Sketches for my sweetheart (the drunk) – 5th January 2021

We had a 4 day holiday over the new year. For 2021 I have made a half hearted resolution to play more video games! Last year I rarely played anything at all. In fact I have many things I could, can and will do but I thought it was amusing to make a resolution often seen as negative.

So for much of this 4 day holiday I gave myself a backache by playing new games on my old Xbox One.

An exception to this was the evening of the 31st December where Amy and I enjoyed a spicy hot pot with the last packet of sauce my friend Ellen delivered from China last year (or the year before….when was it!?). We also sipped on yoghurt flavored shoju but Amy gave up around 11pm. We had watched the Sydney Harbour fireworks at 8pm and that is when Amy considers the new year to have actually started for us, her heart still being there. I carried on building cities and shooting monsters and was up again pretty early the following morning.

On the Saturday a few of Amy’s friends and I got together at a cafe on the way to Mae Sai. It was busy there but we all ate our fill and lazed around, Amy knocking back a few Heineken’s and getting a little louder as she likes to do.

We decided to visit her old friend from Sydney who has a cactus farm nearby and he kindly gave us a couple for Amy’s collection.

We had to stop at a shop on the way home so that Amy could grab another beer and she organized herself to head on into the city for more food and alcohol! My sweetheart the drunk!

I left her to it but she came back much earlier than I expected, mentioning about some of her friends who insist that good luck only comes from going to the temple – something that particularly rubs Amy the wrong way. Amy believes in herself and all good and bad comes from within. Thai people are still very superstitious and like to put blame and benefit on things outside their control. Obviously I agree with Amy’s point of view but I don’t let other people’s ideas like this rub me the wrong way, though I also don’t have to listen to them complain about their lives either!

Before this holiday I thought I’d like to do something artistic again and started off with sketching. I have more ideas for continuing this than I have time currently available – it could be a battle between sketching or video games. I hope to balance this effectively. So, I was quite happy and proud of my first sketch – just looking up from my little floor table where I was working.

I’ll dig myself a hole and I’ll fill up that space – April 14th 2018

Ok, let’s start with some toilet talk.  It had to happen sooner or later.

Having some experience of South East Asian countries I was already aware of the ass blaster but never really used it.  In one of the toilets at Amy’s parents, toilet paper has to be thrown in a small bin instead of down the toilet.  This presents difficulties for those of us used to just dropping it into the bowl and flushing it away.  I actually first came across this on a trip to Rhodes, Greece just before moving to Australia and I probably talk about it in that diary (whenever I get back to it!).

It turns out that in our house, the builder recommends not putting tissue down the toilet too which initially was a bit of a disappointment.  This drove me to pursue learning the art of the ass blaster.  In case you can’t guess from my description, this tool is usually part of any toilet system in Thailand and it’s pretty much a jet hose with very slight control of pressure.  I was dubious about the ability of this equipment but after using and wiping up the water with tissue it usually does a good job of any leftover bits that might have accumulated around your bumhole.  It’s pretty easy to fold up the tissue and chuck it in the bin and can usually be done in one wipe, saving paper.  Unless you’re drunk.  Or the day after you were drinking.  And you’ve been eating lots of chilli.  Potentially, every day.

The other thing about the ass blaster is that it is quite powerful.  It can sting your haemorrhoids.  It can also stimulate your anal sphincter and help push out that last little tricky bit that sometimes can’t decide which side of the door it wants to be on.

Of course, if any situation becomes too sticky, the shower is usually just a step away and it always being hot, any time is a good time to have a shower.

I still haven’t really complained about the weather but the last few days have been torturously hot.  We’ve also been busy and having to get things tidied up in the garden.  Amy’s parents and brother coming to help out early in the mornings.

The reason for all this was that April 12th was our house blessing.  Amy had to do some negotiating with her family about meeting this requirement that her dad insisted upon.  A big house blessing can involve up to 9 monks, all family members and all the local villagers.  And you have to feed them all too, as they sticky beak around all your belongings and criticise colour choices etc.

