What I did on my holidays – Getting Ready

Sunday 28 June 2009
I fly out tomorrow for a two and a half week holiday extravaganza, staying mostly in Perth but having a whirwind stop over in Melbourne and Brisbane on the way back. My first flight is tomorrow at 5.30pm so it’s probably a good time to start to pack…
  • Suitcase – check (It’s new. Exactly like my old suitcase, and I really didn’t need a new suitcase as the old one still zipped and held clothes, which is basically all a suitcase has gotta do, but the old one’s legs had broken off and the handle used to fall out and I thought – bugger it! – and got myself a new case. Best $30 I ever spent. Quality, Clyde, always buy quality.)
  • Underpants – check, check, check and check (Inside, outside – 2 wears each and wash half way through.)
  • Socks – check, check, check and check (See “Underpants”.) 
  • T-shirts – check and check
  • Jeans – check (Wear on the plane.)
  • Jeans without the crotch worn through – half check (Quick fix on the Janome and they should be as right as rain. Oh, that reminds me:)
  • Rain jacket – check (got it at Aldi for 20 bucks – bargain!)
  • Nice going out tops – check (One will do – just always go to different bars or the same bars but with dark lighting.)
  • Nice going out pants – check (See above.)
  • Leather jacket – check (Wear on the plane. Also helps mix up the going out clothes.)
  • Cardigan – check (good for layering and also kinda trendy at the moment. Remember: wollens in light, leather at night.)
  • Scarf – check (both practical and fashionable. Funny really. I’ve a girlfriend who used to work for the largest scarf design company in the world and, as such, I’ve all these one off samples, but the one I always fall back on is a scarf I picked up for $3 a couple of years ago that is both mutually unobtrusive in colour range to fit perfectly my wardrobe; and the right length to comfortably wrap the neck. All the others – perhaps I can make a nice belt out of them, or something…)
  • DVDs – check, check, check, check, check, and check (Could get pretty lonely on Rottnest Island.)
  • Books – check and check (Moby Dick and Lady Chatterly’s Lover.)
  • Condoms – check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check. (That should do for the first week – buy some more when you get there.)
  • Lube (family-sized pump pack) – check 
  • Maps – Hmmm… got a map of Rottnest Island. Pick up a Perth one when you get there at the information centre. 
  • Addresses of where friends’ places where you are staying – check and check
  • Back-up hotel addresses in case you need to find a new place quickly – check (x4)
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush (new) – check
  • Body scrub stuff – check
  • BO-DO – check (I should hope so! The last thing I want is people thinking I’m a smelly felly!)
  • A taste for wine not from a cask – check (We are going to Margaret River!)
  • Alarm clock – check
  • Oh, and finally: a bemused expression – check

Holiday, here I come!

The God of Disease

Thursday 25 June 2009

Apollo had finished all his duties for the day, and was bored. As a rule (well, more like a lifetime’s habit) he liked to get up early, at dawn, and work through his “To Do” list in the morning hours leaving the afternoon free for self worship and play.

Hmm, let’s see, he muttered to himself after parking his chariot on the post office rooftop, Set Sun across the sky – tick. Dropped the numbers of next week’s Powerball into the dreams of some elderly lady who is comfortably well off and will just give all the millions to a cats home – tick. Invented a new limerick that doesn’t end with “-ucket” – tick. Cure for Swine Flu – I’ll give that a half tick. Inspired a new opera – tick. Sigh, I’m nearly done. Just got to pick up the paper and some potatoes and it’s not even noon.

After a quick bout of masturbation, Apollo looked down to what could entertain him. Mortals, he said as he wiped his hand clean on a nearby flag, always good for a laugh, 

Clyde the Penguin was wandering down the street humming to himself. He was feeling, pretty much, on top of the world, which is nice considering last week where he was tied to his bed by the strains of a Boy Flu. It all began, he rehearsed hoping that someone would stop and ask him how was he feeling, on Friday as I left work. Hmm, I said to Sarah, I think I’ve got a bit of a throat coming on; funny, hey, me getting sick on a Friday! I bet you a hundred dollars it will be all cleared up by Sunday evening and I’ll be as right as rain for work Monday – just my luck! Ha! replied Sarah, and how we laughed.

What began as simply a tickle in the throat had, within the hour, turned into a right-on case of dizzy spells, wobbly vision and dribbling nose, Clyde practised. How strange for me – in bed by 8.30 – on a Friday! – but there I was, lights out, blankets pulled up, and me moaning in soft pain. My white blood cells must have been working overtime in my left nostril, the burning sensation I felt. Swollen as well, I was sure; if only I had the strength to raise out of my death cot and admire my complexion in the scalloped dressing room table (bows extra) the sight would have been my nose the size of a balloon! And not just any balloon – a hot air balloon at that! Praise the Gods (which one… Apollo; he does healing, doesn’t he?) that I felt somewhat better the next day, and fairer again the next again.

