Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Here's another caterwauling yooowwwlll from the Punk Poofy Cat. Last night I went to a wonderful event at the Kings Cross Library, talks on the Green Bans of the 1970's, the Builders' Labourers Union action that saved huge hunks of Sydney's working class housing and heritage buildings from demolition by greedy developers. During a slide-show depicting events Jack Mundey, the Union leader, now 80 years old, spoke about his experiences and the achievements of the workers and resident-action groups. One of those residents, an artist named Brenda Humble, exhibited her portraits of the activists and told funny anecdotes of how she got involved, I talked to her before the show started and pointed out one pic that I liked the best and she gushed, "That one is of me!" She was so sweet and yes, humble, who said oldies are boring farts?

Most of the talking was done by Meridith Bergman, city councilor and ex-leader of the State Parliament House, she gave us a run-down of events from 1971 to 1975 when Woolloomoolloo, The Rocks, Victoria Street, Kings Cross and Centennial Park got saved for posterity, tree-huggers and low-renters. Also an author, Mandy Sayer, reminisced about her childhood growing up on Victoria street with the kooky characters that walked around in the nude, painters, musicians, Utopianists, those were the days of free-living.

It was truly heartening to see that such brave involvements have not only not been forgotten but are respected and applauded this lifetime later. I was amazed to hear that when the German politician, Petra Kelly, visited Sydney in the '70s she was so inspired by the Green Bans, she returned to Germany and decided to call her new alternative, progressive party "The Greens", an inspiration which has spread around the world, and now includes the natural as well as the urban environment.

I arrived in Sydney in 1977 and the Green Bans were still on, I squatted in a heritage mansion in Victoria Street and later got arrested at the Rocks trying to save the houses there so it was a nostalgic trip for me and a sobering one. I've got no regrets, I was just the cannon-fodder, no political career in it for me, not that I'm putting anyone down, some pollies do great things, (Bob Brown of the Greens has my vote), I relished being the wandering artist, the dharma bum, into it for the art, and I sure cracked it, the creativity has been an exquisite high. Throughout the evening they flashed up onto the wall shots of the murals in Woolloomoolloo that are on the pylons holding up the railway tracks, all of them photo-realist paintings of the Builders' Labourers' organising, marching and fighting. But they excluded one of the murals, mine, a twenty-foot high surrealist cartoon of the main drag of Kings Cross with all its sleazy, nefarious activities on show, too provocative and scandalous maybe for the Marxists, not actually to do with the Green Bans, so it didn't worry me, I would've cringed anyway, and I'm used to being excluded, it's the story of my non-career as an artist. Amazing that the fucking thing is possibly still up after 25 years, I guess we are in a semi-democracy and there's some grudging respect for independent, mad, libertarian expression.

Still the slowly disappearing "Hunger-artist", yes my constantly yowled gripe, I had an axe to grind with the librarian, Steve, who had magnanimously put on the event. The Council has printed up tens of thousands of booklets about the Bohemian atmosphere of the Kings Cross and They've mentioned the Piccolo Cafe using one of my cartoons, "Welcome to the Menagerie", to illustrate it. Great, except they've got the name of the artist printed underneath as "Tony Zoates" and I obsessively have to go over every shitty wrong page with a felt tip pen and CHANGE IT with a "b" and a huge slashed Z. He apologised, he knows I also got my art wiped from my show at the library on the WEB site, "Art of the Cross" and commiserates as I get thinner and thinner, like the evaporating phantom of the Rue Darlinghurst.

I flew home on my bike still high from the old-folks daring escapades of decades ago, shit that doesn't seem to go down in these third-millenium times, but as I lay upon my bed ruminating upon it all my 'Loo Mural glared psychedelic fleuro in my forebrain, the Cross with Bob Hawke as the Pink Panther presenting a bag of Uranium to a cowboy Ronnie Reagan and behind them two teenagers shooting-up heroin on the beach with a nuclear explosion's mushroom cloud growing on the horizon and next to it the booze billboard "How Do You feel?" I realised why I got dead stares from the Labour Party politicians milling with the mob at refreshment time, not just because I was frantically stuffing my face with the free feed. It was Them who opened the uranium mines and shipped it out thru Sydney which a riot of anarchists fought hard to stop.

Nogod, I remember Jack Mundey himself coming onto the White Bay wharves in '77 to join us for our vigil and watch us as we climbed the hurricane fences and trespassed onto the uranium cargo-ships, then arrested and bundled off in Black Mariahs. In the midst of this reverie I suddenly remembered, "Holy Shit!" Peter Carrot with his crap band "Midnight Soil" stood opportunistically in front of my mural for one of their rip-off video clips, featured it totally, without my say-so, like he's some anti-nuclear activist, but in reality a fame-whore, money-grubber and lapdog for the power-mongers.

And is it by coincidence that he just went to France, half of whose electricity grid is powered by nuclear reactors, and got some kind of "Artistic Merit" bullshit badge? It's only ever been given to 3 other Aussies, he supposedly gets it for his great rock'n'roll contribution, (barf!) Oh yeah, Auz sells uranium to Europe, some of it must end up in France, and when Pete returns to Auz he Okays the opening of a fifth mine, hmmmmm, how fortuitous! And my slaved-over mural helped burnish his kudos, FUCKKKK!!!! I also noticed that it's Germany who has lately phased out nuclear power, they've got only one reactor left and are about to decommission it, Petra Kelly's ultimate Green legacy. Yeah, yeah, nuclear power is almost carbon free but it has other dangers, which the Germans have woken up to, and so have the Iranians and the North Koreans, forgetting all the other missile hungry nations and, FOR SURE, some of that processed uranium will end up in bombs!

