Arthur was desperate for a new home as Darlinghurst squats were descending into a wasteland of crumbling walls, barricaded yards, rotting furniture and belligerent, outcast humans. The economics, the crime, the history of the area tore the place asunder; unable to withstand the horde of low-lifes and druggies drifting down from Kings Cross, the squats resembled a battlefield of sniping, medieval fiefdoms.
For awhile he hung around a huge squatted terrace-house on Victoria Street, Kings Cross, which a group of Greenies were trying to save. With sewerage running down the staircase the dump was imploding into a black hole that could’ve been called Trash-central due to the depredations of hordes of down and out, alcoholic nihilists that shat in every corner. Arthur couldn’t live there, it was too tumble-down ratbag collective for his taste, he at least needed a functioning toilet.
|By John Santry.|
Then there was a character the opposite of those creative situationists, Dingaling Ching, who got himself a bad heroin habit and robbed every bank in town, closing down half the CBD in the chase for him. Only when he robbed the local Pyrmont Post Office did he rile up one of the squatters enough to evict him. Big, lumbering Kerry, with hole-in-the-heart inadequacy, took it upon himself to play executioner and crack poor little Ching over the head several times with the blunt end of a billiard cue to get him to piss off. Ching was so drug-fucked he just kept taking the whacks on the head, going “Whaaaaa… what hit me?” Crack, crack, crack went the cue stick over the little runt’s noggin, Kerry’s attempt at being a rough and tumble guy was silly considering he really did have a hole in his heart. Eventually Arthur had to go over and put a stop to it, the gushing blood over Ching’s uncomprehending, mouse-like face too painful to behold.
Constable Kerry was too tough for his own ugg-boots as he then picked on an epileptic teenage punk, throttling him for his unruly behavior and putting a knife to his throat. The boy went and got his much bigger skinhead mate, Paul, to even the score; like a tall ugly Lurch in bother-boots he grabbed a hold of cumbersome Kerry outside Arthur’s squat and knocked his teeth out for his trouble. Arthur listened to the bloody come-uppance while he sat on the toilet, he figured Kerry was learning the hard way not to throw his weight around and act the tough guy which he wasn’t. Kerry was a much more mellow person from then on, curbing his bossiness, only trying to help others.
Arthur could feel uptight with some of them, like Jasmin Pring, a slant-eyed, dough-faced redhead, a dissolute heroin addict with a yearning for artistic greatness. She was certainly talented, her drawings quite decorative, still she blew it all away by getting stoned out of her mind and melting into a puddle in her squat up on the hill. She often teamed up with Arthur in his art projects, she was an amusing gossip-monger and he enjoyed her company, overlooking her slacker's befuddlement, arguing with his fellow squatters who disliked her as she was a dealer as well as drug-addled.
She went on to open up a shop in Newtown where she sold second-hand goods, taking much of Arthur’s precious memorabilia and flogging it but not paying Arthur anything, even when he wrote to her from overseas telling her he was starving and needed recompense badly. Because of this he never spoke to her again and she died at the age of fifty-five of an overdose of heroin, found dead in her bed atop a pile of used needles, hundreds of them, her last years totally spent in soul-obliteration. It was a ghastly end, she had a sweet soul in there somewhere; competitive contemporary life defeated Jasmin like many another fragile mind who got washed up at the squats; smack was the anesthetic, it fucked her and Arthur wasn’t going to act the moral judge, as a sexual outlaw he didn’t want to be judged himself and he mostly felt sorry for her. He considered her story a morality tale to warn off other wannabe “William Burroughs” acolytes, for junkies broke his heart many times.
Lovewrench ran over to Darlinghurst and used the squat of a friend of Arthur’s for his dumb, award-winning film, the scene where the junkie heroine hits rock bottom and is found languishing in a manky squat. Again the cosmic jokester teased Arthur’s artistic delusions with magical connections, reinforcing his hopes of becoming a “recognized artist”. For the punk wall mural proclaiming “Darling It Hurtz!” that the movie panned across as entrance to the turgid squat-scene was dreamed up and painted by the horrid Arthur himself. He’d slaved over it some years before, risking his life atop a ladder to paint a giant cartoon of a prostitute lying in the middle of traffic with a needle in her arm and a green alien monster called ‘Godzdollar’ leaping upon her back. It was his dedication to the rigors of surviving Darlinghurst and much of Sydney’s traffic had to drive past it and spot the shocking image, and it looked good in the movie too.
When scouring around with his beady eyes Porky spotted a plastic doll’s head Arthur kept amongst his movie props and, being a perfect replica of a baby’s head, the stupid cop took it for the real thing and rushed over screaming in horror to check it out. Realizing on closer inspection that it was only a plastic doll’s head, he roared with frustration and in a temper-tantrum kicked it hard as if it were a soccer ball, making it bounce about the room forlornly, finally coming to rest with the wide blue plastic eyes staring at the cop accusingly. On another police raid, as Arthur watched with intense gratification, the squat’s main dog, a big German Shepherd which hated anything in uniform, rushed up and viciously bit the same mean-faced Police Sergeant on the arse. The fat gronk howled with grievous pain and rushed in ignominy to the safety of his Pig-van, shaking his fist from the window and vowing revenge. The dog had to be hidden in a distant suburb for a few weeks until the Pigs got sick of combing no-man’s land looking for it.