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-flavoured 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.


Brain dump

Post-yoga workout, meditate. Thoughts focus on relationships at school and people’s personalities. Stop comparing, you are you and you are fine – you don’t have to be like George or Dylan or anyone. Being yourself is fine.

Tigger cries in the morning. My middle back aches, work on core. 10 Burpee’s was tough! Getting up was tough.

Little Kim sleeps next to my butt. So much time – enjoy it – use it. Feel good. Feel strong.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for my body to struggle through doing 10 burpees this morning. It was slow going but I made it. I must carry on.

Poison in a pretty pill – 15th January 2018

One of the very few nights I managed to sleep the recommended amount of hours and so far, I feel suitably alert.  That could soon change after a couple of hours staring numbly at this computer screen.

It’s Monday morning and it’s been a while since I was working a regular day shift.  Night times and weekends it’s so quiet here it makes you nervous to even sneeze.  It’s somewhat comforting to hear the bustle of work and the earnestness of people discussing technical solutions.

One thing that I have developed as a pet peeve though is the absolute authoritative statement.  There are a few folks here who talk as if their word is definitive and their tone implies that there is no point to discuss anything further.  How can people be so secure in their knowledge of the world, of everything, that they already know that they cannot be convinced otherwise?  This shows me a stagnant mind.  No room to grow, no room to learn.

These people are usually men and usually older.  Though it’s even more excruciating to hear younger men talking like this, you can almost hear their minds closing up already, sealing shut.  The older men’s voices sound authoritative and dead.  A resignation that things just won’t get better.  ‘Things were better in my day’.  Maybe it’s the work environment, some kind of unsaid competition.  I never want to subscribe to this thinking, despite sometimes catching myself doing the same.  I think I avoid it mostly and it is a reason little kids like me so much, they can recognise the essentially childish wonder I have, the interest in the details, the awe of the world.

This attitude seems less prevalent in women and the one or two times I have come across it, it has been scary.  I’m not a macho kind of person.  I was raised by my mother after my father died when I was 18 months old.  I naturally learned the female perspective, a different view of things.  I fought against this as a teenager, trying to put my own stamp on my personality and eventually on the other side of it, became more comfortable in a more feminine environment.  I generally prefer the less competitive company of females.  I’m not into cars, muscles, action movies and getting pissed with the boys.  Not that I have rejected everything masculine – I can still be a beer drinking, sports-loving yahoo from time to time but mostly I enjoy these things alone where I can make an ass of myself, just to myself.

The Crass album ‘Penis Envy’ also made a big impression on my developing teenage mind too.

Sordid sequences in brilliant life!
Supports, and props, and punctuation
To our flowing realities and realisations
We’re talking with words that have been used before
To describe us as goddesses, mothers and whores
Describe us as women, to describe us as men
Set out the rules of this ludicrous game
And then it’s played very carefully, a delicate balance;
A masculine/feminine perfect alliance
Does the winner take all? What love in your grasping?
What vision is left, and is anyone asking?

I still had lots of growing pains when it came to love, sex and relationships with women though.  I could be a master manipulator when I wanted to be. There are things I have done in the past that I now wish I hadn’t but I must acknowledge they were part of my own learning process and got me here where I am today.  It takes a lot of effort to be 100% true to your convictions and there are times when we fail.  Things aren’t always black and white.

download

The last few days my phone calls with Amy have been pretty short.  There’s never much to report on my side and work on our house has slowed somewhat now.

I’ve been thinking about this period of time that I’ve been in Adelaide, away from Amy.  It’s never felt like you imagine a long distance relationship to be.  The goal we are working towards keeps us bound together completely.  Just because we don’t see each other every day doesn’t mean we are not together.  This is helped by our own securities, something that I may not have had the strength to contemplate when I was younger though.

I am already visualising looking back on this time as some kind of dream.  It’s just something I’m doing rather than something I’m being.  It was a bit of struggle before and during Christmas but with the turn of the new year, it finally feels like a countdown to the realisation of our plans.

Writing up the diary entries for 1994 has made me think about why I don’t really enjoy Christmas and new year celebrations.  I’m not a big birthday or holiday celebrator in the first place and have often been alone at these times but looking back at the events at the end of 1993 I wonder how much of an impact they have made on my psyche.  It’s not something I’ve really consciously considered for a long time.  It’s also not that I mind joining in celebrations either, though I don’t find anything particularly special about certain dates to participate in them – let’s enjoy ourselves every day.  A cliche, I know.

 

I sit there in my easy chair, looking at the clouds, orange with celebration and I wonder if you’re out there – 31st December 1994

Well, there’s only one place to go on New Year’s Eve and that’s the big city, so we end up at Libby and Dougie’s via Hornsby where P_ is looking after Ben and James (not that Ben needs looking after) and then on train to Cathy’s (remember you have to be mad to drive in Sydney and we don’t feel like it today which will be one of the busiest days of the year).

Cathy’s mad though and drives us into the city where we all settle into a long night of drinking cocktails, beer and champagne and smoking cones, playing party games and being too drunk to be coherent.

At nine or so I manage to convince everyone who can to come up the road to see the fireworks that go off in the harbour and on the bridge. They last for about half an hour and though our view is obscured slightly by a big gum tree they look magnificent in the dry night sky. The bridge we can see clearly though and that goes off with magnificent cascades and fountains of sparks imitating the previous storms.

