All of the noise takes me to the outside – 28th September 1994

6th Mar 2021 – My very first passport tells me we arrived in Sydney, Australia on the 28th of September 1994. We had a stopover in Bangkok where I recall seeing rows of shanty buildings as we approached the airport and the tropical heat made it inside the plane before landing. I don’t recall anything about the wait at the airport there though. I remember a rough landing in Sydney though not certain of the time of day – I think it was daylight but also recall leaving the terminal in the twilight. The customs officers were both friendly and suspicious and once in the open air, as I was told I would, I was immediately hit with the sweet smell of lemon-scented gum trees. I believe it took 23 hours from take-off at Heathrow to touch down in Sydney and besides the expected jetlag, I was full of delirium, joy and excitement.

My first passport. My stupid signature is still stupid too.
Visa stating must get married before 12th April 1995.

6th August 2021 – At Heathrow my mum shed a few tears as she wished us farewell. We also saw Paul Weller sitting in one of the cafes waiting for a plane to somewhere.

It’s just the rising tide of mediocrity, just a sign of the times – 19 September 1994

Stratosphere, Ionosphere, Semisphere! Up here I can see the stars, I’m touching space with my iris, black drunk peehole iris. Europe’s mighty murky down below, I’m stuck in the sun, still on alcholiday. Could be fuckin’ anything down there. We could be time warped back one whole week and we’ll meet our previous selves in a 30,000 feet mid air collision at 580 miles per hour. In the sun! In space, man!

How can I ever dream to read every word ever wrote by anybody ever worth a shit? How do we dream – such strange dreams, more and more my dreams touch reality, particularly when reality is so far removed from normal humdrum, but when, at what point does being away from humdrum become normalcy?

So I think to write to Lou, never wrote him before, but I have an idea after seeing him smash his favourite guitar in rage and whatever I can’t face how his simple songs touched hearts of thousands who come to pray at his altar now, so I’ll tell him of my holiday, how people have to exist on the double edged sword I was explaining to you about before remember? Economy of tourists. So I’ll tell him go out and play, play your music, for yourself, play what you want to hear, for yourself, all others are superfluous, ignore them. He loves us, he told us, sad man, we love him, once again, it’s all life isn’t it?

So, what I’m trying to say. Me and Broni, have worked out is, consumerism – see the connection, don’t sell out to the people who want to pay, do it for your own reasons. Greece, our island, is sold out, presenting us with what we want to see, catering to the big market, but we’re (Me and Broni), we’re small fish.

Now (Jan 2021): Bronwyn and I went to the island of Rhodes in Greece for a quick holiday. This was only the third time in my life I’d been on an airplane and only two weeks later I would be on another couple more for a 23 hour journey to the opposite side of the world!

On Rhodes we messed around on hired motorbikes, saw some ruins and historic buildings. As the Greeks seem to love to eat meat with everything I was stuck with Greek Salad for many lunches and dinners. Ho Hum.

It was damn hot too. Nice preparation for arrival in Australia. We slept with no sheets, even moving the mattress onto the balcony one night. The hotel was my first experience with toilets where you weren’t allowed to throw your toilet paper down the toilet. It was this experience that got me more closely checking what was going on down there in the cleanliness department.

We were drunk every evening, definitely experimenting with the local Ouzo. The nearest beach to the hotel was huge and deserted and mostly pebble. I got naked – why not? There was no one else around to see my little dick.

At the main beach we didn’t know that we were supposed to pay someone to sit under an umbrella and we laid our towels out away from them and Bronwyn got into water for a swim. She soon came back due to two little kids that had been sent by the umbrella owners and started throwing stones at her in the water. Jesus – they don’t fuck around for a dollar. We packed up and left and that kinda summed up much of our feeling about the island.