Amy negotiated down to one monk and about 20 family members and for it to be done as quickly as possible.  This still took about 3 hours and a day and a half of food preparations and another day to clean up.

I was introduced to one of the guys from the local temple who was really nice.  He would lead the ceremony whilst the monk did all the chanting and er….things.  It was both beautiful and ridiculous.  I was expecting a solemn affair with everyone paying undivided attention but people seemed to come and go, fuss about and fidget as even for the experienced here, sitting cross-legged on a tile floor for an hour or so is not easy.  My mind wandered a lot but when all said and done it was fine.  Now, everyone – get out of our house!

We had moved in a couple of days earlier as we had mattresses delivered and despite our bathroom still needing re-tiling, painting touch ups ongoing and various other dusty bits of work required, we couldn’t wait to get out of our limbo land with Amy’s parents.  They insisted we took the cats with us though which was a little traumatic for them and quite stressful for us as we had to keep them calm with work and people around all during the days following.  But they’re fully settled now.  Maybe we are too, though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet.

I did get a bit emotional one evening though.  As I was watering the garden and looking for the fish in our pond I realised that here I am, I’ve achieved a dream, a plan fulfilled.  A beautiful new house, in a beautiful location, with my beautiful Amy.

I just wanted to show my mum.  I wanted her to see what her son had achieved, wanted to make her proud.  A few tears were shed but I was soon back to whatever backbreaking chore was next on the list.

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The day after the house blessing we went off to the city to enjoy the Songkran water festival.  My first time experiencing this event, it was a fun family day with smiles everywhere.  We were camped in a restaurant that turned itself into a bar just for the event and it was jam packed when we got there around 2pm.

We set to drinking and jumping and dancing and talking and getting wet, inside the bar and outside on the street.  I made the rookie error of carrying my can of beer out on the street with me and it was impossible to keep out the water so I was chucking down water from who knows where along with the alcohol.  I videoed my walks up and down and people responded with smiles and yells and shouted appropriate English phrases, inhibitions lost to the fervour.

 

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Amy’s brother, Oh, who had a couple of hours start on us fell asleep in his chair and somehow we decided it was time to depart, even though it was still light.  Oh was pretty far gone, even by the time we arrived and had soon become unintelligible in both Thai and English.  We took a minicab back to Amy’s parents and I managed to get Oh up to his room where he passed out in his wet clothes for the next 15 hours or more.

Whilst I was doing that Amy was throwing up in the bathroom and then the garden.  I was drunk but was still semi-coherent enough and when Amy’s dad dropped us off at home at around 9pm I plugged my phone into the stereo and listened to some music for another hour or two.  Eventually, I dozed off for a while before waking with indigestion which I took a tablet for.  A couple of hours later though and it came back so I went off to get another tablet.  It was then I realised that maybe it wasn’t indigestion and that, in fact, I needed to throw up. So I did.  A lot.  All I could think about was ditch water that I swallowed with my beers and wondered if I’d have to be taken to hospital in the morning.

The hangover wasn’t grotesque and as we still have a million things to do we didn’t have time to contemplate it too much and zoomed off again for the rest of the day.

Don’t know what they’re doing but they laugh a lot – 28th February-5th March 2018

Another busy day taking care of business on our house building site, which often just involves sitting around and answering questions about what should go where, and we’re off in the evening for a dinner/birthday party near Mae Chan.  The dinner is for one of Amy’s friends who is visiting from Bangkok, for her father’s birthday.  I drive Amy and 3 other girl friends, up the highway, down some small farmland back roads passing new paddy fields and ending up on a small farm estate in this beautiful valley wilderness.

As I’m already used to with Amy and her friends getting together it is a non-stop barrage of noise which I’m mostly glad I can’t comprehend.  Soon the food and beer are flowing and I’m quickly drunk enough to try a few deep-fried crickets.  They seem pretty tasteless though I’m reassured they are a perfect accompaniment to beer but I prefer the mix of chilli with beer, to be honest.  Maybe the crickets are better when eaten fresh and still crunchy.  Will try again one day.  Maybe.

I cheer everyone along including the birthday dad and his brother who are particularly amazed that I am 50 years old, thinking that I was only 30.  They decide to welcome me as their son-in-law and later, drunker, as their daughter.