Clyde continued: How Sarah and I had chortled that Friday as we made their way to our respective public transport, and yet how lucky for me that Sarah had not taken me up on my wager, for while I was well enough to attend work on Monday (worse luck!) I was in no way well enough to fulfil my duties.Oh the pains I suffered throughout those days. Oh the simple agony I was in as I sat in my ergonomically designed chair. Every muscle in my back had seized and refused to function. Even the simple act of turning to answer the telephone was sheer torture. But did I complain? Not much. Just the merest wince; the slightest whimper; nothing more than the normal person – of my stature – would be allowed. And yet, still, my manager felt it was necessary to question my health! “Do you need to go see a doctor?” she accused; I was affronted! “Please, don’t alarm yourself” I whispered as some sort of reply, dabbing at my forehead with a monogrammed handkerchief, “I shall soldier on.” And I did. 

And, indeed, I got better. Clyde the Penguin allowed himself a moment of congratulations at such a wonderful, modest, story. He just now sought a person to tell it to.

Apollo watching from his post office post, spied the young Clyde down below. He looked preoccupied, Apollo thought, as if he was trying to remember a list. Strange, thought Apollo, he looks somewhat familiar. Then Apollo realised: Of course! That was the little twerp I loaded up with germs last Friday! But what’s this – he looks cured! Well, we can’t have that; Wo ho, what a game we shall play!

With a glint in his eye Apollo reached around behind, plying out his bow and a single arrow, and aiming Clyde-wards, shot the arrow straight at the penguin fellow, sinking the bar up to the feathers firmly into his chest. 

Clyde gave a little cough. Oh, he said pausing in his stride, that doesn’t feel right, but on he went; he didn’t want to run late for his date with Ashley and their afternoon of Gilbert and Sullivan favourites. Apollo, on the other hand, re-quivered his bow and with a whip of the reins set his fiery horse skyward and on to other mortals to torment. 

Clyde soon met with Ashley feeling just the slightest of heads coming on. By the end of the concert, he was sweating and felt ill the stomach. As he was walking home (there were no trains) he at one point had to stop and rest in a bus shelter as he thought he was going to faint. But still, he made it home, and went straight to bed, and battling the drumming in his temples, and the weights behind his eyes, he drifted somewhere between agony and senseless sleep. 

Tomorrow I must sacrifice a chicken for Apollo, whimpered Clyde later that night as he swallowed his Lemsip, he’ll look after me.

Inspired, somewhat, by Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips; a week long diet of chicken noodle soup, chicken Thai green curries, and, at my very worse when I didn’t have the energy to shop, a broth made from chicken-style stock and some withered spring onions; and ‘cos I’m sick of being so bloody sick! Still, holidays next week, and new adventures…

Found Poem

Saturday 20 June 2009

This isn’t my work; I would be insulted if you thought that it was. I found it in my foyer on a folded piece of lined paper torn from a spiral note book and thought it too good to hide away. Besides it gives me a chance to rant:

I FUCKEN HATE vampire stories. I can not think of another genre of storytelling that involves a more tedious, more pretentious, more boring character – “Oh fucken woe is fucken me, I’m a fucken vampire destined to wander this fucken earth for all of fucken time; how fucken boo-hoo sad!” – FUCKEN PISS OFF, OR GO AND GET A FUCKEN TAN AND DIE!!! Now, Zombies; that’s another story.

Please enjoy… 


It’s not easy being white;
I’m bored at being frightening through night.
I want to sit in a pub drinking ale;
I’m sick of being pale.
I can only wear black;
Tell me – where’s the fun in that?
And look? Does help me get fucks – 
Being a Vampire really sucks!

You wont’ believe this is true
But I wish I were you.
Having fangs ain’t a ball;
You know I’d give up it all.
But I was born this way: to murder; to slay.
That reminds me – I haven’t eaten today.
Relax! – I’m on a diet, it’s OK! 

Come back to my place;
I’ll take my fangs out, you can sit on my face.
We’ll play suck the rat
And then skin the cat!
Please put yourself n my boots;
My look – doesn’t help get me roots;
And there’s the problem’s crux –
Being a Vampire really sux!


Tuesday 16 June 2009

We’d been planning it for months, this trip away. D, R and me were going to a house party on the water’s edge up the mid north coast, and were going to make a long lazy weekend of the experience. Accommodation was arranged, party clothes packed, it was all going swimmingly. 

“There may be a slight hiccup,” said R two weeks before we were to leave. “My dad’s taken a turn for the worse, I mean a serious turn. The doctors don’t hold much hope. But it shouldn’t interfere with our plans.” We crossed our fingers. A week later I get a phone call from D: R’s dad had died.

I was very annoyed at R’s dad – does this make me a horrible person? I was sooooo looking forward to this weekend. You’ve had years to die, I whined, why did you have to choose to do it now? Bastard! In one final breath it had suddenly turned into a possible-but-probably-not weekend away.

Friday night I have two messages on the answer machine – the weekend’s back on. R’s sisters had both arrived and everything had been worked out and signed and the family thought there was no reason why R should just sit around and do nothing. So Saturday morning I caught the train up to D and R and the three of us drove off to our holiday shack. And we had a great time.

