This is the rave I'm going to perform at the Damien Minton Gallery Annex on Saturday 3pm, 22nd September, "My Sob Story" with my mate Peter on a wailing violin next to me.
(I wrote the above straight after seeing "The Dark Knight Rises", about the same time as the massacre happened, and I was bemused in the movie by the post-apocalyptic visions of street people looting 5th Ave apartments. But I did look around the theater there on George Street and felt safe and cozy, that we were a co-operative, well meaning society in general and could enjoy a movie fantasy without harm or interruption. I read about the horrendous Cinema massacre the next morning and shuddered, I don't find any dark humor in the suffering, only compassion for the victims, as I always do in horror movies, that's why horror movies are horrible.)
Every graphic I’ve ever scrutinized has sunk into my plastic mind and mixed into a pastiche of all the styles and, of all the influences lighting up my eyes, my favorites were Toulouse Lautrec, Delacroix , Van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso, Joan Miro, Otto Dix, Diego Rivera, and the cartoon styles of Disney, Robert Crumb, "Furry Freak Bros.", “The Simpsons” and “Ren and Stimpy.”
When I first got back to Auz I worked for an exploration company in the Simpsons Desert and on a break in Adelaide I got to hear Dr. Helen Caldicott give her anti-nuclear rave and I got all worked up by her intelligent critique, for I'd been traumatized by images from the Hiroshima bombings as a child, then the Cuban Missile Crisis when I was 12 in 1962. I rushed over to Sydney to hear AC/DC play for free at Paddy’s Markets on New Years Eve, 1977, only about 500 fans showed up, and yes, I got to dance with Bon Scott. while he sang "It's a long way to the top...") I crash-landed at the Darlinghurst squats, liked what I saw of Sydney, the clear white light, the flowering into a global city, and the libertarians protesting all things politically nasty and resisting mindless, destructive consumerism.
I guess it was just the brash, idealistic, hot-headed idiocy of youth that had me acting up, slashing Z like Zorro on all the walls of Sydney, but we got results, uranium/nuclear-waste was stopped from being shipped out of Sydney's port at White Bay, prisoners’ conditions improved, we saved some Heritage houses from demolition and we showed there was white Aussie support for Aboriginal rights.
One day in 1978 an old man approached me in front of one of my wall-posters and told me I’d make a great animator. An epiphany hit me, what I’d searched for all these years, movie animation. His name was Eddie vander Madden and he had built an animation camera in his squat where I set to work on “The Thief of Sydney”. I researched techniques at the Auz Film + TV + Radio School and came across roto-scoping from some ‘60s genius in Canada. I shot a test real, as always paying for all my art materials from the dole, and showed it to the Aust Film Commission Creative Development Branch with a story board for the “The Thief” and they gave me $13000 to make it.
This plagiarism totally disheartened me, I saw the ruthlessness of the game, what people would do for fame, kudos, power and the money that hopefully then came, they’d betray their best friends, and especially a nobody fag like me from Melbourne. These people were the first in a long line of desperadoes in film and art I met along the way, who would kill for an Academy Award or that million dollars for their next grand masterpiece. I often got elements of my work plagiarized, then I was pushed out the way, excluded from the records, denied jobs, bad-mouthed and stabbed in the back, then thrown back in the gutter, all the trendy middle-people uncaring of my hard life and hopeless career prospects. I never went for the power to hand out the money or jobs, never pushed anyone out of the way, I swear I only tried to give, help, co-operate but I was the classic fool for I forgot I was operating in a capitalist, fame-whore world. Oh boo hoo hoo hoo hoo. Luckily, I’m a follower of Aesop, The Tortoise and the Hare, slow and steady wins the race, and here in 2012 I’m still alive and producing art, and am ecstatic at the roller-coaster ride of life.
Everything went downhill from there, the wheel of Fortune turned, a cheeky boy like me couldn’t get away with always having a good time, bad luck struck. In 1993, just as I was submitting a new script for a very hot sci-fi road movie, “Lost on Purpose”, two cops grabbed me on Devonshire Street and accused me of robbing my local cake shop. They looked up my criminal record and noted the civil disobedience and trespass convictions, one of them for a house at the Rocks we fought to have preserved. This all marked me out as a likely lad to pin the crime on, especially as I lived in Northcott Place, a monolithic thieves’ kitchen according to the cops. They tortured me at Ultimo police station for hours, at one point asking me, “Who are you? What do you do?” I answered proudly, “I’m an artist” and one said, “No mate, you’re a bullshit artist. You’re a liar, a thief and a poofter and we hate all three.” I’m sure one of the cops was part of the crew that came to my gig at Jellyheads and looked upon me with jealousy and vengeance. Who was I, a smart-mouthed fag from the gutter, to big-note myself as a film-maker?