We hit it off so well, and I’m made to feel so welcome here that my new dad plays some tunes on a traditional instrument for me, after which he takes me out the back of the shed and invites me to pee on his fields anytime I need – a special privilege it seems.

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Both the dad and brother run farmland in an organic way by using nature to counteract pests to allow proper growth.  I’m invited to come along for lessons any time in the future and I think it’s something I’ll end up doing if I have time.  We communicate in mixed sentences of Thai and English and dad grows more fond of me with each drink.  He’s starting to flag it a bit though and I offer to take him up the hill to his home.  But when we get there his son is drinking whisky with his friends and I’m invited to sit for a shot.  I eventually get the old man to his room where he lights up a cigarette and continues to pour out his affection.  Eventually, I make it back to the food and drink but by now I’m so far out of it that I blank out anything else the evening brings, except for one pee stop on the way home.  Amy drove home of course, not me!

The following day is a complete write off for me though we go back to the house to answer any more questions and I sleep quietly on a mat on the tiled floor in the corner of what will be our living room.

My days now will be repetitious with going to Home Mart type stores and picking accessories as they are required, hoping that our selections make sense when jammed all together in our house.  Does a red front door go better than blue?  Who knows?  Over the next month, we will find out.

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One afternoon we have to get back to take Amy’s grandmum (on her dad’s side) to get an injection at the clinic.  She has an open appointment and dad says to go at 5pm.  Now, this is a fine example of how it’s possible that some people’s brains are wired differently, as discussed in a previous post.  Dad doesn’t consider to confirm this appointment and as he and mum are out for the evening it is up to Amy and me to take grandmum.  When we get there the clinic is, of course, closed.  Amy complains quietly to me that this always happens with her dad and she gets frustrated cos everyone gets angry with her when she makes a fuss about it.  But it’s a huge waste of time for us and no apology is offered.

Worse still is that when we wake up in the morning both mum and dad are out for the day and although it isn’t stated it is expected that we will take grandmum when the clinic opens again today, despite all the things that we have to do too.  But we do so and for this, we are not even rewarded with a word of thanks.

Amy complains that dad never offers to clean up dishes or more female related housework and anytime she says anything her grandmum will scold her.  It is obvious that grandmum has spoiled and coddled him all through his life, much as she does with Amy’s brother too.  It reminds me of the time Amy complained to her boss about the behaviour of the barista where she worked in Sydney and the boss said to ignore it as he’s ‘just a boy’.  What fun it must be to go through life just as a boy.

In other news, I’m adjusting myself to the ways of the slipper.  Thai houses are shoes off but slippers are offered as you enter, many shops do this too.  I’ve soon learned that tie up shoes are time wasting and having to learn the little kick to shove off my slip-ons and step delicately into the slipper shuffle.  I now understand the shuffle of my friends in Malaysia.  The shuffle is required as you don’t get the slipper or thong on in the first go but work it up your toes as you shuffle along.  You may then continue shuffling so that your shoes don’t suddenly come flying off.  I haven’t quite mastered it yet but I’m getting there.  I’ve even started thinking about where the pile of shoes and slippers are going to end up in our house when it’s ready.

And in a final piece of funny events, I had a laugh when shopping in the supermarket yesterday.  I’m not usually one to laugh at miswritten statements on t-shirts in Asia as I believe it shows an ignorance on both sides of the coin.  But this one made me chuckle.  I’m guessing this aunty was in her 50s and her shirt read ‘I WANT TO SEE YOU FUCKING DIE!’  We’d probably be arrested for wearing this shirt in Australia or the UK and I do hope that she actually did understand the words on her shirt cos that would make her truly punk rock.

Here’s the sunset from our bedroom window.  Enjoy your day, wherever you are.