One thing Bronwyn warned me about was the beaches and oceans in Australia. Everyone loves to go there but they can be very dangerous especially for poor swimmers. Having skipped swimming classes at school for most of my life (we had to pay for swimming lessons at school and I told my mum that it was too expensive for us and to save her money but really I was just body shy) Bronwyn taught a few basic things about swimming – most Aussies appear to be good at swimming – and by the end of the week stay at the hotel I was easily doing the five metre widths in the pool! OK – we have to start somewhere.

Hotel Pool

We bought ourselves and our friends some souvenirs but the bottle of Ouzo we had wrapped in towels and clothes and packed in our suitcase didn’t survive the journey and we sadly washed our clothes when we got back home. That suitcase would soon be packed again.

The smiling faces show no traces of the deceit that lurks within – 12th September 1994

Shot Away

The filament in the light bulb above my head is broken
I cannot repair it until the everyday DIY man has spoken
And when he speaks he speaks with a lisp
Everyone is laughing – they all think he’s pissed
I don’t care what they say
Mr Repairman came to see me today
I did not laugh, he did the trick
He made everything absolutely spick
And spanner in the works – wash my dirty shirts – until it really hurts
The swallows flew the nests – they were eggs no more
I mark my card as they fly by
Kiss my friend in the eye
They were eggs no more he fried

Consciousness has plagued us and we cannot shake it – 8th September 1994

The hum of life, the sweet vibrations, constant flow, liquid movement, the tension, the stress.

In brief, 14 tea chests packed, left on Monday, me waiting patiently outside reading Jack in the sunshine and waiting past deadline time, til little sprinkles of rain start descending earthward, teachestward, but it soon passes and eventually a lorry and it’s drivers come and take away all my precious belongings, safe journey, see you on the other side!

And day later we send more stuff via the Postal Service which costs us a ton of money but hell, it’s got to be done.

So now we have about four suitcases full of things to live with for the next three weeks, and in fact for eight more after that, as the chests won’t arrive till mid November somewhen. It’s like a relief now they are gone, we have no control over their destiny so we absolve ourselves from any worry, not that we worry much in the household anyway. Good fortune follows our good outlooks, only good things can happen to us.

Broni cracks a little, had enough of repeating the same lines to everyone we meet about our plans, she wants to be alone. With me. But we can’t get away from the people living in this house and all the appointments we’ve made, I’ve accepted that but it is somewhat easier for me to digest as I am on my lonesome during the day. I brighten her up with some love and affection.

Later, Lisa comes round with her new man friend, Jonathan, and they take us to the Bermuda Triangle Bar and we feed up on gossip and Budweiser on draft (lordy!), time rattling by we leave drunk as skunks, happy to see friends and be in their company, not sad yet to be leaving them. I feel like I’m gonna be hit when I’m there, homesick like but I’ll handle it with love and help from my angel sweetheart.

Back home, Kerry has broken her promise to herself to not drink on her own or during the week, she is very sad, missing her love in Tokyo, I feel for her but don’t feel right making her stick to her original plan knowing what she’s going through. Difficult cos I know that demon drink will spiral you downward if not handled well and proper, what can I say?

The next night our appointment is with family, Broni arrives home asleep on her feet, lies down on the couch next to me and falls away without a whisper of a word of thought. I wrap myself around her and hold her with deep love, rocking her gently to stop her snoring getting any louder, about 20 minutes later. Twenty more and she’s awake again, at least her eyes are open, I run her a lavender strawberry bath and leave her to it, fighting real rough tonsillitis and headaches.

Mother has come to pick us up, with her sister Shirley also, and we head off to cousin Sharon and Ken’s with son Mungo, their radical 18-year-old, whom they practically disowned when rejecting public school and trying out the drugs of life instead. But hell, what a nice kid he seemed to me, reminding of Steve in politeness and good looks.

A feast of English food was prepared and devoured, with the best white or red wine your choice, and port at the end, is that how one does these things properly Jeeves? I make light of their well-to-do attitude, while not offensive, is slightly off-putting to my more down to earth approach to life, but nice people to go to all that trouble for us anyway, me who they haven’t seen for probably five years or more.

