Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Things Not To Say In The Workplace

Prompted by a recent post here is this random memory...

My girlfriend used to be a caterer and one of her corporate clients said, "We're all or nothing, aren't we. You don't hear from us for ages and all of a sudden we need you every day."

"Yes," GF replied earnestly. "You seem to come in spurts."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Note To Self...

Just what the FUCK is your problem? What's the go with all this mood swing shit? Last week you were so fucking "up" it was nauseating enough for me to think about writing to you to tell you to pull your head in with all this "optimistic" crap and that "life's been so good to me" stuff, and I do believe on three occasions you said that there "really is a kind of magic out there" (fucking GAG! What the fuck is that shit all about? Magic? Fuck off bitch!), and now you're the mopiest fucker who ever walked the face of the Earth. What are you - a chick? Is that it? With all that hormones crap they come up with? Are you about to CRY? Well ARE? YOU? Because if you are about to cry with the unbearable sadness of it all I might just have to march over and smack you right on the vagina, you stupid stupid little mangirl.

And even if you're not about to cry, this mopey shit... FUCK. It's just embarrassing. Toughen the fuck up. Or at least get a bit of consistency going, Goddamned homo.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Copyright Woopsie

I wrote to a syndication agency the other day, and they responded pretty quickly and professionally. I sent them a copy of a story that went into a major glossy here almost 12 months ago, and the agent loved it. Said it was a page turner and that she would love to represent me in the US and the UK. Said that as soon as I write a pitch, send some more samples and send a bio she would get started on a marketing campaign overseas.

Excellent news.

Except that now I find that the major glossy owns the rights to my story, not me. I'm hoping that because the story was generated by me and not them that they will release the rights so that I can on-sell the story. It really is my story, a personal account that I wrote in full before ever contacting the magazine, so I'm going to be pretty pissed off if they don't let me have the rights to sell it. I'm hoping their "all rights reserved" clause is to protect the ideas that they generate and that they will do the decent thing and be happy with a credit, because it's fucking hard work trying to make any sort of a living from writing and I really need this, both for the money and confidence boost.

I have to write to the editor of the glossy today. I guess if they don't do the decent thing it's a lesson learned. From now on if I sell a story I guess I have to make sure that I am only selling first publishing rights and make it clear that I retain copyright.

I guess these are the things you learn when you do a course of some description. Bugger, bugger, bugger.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Spectacular. Easing myself back onto the treadmill. Accepted my first story for 2007 for one of the mags I write for. Did a phone interview. Commenced chat by joking to the interviewee about my head still being on holiday and gosh I hope I remember how to work the recorder. Had a lovely, lengthy chat. Hung up the phone. Checked recorder. Can you guess what happened next?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Lazy post. This is my latest Grumpy column for the good people at Tsunami mag.


After doofing my way around the countryside recently I found myself sitting on the outdoor deck of a nice little restaurant on a quaint seaside town. As the sun sunk sleepily beyond the horizon, someone at the next table said, “Ooh, look, there it is.” Someone else at their table added a “Where? Oh there! Oh my God!” A third person chimed in with a masculine, “She’s a bloody beauty, isn’t she?” I looked over to see that they were watching a plane’s vapour trail make its way across the darkening sky. I asked if they know someone who is on it. “On what?” Masculine Man asked. “On a bloody comet?” “Fuck off,” I replied in my head, adding out loud, “That’s not a comet. It’s a plane.” They insisted that was “the comet”, and I had to admit there was a faint chance there might be a comet about because I’d been having a feral couple of weeks and maybe I didn’t know absolutely everything after all. I kept one eye on this alleged comet just in case, even though I was fairly sure I was watching Qantas 145 make its way to Perth.

Turns out there is a comet about, and being quite the cometologist, when I get back home trudge across to a nearby hill at the time the Internet has told me to and wait for the comet to make its appearance. Through expertly squinty eyes I spot the comet. Ah yes, good ol’ McNaught. There are a couple of kids and their dad looking in completely the wrong direction, so I point the comet out. Before I know what’s happened I’m embroiled in a ridiculously heated discussion about astronomy, aircraft vapour trails, ambient light, light refraction and all sort of egghead shit. With seven year olds. I say fine, look at nothing, I’m watching the comet. Minutes later there’s triumphant shouting as the kids and their dad point out a Sky Thing that totally shits all over my Sky Thing in the comet stakes, and I realise those silly bastards at the restaurant really had been looking at an aeroplane vapour trail... ha ha - stupid people.

