Friday, March 05, 2010

Sydney, Space-Age South Seas Pirate Port.

I'm back in Sydney and it's the same old south seas pirate port it ever was. One of my great great great grandfathers got shipped in here as a convict in 1838 bearing my name, (my real name, not my nom de guerre T.Z.), and his blood still runs thru me, I feel a knee-jerk reaction to rebel and sneer against everything, and the false-consciousness of celebrity worship this city thrives on really gets my goat. Yet I inexorably drift back to Sydney even tho I was born in Melbourne and wander the planet, it's as if my Dreamtime spirit has always resided there and the silver cord connected to my navel stretches far but pulls me ever back to Sydney Cove. (One of my great great great grandmothers was a Koori, maybe it's her pulling me back.)

Take the Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras for instance, every year I get more depressed by it even tho I'm kind of an 'elder statesman' of the Gay Community. I arrived home just in time for the grand parade and, as one of the faceless lumpen proletariat, got even more crushed by the weight of a zillion screaming queens and grunting straight gronks pushing and shoving, as if every float rolled right over me. I'm pleased the general public got to eyeball and pay lip-service to the city's deviants cavorting in public in their underpants, homos under klieg-lights beats homos lurking in toilets and dark parks, but to think that I helped start the whole freak-show by marching in protest back in 1978 pisses me off endlessly.

But afraid I might be missing out on something I toddled off yet again late Saturday night with a female friend to see what we could see. We thought maybe the entrance to Moore Park might still have space for viewing so we walked across the endless parkland to get there only to find the entire road leading to the football stadium fenced off for the Bobby Goldsmith grandstand on one side and some shit-kicking elite on the other. When we tried to get a peek of the caterwauling parade by standing on our toes and propping our chins on the black plastic cyclone fence an Indian (student) security guard came along and punched each interloper in the face, at last getting his nation's revenge against us Aussie white trash. He punched my fag-hag friend in the guts and as he came towards me I was ready to lunge over the fence and slap his face all the while cursing him in Hindi but before I could get that far a fat female cop came along our side of the barricade and dragged me down.

Oh what ignominy! I can now not even get a glimpse of an event that I helped launch and that's supposed to be for my benefit, and punched out for even trying. When I snuck a quick glimpse over the fence of who the grand elite might be, with a whole road given over to them, I saw the Press Corps squeezed up one end and the rest of the road virtually empty except for a squad of security guards and a few stone-faced blonds wandering about the deserted tents looking like Avon ladies trying hard to give away trashy make-up bags, all of them resolutely heterosexual. For all I cared they could keep that parade marching all the way to Bondi Beach and off the cliffs into the sea.

Bring back a shit-stirring protest section to the parade I say, let us rabble-rousers back in there, we homos remain treated like third-class citizens, can't get married and our relationships given respect, around the world still imprisoned, ostracized and murdered, I'm still angry and want to tear down Parliament House because of it. (The squad I appreciated most were the Gay Atheists and the one I booed were the Christians with a banner that read "We're sorry for fucking you all over for the last two thousand years", me screaming "it's too late, the damage has been done!")

In the meantime I try to stay alive, mostly hiding out in my apartment to dream, write and paint in peace if I can get it. But returning to Northcott Housing Ghetto I find a worse war-zone than in India, in fact India is where I get a break from the front-line of existential entropy. Cursula next door had finally burnt her apartment down, luckily it happened a week after I left, otherwise I might have had a heart attack from anxiety of the flames engulfing my flat. She'd dumped some bales of hay by her bedroom window, maybe as feed for her rabbits and guinea pigs, but our local pyromaniac put a match to it all and the flames leaped thru her window and set her junk-filled bedroom ablaze. Her apartment was trashed, the mess so filthy with charred animal corpses lying in their years old shit the firemen refused to go in there.

Happily for me Cursula has moved up into the tower with her new schitzo boyfriend, whom she met at Caritas psyche ward, and sub-let her flat to some drongo who remains hidden and blessedly quiet. She's told her ex, Bawl, to fuck right off, even got the new boyfriend to flog him mercilessly with a bike-chain, they're both now going to criminal court for "afray". I noticed some council workers using the half-destroyed "worker's toilet" in front of our place today, if they knew its' history maybe they wouldn't shit in there. Urban legend has it that when Cursula built her Mongolian yurt in front of if, before it all got burnt down, she charged junkies $5 to use it as a shooting gallery! No wonder the place was like "Deviant Central" with a non-stop derros' party going on, and it's why I got attacked by the ICE zombie last year, when he said "everyone pisses and shits around here!" he meant it. But I hardly see her anymore, her new boyfriend has complained to all and sundry at the Community Center that she keeps him busy manipulating his cock in such painful contortions he feels like a human pretzel. Whatever, my nights are now peaceful, the zombies of the world, gay and straight, can devour each other, and leave me be.

For some real community spirit I wandered like a mouse in a maze to the Cafe Fawlty Towers on Kings Cross, a freak-show where I feel I really do belong. I am, as ever, the classic starving artist for I haven't got the energy to suck the System's arse so I can sell my work, and when I came into the Cafe my friends were sitting there shoveling delicious heaps of food into their gobs while my mouth watered in desperation. My musician mate noticed my face pale and he kindly rushed over and handed me $20 for a drawing I'd just finished for a gig he was organising and with great relish I scoured the menu for the dish that would assuage my hunger.

Yes! Spinach and ricotta lasagna, I'm an old Popeye kid and love spinach so I ordered it, getting reassurance from the cook, Feral, that the repast was indeed available. After an interminable half-hour the dish arrived and I cut into it with glee. But to my consternation there was no spinach or ricotta, just pumpkin and eggplant, both of which I detest and I called out to the cook, "There's no spinach here!" "Yes there is," he shouts. I cut further into it but none of the magic green stuff appeared. "No there isn't!" I shouted back. "Yes there is, I should know, I just cooked it!" "There's no fucking spinach here, look at it yourself!" "I don't have to look, I know there is spinach in it!" Tina, the manager of the (Un)Lucky Horseshoe Cafe screamed, "There's no fucking spinach in this lasagna!" "Yes there is, yes there is! There is spinach in it! There is fucking spinach!" Feral screamed and screamed. I was still blue from my mother's funeral and had no energy to flip-out like I would normally do but he kept shrieking "There is spinach, there is spinach, there is spinach!" stamping his feet, jumping up and down in a temper tantrum.

I hefted the dish in my hand and yelled, "If you keep it up, cunt, I'll throw this shit in your face!" Everyone in the cafe shuddered, they knew I was capable of it, Vitto shrank into himself like an old tortoise, Feral screamed and screamed, throwing dishes about the kitchen then attacking a piece of veal with a mallet as if he wanted to murder the calf all over again. Then he screamed, "Give it back if you don't want it!" Again I made out I was going to throw it at him but desisted, I was tired of destroying the Cafe, it had happened many times over the years, I just shoved the plate at him and rushed from the hole in the wall, still starving, cursing the Piccolo, "This cafe is worse than Fawlty Towers, seriously!"

I bought a chicken pie from a cake-shop and was satisfied with that. Fuck, this starving artist routine was too much. Hmmmmm... Sydney! The convicts, pirates, space-cadets, hustlers and junkies sure had given me a wonderful "Welcome home!"

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.