If I'm found murdered in my flat, you'll know why. My non-career as an artist has already been killed off. (Yeah, I should be scared, Peter Carrot is not only the Environment Minister, he's the Arts Minister too.) Yooowwwwlllll!!!

P.S. I just rode my bike down to the 'Loo to take a photo of my mural and discovered it gone, gone, gone, and They didn't bother informing me or asking if I wanted it back, twenty-foot high and done on three panels. Maybe They've stored it somewhere, probably destroyed it, Authority's caring for ART infamously lax, like the Nazis burning books, but all art is transient, even the Picassos and Van Goghs will one day turn to dust or burn in a nuclear holocaust. And I'm a living artist, it's what I do now that turns me on, and my life of wandering the roads, pure Dharma Bum Nirvanha!

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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Naughty Nicorette, Queen of the Zombies.

I want to write about the 7 beautiful women who have graced my life and the first one I will attempt to describe was the last of them, maybe I'm not up for any more as she has nearly broken my heart and is hard to get over. I'll tag her as Nicorette, (she's always trying to give up addiction), and she's not small, I've teasingly called her "Lil Lotta" which makes her squirm, I swear she'd crash thru any floor she stomped upon. I met her when she was 19 at the Pick Your Low Cafe, she's jaw-dropping gorgeous, 5ft 10", va va voom voluptuous and it was love at first sight between us, she's a die-hard anarchist and knew I was a bad-arse artist, we clicked, she sat on my lap and I was addicted.

It took some time before I found out she was addicted herself, to any and every drug she could get her hands on, but by then I was well and truly hooked and I overlooked it as her human flaw, we've all got some kind of flaw, (I don't know why it's drugs with her, maybe so sensitive and intelligent she needs anesthesia to the horrors of human society/history.) It was 1997 and coincidental that both of us were going off to India to get lost and most of this story will involve our travels in India for the next four years, conflated into one ongoing adventure for economy's sake.

Nic grew up with Hippie parents and went to an alternative school but nothing could mollify this hell-bent wayward girl, she got into so-called hard drugs at 15 and has been a hooker ever since to pay for the inordinate amount of pharmaceuticals she needs to fuel and soothe her passionate critique of a fucked-up world. She'd already done India at the age of seventeen so she was an old hand at the India-freak scene. We met in the idyllic town of Shangri-la nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, she turned up with the two most villainous sadhus I've ever seen, pock-marked rat-faced crims in saffron rags and dreadlocks hanging from mile-high turbans. They tried to stare me down, con me with pseudo-cosmic bullshit and get their hands in my pocket but I put them off with a sneer and a wisecrack, I've had it put on me by big Baba masters and these two creeps didn't warrant a second glance. Nicorette had them under control, they jumped to her every desire and chased down the brown sugar she was so fond of. I'm sure they imagined they'd get to screw her once they got her very stoned but this girl is a bottomless pit, she scagged them under the table, squeezed them dry and left them blowing in the wind.

In early '98 it was Kumbhla Mela time, a big festival of greet and treat, every twelve years it comes to Haridwar, a chaotic bazzar of Babas in tents camped by the Ganges River with 20 million Hindu pilgrims crowding in and shitting everywhere. I preferred to chill higher up in the mountains in Shangri-la but the unflappable Nicorette braved the tumult to scour the masses of brown flesh for sacred thrills, returning to my quiet oasis with breathless tales of sadhus at war with competing clans, flashing swords and cracking skulls with their brass-tipped staffs. She said she'd hung out with a really powerful Baba and I simply must come to meet him, I was in dread of being trampled by the hordes but I went out of curiosity, it was silly of me to totally avoid the Mela, it being such a rare and spectacular happening.

We plowed thru tarpaulin alleyways of mud and shit to a giant canvas tent where the big fat Baba was ensconced. I've hung-out with the baddest and most charismatic dudes from the glaciers to where the three oceans meet and this guy didn't overwhelm me, he was jolly, welcoming, somewhat charismatic but didn't get me euphoric like the mythic gurus of old, (like the female saint Ananda Mayee Ma did back in 1975.) I smoked the requisite chillum and was amused by the antics of a twelve year old Baba they brought out front to impress the Westerners, performing yoga contortions he was the real show-stopper. While the big Baba handed me a cup of opiated tea, the reason he was so popular with Nicorette, a tall athletic sadhu stood behind his enormous hulk and opened up his loin-cloth to reveal his nakedness, his giant schlong swaying like an elephant's trunk, his foreskin pierced with a golden ring. As I gulped my tea in shock Nic whispered to me that she'd fucked the guy in the shallows of the Ganges River the day before, he must've thought I was a likely fan, he kept giving me the sleazy raised eyebrows of the Indian come-on.

I didn't realise they'd gotten the water for the tea from the river where the mobs were washing their dirty arses, the next day I got a fever that progressively grew worse, I shivered, projectile vomited, had broken glass grinding in my guts and sweated out half my body-weight till my sheets were sopping wet. I thought I'd get over it but on the third day I was passing in and out of consciousness, the Goddess Kali came to my bedside and danced over me, eyeballs bulging, nose-ring glinting and tongue extruded lasciviously. I was dying and I asked myself if I shouldn't just give-in and succumb, life had been such an ordeal, I was tired of all the back-stabs and rip-offs. But no, there were fantastic things about this world that I couldn't let go of, something great could still come for me, so I fell off my bed and crawled into town to find a doctor.