I drop Broni in it when I see the piano and she plays some for us, sounding absolutely beautiful and much more proficient under this pressure which I’m guilty of putting on her but interesting to see as she rarely plays for more than five seconds at a time on Kerry’s piano.

I love her, what a magician she is, we curl ourselves up, night, JimBob.


(Sickly aroma of coffee, strong and white,
invades my earth damaged nostrils
tuck into great chunks of cheese and tomato
watch and observe, chew slow on that bread)

Green tiles, green lines, calm the nerves
of old ladies with grandchildren in tow
watch them and wonder, how they came
and later, how they go

The suited young men pontificate and gesture
to juniors, cigarettes in either hand
the sporting gay lovers imitating each other
before playing games earlier planned

Couples, lovers, single parent mothers
the beautiful hairdressers, all stop by and eat
to put their old feet up, sit for a second
before heading back down to the lonely street.

Shock brown brick clashes into the sky, grey and steely behind. Old building, sash windows, regular rectangles ‘cept the end. White, brown dirtied drainpipes slide down at intervals sucking out waste from the depths inside, like alien suckers shattering skin slurp! slurp! Blinds open, half open, half up or shut behind each window a story or a hundred stories, all personal, not to be disclosed – secret doctor like. Pitiful short trees fail to brighten up the crowded car park, absent of leaves in the youth of autumn, but for one silver skinned birch still magnificent in it’s dark green plumage, branches thrashing wildly, like mad bongo voodoo drummers, in the greasy wind.

You see, you feel, you know – 5th September 1994

Change. All change involves a challenge. I remember when I lived with my mother I was content there, I was also fussy and finicky. A cup of coffee was only nice out of my special mug. I had particular knives and forks that I had to use, no others would do. Those two tiny things were barriers I had made to stop myself from leaving. Wrapped up in a golden blanket of security, I would dread the thought of having to use a different knife.

Then I left, scared of watching all that security get old and withered. I learnt how to use a washing machine and how to cook and I learnt that I didn’t have all the time in the world and started using my spare time to good effect instead of wasting it. I slowly discovered who I was and became content again.

Broni gets herself home from work early, now she’s finishing up things she’s on a self-admitted skive but remember back when I was telling you how hard she worked, now at last the slow down.

So with time on our hands (yes, time, that funny thing that you can never have enough of and when we feel so short of it all of a sudden we are presented with some) we take off on a whim down to Poole Quay and the aquarium which is full of fish on the ground floor, swimming around in their swimming round circles, round and round. Only the piranha seem to stay in some territorial still, and Broni sits and watches the silver dollar fish, light reflecting prism-like into her eyeballs, hypnotic, entranced.

Upstairs, crocodiles lounge like dead things in their 12 inches of water, not a blink nor a twitch, then Broni walks into a room where a man sits waiting to take your picture with a 20 foot python, 6 inches across. But Broni doesn’t see the snake until it’s rubbing her hand and she makes a quick exit! The rest of the snakes we watch through glass, most being lazy and restful. But beautiful, the nest of vipers all piled on top of each other like it was cold and were seeking warmth.

Snakes and spiders, then upstairs to a model railway which fascinates the child in me watching a little replicas stopping starting whistling shunting chuffing. A great place to go and visit despite the steep entrance fee, maybe Poole Aquarium is a bit of an odd description too.

By this time we are exhausted again and return home to comfy chairs and brief dreams for a half hour. Next on the agenda is a meal we’ve planned, so I goes with my sweet to pick up my mum and we drive with a remarkable sunset behind us up to Ringwood where we joined Kerry, Ron, Cath and Simon, drinks already underway. I wanted to come back to this restaurant, the India Cottage, as it is the first place I was introduced to Indian cuisine by my boss at the time, now some six or thereabouts years ago. We were served by two young beautiful people, both English but dark skinned. Him in bright white shirt and black trousers, the nervous and anxious to please gentleman, and her also, dressed in a tie-dye one-piece dress, dark and pretty as her skin. With seven of us all giggling away we took some time in there and the best thing was the slow service which gave us all plenty of time to digest one course before stuffing another and I, probably for the first time ever, managed to eat everything I ordered. So the atmosphere was nice and relaxed right through to the last Tia Maria.

