December 31st, 2003


(no subject)

 ...and when I awoke in Australia for the very first time, the very first thing I became aware of was my throat. A ship marooned in the Mickelburg/Michaelmas (some place beginning with M not far from Newtown) night blasting out with its foghorn, an unconscious tired Englishman snores with such gusto that he can barely swallow his coffee in the morning. Forgive the lavatorial aspect of the this, we are in the land of the dunny after all, but just as sometimes on the toilet one can fear that the uncontrolled force of ablution is going to destroy your own ring of Sauron (glimpsing a colour medical atlas of accidents & emergencies once owned) and lead to prolapse. Well, if the comparison between arse and throat doesn’t seem too stretched, so to speak, it feels like half my throat is still residing at the back of my mouth. The force of the sforzando. What a long-winded way of describing that I surely snored like a bastard last night. Apologies to all in the city.

 There was a Windows moment on the flight over. Singapore Airlines offered 29 on-demand movies along the way, but the gaming part of the in-flight entertainments system (Krisworld – I think the kris is a curved blade of some sort. At least I remember some RPG games in which the ubiquitous weapons shopkeeper would offer you one for sale. Do you want to buy/sell?) was MS driven. I was relatively excited (read: bored beyond all parameters) to be playing old GameBoy carts like Kirby’s Dream Pinball, Metroid II, Wario World III at such high altitude. That is, I would have been if the screen didn’t display one of those terminal messages that the system’s integrity had been violated as if I was an overstimulated Clark Gable in some long plantation period piece, undoing my fly to dishonour the virtues of respectable ladies beneath their Mason-Dixons. I read somewhere (can’t check where at the moment) about how the Windows language is generally violent in tone, unlike Mac OS 9 or even X. I thought, for a brief second, that the plane could crash into the Afghan desert because of my stupid game playing desires. No, Mr President, it wasn’t Al-Qaeda, the passenger in 48b was trying to play the Royal Game of Ur.

 Saw some movies, I can’t recommend any of them especially. Runaway Jury with John Cusack was alright and did have the first known use of an iPod as a plot device. Gene Hackman ran this very improbable operation with vast computer screens displaying the intimate details of the jurors, another nod to The Conversation. SWAT was abysmal, but what else did you expect? 19 hours of flight in total, the Singapore Airline women all had regulation hair buns that they must offer workshops in when you train. The hours passed. I wondered why I always develop such bad wind when flying. Is there a connection between cabin pressure and intestinal gas? Must look into that. Must get off this plane. Must have a cigarette. Must have a cigarette.

 I’ve not seen that much of Sydney yet. I’ve not been whisked out for a sightseeing tour and I imagine I’ll discover it accidentally rather than with a battle strategy. So I’ll see the Sydney that Gid, Cath and others live in, rather than a series of shopping and photo opportunities. What does it look like?

 It looks a little alternate Memphis and New Orleans in these parts. Low rise houses, wrought iron decoration and balconies. It doesn’t look English and the street signs have a particular US aspect to them. Unknown birdsongs. Vacant lots. Blue sky. A distant ocean smell. Vietnamese bakeries. But no kudzu weaving through the telephone lines and empty buildings. Heat. Unknown star formations; Venus hung beneath the moon last night in a very fetching manner – the hussy.

 The only negative side as yet was a very unpleasant Thai dinner last night. Should you ever visit Bank’s Thai Restaurant (91 Enmore Road, Enmore 2042, tel: 9550 6840), just DON”T! They have lost both the plot and mama’s recipe book. In fact, ring them up and give them hell. The curry puffs were passable, but cardboard would taste okay if you deep-fried it long enough and dipped it in a pre-made sweet chilli sauce. As for the rest… Nevertheless, Gid felt the same way about his curry, so it was another point during the day when I was reminded of something I had missed; his high standard of culinary discernment. This is the man who first got me interested in cooking and any success I have in the kitchen is always with a nod towards him.

 Had lunch in a pub down the road in Newtown, walked Beano the dog down by the old asylum in somewhere that sounds like Roselle or something, drank beer and managed to stay awake until 10:30. Combination of melatonin (no firm decision yet as to whether it helps with jetlag), whisky, exhaustion and a small amount of fine marijuana then transformed Sarmoung into a 120db monster echoing in the cicada night.

 So I’m happy to be here. Reaching the end of this entry, wondering what to do now (it’s 7:21am). It’s a pleasant house they have here, sufficiently familiar with objects I can remember from the UK ten years ago and others that make perfect sense. It has a sort of Southern Gothic feel to it and the lighting is distinctly Lynchian. The garden is filled with rescued animals. There’s a rainbow lorikeet, a duck and some bird that looks like a cockatoo but isn’t. That’s not much help. And it’s getting hot already. As my mind abandons syntax, so will I also depart, especially since the cat called Creamy Goodness is obscuring the monitor. She wants something. But what?