short supply here, like bread rolls in the ‘food court’.

Out in the street, feeling like a curiosity, in a fair for print books, which were largely becoming an affect, a curiosity themselves, a pretext to lure someone back to your house to see how big your bookshelf is, I fanned my shirt out to air the sweat clinging to my ribcage like a U/18 dependent. My first foray into the thick land of words looking for meaning had ended poorly and my spirits sagged habitually. I had several coins in my pocket jackpot-ting around from my entry-fee, so I followed the smell of food and coffee, responding to hindbrain urges for warm, comforting sensations. Relaxing my fingers on the Venetians of high meaning I was trying to peak through for a moment to go inside and masturbate and maybe eat a hotdog. There aren’t many higher concepts than the brute fact that pleasure equals good and food and drink equal pleasure. I located the ‘food court’ with a scan of the horizon which revealed big legible letters shouting ‘food court’. I walked into the little staked-off area, a longitudinal gauntlet of smells both foreign and familiar, confused where the ‘court’ was but not disappointed because there was definitely food being exchanged for hard-earneds in each of the improvised eateries. In each of the trucks, windows, stalls etc sat bored, expectant faces watching potential customers opt for their neighbour’s fare instead of their own, causing much latent resentment to boil to the surface like saffron in an oversize paella pan. As I walked in a french pastry vendor was yelling curvy syllables of abuse at a beefy Aussie man with a Glenrowan tattoo on his swelling arm cellulite who was squirting neon mustard, with a distasteful look, onto a man’s snag.

“Bloody yank hotdog shit” he muttered under his breath, which the Fenchman misheard—incredible that he even somehow heard it—shouting back over their astroturfed divide “Who you calling ze frog? Not me! I have a rolling pin big enough for your head and not insignificant stomach ‘ere.”

The big grill attendant’s eyes burned like wasabi and steam actually escaped his ears in thin wisps nearly scolding the lady collecting cash beside him, presumably his wife by her comparable dimensions and complementary Kelly Gang ink, and he picked up an oversized pepper off the grill and threw it across the way. It arced massively over the heads of curious diners who, seeing it fly through the air, reconsidered why they had immediately ruled out the hamburger cart as too provincial and un-adventurous for an outing’s feed, and landed in the eye of the pizza-maker next door, La Italia Marscapone’s yoked head chef ‘Bobby’, who returned volley with tubes of Strasbourg that he threw with the force of a javelin. Like vomit from deep within the food alley ladlefuls of stew were thrown toward the farrago. Someone cracked a witticism at how would they know what regional dish they were eating with all this cross-contamination flying through the air and muddying the waters and it was off to the races, Bobby hurling cubes of cracker barrel with V8 force at the kebab-maker near him while the girthy aussie man slung skewers at his french foe who retaliated by unleashing a whole industrial bowl of breadcrumbs into the air, which exploded into a cloud that obscured the sun and momentarily bathed everyone in a Western sepia.

Underneath all this, I buried my head and made headway to seemingly the only pacific eatery, a Vietnamese street food van at the end of the gauntlet whose wares were smoking non-violently, running into and through anonymous knee-high shapes in the breadcrumb smokescreen that bumped and toppled and cried curiously like small children. I couldn’t hear too clear though, the muddled war-cries issued in various dialects reducing all other sound to a fuzzy abstraction, bits of produce exploding mightily around me like sudden flak. I ordered a pork bun from the beautiful young Vietnamese girl who knows how much younger than myself who ducked, as I did, a boomeranging segment of cabana, and we met eye and smiled. I softened, looking at her strong hazel eyes, wanting to apologise and explain that Australia is generally considered a highly-developed post-colonial nation with a rich history of diversity and inclusion unmarred by bigotry, but the facts just simply contradicted me.

“$3.50 mate,” she said in the wickedest strain of outback Australian, voiced in the same way a father waves away an annoying kid who keeps asking you to pump up his footy.

