Back to the future in 2011, it's raining and I'm hiding out in my apartment, snug and safe, surfing the WWW, watching hot docos, reading mind-blowing books, listening to techno and the music of the rain. When I was young and a Dharma Bum sleeping by the side of the road I dreamed of a restful haven somewhere in the future, no disturbance, all mod cons taken care of, the space to study, cogitate, contemplate. And here I am in Northcott Housing Ghetto, most nights it's silent like a tomb, the drone of traffic blocked by the surrounding buildings. But as Chaos would have it, occasional bursts of violence erupt, screaming, smashing, burning, as if it's the end of the world.
At 2am, my neighbor Cursula has left her front door open, I hear a kind of explosion from her kitchen, a huge thump, a scream, moaning, groaning, objects clattering about, then what sounds like lots of logs carried in and out her door, much nasal bitching as accompaniment. Scraping, banging, whining, thumping, on and on for about an hour, then as answer to my prayers she closed her door and the noise abated. The next day I asked, "What the fuck happened last night?" "Oh, Rick, you know, my other good-looking boyfriend, was stoned to the gills and he nodded off while he was mixing a huge pot of creamed rice on the stove. He almost fell into it, and upended the fucking thing all over himself and all my junk in the kitchen... and I had to carry it all out and clean it!" "Great! Nodding off into cream-rice... I dread to think what next!"
After all the fighting between their triumvirate, Cursula calling the cops on both boyfriends, Bawl and Rick, all of them in court for affray, thousands of dollars spent on lawyers and Bawl getting himself a criminal record and finding it hard to get a job, tells me when I meet him, "I hate her guts, she has ruined my life!" Next I see him and her on the street, they're arm in arm smiling, she's sneaking him into her flat for a good fuck while the third member Rick lurked by the windows hoping to catch them at it and I quaked all night waiting for the schizo storm to break. But Rick's learned his lesson, one more complaint and he's off to jail.
Old Dolly brought me a bowl of hot pea-soup and toast, it's cold out there and I'm alone. She told me Dravid, the gay under-taker down the other end of the block, has drunkenly abused her again: because his husband is Dolly's carer, he swears she's coming between the two of them. She wouldn't bother to distract the silly poofs, she's got her loving family, good friends and fond memories to fill her days. He planted a tree by her window and when she stated that it would block her sunshine of a morning and she wanted it pulled up and planted elsewhere, he told her he'd throw it thru her window if she tried it; Dolly being a ninety year old grandmother... my blood boiled, if I did anything to him he'd take it out on her later, he's a real dick, so I just have to observe and make sure he doesn't go too far in the harassment. My aberrant heart skipped a beat, I longed for a break from Northcott and Sydney, and hit the road, to wander the north coast of N.S.W. for awhile.
I arrived off the bus to Lismore in the rain and walked to Sylvia’s house a couple of blocks away. She’s got cable and I got a quick education from her addiction to reality TV, “Salon Do Over”, “America’s Next Top Model”, “Designer Catwalk” (sic) and “Hoarders”, all of which she wet-dreams about being the star of. She’d definitely crack it in “Hoarders”, her spooky house is full of boxes of second hand clothes, they also hang from the walls in heaps, piled in the doorways, thousands on racks under the house, you trip on clothes in the alley way and the last of the ragged detritus clings to bushes in her front and back garden as if a tsunami has swept thru.
When we went to a party after the pub, an old lady answered the door and timidly told us gang of nasty punks there was no party in her house. In reply Sylvia threw a beer bottle through her front window. She is the tightest bitch I've ever met, for all her inherited money, always sneaking into every gig, through the back door or side-window. And forever bargaining with St.Vincents and the Salvation Army for their second-hand clothes, nogod help any old granny getting between her and 7dollars worth of rags. She didn't mind throwing thousands at her fucked up boyfriends though. She lived at Pyrmont Squats with me in the 'Eighties, putting the roof back on a house after the council tore it off, and always up for a good grapple at a Punk rock gig. We have had many adventures from Sydney to Nimbin, chasing rock’n’roll and dance, she’s quite a rogue, a pain in the ass and an hilariously good time.
I shuddered, in my old age I dread being thrown on the streets, for all that I’ve lived and survived in the gutter I’m not too keen to go back there. Yeah, I’m tired of the horror and tedium of Northcott where I’m kind of trapped in a gilded cage, but I can sleep dry there, compute, delve into my science-fiction world, quiet and informed, it’s a place in the rain, when it comes pouring down.