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So no, I don’t want to go to Cuba – 20th-22nd February 2018

We’re taking an overnight flight to the UK and of course, I slept a lot already.  It’s only in more recent years that I’ve been able to even sleep a little bit on planes.  Except for that one time out of Guangzhou, I was lucky enough to start to talking to a girl as we were waiting for departure.  Just by chance, she knew the staff working the counter and wrangled an upgrade to business class for herself.  She was kind enough to come back down to cattle and tell me to follow her back to business class, where there was a spare seat.  Best sleep on a plane ever, and probably the last time I’ll enjoy that too.

Our plane in and out of London is the new A380 and it is huge.  Even for the likes of us paupers, it feels like there is a little more room to breathe at least.  I barely manage to sleep though.

We arrive in London around 6am and the weather has me instantly cold and chilled (not in the relaxed sense at all).  We pick up a hire car, which is amazing but I keep forgetting that it is manual and stall it at every roundabout.  Then we take the wrong lane and exit off the motorway and the sky is grey and the rain is drizzling just that annoying amount to make the wipers screech.  I am thoroughly depressed already.

Somehow the shitty English coffee manages to take off the edge at least for a while.  Just remember not to watch what the barista actually does and just go by taste.  I think I had one half decent coffee this trip – which is one more than last time I visited the UK.

As we arrive in Brighton the sun very occasionally decides to show itself.  We’re staying at Amy’s university friend’s house and she just happens to live herself on Brighton Marina.  Sometimes I feel especially lucky to find myself in such beautiful places just through the people that I know.

It’s a great little house, and when I say little, I always forget just how tiny and compact English houses are.  And doors – always doors.  Gotta keep that heat in.

Amy has decided that we must eat Indian food on this trip and, as they are everywhere, it’s only a short walk to our lunch.  It’s cold and even the slightest breeze is enough to make us shudder.  We have prepared appropriate coats but there’s still the other bits turning blue.  Luckily the sun decides to stay for a long while and the sky turns blue.  Wait, are we still in England, in February?

Amy’s friend, Bookie, speaks with the typical American accent of her tutors from years ago.  Something that I (or Australia) have managed to change with Amy over the years.  She doesn’t sound English and not really Aussie but at least it’s not American.

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Bookie is married to an airline pilot and he is away 20 days a month and he’s away now, arriving back in the following couple of days for his birthday.  They have a five-year-old son called Kyle and when he comes home from school I’m tasked with keeping him entertained whilst food is prepared.  We have fun playing Star Wars action figures and making up stories.

Later, Amy and I enjoy the comforts of a nice soft bed and perfect pillows.  Back at Amy’s parent’s house, the bed we are sleeping on may as well be a block of concrete – it’s good for learning to sleep on a tiled floor though.  The only downside of the night is I wake up having a coughing fit and end up in the living room for a spell.  Amy is starting to catch it too and her voice is starting to crack.

We wake up again to brilliant sunshine and coffee’d up (instant) we hit the road, passing Arundel castle and some other Olde Worlde buildings.  The history and mystery of England is a little bit magical for me if only the temperature was more appealing.

Heading along the coast we get back into very familiar territory for me, with roads I travelled repeatedly in other glory days.  We soon arrive at my cousin’s house and are treated to a warm welcome of food and central heating, along with discussions about details for my mother’s funeral and some other minor details that need to be sorted whilst I’m here.

My cousin, Sharon and her husband Ken have been doing all the hard graft for my mother and for me, of course, over the last 18 months or so.  I’m so lucky that she has been here and willing to assist with everything.

It still doesn’t seem real that my mother isn’t here to talk to, to show pictures and to keep updated on the minutiae of everyday life.  I feel sad about that but not overly emotional.  I keep wondering if I’m going to sit down one day and have a big cry.  Maybe.  I’ve upped my dose of antidepressants recently, in preparation for my big life move and it’s likely they are helping keep things smooth for me emotionally.

Another coughing fit just after going to bed sees me again relocating to the living room until I’m on the verge of sleep when I return to bed and later Amy wakes me with coughing of her own.

The weather is excellent again and even though it’s cold there’s little wind to bring in the chill.  We drive back to my hometown and go to the bank where my mum and I have a joint account and sort out access for Sharon to deal with expenses etc.  Amy and I spend a little more time walking around, returning again for pizza at Piccolo Mondo, once my favourite pizza ever, not so much these days though, it’s still good though.