So arrived the weekend, Broni off to get her haircut then us both over to Rosemary’s for lunch where we sit and play with Jade, kid cute, running around or having us to run around after her. I feel really good around kids, I enjoy the freedom they express and their ignorance of worry, real life giver.

Our joy takes us home for a brief encounter on the bed where we frenzy practice babymaking before diversion to Wimborne for pizza and then Southampton for our last gig there before we leave, now just three weeks away. Oh yes.

Atmosphere at The Joiners is, as ever, relaxed and exciting, but tonight tinged with some sadness for us as we say our farewells to some of the regulars, brightened up though by new people eager to get involved.

So at the end of the night, midnight we bring back Rob and Rich to Chrissy’s place, Chrissy out on the tiles but Sharon there to let us in. Rich soon leaves as the rest of us prepare to have a few drinks, Rich still on his straight edge kick and good luck to him if it makes him feel better about himself, which I’ve noticed it has.

We make an effort to wait up for Chrissy but all fall asleep dead drunk after playing every single kids game in the cupboard.

It’s light and Chrissy stumbles in, 7 am, she goes to bed and we get up and not only do we get up, so do Amanda, Luke, Sam and Rebecca, our company for the morning, four beautiful active screaming monster children. Rebecca amazes us as she is now walking herself about and saying ‘yeah’ whenever it takes her fancy. Snotty nosed Sam, quietly watching and wandering from here to here. Luke demanding to play Nintendo and demanding to play with me, and Amanda being unusually quiet and restrained today, possibly because mum is not there to antagonise, Chrissy now sound asleep oblivious to rowdy rabble.

After a while of preparation we all set off for the park, Amanda demanding piggybanks of me and Luke off Rob, Broni pushes Rebecca and Sharon looking after Sam. One child each, they will never beat us!

So how is it later on I get Sam on my shoulders, Amanda on one hand and Luke on the other and I’m sure if Rebecca could get out of her locked in pushchair she’d be demanding my affection too. But I know the kids see that I have lots of love to give them and I love ’em to bits. Sam called me dad, Luke kicked me till I wouldn’t play with him no more, Sharon then talking to him quietly and Luke coming back looking all forlorn and saying sorry under his breath, little beauty horror tike.

Amanda asked me if I remember when Steve and I took her tree climbing and I surely do, I remember it so well because it was then I realised I too, could look after kids, not be scared of that kind of future. It was something Steve showed me just by doing it and not by mentioning it. The only thing he ever said about kids was that he thought I would enjoy it, and as it made him so happy. Here I was, now free of all those old inhibitions about coolness and, ‘geez I wonder if anybody can see me?’ type thoughts that always entered my head when I was around children. My only regret is that Steve isn’t here to see that in me, because even though I realised it back then, I was still in a kind of awe of him because he was looking after Rebecca and Amanda so well.

When people die, you keep a little piece of them with you and it’s something I kept of Steve (amongst other things) and I find that particularly poignant as Chrissy said to Broni the night before that ‘Shaun is a good bloke, a lot like Steve in many ways.’ That kind of compliment makes me feel good inside, I really love all these people around me. Amanda surprised me by remembering that, maybe not sure how much a seven-year-old might remember about a year before, which is great.

I talk to her about the snakes we saw and carry her down to see the cygnets and the ducklings, then onto the swings and climbing houses where we try to wear the kids out but us with only a couple of hours sleep start flagging it instead.

Get back to Chrissy’s and cook some food, Chrissy now up and pale, looking barely alive as Amanda scoffs at her, her not liking her mum getting drunk because it makes her ‘smelly’. We force Chrissy to eat but she’s had it and at 2 o’clock or so heads back to dreamland. We leave around then too, dropping off Rob on the way, Sharon already gone with the kids to a party.