We stumble back drunk and happy, high on life, chatting furiously and continue with party games and more merriment ’til time comes to wish each other a happy new year and we’re into 1995.

And the first thing I can remember of this new year is a glorious hangover.

On Steve – 25th August 1994

The pub is vibrant, people are smiling and dancing. It’s New Year’s Eve 1992. I don’t recall the circumstances that took us there, where the place is or what happened there. Our circle of friends were gathering to welcome in the new year in style. Myself, Fatty and Paul Simmons, we were the outsiders travelling up from Dorset to join the Hampshire crew of Rich, Rob, Steve, Chrissie, John, Selina, Dave and Holty. Our connection was music, whether performing, promoting, or watching.

Tonight, however was a celebration of friendship. While everyone was rolling around drunkenly, at about 11 o’clock Steve and I agreed it was time to leave. We wanted to get away from the gaggle, have a quiet space in which to exchange ideas. We just said to each other let’s go back to the house and talk. We both knew what we meant. It was a poetic moment, we both wanted to thrash out ideas and ideals and open each other up in a way that I’ve never found with anyone else, lay ourselves bare, vulnerable, emotions visible.

So we walked back through the empty dark streets, each house and home having their own little private celebrations for the new year. We got to Holty’s house where everyone would be coming back to after the pub shut, we walked in to the living room, I sat on the sofa lounging back slightly drunk. Steve sat crossed legged on the floor, a fine upright muscular figure, I can see his silhouette now. He took out some hash and rolled up a fine joint of skunk weed as we set off on our journey into each others souls.

While not invasive or offensive, we voyeur each others thoughts. We find truth and beauty in what each of us has to say and our relationship develops into something special. He tells me how he used to look up to me when he saw me years ago at gigs and I say I can’t believe it, not understanding that I might affect people in that way. I don’t even remember him from then and even when we toured Europe together with our respective bands I didn’t get much chance to make friends, though I was probably too wrapped up in myself to have noticed anyone else.

I don’t recall the reasons that he looked up to me and they are not so important now anyway. But right then, right when he told me, the roles reversed and I started to look up to him. I loved his bright enthusiasm, the relentless energy, on later occasions at his house we’d talk everyone, to sleep, then sit up til 4am when I would protest that I needed rest but he said no, we must carry on talking. Sleep is the enemy, a favourite saying from Kerouac.

At midnight, we welcomed in the new year, I’d rifled Holty’s varied collection of CDs and played Madonna, Half Man Half Biscuit and Mud, me trying to convince Steve they were ahead of their time and probably one of the very first punk bands, it all seemed to make perfect sense at the time – hey, I was a little drunk and stoned!

A while later the rest of the circus came back from the pub in very high spirits, a party erupted around us and we gladly joined in. Paul was the first to puke (I’m not sure if anyone else did, and Rob eventually fell asleep under the chair of the three peice suite before everyone dumped him in the cupboard under the stairs (or did he go there of his own accord, I forget now?)), his socks left to turn to ice in the freezer (or were they Rich’s?).

One clear memory is Steve reprimanding me for being out of order when I must of said something insulting about someone, I was a very sarcastic son of a bitch back then and thanks to him I changed my ways slowly over the next year or so. I began to respect him even more.

His few letters to me reflected our conversations and I once wrote a six page letter of thoughts and ideas at his request, it was regarding an article he sent me from a newspaper. He was amazed at the huge amount of points I’d raised that he said he would never have thought of, from then we would make demands of each other, more and more, we had to know each other’s ideas and then bounce them around. We were grasping at life, getting a hold on it, looking for meaning, looking for happiness. Steve found it too a lot of the time and slowly I did as well, trying to emulate his outlook and zest for adventure. He loved and married Chrissie, took on the role of father to Chrissy’s daughter Amanda, and then to their daughter Rebecca. He was a real role model for me, changing over the years from a wild youth always in trouble to the most gentle, caring man who loved life to the full. And you know, that sounds just like me.


Steve is giving us a quick conducted tour of the bedroom. He’s keen to show off his pride and joy, daughter Rebecca, sleeping softly wrapped in blankets in the cot. Her 3 month old tiny lungs take short shallow restful breaths.

While Steve is pointing the camera at tiny Rebecca’s face, his hand comes into view and he points his 24 year old finger at her and then sticks his 24 year old thumb up. Proud father, lucky child.

The tour is a glimpse into a private life, not really a show for friends but the capture of a moment trapped in sound and vision for that old age memory loss time, a reminder of beautiful things that affect life profoundly.

Continuing on our tour, lots of short dialogues (excerpt ends)

Cowboy killers – 12th January 1994

Getting Bronwyn up is great fun!  She looks like a little child looking up at me through sleepy eyes, with her bottom lip stuck out.  She looks so beautiful.  She sleeps on and I wish I could get back into bed with her and into her arms and into dreams.  These winter mornings are difficult to get up to.

Read parts of ‘The Understanding…’ book as aid for tomorrow’s encounter with Fatty.  Learn to disagree, respect yourself and others – that kind of thing.  Just have to remember all the things it mentions and not get hot-headed as I could be tempted to and then I know nothing would get resolved.

Received our special chicken pox edition of the free LP for the Newport New Year gig (that we couldn’t attend).  Good old Simon – punk rock in spirit and in heart.