Jesus, alright, can’t even share a nice moment looking into an attractive strangers eyes. I leaped over a fence, was consequently out of the festival, walked a few steps in the grass and hopped back over the fence to avoid the food fight which I could see had left some casualties lying motionless on the ground half-submerged in Phò (it seemed that the face-to-face encounter with me the young lady suffered through was enough to break her neutrality and unleash some mighty hostilities). It didn’t feel any different back on the paying side of the fence, no good-time festival vibes here encapsulating shivers of holism and depersonalisation. No joy of becoming a crowd here, more like the the preponderance of otherness just polished and made your individual differentness more salient. People seemed to be morally offended I was younger than 85 years old and still wanted to read a book, learn things, make sense of the world and even find answers. I bit into the pork bun even though I wasn’t hungry anymore, because I bought it and wanted to stop thinking about how dismally unlikely it would be I could find any substance or meaning here, or meaning that wasn’t just substances, amid all these pages scrawled with dedications in blue ink (“To my marvellous Mary, have a merry 1975 filled with mirth and fairies”), yuck.

I walked into a high tent that must have been held up by the unbroken mortar of bookshelves spreading concatenated around the perimeter and decided to grab something off the shelf and sit with it, fossicking through its anonymous pages while eating my bun. My face was hot and cold and I worried about catching a cold just for something to do that wasn’t reading the pages insipid words. I felt the nap of the cheap paperback pages in my hand, smelt its smell. It said “He walked into a high tent that must have been held up by the unbroken mortar of bookshelves spreading concatenated around the perimeter and decided to grab something off the shelf and sit with it, fossicking through its anonymous pages while eating his bun. His face was hot and cold and he worried about catching a cold just for something to do. He felt the nap of the cheaper paperback pages in his hand, smelt its smel—“. Uninterested, I dropped it on the ground and savoured the warm marrow of the pork bun sliding down my throat. I had misgivings about reading too far into the story lest I find no meaning lurking at the end, in which case, I might as well just go home now with a full belly and a whole afternoon to spend getting faded. There were a group of several people about my age in the tent drinking tea and rolling a cigarette—apparently just one to share between three. But if you had seen the size of this durrie- a least half a foot long and as wide as a freshly-baked baguette. They were rolling it from different directions with one in the middle, and one of them on the end inserting what looked like a ceramic mortar but must have been the filter. I imagined the taxation that would apply to such a roll if it were to be retailed and quickly tried to calculate if it would prop up the national coffers enough to start adequately funding public services but I doubted it, a few pollies would just share in its smoky largesse looking down on everyone.

I emerged out of the academic throng reeking of french perfume of uncertifiable legitimacy, such was the craftiness of counterfeiters and the desperation of people wanting to out-dress, out-think and out-pace each other in garish shows of good fortune and spirit. I was sickened. It trouped into my mouth and moshed on my palate and I briefly saw in the air —maybe hallucinating from the pork bun— elderflower and bergamot and C2H6O molecules gyoscoping so I could, like, see the organisation of the atoms, branches and all, floating in the air diagrammatically. I lurched over to a long bench which must have had its paint renewed recently and held my mouth shut manually, trying not to adorn it with my insides while people looked on entertained eating ice creams. I ladled myself onto its curves and shoved my cold fists into my eye sockets and screwed away until the last of the ghostly images were gone, convoked back to whatever haunted fashion house they terrorised. The nausea vanished slowly with big gulps of air and the un-tunneling of my vision. I felt renewed but cautious and took smaller steps. I stopped by a rack of poetry books and thumbed through a few verses. The Beats. All taste and bluster and mysticism and good lessons for a world that doesn’t exist anymore and can’t be resuscitated. It made me feel hopeless. All the meaning they found was dead now, worse, buried so inaccessibly in the earth all you could do was read the well-maintained tombstones and lament the fact they were so legible it was like a taunt, a bird, The bird, mounted on the granite. $1.50, pffft, arm and a leg and half your nackas, am I right? I walk off with Kerouac et al. in my pockets.