Broni sleeps in the car and I sleep on the sofa when we get back but only for an hour or so. The rest of the day slips us by slowly and gently as we slow down and let the love in ourselves roll around some and spread through our veins to our fingers and toes. We fall asleep with smiles on our faces and play with our friends in our subconscious.

Now I can’t show you all the things I’ve seen and I can’t make you feel anything, certainly not what they meant to me – 2nd September 1994

It’s an exciting life. When Broni gets home I have a delicious meal prepared for her and sit yummying as we talk about our day.

Broni has been very busy at work and soon falls down dog tired but after some rumination we take a gentle stroll into the park as the sun slowly descends somewhere behind some cloud or other. We sit and watch the ducks and swans and talk about belief and good things. We realise how lucky we are, to have each other, to have this adventure and to have the future.

When I get back I have a long chat with Rob on the phone, which involves more shit flying in the Fatty department, which will bore me to death to repeat here and particularly as I am making great pains to forget all about that sad part of my life and to look towards brighter things. It is sad for me to carry a thorn in my side but now I feel able to let it go (haven’t I said this before?) Now feels different though and my future is absolutely soaring away from everything I know here, all the things I like but all the things I dislike too.

Later Broni and Kerry are talking and I join them in the bedroom, Kerry is talking like a maniac, high on life, full of herself because she finally feels comfortable with who she is and recognises her place in the world and realises her worth. She says it’s taken ten years but if you could see her bright chirpy cherub face you can see ambition and content. It was so good to hear her talking positively about life especially after my talk with Rob which dealt more with clearing out negative emotion.

So the cloud over me soon disappeared and I felt a wave of enthusiasm for life come over me and a little bit of loss for not having Steve around to talk to. Broni has me sussed pretty well though and reflects all my good points which make me feel much better and soon we are wrestling and playing in our makeshift bed on the floor.

Before we know it we are awake again, missed our dreams and she is off to work as I get up and cycle around the harbour taking video memories every now and then, through the park to the quay and back along the circuit, catching glimpses of beauty and depths through the cameras eye and hell, I feel so good inside myself today.

It is so easy to forget just how lucky you are to be alive and mornings like these bring it home that no matter what goes wrong, will still be okay.

Now is what’s happening, now is real, live for the now. I will see the sunset over a beautiful peaceful world.

Tell Mr Bossman I said goodbye – 1st September 1994

Apocalypse now. ‘This is the end’. Another month already and it’s to be my last on these shores don’t you know. Eighteen months of planning and organising, fretting and worrying are coming to a climax. Easy. As time rarely stands still I have more to tell in the brief time since I last wrote.

Things are tending to go on around me at the moment, like I don’t have any real control over them. Maybe decision-making is just getting easier and more fluid. I don’t feel out of control. I’m still kind of hung over from the weekend even four days later (this weekend should be pretty busy too).

So, David and Louise came down from London to see us and as they arrive the sun came out. Blessed by the hand of God no doubt they’d say and I don’t mean that to sound cynical on my part, just that that is the kind of thing they might say. Although not pushy about religion in anyway it is a major part of their lives so it’s often talked about. They are very happy together and in fact remind me of me and Broni in many ways (some uncanny idiosyncrasies in the Smith family for sure).

So we took them up to Compton Acres Gardens which we marvelled at the beauty of flowers, trees and views, then round the harbour to the beach which are all cool places and David, and particularly Louise, see real magic in their enthusiastic take on life. Everything is delightful and brilliant in their eyes and I have much respect for their bright outlook.

Later we went to a Thai restaurant to try it out and the food was gorgeous, totally mouthwatering but (big but) the servings were minuscule, not enough to keep any of us happily fed, therefore all overpriced too, so we came back and gorged on passionfruit cheesecake Broni had made the night before. I was starting to wane and became very self-conscious to for some reason, I wasn’t very sure of myself and whether I was appreciated by everyone, kind of weird and not sure if it was me picking up vibes or misreading body language.

