Tuesday, July 17, 2007

From the Trenches of Desolation Row.

We had a wake for Auntie Jack at the Piccolo Bar last weekend, it always amazes me how a mob comes out of the woodwork after a death, we humans love to commiserate and reminisce with our fellow lifers in the face of omnipresent death and OBLIVION. It was agreed by everyone that for all Jack's curmudgeon-like carrying on, he was an unforgettable character, shining explosively from the void, and we all miss him badly, there's a hole in the cafe that no longer growls witticisms in repartee. Dennis the basker warbled Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and we all sang along to it, a fitting piece of poetry for that soul's journey upon planet Earth. In the jaws of pain and horror, how awesome it is to be alive and in with a chance at Ecstasy.

The oldtimers hang upon the Piccolo like a life-raft, time is fleeting and flesh is frail. Ayesha the Drag(on Lady) is working herself up to another Dementia furore, cursing the heavens and spitting chips over little nothings. Lately she's been wearing crazy head-dresses of plastic flowers like Bloody Mary in meltdown or covered in faux fur like a cross between Zsa Zsa Gaboring and a dead cat. She'll blow someday like an Asian volcano and I dont want to be in the vicinity, last time she kicked a kid in the guts at a kiddies' birthday party, and lately she's been aiming her abuse at me, whose always got a flippant word for her, like "how's Lee Pong Poo today?" as she's notorious, in her madness, for not bathing daily.

She still thinks the spotlight of "Les Girls" is shining upon her, any camera within a hundred miles she rushes to pose in front of, a star in her own toilet break. What a comedown for her to discover that she was flung to the cutting-room floor of the film "Cross Life", the latest tittilating expose on Sydney's gentrifing declasse red-light district, and she seems to blame me for it, just because I heap scorn on fame whores. I just hope she doesn't drop dead in the gutter on Roslyn Street where she's already had fainting fits, there's a crowd of ghosts in front of the Piccolo and no room for any more.

We had a hissing spat yesterday like two cats locked in a dumpster and it feels like we got the bad air cleared for now she's being nice to me, she knows how sharp my claws are, in her non-fame fever I only have to remind her that she was actually sacked from Les Girls, too bitchy even for that crew. It's a pity we disempowered gronks in the gutter have only each other's skin to shred in our angst, the out-of-reach ELITE depend upon it. Harsh realities like the Iraqui war have got us spewing in sheer sadness and horror with only each other to take it out on. Many conformist patrons of the Piccolo Cafe ogle me like they've never seen such a nasty, spitting pink poofy cat before, but hey, I'd rather grate on robopathic nerves than be demure and melt into the wallpaper like an insipid celebrity worshipper, I may not be nice but at least I'm real.

(Only the other day I was telling a friend, new to the Cafe, about the "old times", when Vitto worked the nightshift. You could come here at 3 am if you were restless and there'd always be some action, someone to rave with, guitar strumming, juke box rocking, ganjha smoke filling the small room till it resembled a sauna, in reality a hothouse for existential raconteurs, pop culture surfers and dispossessed deadbeats. Some nights it boiled over into a punch-up, yours trully often twisted on the hotspot and beat up too, pot smoke wafting like fog up Roslyn street. The Piccolo was notorious, the Daily Terror did it's screaming heebie-jeebie Sunday paper shock treatment, the pigs raided the Cafe repetitively, Vitto go fatigued and paranoid and swapped over to the day shift, fights dwindled to a minimum and, drug free, we sip our coffee and natter how wild and fun it once was. No more fighting, thank nogod, we're sick of the fistfights.

It's a shock when it's me who still comes under attack, I find it hard to humour fools and have to bite my tongue when I'm made to deal with them at the Cafe, compassion wears thin, most people seem to stay alive by manipulating their fellows. Take Fat Greg's side-kick Barry, he really makes me bunch up my fist. Recently he offered to buy groceries for this crippled 70 year old gerrie named Carlito, taking his last $50, then returned with a bullshit tale of how the cops had stopped him and taken the money from him. The truth is he has a wicked poker machine habit and he blew the $50 in 7 seconds. When the old decrepit fumed and replied how he thought Barry had ripped him off, the hefty retard slapped the old fellow around, right in the doorway of the Piccolo, where PEACE had long been declared.

All of Roslyn street was pissed off, old folks should be protected, not brutalised, otherwsie the area falls, the junkies, gamblers and crooks will make mince-meat of all of us. Fat Greg's been rushing about effusing endless apologies, his "adopted son" is existentially challenged, we have to make allowances, in three weeks he'll dredge up another $50 to pay the gerrie back, he's got his own "pokie habit" to deal with. I think the Barry the Beast should be locked in a cage in a back-yard and occassionally poked with a stick, I'm tired of being under threat at a simple rendevous like a Cafe, even if it is on Desolation Row.

Other than this tawdry drama there's been no action at the Cafe, just Vitto slaving dawn to dusk and anxious about his ancient sister who is dying by inches at St. Vinnies hospital. One day, if I stay alive long enough, and when everybody else is mulched back into the VOID, I will tell the full story of the Piccolo and it's gallery of rogues passing thru as I know where the bodies are buried, the 1001 filmmakers and journos who rush the dump to get their thin slice of the Bohemian pie only get the bullshit facade, it's the lifers like me who learn the nitty gritty for somehow I get people confessing all to me, the truth is always amazing, more twisted than a horror movie.

Speaking of which, the latest video-nasty I've relished was "Hostel 2", the critics hated it and gave it zero stars, "torture-porn" they all crowed, but they're not horror-heads and love to wear their morality upon their sleeves to broadcast what good citizens they are, but they're really just media apologists for a cruel system involving a 'profits-at-any-cost' Money-god, they hate social critique dressed in terror. Take the movie's premise, that in this world, if you're rich and nasty enough, you can join a monstrous private club, bid on hapless captured backpacker tourists ( a real terror for us world travellors) and buy yourself an innocent victim to torture at your own pleasure, a spot-on metaphor for our class-ridden world. And most fans of horror-stories doesn't identify with the torturer, thank you (not), we identify with the individual who turns the table on the fuckers and escapes in the end!

I've been devouring lots of cyberpunk novels lately, the only genre that trully fills me in on present and future realities/possibilities, and one can't get past the Masters, William Gibson (Idoru, Pattern Recognition), Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age, Cobweb) and Bruce Sterling (Holy Fire, Heavy Weather). In the latter is the scary idea of "lifeboat cannibals", power-mongering creeps who, in an overcrowded decaying world, prey on others and bump off as many as possible, so that "lifeboat planet earth" has more room for them. They invent and spread disease, encourage terrorism, create nuclear meltdowns, push WAR as the answer to Earth's overcrowding problems, rather than encourage half the planet's population to go "QUEER" for instance, fascists have always favoured the 'death wish' over the 'pleasure principle'. (For what are poofs good for except bashing up?) All these cyberpunk concepts ring true and add fuel to my hard-arsed surrealism, no wonder I'm a hissing, spitting cat on Desolation Row.