I'm lost in the middle of my latest painting, acrylic on canvas, a complicated street scene of Kings Cross on New year's Eve 1980, multi-hued in rich primaries with fleuro edges, I'm burning the brain-cells in both lobes in a burst of creative bliss with the rest of my life falling to bits at my feet. Northcott Housing Ghetto has been quiet for a few weeks, since my scream fest Cursula and Bawl have kept their squabbles behind closed doors, and the deep night is silent and still, just what I need for intense concentration and craftsmanship. Eric the Viking continues howling his hyena laugh that creeps the flesh but after 16 years it has become mere background irritation to be blocked out. Northcott can be a peaceful idyll, with the gardens pruned at my back-window and the garbage scraped up from my front door and, thus untrammelled, I can create my feverish dreams in ink, paint and objects d'art.
The only exceptions to the general reign of peace are when the gay guys at the other end of the verandha go on the warpath, Dravid the Undertaker roaring threats thru Eric's door in lieu of some outrage like a turd on the footpath, or the Ice-zombies screeching blue-murder in the drive-way, or the Aboriginal tribe in the next building having a violent domestic with the breaking of glass and the echoing of harsh rebukes. Bawl next door has taken his bawling down a few notches, they whisper as they go in their door for fear of rousing the Kraken monster Toby. Bawl cant help being a scold, it's as if he's got Tourette's syndrome, carping on and on, and Cursula is a born victim, the constant nagging reminds her she's alive, and thankful to have a man hanging about her needy snatch.
Bawl is a master musician and often diverts his frenetic, bawling energy into guitar playing of the sweetest, most soulful effect, providing great background music to the dirt-opera that is Northcott. I was just being a mean little shit when I said he'd never had a job, his job is music making and like most artists, he's had a hard time making money from his art. He plays 24/7 amidst Cursula's piled up junk, and often accompanies an old girlfriend, Mia, around town with her strip-tease trapeze act, his guitar wailing up like slow sound-waves to keep her buoyant upon her tight-wire, slender long legs and pert fanny flying thru the air, the deathly white pallour of her smack gaze sweeping vacantly over her audience. But he's gone mad because of the pent-up rush of genius stagnating in his breast, like all the rest of us desperate artist-types, and like us howls from his cage in frustration.
It's not hard to go mad, trying to keep one's head above the sewers, pay the bills, put on a brave face when feeling weak, then face worldly exigencies, like beating schitzos off one's back on the streets or handling world news with some kind of equanimity. Much of the current affairs in the media of late tells me we didn't need to be in this global mess, from the 1950s on the planet could have gone for sustainable energies, environmental conservation, efficient cars and low-key consumerism, except the multi-nat corporations lobbied the various govts to legislate in their favour, everything's been done to maximise their profits, and we the people have been left to pay for the fuck-over. We wouldn't have the water or land degradation problems if the pollies had been doing their job all along, the fortune they get paid, the vast pensions and perks, and they stuffed up, didn't deserve a cent and still dont, it's infuriating.
I think about that Chinese billionaire who took his technology from Auz cause he couldn't get support here and now supplies China with solar-energy cells. He says industry and cities can be powered by solar installations but our pollies have no imaginatiuon and are bribed by the status quo, like nuclear power, oil and coal. I'm reminded how GMH killed off the electric car in the mid-nineties due to pressure from the oil and motor industries tho the cars were perfectly viable and so carbon dioxide continued to fuel global warming. (One woman powerd her car from solar cells on her roof and even sold energy back to the grid.) Al Gore in his movie reveals how the Ice-caps are melting and hints that the world could have been a different place except the Bush cabal achieved a "coupe d'etat" in those infamous elections, to favour big business above the people's and planet's needs. A right-wing revolution from Reagan's years onwards has taken over the world, wars rage and millions of people are maimed, tortured and murdered, storms tear the planet to bits and drought starves the masses, and much of this didn't need to be, it was all for the greed of a few, it's maddening. The fuckwits have indeed taken over the asylum and they've been ruining it for the last fifty years, and been paid well for their efforts.
(After writing this the media reports that the Bush administraton is about to do a policy U-turn in the face of global-warming disasters, but I suggest it's too late, the reigns should be handed over to Gore and co forwith, and the Bush cabal sealed within their nuclear fall-out shelters to keep the planet safe.)
In the face of this irrationalism and suffering many people can't cope, turn schitzo and take it out on the rest of us plebs on the streets. The poor Piccolo Cafe has become freak-zone central, the flip-outs zeroing in on that hole in the wall as their refuge, social club and psycho-therapy clinic. Vitto got on TV again last week in a humanist doco about people relating, the Cafe is famous but none of the nice videographers, TV hosts or trendy musicians who have their clips shot there quite realise the hell Vitto and family are put thru day after day dealing with the mental breakdowns of their sometimes customers. Lately Ayesha the dragon-lady drag-queen has increased her temper-tantrums, she wafts about like Gloria Swanson in her ratty Salvo cast-offs and throws hissy-fits over the smallest things, as if she's a movie star who's allowed any peccadillo, in her dementia she even kicked a little girl at a kiddie's birthday party, the bloke in Ayesha resurfacing as she's never actually had that little willie chopped off.
Worst and saddest flip-out of them all is Judy, the Thalidomide baby, who cant get enough love and seems to have nowhere to lead her life as she wants to spend it 24/7 at the Piccolo Cafe, hanging about with hang-dog eyes desperate for attention and humanity. No matter how many times she's been asked to go home she hangs about all day and late into the night, lighting her ciggies with her one foot, sometimes detaching her wooden leg and sunning it beside her, she's an outlandish sight and possible turns customers off, fewer people come for coffee when she's waving her flippers about, Vitto and family only have Judy's disconsolate face to gaze upon, and they're tearing their hair out, she's driving them nuts. She's been parked on the edge of the city by her family who are at the end of their tether and daily she crosses the vast urban desert to squat in the oasis that is the Piccolo, she'd sleep there if she could, somehow the seedy red-light district warms the cockles of her heart. The Piccolo family have given her lifts home, called family and friends to come get her, even called the Mental Crisis team to cart her away, but back she comes the next day and continues to fall apart on the footpath, literally.
Vitto is numb with exhaustion as the Piccolo freak-show trundles along, I try not to laugh as it's sad, the world is sad, humans en masse are expendable it seems. Things didn't have to come to this, we old hippies really hoped Utopia was in the making, but the fascists were more powerful, they owned the machines and they had their counter-revolution, and now we're all being ridden over, the fuckwits are bringing down the asylum upon our heads, and in parliament they've just voted themselves a pay rise, and I'm mad as hell. I think I'll scream from my window for awhile like Peter Finch in "Network", that'll fix it.