It was the day of the Holi festival, the local youths were throwing handfuls of coloured powder into everyone's faces and bombing anything that moved with plastic bags of freezing water. I dragged my delirious arse up alleyways begging the boys not to use me as target practice but they just laughed maliciously and plastered me with crap till I looked like a psychedelic scarecrow. I made it to the doctor's office and after listening to my fevered list of complaints he rushed me quickly to a private hospital and gave me intravenous anti-biotics. I was unconscious for three days and when I awoke he told me I'd had a lucky escape from cholera, many Westerners before me had died quickly from it. As I was gathering my senses, somewhat gobsmacked to get another chance at the hurly-burl of life, Nicorette burst into the room and presented me with a necklace of carved-bone skulls, just like Mother Kali wears. She walked me home along the banks of the Ganges River and I breathed in the fresh air and drunk the sky and lapped up her smiles and felt, yes, all was sweet.

A few weeks later I got my nose pierced with a gold ring, just like I'd seen on my apparition of Kali, to remind me forever after how close I'd come to death and that I'd made the clear decision to carry on with living, no matter how painful it sometimes can be.

Nic often disappeared for days, weeks, and I lived in fear she'd be raped and mangled deep in the jungles by whatever sleazebags she'd taken a fancy to, deadbeat French/Italian/Indian junkies you'd swear would sell their mother's blood to Dracula for a hit, but she always showed up strong as an Amazon, licking her lips like the cat who got the cream and I just had to trust that this girl could handle any contretemps as if she were the Queen of the Zombies. We decided to split down south to Goa and she insisted on putting up on the roof of the bus her mammoth backpack that seemed to contain a whole house plus other large bundles that contained nogod knows what.

On the bus trip we were talking pleasantly and gazing out the window at the peasants in their fields when Nic suddenly jumped three feet in the air and exclaimed that the guy behind us had jammed his hand thru the crack of the seat and stuck it in the crack of her arse. I turned in a fury and slapped the guy across the face to which he and his two mates threw themselves upon us punching and scratching, me slapping the three faces in one swipe as if they were the Three Stooges, Nicorette screaming and flapping her hands uselessly like most girls do in a fight. We called for the bus conductor to come do something about the melee, he rushed up and we squawked about the moron's outrageous sexual harassment, but the conductor and the whole busload of passengers just looked at us goggle-eyed as if we were to blame merely because we existed, being whities our sexual charisma was too provocative.

We eventually crashed Delhi and in the bus station we got mobbed by countless porters who wanted to carry our bags, all of them tugging on our arms and legs, tearing us apart. Nic insisted on doing it herself, climbing up onto the roof of the bus to get her many bundles, the porters furious as it was their job, they were outraged that a woman should demean herself so. They only wanted 10 rupees (30 cents) to fetch it down for her but she is notoriously tight and refused to pay it. She struggled up a tiny ladder while they grabbed at her legs and heaved on her fat arse but she beat them off and managed to toss down all the crap, it piled up like a pyramid, ten separate pieces of luggage, and the mob of porters went nuts clamouring and begging us for the job of carrying it all to a taxi, grabbing at our shirts, pulling on our hair, us yelling, "No! We're carrying it all. Fuck off!"

One little old man really got in my face and pleaded soulfully for employment, clutching at my hand and calling on god. I flipped, lost my compassion and slapped him across his poor wizened mug, (yes, I'd become slap-happy.) He looked at me with wide hurt eyes, in shock and deep sadness, and I felt like shit. We hurriedly dragged the wagon-train of goods to a took-took and somehow squeezed it all in, the porters all watching in cheated dismay. We scurried off to New Delhi, to Main Bazzar and got into our hotel room to lay out the bundles and unpack our necessities. On counting the separate packages we got to nine and realised one was missing, mine, in all the fuss we'd left it back at the bus station, the porters would surely get their revenge and steal it, it was hopeless but still I decided to rush back there and search for it.

When I got back to the bus station there were no porters and no package in sight and I was about to give up but on making enquiries I was told that any lost property was sometimes delivered to the local police station. Resignedly, without much hope, I traipsed to the other side of the labyrinthine station, up some stairs and into the grungiest of offices where I importuned a big fat hairy cop. I could actually see my bundle sitting on a shelf and jubilantly pointed it out, telling the cop what was in it, which he inspected then gave to me saying I was very lucky to get it back. I asked him who brought it in and he said, "Oh, a kind little old man." I nearly died from shame, the dear little fellow, typical of old-time Indians, their hospitality and generosity is legend. That old fellow might have missed out on a job but he did all his fellow aged Indians a good turn as from then on I've hired porters at every turn, fed every geriatric that looked hungry and gave respect and assistance when any oldie has crossed my path.

In Delhi Nic met up with a gang of Africans hanging about the pissed-on corners of Main Bazzar and disappeared for a couple of days. Again I imagined her getting boiled in oil and stripped to the bone, Africans are infamous for selling hard drugs, often they are Nigerians and are forever getting caught with mule-trains loaded down with smack. They come to India to make money and end up strung-out on the dusty streets, no visa, no bucks, they hiss at you as you pass, "Hey mon, want to get on?" I waited on tenterhooks for Nic to reappear, she showed up with the Africans in tow, they were eating out of her hand like a bunch of tamed jungle cats, I needn't have worried, she was surfing the chaos as always.