I fell asleep to the film everyone was watching and soon went up to bed to wait for my lovely gentle lover to join me. Oh, how she feels so completely fresh to my skin, so smooth and virginal, angelic in my arms, to fall asleep like spoons for the last time in this safe bed.

And morning come she’s up and away tidying frenzy while I’m still travelling in the slow lane, so I help here and there but helping more by keeping out of the way. David and Louise drop in to say goodbye till we go up to see them again later in the month, just before we leave in fact.

And then we’re on the road up to Heathrow to pick Kerry up. We skilfully avoid all roadworks and get there in good time giving us chance to check out all the books and magazines on the racks at the airport. Soon we are watching people coming through the arrivals doors and Broni is overcome with emotion as we watch children reunited with their mothers, others with their lovers, flowers in hand – so precious those moments. And Kezza strolls on through, face beaming when she spots us and then excitedly telling us about her flight and her month wandering around Tokyo, visiting Mount Fuji and Hiroshima. And about how she fell in love with her girlfriend over there and you could tell from her face it was something deep. And it got me thinking that girl girl love is a more gentle beautiful thing than girl boy love. I guess because that awful male ego thing isn’t there. I feel really down on men at the moment though I don’t have any desire to be female I respect the feminine side of me much more (at least when I’m not thinking with my dick).

We get home, eat, drink some beer, fall asleep. A-ha, while at the airport I bought another Kerouac book (Visions of Cody) for the trip to Greece. And I fell in love with his writing again and I’d only read Ginsberg’s introduction!

“I accept lostness forever. Everything belongs to me because I am poor… And I dig you as we together dig the lostness and the fact that, of course, nothing’s ever to be gained but death.”

Oh I just love it. And it scares me to start reading it, even though it’s some 450 pages long, I know when I start it will have I will have to finish it but there’s more books to be read yet.

Me and Broni made a bed on the living room floor, which is where we will be living till we leave (with a brief hiatus to Greece of course). And I love waking up with her as I’ve probably told you a million times before, such a grumpy cutie, bottom lip out at the prospect of leaving this nice warm cocoon of safety. She brings me coffee and laughs at me for being tucked up still, recalling how when I had to go to work I would be instantly awake, up and out, no messing around. And later on today I kind of realise that I’m not going back to work, no more that scuzzy office for me, no more stomach ulcers, no more tension. I’ve avoided talking about work here because it’s dull isn’t it? Many of us are in jobs we don’t really like; my job was just a means to an end. I worked hard, earned my money, and fucked off and left it all behind. And after eight years in that place it sure was time for a break.

Now, in Sydney, land of opportunity, places of dreams (hey, think positive) I’m going to pursue some job that I’ll enjoy, something music-based, even if it’s just working in a crummy record shop it would be more up my street, ok!

Losing It

10,000 surfers camping in a field
a frenzy of food, a drinking orgy
closely watching the antics of their heroes
up on a stage built of mud and mortar

20,000 liggers with beads in their hair
marching though the warrens of tents
tripping on guy ropes and acid
into the night and day and night of dreams

30,000 sheep sleeping in the sun
as the rain pours around their feet
wrapped in the papers, written by scum
set light the fire, burn it bright

40,000 followers, follow their leaders
who follow instructions on how to lead
and give the fucking kids what they want
and keep them all happy and twisted

50,000 gazers watch on as a leader falls
for baring his soul, losing his sight
hating what he has become because
he has become everything he hates

60,000 geezers imitate each other
cos everyone is having a good time
a good time is deserved in the shit and the rain
and hell, there’s nothing more they can do

70,000 visitors pay on the door
no wonder I’m tired and cynical
a real money spinner, a raging success
as the veil of money tightens the throats

of 80,000 kids, hopelessly lost
in need of something to grab hold of
clasping at shaped candles and glow in the darks
souls for sale in the sea of life.