Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Jungle Djiin.

The city of Delhi is about 7 thousand years old and is known colloquially as "the city of djiins", those fiery elementals that can insert themselves into your soul and lead you to damnation and ecstasy. As my feet hit the ground of this psycho-city I found myself yet again lost in the labyrnth of the Dark Unconscious, the frenetic swirl of Main Bazar, Paha Grunge, teeming humanity trying to sell, buy, ogle, steal, hustle, beg, befriend, betray, so many smiling djiins at every step whispering one's sweet desires, hand over heart the pagan warrior monk has to make it thru unscathed, smart, resolute and compassionate.

At the freak's pool-hall restaurant, surrounded by a tribe of Israeli hipsters who only have eyes for themselves, an old Japanese freak dressed in tatty Indian peasant garb went ape-shit yelling in incomprehensible English that he'd been cheated by the fat German Bakery cake-wallah who had given him change for Rs.100 yet he swore he'd given him a Rs.500 note. The caterwauling went on and on, nobody could understand what the Jap hippie was saying, except that it had to do with money, money, money. "You've been smoking too much!" snarled the baggy-eyed cake-wallah. Over the decades they've seen much foolishness in this cavern-like cafe, naked madmen drugged and run amok, sex-scapades out of control, the Indians have a deadpan blase response, "Stupid Fucking Hippies!"

All firangis beware, there was a riot in the city center the day before by the Shiv Sena, right-wing Hindu fundamentalists who decry all things progressive as besmirching the Hindu way of doing things, Hindvata. They clambered into Jantar Mantar gardens and in their irrational fury damaged the medieval Astronomical monument. Then espying some white foreign women walking nearby, charged over and tore their clothes off, demonic lust hiding behind their avowed puritanism.

Watching my arse I wandered lost thru the back-alleyways and ancient gardens, my best mate had stood me up, he was to travel with me as my minder but Indians can be fickle and flaky, he says he's too sad to travel as one of his friends had just been murdered horribly, his body thrown on the street. I knew this guy, a mad Muslim named Jhaved, he was a proper bastard, stole from everyone, he must've pushed his luck, still it gave me the willies and I wondered if there wasn't more anti-Muslim aggro about since the Mumbai massacre.

So I'm alone as ever, the dharma bum on the open road, missing companionship, except I've got Kerouac with me to whisper about life, adventure and longing to my heart late at night, at least I'm now free and open to experiences, old and new. Sitting in a park a beautiful young gay man approached me, he only liked white guys and wanted to be with me but there was nowhere we could go to liase, no bathhouses or sex-shops here, and no visitors allowed in hotel rooms for fear of robbery and murder. Gay Lib had finally come to India recently, but only in the limited environs of Delhi City/State, and the right-wing were appealing it. He told me that there were many hundreds of thousands of gays in the city but they were still third-class citizens, lost and abused on street-corner pissoirs. Antipathy ruled, family and the rearing of children the sacrosanct lifestyle, the business of India is business, Family business, ignoring the egregious population explosion, it provided a great pool of cheap slave labour and herd-mentality consumers.

The only way to be an open homosexual here was to have one's balls cut off and go about dressed in bad Indian drag, clapping the hands, thwump thwump, to tell everyone you've had them cut off, begging for small change as Hijra do. I commiserated with the gorgeous guy, we parted, frustrated, as if we'd missed the love-train, love and caressing of humans worse than war and murder it seems, anyway, I'm too old for it, harried groping in dark alcoves a bore for me.

I went to Keventer's milk bar for my drug of choice, flavoured milk. Old man Keventer was sitting at the till as always, lugubrious eyes viewing the world stoically. He's made a fortune with his watered-down milk, not that it did him any good, seven years ago some goondas kidnapped his old wife and held her for ransom, the family found her body stuffed in a tin-chest weeks later, after the money was paid. (Yes, I know, murder, murder, murder. In a country of around 1200 million souls, it's not all spiritual Om Shanti Om.)

As I drank my vanilla milk a craggy old granny emerged from the dust, all wrinkles in a frayed sari, and asked me to buy her some milk. What can one do when confronted by Mother India in need, you have to meet her demands? "What flavour?" I graciously asked. "Chocolate," she sighed, as of her fondest wish had just been granted. So I got back in the queue and tediously waited forever for her precious chocolate milk to be handed thru the magic curtain, then I proudly presented it to her watched by the crowd of middle-class Indians, me the generous Maharaja.

