Monday, June 25, 2012

Grumpy With Travel Luggage

The Dreaded One and I are lucky enough to be heading overseas again. We dusted off our luggage recently and while she looked fondly upon her trusty steed, I instinctively lashed out and kicked the living shit out of mine, screaming hateful insults at it.

Grumpy – what are you doing?”

Sorry Dreaded One,” I panted from my exertions, wiping sweat and spittle from my face... and giving that son-of-a-bitch suitcase one last, heartfelt kick. “I think it's like when war vets have flashbacks. I just had a flashback.”

It's a suitcase. You put clothes in it to go travelling. How can you compare that to a war flashback?”

You weren't there,” I say as I massage the trauma from my forehead... attempt to massage the trauma from my... attempt to ease the trauma inside my head by massaging my forehead. “You didn't see the horror... the horror...”

You are not Marlon Brando and I was there. You just chose poorly, that's all.”

Her words become echoey and my world goes wavy like some b-grade special effect indicating a shift back in time... time... time...

It all started out pleasantly enough. After The Twisted Back Incident in Turkey, 2006 in which I had hoisted my back-pack onto my shoulders in such a swashbuckling manner and, well, twisted my spine into the source of the universe's most excruciating pain, I decided that I'd try one of those bags-on-wheels. Dragging, surely, must be less painful than hoisting-and-lugging.

My big mistake was in choosing a narrow wheel base model. Everything else about this bag was well made. Solid stitching. Handles made for heaving. Sturdy in every way.

Until you walked for more than 20 steps. Inside the shop when test driving, you could only go five steps. So you didn't get the death wobble effect that kicked in around 15 steps which got worse and worse until the bag keeled over on its side around the 20 step mark. On European streets. Every. Fucking. Time.

In Arles, Southern France, brief home of Van Gogh and his fleeting friend Gaugin. Two of the greatest artists of our times. In one year Van Gogh painted more than 300 paintings, such was the inspiration of this city with its ancient Roman ruins. But what is my burning image of this place? The combination of The Dreaded One's Nav Bitch sending us on a wild goose chase while my suitcase tipped over for the … oh I don't know... the squillionth time?

While bucolic French types with their baguettes tucked under their arm stopped to watch in Gallic bemusement, I lost it. I vented spleen. I raged. Seethingly, I bemoaned that we were not in America, because in God Bless America one of these bemused bystanders would at least be carrying a Smith & Goddamn mother fucking Wesson instead of a loaf of bread, and I could finally end this thing once and for all you Goddamn falling-over piece of shit luggage!

And it shames me to admit that as no Smith & Wesson was forthcoming, yes, I bludgeoned my luggage with a stolen baguette... baguette... baguette...

Echo and wobbly visuals and I was back in the here and now with The Dreaded One. Her with her expensive, well-chosen wheely bag with its wide wheel base and lack of death wobbles.

So you will choose wisely this time?” she asks as I come back from my journey into the past. Arles... it had been the last in a long string of similar events. She had paid good money upfront. Time and time again I had thought how can you go wrong with cheap stuff made in China? Only to be now regretting the small mountain of discarded shit luggage I had contributed to. Death wobbles. Crap handles that fall apart at the touch. Wheels that fall of if you so much as frown at them. Never will I buy luggage made in China again.

Yes,” I nod solemnly. “My back pack. Now there's some sturdy luggage.”

The one that wrecked your back in Turkey? Oh. Oh good.”

Grumpy is Lee Bemrose, freelance writer and luggage basher. If you want him to write something for you he might just put down the baguette and take up his keyboard. He's at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Counting Down... Leaving In 7 Days

Here is my new Grumpy column logo wotsit. I think it's better than the old one. The old one was chosen by the mag and while funny initially, I don't think it really captured the spirit of Grumpy. This one comes closer. Grumpy the character is not actually grumpy. He's just a bit... he's a bit like he is in this picture, which was taken by The Dreaded One at Maitreya 2012. He's a bit... baffled by life. Baffled by his own ineptitude. He's a bit head-shakingly amused by absolutely everything. The original was funny enough, taken as it was just as a dubstep set started, but I really like what the designers have done to it.

So. Anyway.

I have left my current job and The Dreaded One and I are officially less than a week away from leaving the country on another adventure. Our home is now filled with boxes of our stuff, which will be put into other boxes in a storage place by men who specialise in moving boxes. This move will be much easier than the the previous move. This time, we are moving just down the road to East Brunswick. We have nothing lined up but like the suburb. Stuff will fall into place. I was very touched when I left this last place of work. Sweet things were said, sweet thoughts were shared. I bumped into some lovely people who I'd be happy to bump into again.

 Meantime, first stop Athens. Ferry to Santorini, which I keep hearing from people who have been there is possibly the most beautiful place on Earth. Then heading across to Corfu, Italy, heading into somewhat familiar territory of Spain and Portugal. Boom - a week of partying. Friends along the way. Friends at Boom and afterwards.

I know some people think I'm lucky to be doing this again. Some people who don''t know how hard The Dreaded One and I have worked might think we've had help along the way. Not so. Our luck has been our luck and our hard work has been our hard work to enjoy as we feel we should.

And there's the living-for-now outlook on life; we just think if you're going to do it, do it. So many people talk about the things they'd like to do... sometimes you just have to say fuck it and do stuff that doesn't make sense.

So fuck it - we're putting our things in boxes again and going on an adventure to see amazing things and be with wonderful friends.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Getting My Geek On

The above is soon to appear in the real world.  Having these cards printed to use for promotional purposes. They should be in my sweaty little hands this week, maybe next week. My friend The Design Assassin has put it all together and I'm pretty happy so far. Especially the QR code, that weird square pattern thing. It's a little bit of Shit That Is Amazing.

Got a smart phone? Download a barcode scanning app, then aim your camera at the square of Shit That Is Amazing and follow the prompts.

QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) are already out there and have been for a few years now, but it's new to me and therefore the newest, coolest thing ever. I love that it was a barcode invented by Toyota for factory purposes, but someone realised that with smart phone technology they would be perfect for marketting.

Shit is amazing.

Two weeks tomorrow and The Dreaded One and I take off. How do I feel about that? A bit strange... but it's strangely familiar. Only eight weeks this time but a lot of ground to cover in that time. Then back to Melbourne with no home and no job. Scary. Reckless. But living. Proper living.

Also, read my interview with Camille, who I happen to think is a gorgeous human.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Links 2012

Here is what I thought of Zoe Keating's performance at Toff In The Town.

Here is my Q & A with Zoe Keating.

And here is my book, 17 Stories Of Love & Crime.

Been busy. Countdown has begun to leaving for Europe again. Am very lucky, if a bit concerned about coming  back homeless and jobless again. Loving Melbourne, loving life, but really... it's just a little bit scary doing this sort of thing AGAIN. But it will be fine.