We take ourselves on a country drive as I search out Bulbarrow Hill.  I love this place.  It sparks that mystical quality of olden days more than some of the other places scattered around the south, even more than Stonehenge.  It’s a fabulous view and the sun’s rays break through the scattering of clouds.

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I have time to scoff down some more home cooked food, that Sharon says isn’t to her usual quality but it tastes great to me.  Bring on the cheese, potato, garlic and butter anytime!

I’m off for a quick catch up with old school friends Rupert and Murray, though we barely have time with our busy schedules.  A quick couple of pints and it’s time to head off on our merry ways, and I am feeling quite tipsy.  That is until I open the pub door and the cold wind blast instantly sobers me.  This forces me to reminisce quite clearly the many many nights spent walking home from the pub, or the local football club, or the school field where we huddled around a couple of cans of beer and maybe a fire.  Those days were either hell fun or hell shit depending on my mood and what was going on around me.  I miss the good bits.  A lot.

Edit:  Could not stop humming this tune during these few days – https://youtu.be/xk2QbCDRP0U

History is what’s happening – 12th-15th February 2018

A fond farewell to Hayden in Brisbane as we lugged luggage again, two coffees down before boarding the plane.  It was nice to fly in over Sydney (yet again) and if Brisbane was 10 times busier than Adelaide then Sydney repeated the feat over Brisbane especially as I struggled with my bags at two stations that didn’t have lifts.  My dodgy elbows are extremely upset with me but what can a poor boy do.

Tonight I would stay with my friend Billie, her husband Jade and their daughter, Nexis, in the upmarket suburb of Killara on the North Shore of Sydney.  They live in a house far too big for them, boxes still not unpacked from moving in 9 months ago.  It did mean they could offer a spare room for this temporarily homeless wanderer for which I was grateful.

I met Billie about 10 or 11 years ago when I was part of a dragon boat racing team, representing Australia (somehow!), in a dirty bay on Hong Kong Island.  Billie’s family head the institute of dragon boat racing in HK and Billie and her sister, Mandy, were the compere’s for the races.  Both girls were and are extremely attractive and, Billie especially, bright and outgoing positive personalities.

Needless to say, they attracted the attention of the white boys at the races and at the drunken awards dinner on our last night there.  Myself and another racer went out later for supper with Billie and we decided to stay in touch through email just in case our paths crossed again, under the pretence of sharing our photos of the week’s events with one another.

A few years later our paths did cross again as Billie became an air hostess with Cathay Pacific airlines.  This, of course, took her all over the world, and eventually to Sydney.  She got in touch and we met up one night for dinner.  At the end of that night, she quietly invited me up to her room for coffee.  I didn’t want to presume anything and I have no idea of her intention at the time but something in me decided not to take her up on the offer.

I’ve not really been one for one-night stands and I definitely didn’t want to do that with someone I felt that if I had then that might just be all our relationship might have been.  I liked Billie, a lot, not because she was pretty but because we got on so well and had a lot of fun together.  A friendship was more fulfilling than the possibility of brief exciting encounter and that’s the way I wanted to keep it.

We met a couple more times when she flew to Sydney.  The final time with another of her crew, Kit, also a beautifully attractive girl.  By then I had already met Amy and it was with some pride that we all headed to Amy’s favourite nightclub after dinner, I got to walk up to the dance floor with three amazingly attractive women.

Of course, I didn’t want to embarrass myself by actually dancing so I left them to it.  Immediately they were swamped with guys wanting to dance with them, to which Billie and Amy crossed their arms in big X’s indicating for the guys to go away.  After 15 minutes of this though they became exasperated and we decided to leave.  On our way out a guy near the stairs grabbed Kit’s arm and yanked her towards him at which point I had to intervene and got to tell him that these three girls were all with me.  It made me chuckle to bruise the poor guy’s ego (and radically inflate my own, briefly) as we left the club.

