Tuesday, May 08, 2012

21 Years Under Northcott.

I haven't blogged in months, no hot story to tell, except one of survival, under Northcott tenements, going crazy as ever. I've been in a manic flight of painting, all else thrown to the winds, my apartment a mess, just the canvas to get lost in, tubes of paint scattered all around. What a glorious painting I've done, it got me so high, like I've spewed colours in visionary ecstasy and I've called it "21 years Under Northcott". I've imagined painting it for years, the buildings looming over and weighing down upon us, the lively explosion of humanity with all its flaws and beauty, the terrible events of murders and suicides, saintly neighbours like Dolly amidst the sweet gardens and wandering pets, it's been like living in a Heironymous Bosch painting of paradise and hell. It's for my art show in September and I'm working till dawn every night, risking my health and sanity for my creative spirit, what else is life for but really getting into it?

My insomnia is killing me, I rarely get a good sleep as day-people caterwaul at my door not giving a fuck about the fragility of night-people and I have to stumble from my bed and poke my head out screaming for them to "shut up!" and "fuck off!" I'm one more deadbeat  madman among a raging mob of them at Northcott. My immediate neighbor, Cursula, has been given little mercy over the state of her fire-trap hovel, an army of bureaucrats, social workers, friends and junkies squabble incessantly outside my door, she's been issued with an eviction notice even though she's tried hard to clear out the mounds of hoarded garbage.

Seventy van-loads of crap have been hauled away and still there's detritus piled up helter-skelter throughout her apartment. I hear her begging for more time, the bureaucrats snapping, the charity-workers clucking, her friends coaxing, each piece of crap having to be torn from her breast. The last straw for me was some junkie bitch screaming for Cursula to help her "get on" and when it was explained she was too worried about being evicted to bother with scoring drugs the scrag shrieked, "If you don't get me some fucking drugs I'll put a hex on you!"

I fell out of bed, yanked my door open and yelled, "Boil yourself in a cauldron of toil and trouble ya fucking witch, don't come around here laying hexes!" I went back to bed, phone off the hook to defeat the tele-marketers. Next I'm awakened by more shrieking, this time from the other end of the verandah, the "gay" couple are having their weekly brawl. Drony the Tooth Fairy and Dravid the Undertaker are at each others' throats, "You bastard, you're living here for free and you treat me like shit!" "You're nothing but a dirty pedophile, I hate the sight of you!" "Oh yeah, I'll get the cops to throw you out of here, cunt!" "Go on, get the cops, get 'em, see if I care!" Some old gronk from upstairs joined in the operatic wailing, "Shut the fuck up you rotten poofters. You're both fucking pedophiles!"

The shrieking went up seven notches in intensity. Drony yelled up the stairwell at the old gronk, "Yeah, well I saw you in the toilets with that fifteen year old boy so who are you to talk!" I can't help wondering what toilets they've all  been hanging around. There's a tsunami of hissing and spitting, then I heard another of my neighbors come out, Sandy the 55 year old alcoholic and she screamed for them to stop with the god-awful insults, they're offensive in the extreme. Dravid the Undertaker saw his chance to stand-over an easy victim and apparently chased her up the verandah and into Dolly's flat where the door was shut in his face. He banged away, abusing her, threatening to teach her a lesson for daring to criticize his very existence.

My blood boiled up my spine and out my eyes, I rushed to my door and leaped out, half-naked, to yell above his curses, "Oh, great form, threatening an old woman! That's all you're good for, ya weak bastard. Why don't you get out of Northcott, you're not on the lease yet you dare to bully us all. Everybody in the building hates you so why don't you just fuck off?!" He knew he'd been pinned, and by a bloke who wasn't afraid of him, and he ran back to Drony's flat, tossing over his shoulder, "You mind your own business!" I had to restrain myself from rushing after him and smashing him in his ugly face, I could give myself another heart attack from all this drama.

Sandy called the cops and I heard them all jabbering accusations, 90 year old Dolly telling them how for years we've all been harassed by that undertaking bastard, but no one wanted to press charges so the cops left the unhappy gay couple with a word of warning not to cause any more trouble. If we're lucky Dravid will pull his head in though the creep might be just biding his time before he seeks revenge with a sneaky arson attack, a match through an open window or lighter-fluid under the door. I live in dread yet figure I'll barbeque his balls in return if anything happens to any one of us.

I try as ever to sleep, glorious sleep, perchance to dream, and hate to get up to face a world where the poor and vulnerable are footballs for bullies and pollies to kick around. I've put up a new canvas to get stuck into, another hallucinogenic flight into color and form, a re-envisioning of "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse", I can get lost in this manic creative dreaming, deep in the dark of the night, my vision of chaos a metaphor of the world outside, while trying to keep cool deep under Northcott.

P.S. A mate of mine hassled the Sydney City Council to buy this painting as an historical/folkloric record but they prevaricated endlessly so he took up a petition in the inner-city and got a few hundred signatures, (all of this unknown to me as I was overseas.) This seemed to have twisted their collective elbow and they sent an e-mail to the Damien Minton Gallery saying they would indeed purchase the work and hang it in the Surry Hills Library! I was flabbergasted and unbelieving, and sure enough, it's two months later and THEY have gone silent on the matter and it looks like I'm gonna have to bang furiously on their horrid back-door and be made to crawl for the $4000, bureaucrats love to make us artists crawl for the crumbs THEY throw from their banquet table. THEY don't mind spending millions of dollars on consultation fees for non-events, that's because it's giving to their own, all in-house back-scratching, and art like you see above can be thrown in the dumpster. I'm cringing, being made to crawl yet again!

P.P.S. I put the Bureaucats down too soon, they did finally pay up but the money got stuck in cyberspace for months, in the meantime I starved, like Kafka's hunger artist, getting skinnier and skinnier in my cage. The painting's not gonna hang in the library of course, it's too risque to be in public; it's more likely to be hidden in a dungeon below the Town Hall, I only hope it's safe there. (THEY don't like the reality of mass suicides mentioned in public!) Success in the arts is for middle-class brats pleasing mummy and cracking onto daddy's contacts, the rest of us have to claw our way thru a banal existence; one day I'll list all the knives in the back I got along the way, one of them from the Lady Mayoress.

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.