Leaping over a bluestone gutter I nearly twisted my ankle and had to dodge several uniformed kids running by with enchiladas and bulky instrument cases. I spied a stage where they would be performing and consciously earmarked it as a hadal pit well-worth avoiding at all costs. I embark upon the book bus instead, which is a bus outfitted on the inside with bookshelves so tightly massed you can barely pull a — out without hitting the back of your hand on the shelf that faces the one you’ve just taken from. Needless to say it’s busier than Turnbull’s hands around tax time inside. Loving punishment, desiring the crush, I insert myself into one of the cramped elbows where multiple shelves meet.  Around me, singly, people try to fit the shape of their body into the system, or rather, engineer a body-shape that fits. A man sidles past me walking like an Egyptian, another has managed to efface all Z-coordinates and slips out easily. I’m starting to see that if I grab that copy of Russell’s The History of Western Philosophy I will likely create a shockwave that threatens to launch two pensioners from the entrance door I had lost track of but which turns out to be way behind me owing to the curious mechanics of getting turned around in a dark space. Fuck it, I throw my hand out toward the big tome while watching the entrance behind me, waiting to see the two grey-haired ducks get kicked by an invisible bull. My neck is almost breaking. I’m not even looking at the bookcase but relying on my working memory to maintain the location of the text on the shelf. Just a little further and should see them fly…

“Hey!”

I turn and see blonde hair, adidas leggings, my hand firmly resting on the centre of her arse cheek, making a slight impression in the softness. She whips around and looks at me and is glorious, a dream of homes that don’t belong to you and never could, looking like teeth that cost more than a family sedan and hips that could shake at a magnitude 7.1. I somehow hadn’t seen her, too occupied with my search.

“Ah, sorry miss.” I offered.

She stared at me, sensationalised. Someone was asking if everything was okay and I looked at her hoping she wouldn’t scream. She stared back at me with nice blue eyes. Then I realised my hand was still on her arse. I lunged out and grabbed The History of Western Philosophy and ripped it from the shelf with all my might and watched as the mathematics of force echoed around the room taking people’s bodies as it needed them, adding a one here and subtracting 3 more there until the passage behind me was cleared except for a few impediments I could easily vault.

“Sorry to have met you this way.” I said to the blonde whose lip was starting to curl.

“That’s okay. Let me give you my number.” She produced a ball point pen, grabbed my arm, and stabbed me with all her fury. I ran out the door into the cold nursing my puncture.

Depression started to flag me and I gave in to how I felt. There were more storm clouds overhead now and more strife in the booklovers. A few prominent coffee vans had run out of their precious lucre and now tempers ran short. All the good books seemed to be gone, nothing left but Twilights and Bourke’s Gardening Tips. There were still some very expensive down jackets blowing around in the swelling wind though.

I find a book I want “Practical Tricks To Fool Any Sucker” and offer the vendor the $1 it’s hastily written in the frontispiece I need to offer him to leave with it but he won’t accept it. He tells me it’s a rare book printed by a wealthy American card-hand and that the $1 refers to American dollars not Australian. I offer him a dollar fifty, thinking that will make up the difference, but he tells me the price is not negotiable— one American dollar or nothing.

“Are you sure you need an american dollar for this? Wouldn’t two Australian ones be better.”

“Look they might be but I’m not prepared to say at this moment. I don’t want to get too political and that’s why I maintain the price stays as advertised.”

“You can’t believe everything you read in a book Sir.” I countered.

“Well course you can or it wouldn’t be in there. This book says $1 and the price was written in Missouri when I was there so that’s how it stays.”

“But Sir it also says on page 43 of this book that Ronald Reagan is President.”

“And that’s true.”

Was true, was.

“What was once true is always true young boy, you’ll learn that some day.”

“But—“

“What, you disagree. What was true yesterday is not true today?”

I affirmed that, for the most part, he was correct but—

“That’s enough, one Yankee Doodle dollar or nothing is the deal son.”

I left the book to the septuagenarian and his commodity fetishising. It kind of felt bad to leave such a repository of practical skills including the three card monte and the glim-dropper but, I guess having the book didn’t mean you’d fool the suckers, grease your palms etc. Like how reading about the good life doesn’t give you the good life; or reading about physics doesn’t get you off of this planet run by money; or reading erotica doesn’t mean you lose your virginity. In the end, it doesn’t even matter. All the words in the world, used as deftly as possible, won’t make you enough money to live off of—won’t bring you meaning or satisfaction, and meaning wont necessarily pay your bills. Words are traded for free or less—in the streets you can be the recipient of a whole string of words for no damn reason. There are people on TV and street corners wasting them prodigiously for no gain to themselves, for no listeners left undistracted and alive. So what if this philosopher said the meaning of life was this or that, you didn’t get to have the meaning of life plopped down on your lap just for purchasing a dusty old book. Maybe I thought all the books in the world held the wrong words, that there was one out in the great abyss somewhere that did manage to line up al the symbols in the exact permutation that provided meaning, like a successfully intoned spell, the difficulty, the duty, was in finding it— the meaning of my life. But here I was in the most suspecting glut of books and these ones were just the same, smelled a little different and had different hand styles in them maybe, but otherwise the same as the glossy mass-trade confections in any booksellers’ window. Where was meaning not mediated by words? What meanings lay outside their imperial boundaries and couldn’t be properly spoke, couldn’t be elegantly contained in these spiky signs and their concepts?