I got home late Monday, put my bag down and checked my phone messages – three. The first two were from D – I’d forgotten to erase them. I morbidly joked to myself, considering R’s father’s death, that I bet the third call would be from my sisters saying that one of my parents had died. I immediately regretted the thought. You shouldn’t think such things, I cursed, but it does upset me that, as is the nature of Luck and Death, I’ll more likely be off enjoying myself, uncontactable, and I’ll find out about the family tragedy too late. But it wasn’t my sisters, it was me Dah: my uncle had died.

He’d been sick for a while – years, decades really. We weren’t close. We only ever had one converstion, and that was only a few sentences one lunch at the Club just before I left for uni. He and Aunty and myself just so all happened to be there at the same time, and Aunty invited me to join them. I can’t remember a single thing about what he told me that lunch – I’m sure it was important Life advice – as I think I was so shocked that we were dialoguing. He had never spoken to me before, not even “Hello”; if he had I don’t remember. Aunty and I would talk if we saw each other, I quite liked Aunty, and we still exchange Christmas cards – she’s usually one of the first for the season, but the extended Clyde family had never been that close to visit or gather for family celebrations.

Hearing stories from friends, all the screams and tears and fights and rivallry – and all the love and bond and trust and care – I sometimes wonder if our family was missing out on something incredibly important. The closest thing my family has done in the last 10 years was Christmas just gone were there was all but one of us around the table (Queensland Sister couldn’t make it). Mah and Dah went home around midnight and so the three siblings drank and chatted well on. It was a good talk – my youngest sister and I having probably the first decent conversation in our lives – and I know that amongst the laughter I also shed the occasional tear.

I did have another uncle – my Dah’s other brother – but I never met him. The story goes (how I know it) that when Mah announced she was pregnant with me the brother was overjoyed that he was going to be an uncle. Admittedly he already was, twice over, but those nephews were both much closer to his age and I was to be the first where he was an adult uncle, if you know what I mean, one where he could play that older governing figure, semi-father relationship if you like, to his baby nephew. Anyway, soon after he was diagnosed with cancer and died a month or so before I was born. So we both missed out. He was the father of two young kids himself. All very sad.

When my Queensland Sister gave birth to my nephew I felt very much like my lost uncle must have felt. I wanted to be that guiding light, that additional source for the young growing man to turn to. I also wanted to be the naughty uncle who buys him the drum kit, the one that he jumps on a bus and runs away to, his favourite uncle. Unfortunately Sister was in Tasmania at the time, a bit too far for me to have any great influence except by the occasional parcel or phone call. But then my niece was born and Sister moved the kids to stay near our parents. It was now so much easier for me to see them and I was overjoyed that I could at least play some role in their lives. But they’re all up in Queensland now and I’ve only seen them once since. I hope to see them again when I’m there in a little over a month’s time, hopefully. It’s nice to play uncle., even if it is only for a few hours once a year.

I spoke to Aunty tonight, and one of my cousins, and they both said Uncle’s death was for the better – he’s not suffering anymore. Cousin and I chatted for about 10 minutes, about this and that. Much like Uncle’s conversation those many years ago, this was the first time Cousin and I had ever talked, but we were much younger back then and now at least we have things familiar that we both understood – a job, a mortgage. Common ground. 

Before D and I drove back to Sydney Monday night we shared a roast dinner with R’s family. After the apple pies and ice cream we all sat around the kitchen table, covered by a clear plastic protector, and they got out the photo albums and reminisced about their long dead pets and the occasional member of their extended family. It was funny watching them constantly correcting each other’s versions of history; more than once each would be surprised to hear a tale they had never heard before. But as I sat with them at the table and listened to them laugh and talk loudly over each other I felt like I was intruding and desperately wanted to leave. These weren’t my memories to share. But I did feel privileged to have heard them and thankful for them allowing me a half hour to be one of the family.

On the way to the dinner D said I might want to pick up some wine but as I was the only one who was going to be drinking I passed on the suggestion and made do with soft drink like everyone else. After dinner R’s mum asked me if I’d like anything else to drink. I said no. “Some tea or coffee perhaps?” Again I thanked her but said no. “Well that’s just as well really, ‘cos I don’t think we’ve got any anyway,” she finally said as she sat back into her chair. “Just thought I’d ask.” I wish I had listened to D.


Thursday 11 June 2009

I’ve a runny nose. My back hurts. I’ve ran out of dry handkerchiefs. I’ve been to bed by 9.30 for the last four nights straight – a feat unheard of. I’ve even gone as far as to skip both last night’s university last session class and tonight’s badge draw drinkies, which is a shame especially considering the badge draw is now up to $2,000.

For the last four days I have overdosed on orange juice and garlic tablets and chicken broth and I’m fed up with the lot. Instead, tonight I took a different approach and finished off a cask of red wine, checking (of course) for any little creatures living in the spout beforehand, while watching a mixture of ABC2 and the shopping channel. I feel much better. 

Now, typing this, I have a slight headache. The question is: is it from the cold or the wine?

Answers please on the back of an envelope to:

Clyde Possibly is a Wino
PO Box Can you spare a dolla mate?
Kings Cross  NSW  2011.

Winner gets a sniff the cask pillow. Losers get a sniff of me.