Thursday, October 17, 2013


If I had to come up with a style or genre to describe my work I guess I'd call it "Australian Gothic" as there's definitely a twisted, dark horror element underlying my tales of the post-modern human condition. Soon to come will be a series of stories that have at their heart terrible acts from malicious souls: classic, realist Aussie Urban Myths, in the way of "Wake in Fright" or "Wolf Creek". Infamous murderers, perverted sexualities, demonic personalities, fantastic events and, for contrast, those good, kind souls who stand up to and get victimized by the demons. A typical tale would be along the lines of the following, "Northcott Ghetto Homecoming", more nasty real than any confabulated fiction could be.

After spinning around the Himalayan mountain tops for several weeks, visiting exotic fairy tale temples and sacred pagan nature sites, surviving the chaos of labrynthine Indian bazaars and rickety tinpot Chinese airport, I arrived back in Sydney to the usual Northcott madness knowing full well it wasn't going to get to me, I can handle anything. With my saintly neighbor Dolly now dead and buried, her spirit was no longer able to act as the linchpin holding together our basement floor of the flats, the dump was in fact devolving further into dissolution and detritus, when once I had prayed, "Please, don't get any lower."

Cursula, dumb schitzo hoarder to the right of me, had piled up against my apartment wall the broken furniture and bric-a-brac she'd rescued from the dumpster, a pyramid of shit and target for our local pyromaniac, who has already set my flat alight via her heaped up garbage. I laboriously dragged most of it back to our garbage shed, she'll bring it back again but as a lazy dill she will soon give up the struggle and, indefeatable, I will eventually succeed in getting rid of most of it.

Old Sandy, the reformed alcho on the other side of me, has fallen off the wagon again, (actually, this happens weekly, the wagon can't carry her rage), is dead drunk and charging in and out of her flat with much slamming of doors, screaming and cursing the world, kicking at other people she meets and calling them "fucking cunts", who would guess that she's actually a very sweet old lady? Then a mate arrives and tells me the latest horror stories my accursed neighbors perpetrated while I was away. Old Sandy had claimed that, back in the day, she was quite a rebel junkie queen and she asked Cursula to "get on" for her. Cursula was hungry for a hit so with a cut in mind did as she was asked and shot the old bird up. Sandy hadn't tasted heroin in years and quickly overdosed, dropping dead. Cursula called an ambulance who rushed to Northcott and gave Sandy a shot of Narcane.

This snapped the old girl awake and straight, she sat up and yelled, "Gimme the rest of it!" After the Ambos had left Cursula gave the old derro another shot and, finding some of the poison remaining in the needle, gave herself a hit of the leftovers, not caring that it had mixed with Sandy's blood. Later on she moaned to all and sundry about Sandy having Hep C and now she was worried about infecting herself because of her greed. Forget zombies and vampires, or maybe this was the realist version of those celluloid monsters, this kind of shit is the true horror story that makes my flesh crawl, it's way out of my ken as I've never put a needle in my arm and just can't imagine the stupidity of it.

Northcott Housing Ghetto has a 1001 tales of woe like this. It's bemusing to remember that it was originally built in 1960 as a low-income workers' housing paradise. Built possibly on sacred Koori land, where for thousands of years shamanic rituals were enacted, the buildings now crushing down on top of thousands of murdered Indigenous Australians lost under the dirt. Definitely built upon an old convict grave-yard, the bodies dug up and moved to another cemetery when the foundations were laid, but not all the bones found, poltergeists still wail up and haunt us who cling to the place, rocking the boat of our quietude. Old age and disability pensioners found refuge here as did struggling families like dear old Dolly's, and many of them died in the flats, adding  to the ghosts howling up the canyon of brickwork. Then THEY dumped the mentally ill and the drug addicted here for the hospitals were closed down and there was no money for drug rehabilitation hostels. It also provides housing for those recently released from jail, like a giant half-way house, the Crims either straightened out and lived happily ever after or they returned to crime and terrorized us the local residents.The latest wave of Northcott denizens are new immigrants and refugees, Russians, Africans, Afghanis, Iranians, Sri Lankans, the whole edifice a melting pot of ethnicities, drug addictions, illnesses and geriatrics, and I'm on the front line, no security door protecting my place, but what the fuck, I'm a warrior.

Northcott is an island of poverty and madness in a sea of inner-city gentrified wealth and stability, it's like a mirage of an oasis for the disaffected and dispossessed, squatting on zillion dollar property. How long can it last? The sharks are surrounding us, drooling to have the property given over and built up into the rich men's heavens. It's a miracle the place has sailed on regardless, seeming to flounder upon the rocks at times, with countless suicides, murders, massacres, muggings, overdoses and acts of alienated madness. But certain independent politicians like Clover Moore stick up for us and demand that there be a place for the poor in the inner-city. I'm tough enough to surf it, to get on top of it, to be creative in the midst of the turmoil, painting, drawing, writing, observing, living on, not easily done over though there's been attempts at it. To reiterate, after surviving the slums of Melbourne, Delhi, Mumbai and Pyrmont Squats, Sydney, I can handle the Gothic citadel of horrors that is Northcott Housing Ghetto.

I will write further Australian Gothic horror tales, involving Aboriginal and Irish convict ghosts rising up to lament their tortured lives and unjust treatment at the hands of the colonial authorities, the type of ruler still in power here in the hick backwoods continent of Auz. And one of those tales will again be about Northcott, a truth only I dare to tell, called "The Demon Neighbors", about how old Dolly stoically suffered elder abuse at the hands of two vicious, malevolent djiins.

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.