Archive | Fear RSS feed for this section

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.



Impro, fries and Romanian lies.

7 Jun

So, little light bulbs are flashing in my murky monkey brain as I pull in for the traditonal 10pm post Impro Cave performance  McComfort food. It’s been a fun night on stage with people I trust.

But, the usual loop of “Coulda said/done/danced/sung” is playing out, though this time it’s on missing a big ass connection between a character who refused to fall in love and a man who had just fallen from God’s waiting room. First mouthful of delicious, delicious salty fat and that big juicy offer of metaphor, fall, pops up and pokes its tongue.  I suppose it’s progress that the self punishment is lamenting lost allegory and not being a dirtyfuckingblocker.

Secondly, the McRitual was something that I used to share with my Lea. A lovely indulgence late on a winter Sunday. Sundaes and cups of tea and making her laugh.  The body remembers I guess.

Third flash bulb is being forced to play a gypsy. A gloriously joyous gypsy. (The show is Gypsyprov) Blanket archetypes aside, the brute reality that sank in by the last slop of syrup on Glenferrie Rd,  is that the absurd positiveness of Ulrich, this alter ego, is so far removed from how I move through life that it actually hurts me to let it go. Him. Up and at em’. Me. Not so much. Him. Loves the ladies and doesn’t mind showing it. Me. Not so much.

God help me if I ever start sprouting method nonsense to justify anything, but  impro in general is becoming more and more a kind of spiritual mind the gap announcement, or warning. I can’t distill why there is such giddy freedom within it ( and even that is a little shaky of late) that somehow squeezes to a grapefruit core of tight lipped tension in almost all other avenues, be they writing, composing or just looking someone in the eye and being available.

I’m sure there are logical connections. Impro taps into that absorptive play that children are so natural with. We are, on stage, ostensibly, playing adult dress ups with the addition of a cheering audience. We are reminded of that simplicity. One thing. Another one thing….a story unfolds. Our stories. Delicate, courageous things.

I’m sure the logic links are there. The whys. The hows. I can understand it. I can.

Just lately though, what I know and what I feel, they line up..not so much. At times, I feel like I need a Kneivel Sky-Cycle to breech the chasm.

prepare a face to meet the faces you meet; wrote T.S.Eliot.

He was on to something there.

His next line, there will be time to murder and create.

I think, perhaps, even a gypsy couldn’t have said it better.


Do you see what I see?

4 Jun

Aesthetics trumps all it seems, and for a boy, that means visual. My sense of smell and taste is poor. Even though I’m a chocolate fiend and inhale yellow food like it’s deep fried air, I’m often struck by how other people, usually women, can catch odours and tastes that I’m blithely unaware of as I slop things in to my mouth and spill “delicious!”

But, just as Darwin intended, or measured, if two of my senses are shifty, then so shall another be compensated, and for me, it’s sight. Perhaps I’ve convinced myself, but walking through bush, or near ocean, I’ll often spot things; a snake, a bird, that my fellow travelers miss. In such moments, I like to puff my chest, wave my arms and describe the very expression on the fish head in the bird’s beak, as my compadres squint blankly. It makes me feel nobly ancient. But, maybe, in the long-long ago, it’s just that my primal grand-daddy slammed arse backwards into a cave bear while wandering for berries and the subsequent ‘pay attention’ gene kicked in, and it’s not superior sight at all, but survival paranoia.

Which brings me to pine forests. Ever since I saw a block of them at the back of the 2nd Hole at the Hamilton Public Golf Course in 1982, they have intoned a very particular, but untraceable emotion in me. That day in the golf course, I feared over-hitting (unlikely, I was a spaz), lest I have to climb the fence and enter the long columns of trees. It felt like something would be waiting for me in there. Something malevolent as it was patient.

And yet, I also really, really wanted to climb that fence, and that is a compulsion that has dimmed exactly jot through the years.  There’s something in the ordered rows of forest, vanishing off into darkness, which swivels my head and heart, always. I’ve tried deconstructing it; using them as a location in a story, but it just reads cheap. I’ve tried photographing and filming them, but the shapes seem lifeless in reproduction.

I once had a friend in a seance contact something that informed us of a past life where her and I met in a pine forest in Phoenix and something nasty and unresolved went down. As exhilarating as that experience was, my root being almost always falls back to a kind of supernatural Occam’s Razor. That is, if the choice of explanations is between someone whose hand is on a glass on a ouija board subconsciously pushing it, and a being from another dimension travelling to Keysborough to supply me a cryptic clue, then I’ll go with the former.

But pine forests. There they are. Mythical without an origin story. Frightening without logical cause. Calming just because they are. Tall. Dark. Pine forests.


No razor, it seems, can slice through this one.