On the train to Mumbai, sleeping on our reserved third-class benches, Nic on her side with her butt up in the air, a young fool sneaked up on her and groped her delicious big buttocks, she wore bother-boots and hardly woke up, just gave the guy a resounding mule-kick in the face to send him flying across the carriage, her snarling, "You try that once more and I'll rip your balls off!" He vanished and we all went back to dreamland, ready for Mumbai, city of broken-dreams.

In Mumbai we stayed in Colaba at the cheapskate India Hotel, it's so cool to sit smoking on Mary Weather Drive and watch the passing crowds swirling around the haunted Gateway to India, a fresh breeze coming in off the Arabian Sea. Nicorette loved noshing up at the scrumptious cafes where women can sit in curtained booths and get up to hanky-panky without curious eyes ogling them. When we walked past the Taj Mahal Hotel we saw a huge crowd milling in front of the new tower complex, half of them Westerners in shirt and tie, photographers with their fancy cameras, security guards speaking earnestly to walkie-talkies, fat police, armed soldiers, Indian rubber-neckers.

We couldn't push our way thru and I just had to ask a sweating reporter nearby what all the fuss was about. "The French president, Jacques Chirac, is about to show up!" Oh yeah, he was in India hoping to flog fast-breeder reactors to them to supplement their nuclear industry. Nic was in her usual cargo-pants and bother-boots but the t-shirt she wore had a huge tear across her chest and her breasts protruded forth in all their mammoth glory. As we edged into the crowd the men turned, espied her boobs and stepped back, eyes firmly glued to the jiggling flesh-bombs. As we progressed the whole crowd parted like the Red Sea, the much anticipated French President forgotten, all heads and eyes turned to watch the Aussie Amazon stride blithely past, chest thrust forward to churn aside the morass of male hornyness, little me trundling behind in her wake, one smart Indian fucker yelling out, "You're too old for her!" I sneered back, "And you're too ugly!" Then the French President's limousine showed up and we made our escape, back to the sea-wall, to smoke and laugh at the breast fetish that made most men stupid.

Nic had a bag of leafy grass some streetie had given her and we were smoking a joint of it as we gazed upon Bombay Harbour, not getting high but happy to be relaxed and in Wonderland, when an old Indian cop snuck up on us on his beat-up push-bike and grumbled, "What's that you're smoking?" I tossed the spliff into the sea and said, "Nothing, just a cigarette." He spluttered, "You should've let me see it up close." "It's none of your business, " I replied, then hissed to Nic, "Let's go, go, go!" I grabbed her by the hand and towed her quickly up the street and around the corner, looking back to see the old cop fuming, eyeballs glaring. We would've made it to our hotel door safely but a German backpacker stopped us to ask if we knew where there were cheap rooms, and while we politely, stupidly gave her directions the old pig had enough time to gather his posse and come tearing around the bend in pursuit, a wild bunch of pigs on bikes bent on payback.

My guts dropped at their imminent arrival and I ran for the stairs to our hotel, three flights up, Nic in my wake, the horrid cops in full chase like wolves after lambs. I was able to run fast and leap stairs but Nic with her big tits and fat arse wobbled slowly upwards, in too much of a panic to think of dragging the bag of pot from her voluminous bag and tossing it thru one of the many open windows we passed. I had a joint of hash I was saving for bedtime and in a flash placed it out of sight on a windowsill. But Nic floundered along like a baby dugong and just as we got to our hotel door and banged furiously upon it the cops caught up with us and the original old cunt latched onto her like a sucker fish. We all started screaming and cursing, loud enough that the lazy hotel wallahs woke up and unlocked the doors.

I yelled for Nic to rush to the toilet which she dully did, shaking off the pincers of the zealous cop but the old bastard followed hot on her heels while I confronted the other pigs in bad humour. They searched me thoroughly and found nothing, but one fat prick clutched onto my arm as if he wanted to tear it off, I thrust him aside and played the outraged diplomat, "How dare you treat me in so uncivilised a manner!" Just as I was mounting my high horse in high dudgeon Nic reappeared with the skinny old cop riding her like a captive filly, waving the bag of pot in our collective faces. "She tried to flush this down the toilet!" he crowed, Nic shrieking, "I've never seen that crap before, it was there when I tried to take a piss, and he was trying to get a look at my fanny!" We all started ballyhooing with accusations and denials, shriek, shriek, yammer, yammer, the four cops holding an arm and a leg and dragging Nic back down the stairs.

"We're taking her to the police station and charging her with drug possession!" "Yeah, sure, with a wet bag of leaf that you found in a toilet, you'll never make it stick!" I yelled, "And I'm coming with you!" "Why should you come, it's got nothing to do with you!" they barked. "As if I'd let you take her alone, you might rape her, India is infamous for raping Westerners. And I'm gonna put up such a stink, I'll scream all night long in your precious police station, so get ready for a big headache!" They all stopped in their tracks and ruminated upon this hiccup in the smooth running of their big bust. Just then the big fat Hotel Manager got aroused from his sloth and stepped into our midst. As a fellow Maharashtran he was able to jabber jabber in Marathi with the hungry pigs and after much negotiation he turned to us and said, "They want ten thousand rupees to forget about it." "You're kidding, we don't have ten thousand rupees, we're back-packers, we've only got five hundred rupees spare cash." More jabber jabber in Marathi and he blithely mouthed, "Okay, they'll take one thousand and call it quits."