I saw the blonde who punctured me and she’s with some huge lump of meat who I assume to be her boyfriend from the way they are fighting. She seems to be attacking him and he to be easily defending himself with a Japanese instructional book. There are rivulets of people blowing in between them as they fight so they get louder in order to hear each other across the yawning distance. The skies are open for business now and rain falls in blankets that are hessian and near-impossible to avoid.

Last-ditch, I jump up onto a bluestone curb with Kerouac bouncing around in my pocket and grab some old book with no dust jacket or markings and open it. Yada yada, something about “meaning can be found anywhere and in anything- the sighing of a spring rose, the sag of an old fence post- but what is herder to find is the meaning of meaning. What does it mean, after it means?” This looks promising and I read on until realising the author has no answers for his own questions. I’m deflated. Whatever, I consider consigning this author of false hope to the gutter with other titles potential buyers throughout the day have littered along with their takeaway coffee cups and water bottles, then I look up and a girl who looks like every adolescent fantasy is standing a foot in front of me, smiling. I hadn’t noticed her because I was so entranced in the ultimately useless book.

“Oh, I love that one. Such a great piece of work.” She’s gesturing at the book I hold. “One of my favourites,” she says, can I have a look?” I pass her the book and she lifts it to her perfectly upturned nose and takes a deep whiff. “Mmmm.”

“Does he ever works out the meaning of meaning?” I ask.

“Oh, I don’t know. I just love the prose.”

“Oh, so… you don’t know what he’s talking about?”

“Oh, no. I buy books because of how beautifully the words are laid out, not because I agree with what they say. See this book, on page fifty-seven he goes into this marvellous crescendo of hyphenated words that is just transcendent. I have it posted onto my wall to look at everyday.”

“Oh.”

“I look at each word as a little island in the sea of the page.”

“That’s beautiful.”

“Like this book, this one has some incredible islands in it.” She showed me a page and I said the words were inordinately pretty, like you. She mustn’t have heard the last bit but passed me the book anyway and said she had to leave. Goodbye angel. I turned it over and saw the front page of Mein Keimpf. Jesus, I go to put both books back on their table but look around and notice everyone else casting theirs into the gutters as they run for dry land against the percussive rain. It’s so heavy now that visibility is reduced and muddy and all I can make out is the outlines of bodies and their desaturated colours. I decide I’d better leave and fly home to comfort and the warmth of habit.

Walking off the pavement was like what it must be like to leave a fish market, the guts of books everywhere stinking to high heaven of their unique smell, stepping over wood pulp diligently but it still getting stuck to the bottom of your boot turning into mud from the dirt or was it the ink? Millions of words blending into one polysyllabic spew that even thousands of punctuation marks couldn’t slow or bring to a full stop. It’s all a generic hodge-podge, no word or title standing out amongst the rest, entropy become complete. It flicks up into mothers’ eyes as they rescue their children from the mess that threatens wash them away. The deluge is filled with the bins’ kitty, write-offs from the international food fight, lost shoes and discarded sunnies, someone’s mobility scooter sans owner, clarinet cases and scarves. All the takeaway coffee cups mass in a low area and start to dyke up some of the deluge and people climb on top of it and scan the chaos for their friends and family. The school buses that are parked near the entrance have wet children coughing up unruled pages in them, paper cuts in their young lungs. A crack of thunder prompts one bus driver to start his engine and toot his horn, signalling any straggler to hurry up or miss out. Teacher’s stress as schools break apart. The bulldog lady who I paid entrance to is holding her post and trying to pass out memorial pamphlets to nobody. Everyone scrabbles for safety. People are running with plastic bags full of books, their expensive jackets’ hoods getting a rare spin. There’s screaming coming from the entrance as a bottleneck opens up, bodies becoming trampled in the usurping tide, a child set a-sea in a pillbox hat gets taken by a rip out toward the highway, esteemed authors run from their signings use fountain pens to joust each other away from a rapidly colonised side-exit.