She took one look at it and croaked in Hindi, "No! It's not what I want." I thrust it at her and yelled, "It's this or nothing!" "No!" she shrieked, "I dont want it! I want something better!" "Lelo, take it!" I put it in her grasping claws and marched off, she stormed over to old man Keventer and yelled how she didn't want the milk, she wanted the money instead. The old milk-wallah had seen it all in his day and told her to drink the milk and be satisfied. She set up a howling din, cursing him outrageously, the crowd looked at me and we all laughed, I left them to their haggling, so much for playing Mother Theresa to a Mother Theresa lookalike.

When I have days to fill in Delhi I always go to the many Mughal monuments, like Jamma Majiid near Red Fort, where the British in 1857 slaughtered many thousands of Indians in retaliation for the Uprising of the natives. I take my Muslim mate to Humayam's magnificent Tomb and tell him of his own people'shistory, which nobody has taught him, of how the last Mughal emporer fled here with his court and was cornered by the British and then sent to Burma in exile. But my mate didn't show up and alone I went to my favourite place, Lodhi Gardens, free entry and no one hassles you there, it's full of ruined Mughal mausoleums and palaces to wander about in.

And while sitting there drawing a fabulous domed structure I dreamt of ancient times, the Great Khan's court in all it's sumptuous pageantry, playing, lolling, flirting in the heavely gardens. I hallucinated djiins on magic carpets flying in from celestial regions to grant my any wish, and beautiful houris, male and female, dressed in diaphonous gowns, making love in the bushes. But I also felt the lash of the whip and the burn of chains around my ankles, the darkness of dungeons and the toil of building the edifices by hand, we cant all be princesses in this topsy-turvy world.

I struggled back to Main Bazar, and ran the gauntlet of the handsome Kashmiri men who all tried to lure me into their shops to buy whatever but at 60 and world-weary I'm virtually impervious to the global hustle and sick of shedding money like sweat. I lived in Kashmir many years ago and love the Kashmiri people very much, knowing them well, it was like paradise back then and now when I look into their appealing faces I see the deep sadness of twenty years of stupid religious terror. I met a blue-eyed Kashmiri guy who I knew and trusted and he made me chai and got me high.

Thru all the shit and mud and flesh and madness I struggled with my many bags, it's derigour these days for cyberpunk wanderers to carry laptops with their backpacks, MP3 plugged in, I made it to the interstate bus terminal and got my front-seat for the harrowing journey to the Himalayas, all traffic coming at me like a 3D horror movie. Now I'm in the jungle, talking with the wildlife, appeasing the jungle-djiins, hoping to meet Bhjageera the black panther and take my soul for a questing ride thru the Underworld. Life is a blast if you've got the guts for it!

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Falling Angel.

For most of my life I have had flying dreams, at first just learning to take off, ascend, somersault, eventually choose a direction and head there, over continents and oceans, espying mystic landmarks below to guide me like temples, towers, serpentine river and guardian mountain, then land in the labyrinth dark jungle of the Universal Unconscious, on some crazed quest, trying to find my Self, (yes, I love hippie psycho-babble.)

The last few years I haven't had these dreams as I now have become an expert at actually, physically, flying wherever I will. Tho how tedious it was to fly Malaysian, 2 days, endless waiting in the airports, from now on I go Singapore Airlines, they get me to Delhi, India inside of one day, I arrive the day I left, and they serve any favored booze all along the way, not just halfway, with no movies, like I just boringly did with Malay. But flying into night-time India was miraculous, the darkness below lit up by star-bursts of countless cities, like frozen fire-works, the awesome beauty of the Other had begun.

I have been to Indhira Ghandi Airport many times, once there was a riot out the front and I couldn't get my luggage thru the squalling rabble and into the turbulent departure lounge but my arrival this year takes the crumby cake for chaos, frayed nerves and suffocating crush. We were made to wait an extra half-hour in the plane with no oxygn, I had "Final Destinaton" fears, flames sweeping thru and me trampled in the panic, but eventually we were unceremoniously dumped onto the tarmac, where creaky buses picked up the multitudes and ferried us around and around the landing fields, all of us patient and resigned, we'd now arrived in India, it was to be expected, weaving in and about endless baggage-trains, backed-up planes, convoys of buses, trucks, machines, cars all stacked up and dragged about willly-nilly with an army of worker ants marching in between waving their arms like antennas, and countless befuddled passengers herded about like refugees from "2012", finally we were ejected at a doorway in the bowels of the terminus: what the hell was going on?