Hmmmmmmm... that made 250 rupees per cop, ($10), pretty cheap when it comes down to it, such desperation was pathetic, my threatened hysteria and the wet pot must've given them second thoughts. Nic gave them their pieces of silver as if they were coins to close the eyes of the dead, I even said, "Now fuck off!" But they were too busy arguing over the division of the spoils to notice. Poor old India, she used to be satisfied with so very little. The Hippie Trail is strewn with such misadventures, we could only shrug with relief and set our sights for Goa where maybe there was true sanctuary for angst-weary freaks.

The highlight for me of the whole journey thru India is the sleeper-bus to Goa, first the long haul thru the entire metropolis of Mumbai, the endless concrete-cancer streets with wall to wall people so closely packed I could walk on their heads as though on a carpet, the satellite cities of ant-hill sky-scraping apartment towers, then the rush of the highway, over the precipitous mountains into the full moon, round hair-pin bends, down to the sea, past Portugese cottages entangled in jungle, me stretched out in my coffin-like upper bunk, the window open, the wind rushing in, sometimes hanging into the breeze with MP3 techno sending me into the heavens with the stars and electro choirs. Like the selfish dog I am I insisted on having the window-side of the berth and poor Nic had to cling to the one bar provided for support, every swerve sending her half-over the edge and onto the Indians packed below just as she was falling asleep.

You can smell Goa when you get there, coconuts, sunshine, bananas, sea-salt, toddy. From Mapusa we went straight to Vagatore Beach and the Hilltop Hotel, cheap rooms plus that's where the best rave parties were held. Nic's old boyfriend whom we called Gronk turned up from Auz to try to keep the flame of romance burning, only for Nic it had fizzled out like a wet fart, and he was a big bring-down. She was a Utopianist, no one should be owned by anyone, marriage was redundant, everyone was free to do as they will with no laws or strictures as long as they didn't hurt anyone, blah blah blah, only Gronk wanted her for himself, in every way, with constant instructions on how she should live her life, each hour of the day... aaaggghhh! It didn't take too many days for Gronk to be given the bum's rush and he disappeared back into the mists leaving Nic to peruse the Israeli hunks who sat in mobs around the communal table at the Hilltop Cafe waiting for their pussy on tap.

The techno/trance music cult seems to have got a big push in Goa in the late '80s with the likes of Goa Gill but by 1998 the scene was peaking and we got there just in time to catch the last big waves. While the Hilltop was and is the main hot-spot there were also other sites like Disco Valley down on Vagatore Beach and the Bamboo Forest over at Anjuna Beach along with the Paradiso Club. Rapes, muggings and murder have put an end to the free-for-all wild raves, you'd have to run a gauntlet thru a jungle to get to the dance-floor, sleazy Indians trying to fleece you of your cash and flesh, and any poor white girl who dared to go on the dance floor would suddenly have a mob of Indian yobs around her trying to grab at her tits, as if they'd heard there was free sex available in Goa, all you had to do was snatch the snatch. The girls would fuck off instantly of course and then the idiots would turn their attention to the white guys, even gronky old me, suddenly I'd have some fat milk-wallah from the back of beyond pushing his hairy belly into me and trying to grope my arse. I got so furious I wanted to have a punch up with him and his moronic side-kicks but my Indian mates dragged me away, to a better party, it wasn't worth the hassle fighting such stupidity.

Nowadays the only hot parties are at the Hilltop which is protected inside high walls with armed security guards patrolling the perimeters. The edgy frisson has gone, but I and my girlfriends would rather be safe, all those drunken villains from the hinterland of India now have only the rocky beaches to haunt and hassle. Not all the hot crowd are international freaks, half the mob are local Goans or cool Indians down from Bombay, and they dance the best, wildly, out of control, like pagans from 7000 years ago, I love them dearly, need to be among them every year shaking my arse down to my soul, till the day I die.

My favourite party of all time was put on by a hot crew from Britain on private land at the back of the Vagatore petrol station. I think it was "Ministry of Sound", and New Years Eve 1999, the music was intense, from the moment I got in the gates I went nuts and danced like a dervish, like a shaman, on my usual vision quest, up into the astral-planes, my arms and legs swiveling like gossamer wings to take me up, up, up, white-light exploding, bliss, knowledge, truth, higher-consciousness dissolving me into the Universe, me and the crowd as one, stomping, whirling, thrashing, weaving in mesmerising movement, yeah, humankind can fly! Rich/poor, fat/thin, old/young, gay/straight, black/white, male/female, ugly/beautiful, silly/serious, nothing mattered but the music and the dissolution within it.

Nicorette did what she always did when we went to rave parties, every damned time, she disappeared within 5 minutes to hunt out the guy who'd give her her favourite drugs and I wouldn't see her for the rest of the night. Lucky I'm a loner, a dharma bum used to traveling the sky's highways on my lonesome, satisfied with being the entire Universe and not needing a Siamese twin by my side to give comfort and solidity to the experience. Music can be one's eternal companion, lover even, I get fucked by the music, fuck the fickle friends. Strangers would always come up and try to chat, move in sync, even lay their hands on as if to grab some of the light, I'd let them all flow over me like silken water, I'd splash the light about with them and then swim on. And Nicolette always nowhere to be seen in the pulsating crowd of hypno-celebrants.