Throughout all of this I’ve been trying to wrestle with the water level, stay put and not get sucked down to the ocean floor. I see childrens’ tears mix with the swelling water making it salty; womens’ hair-dye running in the darkening streams. A man is throwing children and girls out of the way—they land with oily splashes in the drink—to get out the exit. Security, what little there is for a book fair, wade towards him with fists balled, as, behind them, a gaggle of the white-haired elderly kick gently about in the water and laugh. I want to help people, I want my life to mean something. I see the chaos disorder everyone and everything until the slate is ambiguous and everything my eye catches could just be phosphenes, ectopic phenomenon. My body feels awkward and, rather than ineptly inserting it into the fray, I decide to keep clear, let the chaos order itself from within. I fall onto my back and float luxuriously. Up above the sky is black tourmaline. I let out a scream and don’t even stop to consider what it means.

Optional Extras x NXT x Bodybuilding Bouncers

Had to go to the city to see some wrestling. At home spending hours homing in on the requisite state of drunk & high to catch the damn train. Arrive hours later and rush to the hotel to check in. Nice place, steady elevator with no smell, tiny narrow hallways that can’t possibly be as silent as they are. Tiny room that has more than enough space and frivolous bullshit for these rural boys. I thought the previous guests had left some casual drinks in the mini fridge which was safely encased between 2 inches of fake marble. I went to grab a Peroni and feel its malty refreshment. God how naive I was. Then my much more well-travelled friend told me I was a jerk off and that we’d have to pay for whatever we consumed afterward. That nothing was free once you left the hermitage of your bedroom, that they were trying to intrude costs into there as well. It turned out there was a small drinks menu (un-professionally typeset [noted]) on the counter in a plastic upright that you might see at a kitsch-as-fuck eatery where previous dining experience was not assumed. Even though my friend explained to me the rules of engagement out here in real life Parker Bros world, I continued to be stitched-up. Like, we’re in a room with two beds and when I see two water bottles on the bedside tables I think, What a lovey concession. Nope. They have specially designed and printed labels around the top saying they can cure your thirst and realign your bodies pH balance for just $2. As with the fruitbowl- life for a price.

There are iPhone chargers (with extensions for every other imaginable phone brand) provided which are free so I go off on an intelligence-gaining jaunt around the 12-foot room. It turns out it’s only things you need that cost money; i.e, all the food and drinks. All the unnecessary amenities are free. This is great marketing because everything you need to consume the pay-only items are free, but also bad because obviously you have to purchase a pay-only thing in order to employ them. It good for Quest because then you have to purchase a $9.20 beer to use the free can opener, or order over-priced food to use the free cutlery on the fake granite bench. I do a shit and wonder what it will cost me but it turns out flushing the toilet is free, as is the tiled glass-doored shower, which is in the same small room and only separated by an opaque green wall of glass. After pacing a circuit into the perimeter of the room my dogs are barking so I sit down on this fluffy chair in the corner that has gone lumpy from the passage of non-coordinated buttocks. My ass sinks in deep when I sit and I wonder if their isn’t some spring-loaded mechanism that’s gonna click and send a surreptitious message to the front desk that one of the patrons have sat on the comfy chair and will have to be billed later. I don’t care, I look out the unclean window panes at the free view.

Catch a silent uber to a crazy NXT show. Joe vs Nakamura in a cage, Dillinger, Roode, Regal, more $9 Heinekens, $7 buckets of chips, overpriced merchandise, $50 Strong Style hats, promo girls in black jeans and heels that make your heart feel vertigo handing out WWE store discounts. It’s all good business but god does it feel alienating. Not because you can’t get what you want, but because when you’re there you feel like you want things that you know you don’t, so you begin to feel isolated from yourself. Like, I’m pretty cocked when we get there yet I stand in a lengthy line to buy 4 beers that cost nearly $40 just because there is a line and there’s nothing else to do and I am out in the city for once. There’s sound and light and garish merchandise and other people running to their seats with trays of beers and it all engenders some sort of sperm competition to buy things you know you don’t want but think you’ll feel better when you have. As a result I’m standing there with my paper thin wallet and tray of beers considering buying the last ‘Glorious’ shirt in large knowing damn well a piddly L will never fit me. I find my seat and try to sit there without incurring extra costs.