And what’s the go with kids and their inability to win an argument graciously? What’s with all this ner ner ner ner shit? Why don’t they just grow up?

While they’re distracted by their stupid little comet, I deftly kick some dried dog poo into their pile of wind-cheaters and caps and make my way home.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Off The Rails

I was just asked to write a review of the last party I went to, Exodus Live. 330 word limit, have fun with it, kind of brief I like. Unfortunately I went a bit off the rails and had to stop because it's not going to be quite the review the mag will be expecting. Pity because I was on a bit of a roll, and it does actually capture something of the spirit of the thing. You can see the tone and style I was going for, but it's just a really good example of lack of discipline. Thought I may as well post it here because you might get a giggle out of it.

Right, back to a blank page for me...

Exodus Live Festival

With some unreliable background rumblings about the festival organisation changing hands, the big concern was whether this year’s Exodus was going to be as good as last year’s, which was the best Australian dance festival I had been to. Short answer? Yup, sure was. Slightly longer answer? Okay then... nasty hailstorm en-route, weather cleared to sunny with dribbly little showers, set up tent like the pro I am (ha), hit the dancefloor. Someone said something about the electro dome so I sauntered into what turned out to be the most twisted dance experience I’d ever... um, experienced. The music was crunchy and poppy and wonderfully fucked up... almost as fucked up as the lunatics I was dancing with. These guys were freaks. Later I asked my friends who had pointed the dome out to me what they thought. “Fucked if I was going in there,” was their reply, “it looked too scary.” Wandered past a packed children’s tent where a fully made up guy was telling a story to a crowd of enthralled children. Kids were lapping it up. Slept. Hit the dancefloor at 9am in time for Kolliope whose musical praises I will still be singing on my death bed. I loved their sweet melodies and glorious lyrics across an undeservedly empty dance floor (order of appearance was weird and tempo of acts needed to be more complementary) and through a sometimes patchy sound system. Later I introduced myself to Kolliope and enjoyed my favourite moments of the festival... Michelle called me an angel and she and Randolf gave me big cuddles just because I’ve written good things about them... aaaawe. Hit the psytrance stage and always, those guys had the sound sorted. Danced to some guy whose DJ antics resembled the international Eskimo, so when someone asked who the DJ was, I said Eskimo, even though I don’t think there was an international on the 100 plus line up. Psy stage was smaller than last year but the vibe every bit as electric... except when those freak-arse dogs attached themselves by their fun bits, not in traditional doggy style but rear-end to rear-end, in the middle of the dancefloor and looked really bored with the hour or so of attention they were getting. It was bizarre. They were stuck like a couple of Leggo blocks. Some wigged out guy thought pouring cold beer on the attached bits was the solution. Another guy thought he could pick one dog up and revolve it like a corkscrew. Fortunately a giggling kind of common sense prevailed and everyone just let them wait until whatever was supposed to happen happened while we pointed and laughed. It was fucked up... and pretty damn funny. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you’re that totally sick chick who took the photo, please forward it to me – mine didn’t turn out so well. Got some food. Guy was charging guys $1 more than he was charging the girls for the same meals. Next year, Falafel Man, I will have my vengeance *shakes fist at Falafel Man and plots vengeance*

(It's here that I realised I was hopelessly off the rails and had to abort).

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Back. Tanned. Tired. Story ideas still keep blooming in my mind. Still feel like I'm driving. Covered about 3,700km for two parties. If I had my way I'd be adding another 2 - 3,000 on to take in Rainbow Serpent next week as well. But I don't have my way. There's a treadmill to jump on, even though I just wanna be a gypsy. Maybe one day I'll ditch this treadmill thing.

Back with more tomorrow when I am more coherent... then again I have a real world to get back to as well as ideas for a novel, a short story collection and a children's book to get on with.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Orgy And Drug People

Too much has happened to get it all down now, but I am bursting with stuff to write about. Just an account of getting to the party and the party itself is going to make for some (hopefully) good reading. And I have a stack of fiction ideas too. Maybe even a novel, and the energy to throw myself into a novel. It's been a blast.

But following on from the previous post... we stayed at the same motel after Exodus and the orgy lady said they were really busy. "I don't know what's going on for this time of the week. I think there must be a huge drug party on somewhere."