I'd find her past dawn, back at the Hilltop, unconscious in her room with some Euro-trash stoner, for a few weeks it was a cool German guy who shared her delights and gave her good head, lucky also that I'm queer and not jealous, I wished her and her lover well, and prayed they'd revive. The other scene in those days at Vagatore was the Primrose Hotel, every night packed with revelers boozing and dancing on the tiny disco-floor, the Pub's sweet deserts were what got me in. (At some point the owner of the Primrose died and whoever took over wasn't able to pay the local cops the bribes they demanded so they lost their disco license and nowadays the Pub is as dead as a cemetary.) I'll never forget that rare occasion when Nic was having a dance with me, she'd imbibed copious quantities of nogod knows what shit, suddenly she turned ghostly pale, swayed and projectile vomited green slime, yes, just like Linda Blair, but no callow priest could exorcise this Amazonian demon, the spew sprayed upon the designer-clothed tourists dancing politely nearby, they all screamed in disgust.

Then Nic simply toppled like a sawed-off Redwood and crashed straight to the disco-floor, smashing face-first into the ground. The Euro-trash around us yammered and cursed, everyone on the freak-circuit seems to know the nationality of everyone else just with one glance and they yelled, "Fucking Auzzies! Always overdoing it. Someone do something, get her out of here, take her away!" They laser-eyed me, her queer companion, "She's your responsibility, fix it!" I was rolling a joint and I kept calmly at it till it was in my mouth and lit, I slowly toked on it then somehow, I don't know how, little me reached down and heaved up her hefferlump mass and slung her across one shoulder, holding her with one arm while I sucked on the spliff with the other. I pushed my way thru the dancing crowd, past shocked tourists eating at their tables, knocking all and sundry out of the way, chased out of the Pub by curses in foreign tongues, green vomit still oozing from her gob and dripping down my back.

I somehow frog-marched her back to the Hilltop and got her to the door of her room. I asked her if she was OK and able to get to bed on her own and she moaned that she could do it so I left her swaying on the top step. Just as I was about to enter my room I heard a terrible crash and klunk, she'd toppled backwards and cracked her head upon the concrete. Fuckkkkk!!! I rushed over and heaved her up, got her door open and slung her inside upon her bed. I checked her head, apart from a lump she seemed alright and as she slobbered that now she'd be fine I left her to sleep it off.

I saw no sign of her in the morning, nor for the rest of that day. When I tried her door it was locked, I let a few more hours go by but still no sign of her so I banged and banged on her door and finally I heard a moan, some scratch-scratching, the door creaked open and she stood swaying in the shadows, still alive, but barely. She confessed that she'd awoken at some stage and swallowed yet more pills, lucky I'd aroused her as maybe she was close to the edge. Eventually she pulled herself together and went off to the local grungy hospital to have an x-ray on her poor cracked skull but this girl seemed made of titanium, no permanent damage, I think she'd survive a nuclear blast.

In Goa all drugs can be had, if not from some black-marketeer dealer, then from the tin-shed back yard chemists that sell much of anything over the counter, so all drug-lovers have a delirious, dead-head good time there. One of the most popular poisons is that horse-tranquiliser, Ketamine, the Brits and Israelis are particularly fond of it and are forever driving their motorbikes off cliffs and under buses because of it. Nic had cooked up some of the shit and laid out a few lines and assured me it was an interesting, relaxing high. I rarely do drugs, except for an E on New Years Eve for the sacred pagan boost to my flight, everything else makes me violently ill and is no fun, I like to be clear-headed and in control, conscious of every experience. Tired of being such a wowser I thought I'd sniff a little bit of the noxious white goo just to see what she was on about, and how I regretted it!

I vomited and vomited and vomited, I think I even heaved up my intestines, the world spun, kaleidoscopic psychedelia split reality into fractured prisms, I moaned and swore I'd never touch drugs again while Nic stroked my back and said, "There, there, don't worry, it will be all over soon." The hotel staff in the common room next door could hear everything and laughed their arses off, they'd watched the antics of both of us over the weeks and knew I was out of my league.

Nic and I relished Goa four years in a row, and then she gave up on it, it lost its edge for her tho I still love it and have tried to get back there every year, it's a bit like trying to fly to the top of the Himalayas on the back of a genie, hard to do for one only ever gets seven wishes and mine are maybe used up. The cheap seafood, swimming and relaxing 0n the beaches, and above all the wonderful Goan people, so hospitable and accommodating for all the madness they've put up with over the last 50 years of Western hippie/druggie/raver invasions, I've loved the place all my life and will try to always return there, for no other place has the same atavistic, full-on cutting techno-music feast that fuels my spirit, and one has to experience wild India to get there and that's half the fun.

Nic used to stay a lot with me in my apartment in Sydney, I gave her free space, but for the last few years she has grown more distant from me, maybe our friendship's shelf-life is over, maybe she's had me, heard all there is I've got to say, usually scowling at her pathetic drug use, we were once so happy just to be together, now she's afraid/tired of me, I must be a bore in my old age. Like most guys who get with her, I wanted her for life, she gives off a light, a hot excitement, an intelligent frisson, we agree politically/philosophically on most things, we hate the Beast as if in tandem, two alley cats in a dumpster yowling at an unjust world, there's very few such compatriots about for this loner soul.

