Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the watery world is filled with water men, the fishes drown, the frogs lay upon their backs, floating like pebbles, these days of rain  and wind, the elemental forces churn up the voodoo like some cosmic wind blowing through, the opposite of a solar flare, a lunar drainpipe. animals look to me for shelter, the lizard kings under rock reminisce about the recent heat wave, the days when they basked upon rock, the colours run out of the day, pastels diluted to transparency. i sit watching it all, that river is no longer flowing down river, it's just flowing upwards defying gravity, it rises, as i ponder the eventuality of it washing me away, flooding mission control with eels and beasties.
i trudge out there, feeding fish, feeding pan the hound who looks as depressed as i feel by this deluge. 
he looks at me, 'what the fuck, two days ago i was laying flat out on the deck soaking up the sun, to hot to move.'
'yeah, tell me about it pan,' i say.
he's huddled in his kennel, pop's out to munch on his food and hops back in.
i gotta drive down the highway, 120k's slowed down to 80, manoeuvring the bad drivers, off which there are plenty, weaving, speeding, no headlights, speeders, you see it all in these conditions, i was one once a speed demon inhabited my soul so i don't judge these fools, i just hope they don't kill me.
the water don't let up, i feel like i'm driving underwater, thought bubbles keep me afloat, i am going slower than normal, listening to a radio show where people are calling in reports that sydney will be hit in the evening.
so we have not been hit yet? what is this then? it feels like we been hit already but the experts say the cyclone will travel down in the evening and wipe out the city, i'm driving away but it's going to hunt me down, this is my curse, the rain, how i loath rain like this, pouring down out from the black heavens. i don't want a rainy day woman, i want a sunshine girl but today i would settle for a rainbow lady.
i shift through the afternoon, doing my duty, by evening the rain starts falling heavy, pounding on the buildings, we watch the news, queensland is flooded badly, homes washed away, masses of foam is eating towns and the city is turning into a modern venice  as the waterways spill over, as the rivers rise. the ocean hammers away, wind howls and the water flies everywhere.
deluge days, flooding muddy dirty water running through kitchens, families displaced, helicopters swoop down plucking and air lifting folk from rooftops, communities band together, telecommunications down, lights out, civilization meets nature, yeah you tell me who's been her longer, who's outlasted the other, nature don't care about your failed love affair, it don't wanna hear about debt or the stock market crash, it don't care about that new film in 3d or the mona lisa, nature don't really consider constructs because it's the one true reality of this realm, it's the leveller, rich man poor man, beggar man thief bank manager or poet this force can't distinguish between those kinda ideas, it just does what it does, shapes and forms, like the potters hands, restructures, a new starting point, some kinda weird turbulence, as we run, drive, fly and take cover, the random hands of the universe tweaking creation, with what appears like destruction, fire rain, earth moving, heat, water, cold. this is the real forces of nature, elements of material existence  the force that began creation and may just end it as we know it. nature is fast when it moves, like geology. 
i hide away in a shelter, the rain pounds down, the tv gives us news of catastrophic devastation, politicians say things to cameras and try and act in control. news crews push into the forbidden zones, channels compete for disaster porn. yeah call me old fashioned but i rather watch porn than human tragedy on loop.
people burn in fires, it kills.
people drown in water, it kills.
it has no moral condition, it's effects are tragic and painful but as a force one cannot say, the storm was evil, or it was psychotic or malevolent, it is what it is, natural, which is why sometimes we need reminding, about who really is in control. 
after writing this i save it as a draft, someone enters my office and says i can go home. my shift is over but the rain is falling heavier now and they have just announced that it's going to get worse. 
i ran for the car, getting organised for the journey ahead, into the storm, we should meet halfway.
the highway is horrendous, the cars are blown from lane to lane, they slide as though on ice, the wind howls along, rocks have fallen onto some of the lanes, i swerve out the way of a fallen tree that has been uprooted and thrown down onto the slow lane, jesus i'm now moving underwater, waves of water just hitting my windscreen, no other cars on the road when i get off the highway i'm driving down winding country roads, trees almost bending over and plenty of flooded roads to negotiate, fortunately my car is an 4wd and has the ability to manage challenging conditions better than other cars, so eventually when i do get home safe and sound i can relax, but not before i notice the branches of my palm trees fallen over the pond. big clean up as soon as it stops raining, i turn the key, oh it's good to be home, it's safer than larking around out there in this wild wind, i'm not a waterboy man, i'm a tropical sun worshipper who likes snoozing in a hammock, drinking coconut drinks and swanning around in a sarong half naked with a dark skinned nymph from a tribe born to pleasure. the cold winds howl me down and tease me, the ice from the frozen wastelands don't work for me, the rain, the rain, blah it stops me in my tracks, kills my motivation to get anything done, it's awkward, got a weird smell, gets into my old bones and makes me contract. i'm an expansive old spirit, like steam.
the rain swirls around my house, maybe the wind shakes the foundations away, lifts it up in it's swirling surge and just like an inverted dorothy and toto old captain mission and pan are transported from oz to somewhere else, a place called 'is, cans is.'
pan looks at me, we are standing in a white space, everything is just white, the ground, the sky, the whole landscape, white, 'where are we pan?'
'we are in blank canvass.'

