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What spiders teach blokes…

7 Jan



There is a spider smaller than a sand grain crawling up my forearm. It’s green and  hustles across hairs like they are fallen logs. It is seemingly unconcerned with its precarious situation.                                                                                                                                                                                               space

I’m on the 9.29pm Flinders St to Glen Waverly. In green spider world, I am travelling to the moon.

If it were larger, this spider, I would be spastic with terror and in no mood to engage whimsy. Just goes to show that spiders know what all men secretly fear.

Size does count.


It is spider season at my place. The heat and humidity gets them dancing and out back, the banksia has gone mental, curling from the fence to across the drive with unsettling vigour, offering excellent beams and cover from which spiders to slide their rallying first strands.
Three of them have set up three perfectly intimidating webs that form an impassable, head height glove. It’s Vietnam out there.


Indifferent to it all, like the little green guy who Mach10’d it to the inner east, they hover in the centre of their webs; plump, spring-loaded leg-bots. As much as I’d like to tickle a flint of paper into one of their webs, I just can’t face the teeth breaking shudders of that first sudden scuttle.


Nor do I have the bottle to pull their webs down in the day. Seems almost sacrilegious. And plus, I know they’re still there, in the leaves, watching.


Of course, this anthropomorphism is integral to the absurd, but entirely furious fear I have of them, but aesthetics rule the world.  I know they don’t care about me, I do. They are implacably hostile and I’m not an insect. But still, when they get motoring, it’s like, I dunno, the opposite of seeing breasts.


And a breastless world is terrifying.



Some Things about New York

7 Nov


G.K Chesterton wrote, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” And all in all, that’s a pretty sweet quote cribbed by me from the Barnes and Noble Cafe wall.

This is my fifth time in NYC. I’m kind of used to it, but there are still things I’m reminded of each time I wander down a street or watch people blithely walk by just-the-cutest-squirrel-in-the-world-with-his-dancing-furry-tail-and-scaredy-cat-face. You want to spot a tourist in NYC? They’ll be standing next to me applauding a rodent.

Some things about New York…

One of us

In NYC, people scream at each other as a way of saying I love you. This takes some time to get used to. In many a Dunkin Donut, my fight or flight genes (well, flight or flight faster genes) have been ignited by some guy wandering in and barking a stream of seeming hostility at the poor counter dude. My ears hear, fuck you puerto rican scumbag,  they apparently hear, one donut please good sir. I edge towards the exit, but cash and food is cleanly exchanged and happy customers wander out on to the upper west side to scream on their phones and honk their horns.


Not the sandwich shop, the transit system, though the sandwiches are pretty sweet too. The subway is….awesomest. Gone is the Melbourne bred timetable obsession. No fear that if you miss that 10.23 to Parliament you won’t snare another train until, I dunno, Tuesday.  Here, you stroll onto whatever platform and some train comes along and takes you to some other platform lickety split.

Best of all about the subway is New Yorkers know how to do the kinetic dance of mass migration. Having some dude’s crotch in your Best Short Stories of 2009 Anthology is just the way it is and everyone adjusts with assertive courtesy – most sublime of all is the way all passengers are allowed to alight before anyone makes a mad dash for a seat. To do otherwise is to risk a carriage full of judgment. The only exception to this is mid-town.


Roughly talking, it’s 35th to 55th streets. The theatre district. Broadway.*

This is where all the stupid people on Earth  gather to point at buildings and stare at  lights. It’s horrible.

*Some theatre performed here.

Snow makes everything okay

To an aussie, snow on a city is..well..magical. There hasn’t been snow this time and I’ve missed it. Too early in the season, but still… Last time I was here, there was a light snow fall that was just about the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. Everything slows down and even the ugliest borough has  a good hair day.

It was one of the few times I sensed what it must be like to see something like the ocean for the first time. New Yorkers don’t seem to get all gooey about snow. It’s just cold stuff that will eventually turn into brown liquid – the same way oceans have rips and big ass sharks.

Yellow Food

The reason I’m not sleeping. After hooking in to another pile of deep-fried midnight breakfast joy, subsequent belly rumblings have me witnessing the first hour of the Dunkin Donuts day just across 148th. It opens at 5am and shuts at 11pm. At some point on this trip I realized I was eating to the point of nausea…and then pushing through it. Steamed vegetables are considered highly optional here.


Some other things around New York….

* The up above mid-town pic as a screen cap from a new U.S TV mini-series “The Walking Dead.” It follows a band of survivors as they struggle to stay safe amidst a *zombie apocalypse* Jizz.

As individual as the next bloke

4 Sep

It’s a typically masculine trait, getting a tattoo. Not that the ladies are allergic to a sneaky butterfly or rose, but inking up remains, for the most part, a bloke’s thing. There’s an irony with every tattoo of course. They are, historically, tied to masculine rites of passage. They are intrinsically tribal and shoulder the comfort of belonging, but are also, or perhaps always have been, intensely individual and expressionistic.

I am me! So where’s my pack then?

When I was a boy back in the seventies, tattoos were something dodgy uncles and blokes who wore singlets all the time got. An assumption of gaol time usually wafted along side crude inks of Amazonian women riding unicorns with flaming skulls. At any rate, tattoos were associated with a blokes who liked to fight. A kind of direct link to stone age butchness. Ah, the stone age. You could beat the shit outa stuff and then eat it or marry it. Them were the days.

Nowadays, it seems every other bloke is inked. The done-time-what-are-you-lookin-at factor is embraced as a fashion template, but bears little machsimo currency. Tattoo technology has also come along some. There’s no need for your chosen emblem to look like a left-handed texta drawing your niece did anymore, but they still remain, for all the dexterity of the modern needle, highly…eh.. tattooey.

But then there are the tattoos that could have been done easy-peasy back in the day but  weren’t. They are by and large a…erh…modern trend. These are the purely text tattoos. I’m not talking about love and hate being scrawled across knuckles; that’s a whole other plateau of psychosis. I’m talking about fancy pants credos. Now from a guy who has a wolf baying at the moon and a heart with fallen angel wings on his skin, I’m on unsteady moral ground, but Double Ewe Tee Eff blokes, what’s with the Sanskrit!?

Now I love a credo. Big bastard words that say big bastard messages. I’m a Man! Carpe Diem! Dance Dumpling, Dance! But these chunky ancient fonts creeping up forearms with bits of poetry and stuff; tomes bearing Live, perhaps a bit of Believe and Seize as well. Ergh. Why not have your message in your spoken tongue? Is to be clearly understood to appear…a…little…foolish?

And btw, did your tattooist study the Rosetta Stone? How do you know that there psalm doesn’t actually say “Remember to get milk” or “I like puppies!”

Hey. Maybe it does. Maybe everyone’s in on the joke except me and my wolfy angel thingy.

But a credo. A principle by which your deepest decisions shall be guided..shouldn’t that be worn on..pardon the metaphor..your sleeve. In big bastard block arse text. No fancy pants trim or pretend dead language gravitas.

I AM MAN. Ariel 24 point. Here it is. What I believe. Painted on me forever. Go on. Judge me.



Quiquid latine dictum sit altum viditur