A few more years of staying in touch and Billie told she had met someone from Australia, Adelaide, in fact.  I knew she met a million guys around the world and that she could pick anyone she wanted but this one she met in a bar in Hong Kong.  She said he was not handsome, a bit fat even but had a generous and family-oriented personality.  This was what she was looking for in her ideal partner more than a troublesome good looker.

Then a couple of years later they decided to relocate from Hong Kong to Sydney and ended up living a couple of blocks away from Amy and myself in Chatswood.  We got to hang out a bit more but also were leading busy lives.  A case of when living near the beach you never go for a swim.

Billie and Jade now had a baby on their hands and Billie could become the dragon mum she always dreamed of.  I caught up with her sister Mandy during this time too and she soon was married with a couple of kids of her own.

Anyways, Billie rushed to pick up from the station in her new 4WD, on the phone to her friend, as we rushed to pick up Nexis from school, now in Year One.  Nexis and I always get on like a house on fire, like I do with most kids, and we were soon making fun of her mum and I was getting her into trouble so we were both getting told off.

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Nexis and I played some more, with their water hose – more trouble – and with their French Bulldog Dunstan, short name Dunny.  Billie cooked up a nice veggie dinner for us all, Nexis went to bed and Jade overruled Billie to watch a movie instead of Billie’s favourite Aussie trash TV, Married at First Sight, thank heavens!

Next morning, Billie dropped me in Chatswood, with all my bags and we wished each other well, hoping they can come and visit Amy and me in Thailand sometime in the future.  I spent the morning running around getting coffees and trying to arrange to meet people but everyone was busy.  Never mind – I know you’ll always be there, somewhere.

A train to the city and more coffee as I met up with one of Amy’s best friends Jess as I was staying at her place right in the centre of the city.  We went out for a big seafood dinner to celebrate another friend’s, Grace, birthday, joined by Muoy and Hakan.  Amy had already prepped me to pay for the meal tonight as her gift to everyone and for Grace’s celebration.  Grace kindly reciprocated by offering to take me to the airport a couple of days later.

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Next day was a big run around and I’d been hitting my ten thousand steps easily for a few days now.  In the morning I met Jess at the cafe where she works and got my first free coffee.  We were heading to Chippendale to meet one of my friends who had opened her own cafe recently.  Jess is thinking to do the same in Adelaide sometime in the future so Amy thought it would be a good idea to introduce them and for Jess to get some tips.

On the way there I ducked into another small cafe another Chatswood friend was working at and was offered another free coffee, gladly accepted as always.

In Chippendale, we found my friend’s cafe, the Bean Brewers.  Jenny runs it with her husband and has managed to build up a good little business.  They spent a long time looking for this place and are working hard, seven days a week, to make it a success.  I met Jenny when she was just 16, ten years before, when she was working at my favourite cafe in Chatswood.  She had moved to Australia from Vietnam to study and wanted to stay.  Similar to my own story with Amy, a customer had taken a fancy to her and eventually they got married.

Once again, we all wished each other well and went on our way.  Jess went back home whilst I went to my next appointment, this time at UTS, to see Bronwyn, Hayden’s mum, my ex-wife, the partner of all the 1994 diary entries you can find here.  Twenty four years is a long time and things change and things stay the same.  Bronwyn told me of some photos she had found of our time back in the UK and when I saw them later it was odd to look at the person in the photo that was me.  I didn’t recognise them as me, though I knew it was obviously me.

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After lunch and during another coffee stop my 3pm appointment cancelled which I was actually a little grateful for as the temperature was soaring and I was starting to get sweaty.  I headed back to Jess’ for a quick shower and recovery before heading out again to meet Jochen, at a pub just down the street.

Jochen arrived with his friend, from a meeting that they had just attended.  Jochen works for the Goethe Institute and moved to Sydney with his wife, Sabina and kids, both of whom are a similar age to Hayden.  They actually moved back and forth a couple of times before finally settling on Australia as the place to stay.

I first met Jochen, about 15 years ago I’m guessing, through a band he was playing in with a mutual friend.  Although being from different countries within Europe, which becomes a little competitive, here we were suddenly comrades on foreign turf.  I’m over dramatising but in some ways bonds are made through mutual conditions such as these.

