I just got back from my runaway trip to Melbourne, the sweet funky city of my youth, where people seem more friendly and the atmosphere more bohemian, and still I was glad to come back to my beloved Sydney, cruel mistress of my heart, cutting edge metropolis that cuts one to the quick, the struggle reaffirming the exhilaration of being alive.
My niece took me to a fantastic exhibition of Picasso, "Love and War - 1935 to 1945", umpteen oil paintings, colour pencil sketches and etchings, with photographs by his paramour Dora Mae recording the evolution of their creation. I was swept off my gnarled feet, trully inspired, almost stopped in my tracks as far as my own art is concerned, what is there left to achieve after Picasso? But he could have said the same thing about Bosch or the prehistoric cave paintings of Lasceaux, each of us has to compulsively carry on regardless, there's always contemporary times and mythologies to express. Then we went to a drive-in movie theatre to see a horror film, "Silent Hill", which gets 6 "Dings" on my shlockometer, for monsters, gore, creepiness and especially weird soundtrack. We got very stoned in the car and laid-back, the eerie music enough to take us deep into the Unconscious.
I had many counter-meals in good old Aussie pubs and sweet reunions with my teenage friends, who love me regardless of my stupidities, even if I turned out to be a serial killer they would still love me and come to my succor, I'm sure. At a low-key art show I met an old friend I'd had a fight with in cyber-space, really dumb act on my part, getting peeved because he didn't show me enough attention, and now we've had a raproachement, it made me so happy as I hate losing friends more than losing front teeth, if only I could find all those other friends I've fucked up over the years, I would sleep more soundly.
And I visited my old mother, 83 and still kicking strong, she lives in a seaside pensioner town which takes forever to get to but is beautiful with it's panorama of open sea and rain clouds rolling in to refresh the soul. I've never come out as a "gay" to my mother, she's "ocker" working class and too old to deal with the shock of my"deviance" tho I get the feeling she's always suspected there's something 'different' going on as I always look outlandish and lead such an adventurous, peripatetic life. I just don't want to unsettle her in her dotage, she's always going on about "Those awful gays in Sydney, the things they get up to, they even rape old women!" I don't correct her misunderstandings, it's too much hard work, I change the subject and prattle on about crappy TV shows and the AFL footie. When "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" came on TV I quickly used the R.C. to switch channels, I just don't need the tension.
I stayed with my sister-in-law, Margaret, someone I'd befriended before my brother met her, and who's been one of my 7 best friends ever since, always supportive, always understanding, without such friends life wouldn't be worth living, it's especially important to me to have life-long friendships, not 1 year romances that then burn out and turn to cinders, we all consume each other like electric appliances here in high-capitalism and it saddens me enormously to see friends fade into the sunset. I read a Melbournian homo writer while there, Christos Tsiolkas' "Dead Europe", an interesting read, a bit weirded out at times, a poofter who eats a strange woman's menstrual blood in the toilet of a train (???) and other such nonsense, but I loved his Greek folklore, Melbourne reminiscences and homo affairs in Prague, makes me want to go to eastern Europe, sounds like a sex-addicts paradise, I'm always running away from my banal, dried up existence, running away from myself.
More pubs and cafes on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, more sweet reciprocated endearments between old friends, and then I was back to Sydney on the tediously long train journey, so arduous I flipped and had an argument with one of those officious old gronks who rule the train like mini Stalins, telling him I hoped a hole would open up in the earth and swallow the "Country Link" train, him screeching, "Stop complaining, stop complaining!" Then announcements were made over the intercom apologising for the delays and we're not to blame the carriage attendants who were only doing their job, and after all, the train was now speeding and making up for lost time. I pissed myself laughing, a little bit of whingeing can get things moving. Back to Sydney, deviant capitol, refuge for deadbeats and old cons like me, and the Piccolo Cafe where old Vitto sourly welcomed me back with his eternal lament, "Don't put shit on me!"