After the show we head to a bar that has $5 Captain Morgans and bouncers that all apparently share the same HGH dealer. I can’t remember the name of the place but they are playing the WORST commercial pop from like 4-5 years ago. My friend goes put to the smokers area with his beer in hand and is nearly F-5’d by a bouncer who is downright incredulous someone could have made such an oblivious decision. We drink rounds of Cpt Morgs and spend spare change playing games of skill, silently acknowledging that we could be saving our money for the uber home. And I mean to the hotel room, not home.

 

Waterboarding x Short storying x Wine adoring

I have been drinking red wine lately because it makes me feel worse than smoking weed. The logic is that hopefully I’ll hit breaking point and drive myself to quit both soon. Aversion therapy. There’s nothing worse, for me, than the onrush of memory that assaults me everyday as I wake up. All the debauchery and impetuous decisions of the night before shown to me as if in a dream, a dream of a louche young thug destroying himself slowly and leaving nothing behind but a impecunious corpse. When I wake up still drunk from the wine this doesn’t mean anything to me. Good.

I haven’t been writing as many music reviews lately. There doesn’t seem to be much coming out that isn’t accorded either unanimous worship or revulsion, so what will my queer little voice add to the composition? Plus I’ve nearly finished a short story and, while it isn’t actually good, it made me feel better to write. I might post it on here soon if I can get fucked-up enough to re-read through it and do the necessary editing. If more reviews or reading this story interest you let me know.

Speaking of fucked up, at Earthcore this weekend someone (allegedly) got waterboarded. Like there’s footage of it happening so it’s not alleged, but I think they were just have a laugh with their mates so it’s alleged to me because part of torture is that it is intended to inflict pain on an unwilling participant. (Isn’t ‘unwilling participant’ an oxymoron? ‘Hostage’ seems to imply the same thing without the incongruity.) The good old Australian larrikin misrepresented by the paranoiacally afraid and out of touch media in this country. If anyone is glad they dropped out of journalism school it’s me. I’m just surprised they decided to bash the youth of this country with this piece and not angle for some headline-garnering anti-muslim fear mongering (very fashionable right now). How long ’til Andrew Bolt appears in the tabloids like the intermittent period stain he is and declares “Immigrants at music festivals torture fun-loving youth just trying to suck down nangs and GHB in peace.” People over forty seem to always need a (un)-common enemy. Anyone who’s just a little different from the 45 racist bumpkins they went to year 10 deb with back in ’63. The same people who think they’ve succeeded in life because they drive a new Senator (on payments of course) and get to hang a tribal-tattooed arm out of their driver’s window while they blast Pink or the Eagles in traffic and claim to be ‘free thinkers’ and anti-corporate. Bless ’em and their high speed drive-by vitriol and popular control of public ignorance.

Anyway this seems like it would have been one of the tamest highs a person could achieve Out There anyway. Out There in the middle of the Dread Bush, where all manner of illicit pleasures seem to pullulate in the arid soil. Couldn’t go unfortunately. What with being broke and trying to minimise my intake of mind altering molecules. Spent the weekend at home instead, yelling at the missus and watching nightly news, sharpening my pitchfork for fear that the neighbours would murder me. If you’ve never been to a Doof (Australian rave in the middle of the wilderness), it’s kind of like this doc from the 80’s called Threads, which is a docudrama about nuclear fallout. Besides being one of the most unflinching and un-glossy  portrayals of nuclear hysteria, it accurately sums up both the Id-satisfying immediacy of people going to doofs, and the jingoist attitude of people in small rural towns watching 1000’s of mesomorphs enter their gates with cars full of recherché chemicals. Everyone is so concerned with protecting their little patch (whether it be physical, metaphysical or metaphoric); everyone thinks that someone they don’t know is trying to take from them.  The only damage that occurs is to employability, and only because employers genuinely care about the reach of their influence and want their employees to bow down to not just what they say here and now, but years ago before they started working there too. The whole world is ran by imperialists wielding weapons of symbolic violence, so disempowered all their life they take to their platform like Mussolini. Welcome to modern Australia, where waterboarding is preferable to spending 20 minutes with anyone outside your limited demographic.

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