But I find such egregious drug-addiction really selfish, narcissistic, nihilistic, stupid, just get stoned at whatever cost and go unconscious for a lot of the time. Gee, how exciting, how life enhancing, really grabbing life by the throat and wringing the maximum fun/knowledge from every drop, I think not. Nic has apparently read this Blog and is livid, maybe head-hunting me, she can have my head, she's already had my heart. Don't worry love, it's all fabricated bullshit, a larger-than-life character I've based on you, for the fun of it, I could be dead tomorrow and I just had to tell some of your story cause maybe you never will, clever and beautiful as you are. Yeah I'm uptight you've dumped me but for a few hours there you brightened my life immeasurably, you were the goddess, the Amazon Warrior Bitch, the Queen of the Zombies.

P.S. Nic finally got in contact with me and she still loves me, which chuffs me endlessly, and she's OK with this story, even thinks it's funny, one of her best qualities is an open-mindedness and ability to laugh at herself. She's been busy all year, working for a sex workers' support group that flies her all around Asia to organize the hookers and teach them about fighting for their rights etc. She was also busy with the post-funeral arrangements of 3 of her junkie friends who died this year of heroin overdose or their bodies simply fell apart after life-long heavy drug use, she's a very loyal friend, but their stories are a sobering lesson for anyone considering forgetting that old aphorism, "all things in moderation".

One aspect of this whole story that I overlook in my distaste for the world of "hard-drugs" is that there is a worldwide "War on Drugs" enforced by a conservative elite upon the masses, dictating to them what they can and cannot use in the way of inebriation/inspiration, alcohol is in and pot and powders are out. The most heinous laws and practices have killed and maimed millions in the name of population control, power and black market money, many murders, thefts, corruption, disease and overdoses could be done away with by decriminalisation of drugs, you should be able to get what you need with a doctor's prescription, all the smart minds of the world agree with this. And Nic is a Boedicea, a warrior queen in the battle for hearts and minds on the drugs issue, there wouldn't be a problem is drugs were fucking legal, and I agree.

I'm pleased to discover she herself has dried out and is courageously taking on the world to have an exciting life, my derision of her daily lying in bed stoned was wrong. I have abandonment issues left over from childhood and am distrustful of my friends, imagining them ever "leaving me", but the REAL beloved do come back, like boomerangs, and I'm always there to catch them. Nic is for life I hope and will always come back no matter how far she roams, I'll write a novel about her one day, she's a true Luciferian, when she's not amongst the shades of her addiction she's a bringer of Light.

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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Caught in a Dreamcatcher.

Home Sweet Homo

I got a call from my mother's nursing home that she'd had a fall, maybe a mini-stroke, but was Okay, yet I felt it was my filial duty to go the vast distance down to Mornington Peninsula in Victoria to check her out. I got off the bus at the wrong place and walked for miles down the Nepean Highway in a freezing wind, missed the nursing home that hid behind a new-age fitness center and was about to give up but thought, nah, my poor old mum, I've got to see her, for all her cold indifference to much of my queer adult life, she suffered a lot to endure my childhood.

So I asked an old lady standing on a street corner and she directed me to the place. It was quite a nice set-up, not scungy like some I've worked in, she had to pay $65000 deposit to get in there and I was relieved it was more like a 2 star motel, not a medieval dungeon. I was led thru a doddering crowd of internees in Nogod's waiting-room to a frail, ancient Jezebel crouching on a couch vacantly staring into a television set that was incongruously playing the Beatles "A Hard Days Night", all those cheery pop songs and comic antics washing ineffectually over the geriatrics' white-haired heads. My mom had a terrible black eye from her fall and when it was announced that "Toby", her illustrious son, had come to visit her, she looked up at me puzzled, a frown on her face, she didn't know who I was. Her frown deepened, maybe she thought I was my dad come back to haunt her, she didn't seem to appreciate this enthusiastic man standing over her shouting, "Hi, mom, it's me, your son, back from Coventry!"

The mini-stroke that caused her fall seemed to have wiped out her last few cognitive brain cells, she was now an empty shell, eventually she gave that false-toothy smile of hers that she always used to charm a hostile world and I sat with her for an hour, shouting pleasantries into her profoundly deaf ears, causing all the other oldies to jump and stare, as if maybe I was their own lost son trying to engage them. One old man sitting next to her shook with Parkinsons' disease, I could smell shit and antiseptic and death and tried not to get depressed. Nogod help us, I swear I won't end up this way, I'll die with my boots on, out on the road, on some grandiose adventure, grabbing life by the throat, ecstatic to the max. I remembered as a child I'd dreamed that I'd get rich and famous one day and buy my mom a mink coat to repay her for all her ordeals, it never happened, I was a dharma bum, and in my travels once a year I made it to her far-flung abode and tried to share my high with her, to no avail, she was in love with poker-machines and AFL football, not my thing.

For all my shouting she took no notice and gazed blindly at John Lennon wisecracking in a bathtub, the sight of him made me sadder, I might as well be talking to a doorknob, I kissed her and walked out, the sun was going down and there were few buses back to the city, the nursing home was part of the life cycle in these modern times, and heart-weary I had to accept it. Back in Melbourne my niece Nuala consoled me by taking me to the Coburg drive-in movies to see "District 9", we smoked pot in the car, ate bad hamburgers and laughed and cried at the wild action, I felt somewhat soothed and exhilarated at the alien's humanity, at last some good sci-fi to light up this entropic universe.