The other thing that drew us together though was our musical interests and our roles within our own DIY music scenes.  The connection was instant, an unspoken understanding of the way things had been, the way we were doing things now and the way we wanted to continue doing those things.  I value Jochen’s friendship above most others – one of those friendships where you may not see each other for a couple of years and you can sit down and continue the conversation as if only a day had passed.

And of course, this was pretty much the situation we were in, having not been in much contact for the previous six months since leaving Sydney.  I expected to be out for a couple of hours, perhaps drop by another friend working in a shop that night too.

Kicked off with interesting conversations with Jochen’s friend, a filmmaker, again about mutual musical interests, particularly the Dutch band The Ex (crazy thoughts arising about how to tour them through South East Asia and Australia), moving on to discussions about working with Japanese musicians for live film scores.

After he left we decided on another beer, and another, conversation free flowing, about our lives, our kids, our futures, about continuing to work together in one way or another and just about generally staying connected.  Something that is so much easier to do now than it was in 1994.

All these thoughts could lead to longer stories that I will have to leave for now.  But that night, my last in Sydney, the beers continued along with the stories and topics and we eventually stumbled out around 1.30am, I think, and on our respective ways.

In a blink, I was asleep and awake again, still drunk and almost voiceless as Grace whisked me to the airport and I jumped on the plane, last time for a while in Australia, hoping for more sleep, which didn’t come.  But I was too drunk to care, too drunk to think.  The perfect exit.

 

Mark E. cha cha – 27th January 2018

I only recently understood the meaning of Aladdin Sane.  Not the song/music but just those two words.  Duh!

I slept through the heat of the day, a bit more fitfully than yesterday’s deep dreamless rest.  The whirr of the overhead fan blades never reminded me of the first scene in Apocalypse Now and thankfully, this isn’t the end.

God bless Saturday
God bless Saturday

A women’s laugh from a backyard party on our street woke me, someone’s having fun.  A creaking door, a turned tap.  It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t upset me.  People are just being people going about their days.

Day by day
The moon gains on me

The dreams I was chasing are quickly forgotten but I know they were good.

And it’s quiet again
Hidden figments, surface now
Repetitious history
One more time for the record

Last day of four night shifts again.  I’m starting to flag.

The man who’s head diminished. Sounds like my head, trying to unravel this lot
I can tell you Sparky!

A day and a half break to do some washing and reading and then back to it, but at least back on regular shifts, which will at least give me three and half day breaks again though I may see if I can get some more overtime cos money is money.

If your rates too high
Put your life on this bit of paper

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Amy insists I bring her at least three bags of goon from Australia despite me having a full bag already.  Aussie wine is expensive in Thailand and Amy sounded like she needed a drink tonight.  I’m anticipating my first drink of the year when I arrive in Thailand too – will probably knock me off my feet.

Good riddance to my native country
It never did a thing for me
It’s a better life here

 

It is a good life here
Football and beer much superior…

Good night Marquis.

It’s the same I sometimes wonder if something or other’s in my headbone – 6th July 1994

Well today I’m tense as all hell. Muscles knotted up tighter than Rollins and his band. What to do to relieve the pressure?

To finish off yesterday’s summary, the party at Kerry’s soon degenerated into sombreness and I watched the football in the other room most of the time (me being sober too). After five months of not drinking Kerry really went for it but got pissed sad instead of pissed happy – I hope she learns from it that maybe drinking isn’t such a good idea all the time! She’s sensible though and I think she’ll work through all her sorrows (her dad recently departed) and not drink her way through them.

And Broni was shattered from working far too hard again. I took her down the park and watched her face light up excitedly when I let her drive the van, hence the continuation of tenseness.

This waiting period for us is very hard and I hope we will overcome any problems that arise easily and quickly and hope the change over to another country makes us happy (goddamn, all the mega changes in our life – happening in the next six months – only two and a bit months left now).

Must try to relax and let myself go a bit. I know this for fucks sake. More later.