Sunday, January 27, 2013

don't bang the drum - the waterboys

1984 and i am wandering around the usa, i'd found some work at a water skiing area, driving boats. on my days off i'd wander down to the lake and take a book, i think at this particular time it was catch 22, there would be a few of us sharing days off so we would usually meet around the lake and just relax in the sun, swim and read, share dreams. i had a walkman in those days, something i picked up in nyc, i had some tapes, the blurred crusade which i had played so much the tape was stretching and distorted on most of the songs, i had simple minds, new gold dream which was falling apart from overplay and a bowie mix i had made at home, one of the other workers a guy from manchester lent me the waterboys, the first two albums on a c120 cassette and i lay back and looking out across the empty lake at the beautiful forest and majestic skies i hit play and for about two hours i was gone.
those two hours were transcendental, as the big music and lyrics took me into my imagination, and some unknown territory, nothing quite beats that feeling as you hear something for the first time and recognise it will profoundly change your life. that's how it was with this music, such huge arrangements, sweeping piano's and 12 strings, and that voice singing out stories, a narrative from the pages of a novel, this was poetry of a higher order.
i listened to that tape for months, i travelled all over the usa listening to it, and about a year later i saw them play in london at hammersmith, where they blew my mind with incredible powerful stage presence and music that was the equivalent of ambrosia, it was the sounds of angels playing rock and roll but with words that lifted the spirit and allowed it to fly, this music was big not just in production and sound but in the fact it was of the spirit, it was spirit music, not soul music, not rock, not pop it was spiritual music.
mike scott always wrote great songs, he is a word man, a man who never compromises his music, exploring all genres and exposing his influences and exploring traditions, you do have to go back to go forwards and mike took the waterboys into his roots which worked although commercially failed in the short term but where are ultravox now? 
i'd seen the waterboys play in london a few times, in their different incarnations but it had been about 26 years and last week they were in sydney, played a show of their yeats tour, which was brilliant and amazing, although it was not until the band played 'bang the drum' and 'fisherman's blues' that the audience showed any sign of life.
and then they played at the opera house, man it was incredible, a blistering set of all the classics with 'purple rain' as an encore. 
the audience this time were on their feet and clapping and cheering and the band were just masters of their instruments and one another, they were fluid and spontaneous, diverse and colourful, these guys were in the music with us, the waterboys, thank you so much, what a brilliant night, come back soon.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

furious nature, impossible birds, the whisper of promises of maybe. this planet has new colours and sensations, it's diversity is celebrated with life yet the dominant species are trapped in infinite loop, repeating the same old mistakes over and over until they follow the devolutionary process or somehow manage that evolutionary leap. maybe a short bust of gamma radiation will do it, i think about sending a light bomb calibrated for short star burst into their sun, a solar flare or two would do the trick, send their devices back to a proto- stone age but with new wetware evolving and these human beens may just make it. but it's highly likely a light bomb may just end up with the other result, a few fried brains and some insect life ready to step up and take over. i don't care that much for the insect evolution, i seen it on a few planets out in andromeda and while i can appreciate their organisational skills, when it comes to creativity these bugs can't think outside a hive.
poor human beens. i tune into the the so called 24 hour news cycle, mmm, it's the same old stuff, just different names, places, doing the same old stuff, famine, war, conflict, murder, trying to dominate natures plans, believing in science and technology will only get you so far on the road to the dead end.