Standing there unshaven, sunburned and sore from dancing for three days, still wearing my party wrist band, dribbling mushroom tea, syringes hanging out of my arms, a shtoopie hanging from my lips, acid-snakes oozing from my pores as I sweated pure A-grade heroin with pockets bulging with mescalin, I looked at her through my bloodshot, pin-prick eyes and felt kind of sheepish...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Orgy People

Am in Byron for a couple more hours before heading to Exodus Live in Tenterfield. Roughing it again for a few days of party mayhem.

Get this though - spent the night in a cute little motel. Woke up to a gorgeous Byron day of sunshine, pleasant humidity, the buzz of holiday in the air. Showered, started moving our stuff back into the car, and the hotel lady (sweet 60-ish year old) bumps into us and greets us not with a "good morning" or "nice day", instead she smiles sweetly and says in her nice 60-ish year old voice, "Have you been to an orgy?"

What the hell is that all about?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Death & Beauty

Traveled up the coast and took a turn inland to a place called Bonalbo. It's the same site we got evacuated from last year due to flooding. This year, no rain. But the party ended on a pretty tragic note. Some of you might have read about it in the news.

First up though, it really was a good party. Well organised, loads of good music, vibe just as it should be. Met up with many friends who had also traveled from Sydney. Saw faces I think we saw at Soulclipse in Turkey. Others are people Ann and I are getting to know from parties around this area (north west NSW, near the Queensland border, roughly eight hours' drive from Sydney).

Set up camp on the river's edge just far enough away from the music to enjoy going to sleep to it. I like drifting off to music. Nice to wake up to it too, knowing that some die hards are probably still dancing. Also nice to wake up to the chime and whip of tiny, unseen birds and the deep and comical chirrup of frog-call.

Emerging from the tent, there are friends and strangers making their way to or from the dancefloor, drink in hand at breakfast time, and it's a lovely sense of freedom to think fuck it, and also crack open that first beer of the day. Some small talk with neighbours about how it's good to get a good night's sleep at these things.

The day soon becomes another blur of laughing and dancing, dancing sometimes under the sprinkler system because skin is already stinging with the glare of the sun. Sometimes it's just good to sit in the shade and watch others have their fun. Sometimes the fun is infectious and the pulsing music too hard to resist any longer and it's time to dance on tired limbs again, smiling that psytrance smile.

There's a face I remember from last year, this girl who is amazing to watch. She's beautiful, no doubt about it, but in a strange way. She was at each of last year's parties and in Byron away from the parties too. She's one of those people I want to know, maybe someone I shouldn't get to know. She's a kind of Earth Mother type, layers of earthy clothes, a hypnotic sway of the hips, a smile and a laugh you fall in love with each time you see it. I know she's seen me smile as I watch her, and today I decide to go and say hello. I tell Ann this.

"That girl," I say, "I want to say hello to her. I want to know her name."

Ann says nothing. She knows who I'm talking about because I pointed her out last year. I pick up a vibe. I change my mind about saying hello. Then I change it back again.

I walk down the hill and join the crowd, stomping in the dust beneath the trees and the colourful streamers. The girl is laughing again and doing that swaying, sensual dance. Her eyes could be green, those lips are dark and wide across her face, hair dusty red. She's not a classic beauty. She's so much more than that. I walk over to her when the time is right.

"Hello," I say to her. "What is your name?"

"I'm Kylie," she says, smiling and open.

"I'm Lee," I tell her. "I've seen you at a few parties around here and just wanted to say hello. I'm not hitting on you or anything. Just wanted to say hello, because you're a very attractive person. And I thought I'd say hello."

The smile is a wide one, lines at the corners of the eyes deepening. She presses her hands together and says thank you, and I leave it at that, knowing that we'll see each other again, probably at next week's party.

Back up on the hill I tell Ann that I said hello to the girl, and again I pick up a vibe, and I think this is very funny because Ann has guys telling her that kind of thing all the time. They stop her in the street and ask to have their photo taken with her. I know it makes her happy.

Was I wrong to say what I said?

Later Kylie walks past and I introduce her to Ann, so there is no confusion. They smile and shake hands and tell each other their names, and as Kylie continues walking she touches me lightly on the shoulder, a gentle squeeze, another generous flash of that smile and I think no, I was not wrong to say what I said.

As the day darkens we notice helicopters buzzing around. Last time this happened at a party like this it turned out they were not joyflights that we were waving like fools at but search helicopters. The guy they were looking for had wandered off at the beginning of the party and his friends had assumed he had not come back to his tent because he'd met a girl. His body was eventually found in the river. He'd wandered off alone, slipped at the river's edge, hit his head, drowned alone.