Oh, it was an "Avian Flu" scare, for high-tech India there were no infra-red cameras on gangways to detect the feverish like there was in Kuala Lumpur, here just a crabby doctor and dinky nurse sitting at a table to face the thousands of arrivals crowding in from many planes, so overwhelmed and dumbfounded they'd let their requisite face-masks slip below their chins. We were all made to fill out forms declaring we felt OK and designating our seat number, which I'd forgotten and just wrote whatever came to mind. The nurse didn't even look at me or my form when she stamped it, she was distracted by someone further down the convulsive line. I staggered thru the hordes, made it thru customs in a flash, unlike the Indians who took forever to get their passports checked, the stern old stamp-wallah just glancing at me and muttering, "Chello!" as if he knew an incorrigible India-freak when he saw one.

As if the cyclone that had just missed Mumbai had instead centred on Indhira Ghandi Air terminus, the halls were in an uproar, all the baggage carousels had wailing luggageless travelers clambering upon them, as per usual my cheap bag was the last one thru the curtain, but at least it came. I fell down the dreaded escalator, remembering the horror of a few years previous when a crowd of arrivals stampeded down it and pushed those ahead into a carelessly left-open hatch, the machinery below mangling one old man's legs but totally tearing to bits a poor little girl, no one thinking to rush over and pres the OFF button at the base of the escalator rail. Yes, the awful finale to "The Final Destination in 3D" was a true incident, ripped from the front pages of Indian newspapers.

When I finally made it out the front exit, it had been 2 hours since my plane touched down, and the riot continued for many more miles, traffic banked up and horns honking, Indians wandering dazed in mobs and falling under the merciless wheels, some beat-up taxi had broken down in a heap in the middle of the entrance and nobody was bothering to push it out of the way.

My taxi driver had a boy sitting next to him and I asked who he was, telling him I knew about the hideous murder of an Australian women seven years earlier who'd allowed a second man to enter the car with her when she left the airport, she was taken out the back, ghastly raped, killed and robbed. "This is my little brother and that killer was not a true taxi driver!" "Yeah, I trust you, your brother looks little enough." He was teaching his brother to drive and roared onto the freeway heading into New Delhi with the kid changing gears for him and, while steering with his knees, he hospitably rolled a joint of charas to ease my tension, shared his water with me and beedis to smoke furiously after my aeroplane abstinence.

We zoomed past lots of great architecture, medieval Mughal, British Colonial and funky Post-modern. I was high and happy, like Lucifer the fallen angel arriving in the garden of earthly paradise. Oh yes, I've landed, this is India, maybe collapsing under her own great weight, but how I love her!

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Groundhogs at the Dorian Gray Cafe.

There's a portrait of Vitto hanging in the Groundhog Cafe that, amongst the never-changing patrons and their quotidian routines, does change every time I look at it, I swear it gets uglier and uglier, as if all of Vitto's angst is offloaded upon it. His face is all screwed up like he's having a broom-handle shoved up his arse and every day the broom handle twists and splinters further in, his face growing ever more agonised whilst sitting below it the Real Thing blithely knits his endless woolen shroud, for all the beasties flocking thru the door, he becomes more beatific.

I found yet another gift waiting for me on Vitto's cluttered table, a DVD copy of my bete noir film "Virgin Beasts", brought back from America by a friend who found it on the Cult shelf of a video store in L.A. Troma, the trashy New York company who I signed my life away to for peanuts, not only never gave me just recompense but were so tight-arsed they never even sent me one copy in the twenty years they've had the film. I've moaned about this supposed rip-off before, it's a good thing THEY can't rip one's soul from one's heart as that's all I've got left and am enormously chuffed at having retained it. But I must say, for all my bitching, Troma did a great digital Master, the film is crisp and clear, looking as good as the day it came off the press in 1990.

They also packaged it beautifully, my artwork on the cover, the disc and the menu. My trade-off for never getting any money for the 10 years of hard work is that it has shown all around the world and, for all its trashiness, is still pertinent and cutting, but fame is vacuous when you're starving in a dumpster! I did feel pissed off that Lloyd Kaufman, the originator of Troma, did an introduction that seems to put me down. He's done it for all other Troma releases, (everybody wants to get in on the act), but it's demeaning to have him scoffing that I'm his favourite director even tho he can't remember my name and I've only ever made one film and am actually a nobody when seen against his illustrious stature. There are good reasons for never getting any further in the grand quest of "MOVIE MAKING: firstly They ripped the money and you rarely get a second film up if your last one shows zilch earnings on the books, and secondly I gave a punk critique of civilisation, especially the Godists, (Christians), and They rule the world and are terribly unforgiving.