i piolet the module back towards the libeteria, some groovy music filters out from some fm station. i always like visiting earth, they have ice cream and art, and those earth girls are cute although they seem obsessed about footwear.

heading north in my module, down a dirt road, weaving around hair pin bends and winding meandering tracks, surrounded by bush lands, i find myself high up, gazing down on a lush subtropical rain forest. 
i don't know where i am, off the map, somewhere north of the entrance. no mobile signal here, google maps led me astray, i'm no where near where i am meant to be. 
i ignore my technology, tune in to some instinctive frequency, follow the road, no turning back, sun sinking, clouds rolling over, maybe a little rain after dark. 
the module and i tune in, some sort of weird symbiotic frequency, wetware kicks in, suddenly i'm out of the woods, civilisation, homes and traffic lights, some place with a name i can't pronounce, i get my bearings from invisible transmissions, everything flows somewhere. 
the main road takes me home, i pass some interesting nurseries where i consider buying some plants, i pass some organic fruit markets and lots of craft shops, rain starts falling, headlights on, blurry evening, going nowhere.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

sydney is a furnace, oppressive and sweltering, records break as the mercury rises. kids cry, mothers getting angry on short fuses and the traffic melts on the freeway. 
it's midnight as i drive down the motorway, the windows are down, i'm blasting some groovy tunes, the faint smell of bush fires drifts through the windows.
yeah days like these you gotta be careful, i watch the p plater ahead driving like a maniac, all over the road, no discipline, no character, his driving is youthfully arrogant and the cigarette but still ablaze shoots out from his window and rolls down the road into the bush is evidence.
this is the butterfly flapping it's wing, in sydney on days like these a burning ember can destroy a community, i seen it close up, i fought bush fires and let me tell you close up these are oceans of flame, like waves they get angry and unpredictable, and a man can either stand and burn or get out of denver.
i've had a strange day, i went into work and the unit was like a sweat box, no air conditioning, no fans, everyone was uncomfortable and dripping in sweat, some staff had gone home sick and i thought what about the poor guys that live there, it's not like they can go home.
i ring up head office, 'look it's not that i'm given to complain but these guys deserve some relief.'
'well everyone here has gone home.'
'yeah to their nice air cons and ice blocks, but these guys have not got that luxury?'
'well take them out somewhere, where they have air conditioners, take them to the movies.'
so i do, we go see a great film in 3d, it's the life of pi and we all loved it, actually i have read the book and this is one example of a film that is much better than the book.
we get home around 10pm, there's a change on it's way, i can feel it in the wind, but the house is still a sweatbox, yeah government funding, the wonderful labour party dishes up millions to their big government but my people, they gotta sweat it out.
by the time i get home the wind is up, the mercury is falling fast, it's nice standing outside in the wind, feeling it lick the sweat from my skin. relief feels good. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