When I got back to Sydney I was lolling around my flat one night when there was a knock on the door, "Who is it?" I shouted. "Brandon!" Oh shit no, my old fuck buddy come back after 7 years to plague me like a bent penny. I let him in to hear his tales of misadventure, he was speeding off his brain, had dirty bare feet and proceeded to crush up some eckies and snort them greedily while informing me his wife had left him and he took on odd jobs for biker gangs beating up hapless punters who had "dobbed to the cops". I was in trepidation he would get around to the old sore of me fucking him all night relentlessly but thankfully instead he asked me if I wanted to go for a drive out to the distant suburb of Fairfield to pick up some pot. I needed an adventure so I acquiesced and tightened my seat belt, I was in for a bumpy ride.

We got in a beat up Toyota which he then drove like a rally car, rocketing in and out of the city traffic, cursing any slow driver in screamed purple prose, the radio blaring rock, techno and rap, me thrilling to the roller-coaster existence, Brandon regaling me with hair-raising tales of rumbling with the Kooris, broken legs and cracked backs. We got the pot and smoked ourselves high and tore thru the city again, like djinns on an arcane treasure hunt. He's an accomplished driver, I trusted him and relaxed into it, in the face of the Void we laughed demonically. He dumped me at my flat and zoomed off into the night promising to return soon, I didn't see him again for 3 days, he came back bearing a gift he'd found in a squat to mollify my uptightness at his speedy comings and goings. He gave me the most magnificent, elaborate dream-catcher, something I've always wanted and waited for years for someone of my tribe to present to me. It now hangs above my bed and traps the bad vibes and amplifies my cool dreams, to make them come true.

And one dream did indeed come true that same week, the most beautiful boy in the world has walked into my head-space and rented a piece of my heart, like the ageless Friend, a manifestation of the Green One, his name is Felix (the cat?), he seems to like me, respect and trust me, he beams like the morning star onto me and brightens the shadows, transiently. Way back since primary school quite a few gorgeous boys have walked with me on my long journey, for awhile, virtually all of them have been straight, my perverse luck, sweet-natured, intelligent, cool, for some strange reason they get a kick out of having a gay boy as a best friend, they must need the psycho-emotional support and dig the "difference", but there's never any sex. Not to worry, as my old mother used to say, for sex evaporates quickly, friendship is solid. Perhaps one of the most beautiful things about living on this terrifying planet with flawed humanity is that when a human being is beautiful he/she is almost a miracle.

He took note when I said I was a groupie for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and got me free tickets to Dvorak's "Cello Concerto" with a young Frenchman, Gautier Caucon, spinning gold wildly upon his cello. I didn't realise the tickets were given out at Felix's music class at school and I freaked at the prospect of his fellow schoolies and teachers seeing him with one of Sydney's most notorious homosexuals. When I declared they'd all laugh at him the next day at school he bravely assured me he didn't care, he was old enough to do what he wanted, he's 19 and they'd just be jealous of him anyway. He then courageously sat between two crazy poofs, me and Peter, the violin virtuoso getting off on the many maestros' techniques, while his schoolies filed past us to get to their seats, me biting my tongue as this is an era when "gay" is the most pejorative term shouted in the schoolyard. "This is existentially BAD!" I groaned as yet another schoolie in blazer and tie squeezed politely past me, but nobody turned a hair, "We're in the year 2009, Toby, things are different. The young are more knowledgeable, progressive and out-front." I trusted him and relaxed and got very high on the Dvorak concerto, floated to the ceiling of the Opera House, went into Nirvana, especially as I had a brave soul sitting next to me proud to be my friend.

I got brought back to earth at the "Don't Put Shit on Me Cafe", which is the oft-sung lament of Vitto who can dish out the shit but can't take it, he'd teamed up with a precious queen I call Lady Poncenby to decry the smart-arse mouth of the Punk Poofy Cat, mock-scandalised at my poetic offensiveness while Vitto doesn't mind forever castigating "the tightness of nuns' cunts". They're like the two ugly sisters who don't want Cinderella, me, to go to the ball, and are jealous, (yes, the whole human race is jealous!) of my vivacious electric grasp of life, the beautiful souls that team up with me and turn me from a frog into a prince. That in the face of ever-present death I ride life like a bucking bronco while the two grumpy queens knit scarves like old ladies at a funereal, that I chase my dreams and catch them, and am caught, with a sparkle in my eyes, actually another con-job to get by in a hostile world.

P.S. What an old fool I've turned into, any con-artist with a Cheshire cat smile can suck me in, Felix turned out to be a phantom just passing thru, thank nogod I didn't lose my balls over him. He must've wanted some kooky older mentor for 3 months, which is cool by me, I only hope I imparted some "surf the chaos" vibes, it's best to try to have a good influence on others, especially young people. Anyway, you can't win them all. My Dream-catcher has a break in the net that allows anything unreal to slip thru and get-away, and I'm glad of it, only substantial, sincere souls need apply.

It makes me worried that as I hit my dotage around 70 maybe my true libidinous type may waylay me, some slick hairy Italian gigolo who'll drain me of all my juices like I read in much classic literature ala "The Roman Spring of Mr. Stone-arse"? Fuck, let me get driven off a high mountain road in the Himalayas instead. Although, goong off the edge with "him" would make it more fun.

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.