Kept in line with truncheons, rifle butts and truncheons – sometime in April 1994

Shorthaired Johnny was being as obnoxious as ever, talking dicks and innuendo, Mr Entendre. Stomping around in bovver boots and his white T-shirt freshly laundered tucked into his jeans, new tattoos still scabby and iridescent. His big grin splits his head in half like the smiley planet from Moonshadow, and always attached to one hand or the other a can of lager (sometimes substituted for Guinness, sometimes tequila).

His eyes wide in a mad amphetamine haze, brain desperately taking in information like a wide angle lens but concentration is still good, unlike wife Selena whose strange tangents I cant keep up with, and mouth in fast forward, all else too drunk to get their words in edgeways, so while pondering her last statement she’s off again on the next story (which, we all laugh, all start ‘one time, when I was drunk’). She’s in black I think, hair wild, rocky horror and while we slam tequila she fills her glass with it and pours in some wine for good measure and sips slowly between stories, my guess that one drink lasting all night.

Her friend Lisa, the spitting image, drunkenly believes everything she’s being told and confused sitting out the side for awhile. We’re round the dining room table within reach of the fridge for more beers, and the kitchen is right there too for food and coffees, Rich, sober Rich, sipping caffeine at the start of his straightedge kick, despite his sobriety he’s laughing and playing too, laughing at himself as he says ‘well at least you guys have got an excuse (for acting like we are) you’re drunk!’ This straight edge suits him but somehow seems out of place amongst this rabble of drunkenness.

Broni, sober till midnight, is ever smiling and laughing at the merriment, she sits next to Selena, so like the rest of us Selena is talking to, we don’t get words in. I sit there too with Broni, hardly saying anything, stoned as we are and getting immediately drunk with these slammers and beers now strewn across the table.

At the other end sit three guys out of the band that played in town that night, willing and capable comrades in this action. I know not their names but let me describe instead.

One is blonde and rough, hair stuck straight up in air, black denim dressed, drunk and with a broad Scottish accent, I have no idea what he’s saying but it’s fun watching him stumble round the room, confusing Lisa, but I see later they are talking more properly.

Another Scottish fellow has short cropped hair, an altogether more sensible looking man in jeans and T-shirt (probably), except that here we double-take, he lowers his head shaved into the crop is a question mark, which explains is great if anyone asks you a question you’re not sure how to answer, just lowering skull for the quizzer to make their own mind up, these amused our drunken minds immensely.

Last is an American guy who reminds me of American guys, only in looks not in actions, I talk with him some but now it’s gone to hangover land.

Finally Rob is flitting around the table making conversations with anyone and everyone, he sits and listens patiently and then talks directly back with earnest, occasionally lifting his finger to gently push his glasses back at the bridge of his nose, sliding down as they would in the heat of this madhouse. Rob has to be commended as we find out in the morning he was up talking with Selena, who is totally faced and he’s drunk at the start and sober by the end, he goes to sleep about 15 minutes before we wake him up again, willingly making us coffees.

And some tunes blasting out through all the madness, in the other room (into the hall and there) John is shouting out with his loudest three in the morning voice ‘kept in line with truncheons, rifle butts and truncheons, this is state control, this is state control’, no one else deigning to join in, but back in the kitchen we raise ourselves out to chair stupor to jive to the sounds of the Rocket from the Crypt, those guys know how to drink therefore they know how to make music for drunkers.

And it’s here and then, in this wreckage, I realise what great friends I have around me, from my beautiful sweetheart, gentle soul-searching Rob, sober Rich, whether you’re in trouble or just in need of a beer. My loss, and Broni’s too, will be great when we have to say goodbye to them as we leave for sunnier climes, but you can guess that on that last night is going to be one hell of a party!

The ice of Boston is muddy – 23rd March 1994

Hey you – what you looking at!  Took my sweetheart some flowers yesterday and left them at work for her to discover today – romantic old thing that I am!  It was hard to keep the secret but it brought several smiles to my face throughout.

Broni had a bad day yesterday so we got drunk to celebrate, Kerry being our taxi.

Several other minor incidents probably occurred but wrist will hurt if I tell in more detail.  So stop looking in here and get your own life!

I sit there in my easy chair, looking at the clouds, orange with celebration
And I wonder if you’re out there