i go eat some salad with some girls i know in avoca, down lakeveiw drive, in the bush. one is my friend lilly whom has arrived for rest and restoration, the other is her friend whom has just come in from a surfing trip in hawaii, we smoke a little number and talk surfing, she's telling me about the waves in hawaii, and the spirit of aloha. cool stuff. we eat some good salad and then watch the sun fall down behind the trees, i tell them my book club story and they laugh.
i drive home through the rain, it's nice to see the rain after the high bush fire threat, the plants drink it up and they look happy. i think about the firemen who worked through the fires, it's a tough place australia, yeah landscape here is harsh, you gotta have the right spirit to manage here, i don't know if i have but i am a hell of a lot different than when i first arrived. i like the frontier towns, i like the edge where the wild meets civilisations weakness, it's a good reminder that no matter how much cash you have the shark don't care, the fire will show no discrimination, the land will eat you rich or poor. it's healthy to know fear, it's healthy to respect it's place in life. there's plenty to fear i think as i drive down dark roads, frogs leap across the asphalt, drenched in my headlights, branches and twigs lay upon the ground, darkness and rain, not a good place to break down, not a soul in sight, far away from anything. yeah there's a lot to fear.
home is home it's anywhere i feel safe, and i feel safe here in my home as the elements start whipping up a storm, flashes of lightening, some wild wind and more rain.
ian banks starts writing straight novels, yeah slightly strange, a little surreal but straight. and then one day after perfecting his craft into some sort of high art he writes a science fiction book that is fucking brilliant under the name iain m banks, it is a vast space opera set in an society called the culture, a utopian socialist ideal, i'd like to live there man. 
the novels are published alternatively with his straight novels, one a year, they span galaxies and each story is remarkably different than the last. humans just live well, on orbitals, space ships and planets, artificial intelligence is everywhere and runs the show, spaceships have personalities and a collective intelligence called the mind, there are no secrets. i read them all except the second one which is called 'player of games.'
i'm not sure why that one slipped past me, but i have just finished reading it and it really matched all my expectations. the inner science fiction circles all say this is a work of genius and i agree, it's very good.
a player of games is asked by special circumstances, the branch of the culture that deals mostly with trouble to represent them in a game on a newly discovered planet where the game is life itself. we follow our player as he is forced to make a decision and participate in this strange alien world. is he the player of games or is he being played in a game? 
banks writes really well, his imagination is unlimited and he knows how to make his readers laugh. those inner sci fi chaps are spot on, this is a classic read. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

the aboriginal people have a strong connection with the land, they are the custodians and the land knows this, the relationship is harsh, the conditions are challenging, only a strong power can forge this land, for it is wild and requires some taming. the aboriginals have been working with the land for eons, since the beginning, in dream time, beyond time and space, they inhabit no fixed point like us civilised folk for the land is beyond a single point in space time continuity, it is the dream time, where serpents sleep and narratives are formed, woven in song-lines is the landscape without borders.
here in my small patch i am custodian of the lizards and water dragons, the birds and the plants, the trees and the frogs, the dogs and the fish. i have to maintain their habitat, work and shape their gardens, pull out the dead wood, plants and foliage.
i'm working in the pond, cleaning it out with russell from 'anything wet' a fish man who's showing me the intricate science of pond science and life. even the pebbles in my pond play a role for in the upper pond(yes my pond has several levels)they act as a digestive system absorbing the bad bacteria as the filter deposits it. 
we clean out the whole area, cut away the plant life that is absorbing nutrients from the pond, we hack away weeds and some horrible weird plant that leaves a trail off underground bubbles. then we vacuum to water up and clean out the scum at the bottom. fish are transported into a smaller tank, and the big one trashes around protesting. the clearing out of the pond in 40 degrees is backbreaking work, it's filled with stones and mud and debris. we fill up a huge bin, the rest has to go onto the front garden, its nutrient rich so it would do no harm.
then we fill up the clean pond, transferring the fish, these fish can't work it out, their home has changed beyond recognition, the big one, waldo, has some sort of break down and floats on his side gasping, i watch him, the lizards come out to investigate, even my dog gazes from the bridge, i throw some food down hoping it will help.
i fill the pond up to the brim, there's a lot of evaporation in this heat. 
after some sort of decompression the waldo is happy and starts chomping down on his food, the lizards all relax in the intensity of the sun, i go looking for shade and relief from this blazing day, the dog crashes out in the shade of a willow tree and my plants all start drinking up the water thats slashed over onto the soil. all in all this is very hard work, but it feels good working the land, it feels real, pulling out weeds, raking dead leaves and keeping the animals happy, man, that beats working in a bank any day.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

some bright spark decided i should run the unit while my boss takes a holiday, me, in charge, managing a psychiatric unit, mmm, the lunatics have certainly taken over the asylum.
initial impact is my hours change to vaguely normal, although waking up at 5 am every morning could never really be described as normal, i pick up a huge coffee and hit the highway, no traffic, vast road stretching out, hewn through red rock, sunrise light, mists and glistening oceans, it's stunning, i don't mind the 5 am starts, one coffee resets my equilibrium. no traffic, me and the road.