But still I did it, a poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks pulling off a feature film full of wild animation, the whole thing like a moving painting set to music. Many of my paintings have been destroyed but this one will live on, in cyber-space if nowhere else, till THEIR "End of Days" comes about. These days I stay holed up in my apartment painting big canvases that are just as good at story-telling as any movie or novel, without anyone dictating to me, and that keeps me happy, telling stories is my high.

There's been a shit-storm at Northcott Suicide Towers where I live, Cursula has accused the gay guys down the other end of the verandah of stealing our electricity from the laundry, she showed up with a Housing Dept. official, a nice fat guy with a huge bolt-cutter, demanding to know if I was aware I was being robbed and could I replace the lock they were now about to cut off of my connection. I blathered on about how I couldn't believe such nice fellows would do such a mean thing, (tho they've probably been doing it for years), as I'm trying to mediate between the antagonists to keep everyone on side, I want them all to leave me alone and not mind my business, just to be left alone to contemplate and study and bliss out, NO BULLSHIT!

Sad-sack Cursula wanted to stir us up so she could have drama in her life, I told her to keep her trap shut, thankfully she now lives up in the towers with her new boyfriend and is no longer disturbing me with endless racket and jabbering nonsense, my nights are tranquil, my home-front quiet, I can walk away without a qualm. And at the Dorian Gray Cafe Vitto had his 75th birthday amidst much acrimony and grumpiness, he got a luscious fancy birthday cake which he snootily presented to someone else, ignoring me, sniggering at my frustrated drooling, me whose life has been ruined by cakes. He's a hard one to keep happy, maybe the cursing is what keeps him alive, letting it all hang out, and I dont mind being his whipping boy.

And my new best friend Felix, who I met at the Pick Your Bum Cafe, has confirmed he is a keen, angelic mate, tho he runs about with a posse of young Tomcats rutting and yowling on the rooftops he was brave enough to take me to a gig of these teenage rocker friends, I felt like Grandpa from the Munsters at a kindergarten, glad to see the white hot fuzz of electricity exciting the next generation, amused by their longing to grow up quicklyand join the adult's mess. I felt uncomfortable, a battle-scarred Attila the Hun saying nothing, but I'm not going to worry about any social contretemps, the road is calling to me, I'm going walk-about soon, flying free, attachments will be left to untangle themselves. Yes, it's true that I'm an irresponsible runaway, born-again virgin and deranged beast, and I love it.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Who Remembers Narara?

Listening to old hot rock music on the juke-box and espying Michael Hutchins mute up on the television set at the Piccolo-life Cafe, I remembered Narara Music Festival back in about 1983, north of Sydney near Ourimbah, (where the first ever rock festival was held in '69 and I was at that one too), it was such a magical musical event that I wondered surely many others must still remember it also. I've been to many festivals since but for some cutting reason that weekend stands out in my mind for fabulous adventure and rock bliss.

Think of it, Talking Heads, Pretenders, Eurythmics, Def Leopard, INXS, untold other nascent Aussie classics, all the bands at their youthful prime, for an electric guitar addict like me it was heaven. Never mind the gossipy controversy over Chrissie Hynde supposedly refusing to go up against Chrissie Amphlett and knocking her from the line-up, when she came on stage and the crowd booed her, Mistress Pretender pleaded innocence and mercy from baying mobs of Aussie rock enthusiasts and I believed her, but still a pity the Divinyls never made it to the stage, they would've been the spin in the spliff.

I went with two girlfriends and while one soon picked up a rock-gronk and fucked him for three days in her car, Jasmin and I put up a tent, with a kerosene burner we made opium-poppy-pod tea, (illegally snatched from the poppy fields in Tasmania, Jasmin's favourite high, she recently died at 55 from a heroin overdose), we smoked spliffs and then laid-back on our pumped-up lilo beds and dreamed of paradise with steel-guitar strings twanging through the ether. Mostly we sat among the crowd of course and shook our butts to the rock, happy when Michael Hutchence yelled for the television camera to get out of his face and go to the side so we, the paying audience, could actually see him perform at his gyrating best. And of course it had to rain in the middle of the fest, it biblicaly stormed down, as if such a wild concentration of mass ecstasy unleashed the heavens, torrents washing most of the punters and campers away, Jasmin and I comfy, warm and stoned in our sturdy tent up on our lilo beds, the water rushing under us, us above the chaos.

In the background I could hear Def Leopard tearing up the cloudscape, I splashed thru the mire and mud-covered gronks to watch them bang away up on stage half-drowned in the vertical flood, defying electrocution, defying mortality, I exhilarated in their electric-euphoria, I was tripping, I saw the gods of humanity take shape in the purple clouds and roll over me, my eyes rolled to the back of my head, Narara, you really rock'n'rolled me.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.