We're not sure what these helicopters are doing, but it makes us feel uneasy. We've danced enough for a while and decide to go back to the tent for a bit of chill time. On the way, we find out what happened. There had been parachute jumps on offer for those that way inclined. Several jumps went smoothly, one did not. Young guy from Iceland had pushed the limit and freefell for too long. Chute didn't have enough time to open properly. He was, by all accounts, an adrenalin junkie. It had just happened. We bumped into one friend who had been watching, then another who knew the guy. The scene was as you can expect.

My mood was swirling. Drunk on beauty, then this empty sadness, that cold hard fact again that it can all end so quickly, a life ending in the name of fun.

We lay in silence in the tent, knowing that most of the others were not aware of what had happened. The music was still pumping, people were still dancing. It was the strangest backdrop to the scene we had just walked through.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Frivolous Man

The previous post reminded me of this story. It's the story behind a story I wrote called Being Groove Terminator. I might post that story here some time. It's very silly, but I especially like the series of coincidences and connections behind the story.

The Dreaded One and I are loading up the car tomorrow and heading to Byron Bay and Tenterfield and I am waaaay happy about that. I'm going fully feral again and am going to try not to miss creature comforts like internet and text messaging and ... oh God - two weeks without a theatre hit. Fucking hell. This is serious. And... and what if I come back and everyone has forgotten who I am and I have to start all over again. I think it's funny and everything, but part of me just quite likes seeing my reviews on theatre walls. I like that I was quoted in an arts piece this week: "Interval journo Quick was there and he said blah blah blah..." I mean, it doesn't give me a stiffy or anything, but it's kinda nice that someone thinks I'm worth quoting. What if everyone forgets about me and I never get quoted again. I want to be quoted, goddamnit. I don't want to be forgotten.

Fuck it. Can't risk it. Going to call the trip off and stay home and keep working. What was I thinking? Road trip what? Two dance festivals in two weeks? Sandy beaches? Sleeping in? Staying up all night? Drinks at lunch time? Dancing in sunshine and bare feet in fields of flowers? What? Who the hell do I think I am? Frivolous Man?

Monday, January 01, 2007

2006 In Review

What a funny year 2006 was. This is how it went for me: Went up to Byron Bay at this time in January after handing in my notice. Quit my job as a writer and editor in March. Went to Turkey to see a total solar elipse and dance in the mud for six days. Also went to Spain and the UK. Came back to no job. Started getting regular writing work with another mag almost immediately. Had my second feature published in Men's Health (a story about tattoos). Kept writing my monthly column called Grumpy. Started seeing my theatre reviews on the walls of various theatres. Started masquerading as a chef at The Sydney Opera House. My part time chef job blew out to 60 hours a week and I still managed to review some theatre and write a story or two for the mag and spend a couple of days in my shop. I seemed to morph from a lazy dreamer into some sort of high energy version of me.

All in all, not a bad year at all. Some unexpected turns, a bit of leaping into the great unknown, and really, just not bad at all.

When I get back from my two week road trip I'm going to start badgering overseas magazines with a couple of short stories that I believe in (they are at least as good as this one), try to keep the chef stuff in balance and try to get grown up money for my arts writing. And I'd like a regular humour column in a major newspaper too please because my God there's some drivel out there... and I can write drivel to compete with the best of them. Some of the Christmas columns were stinkers.

But look, really, the absolute highlight of 2006 for me was when in a pension in Selcuk in Turkey a pissed and probably very stoned Japanese tourist fully believed I was Bra Pee. I don't think I can top that moment. Me talking to The Dreaded One, my head almost shaved, rugged as fuck facial hair, pissed tourist stumbling into the room and pointing at me and insisting to her equally inebriated boyfriend "Rook! It's Bra Pee! Bra Pee! Hello Mr Pee."

Me: "Wot?"

She: "I get camera. Take photo of Bra Pee."

Me: "Wot?"

mused Canadian Traveler: "She thinks you're Brad Pitt."

That was definitely the highlight of my 2006... no wait. It got better when a friend in the UK was telling her flatmate the Bra Pee story and was absolutely horrified that someone should make such a profound mistake, and where the flatmate was supposed to join in the laughter of derision, they paused, looked a little closer and said, "No... I can see the resemblance."

Absolutely horrified UK friend: "Oh fuck off! Don't tell him that."