Friday, January 30, 2015

The Giants

The Giants are coming ...

The Giants story harks from my home country on the south coast but this show was originally developed in France. Here is the background and some other stuff.
I'd so love to be in the Big Smoke when the child from Breaksea Island roams the streets of Perth but alas, it is not to be. Anyone in Perth between the 13th and 15th of February - go see this - and then tell me how great it was, you bastards.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two quotes I'm loving today

There is only one recipe - to care a great deal for the cookery.
Henry James.

All of us here who ‘write,’ we do not know what we do, we are crazy, foolish, we wander along invisible streams, we run backwards and forwards incessantly before metal- grating that doesn’t exist, we seek till the exhaustion of the
contents of our heads, to pass, to pass what, to pass from a region of feeling to a
region of what, of painting with words what moves us without wandering
abandoned along deserts without knowing where the door that opens that gives
access to the other side.
Helene Cixous.

Also here is my grand daughter just because she's awesome

Monday, January 26, 2015


Bob drove Sal out to the inlet while her car was being fixed in town. She lay back in the passenger seat and closed her eyes, not really listening to Bob’s fruity rambles through the week’s politics and reality television shows. She felt pouty and bruised, her skin scoured by Crow’s bristles. Trees flashed red black red behind her eyelids. The red-scented memory of his flesh in her bed.

It was a strange dissociative state; a bubble that contained only the two of them. She called it the fugue, when they fused together as a single creature derived from pleasure, a wild creature nurtured among the owls and the snakes and the trees.

“Bite me proper, Crow,” she says. “You have to mark me. You go home and all I have left of you are your marks.”

She'd come home in the early hours, three or four o’clock in the morning, with twigs threaded through her woolly hair and new marks over her body; teeth marks, raised red mosquito bites, scratches and bruises from the limestone ledge she’d laid upon. Her muscles ached from walking, climbing and fucking. She'd fallen into bed and slept deeply. When she woke, alone, it was as though their nocturnal meeting had never happened, a kind of wild dream. She could hardly remember the events, the words or deeds. All she had left of him were the signs on her body, the scent of him mingling with wood smoke in her hair and the feel of the hours of words they spoke. By three in the afternoon she'd come crashing down from that most exquisite hit.

She opened her eyes as Bob changed gears and slowed past the sign advertising cheap alcohol and fuel. He pulled into the roadhouse, where the local agricultural rep had pasted more advertisements; water tanks, herbicides and fertilisers. Inside, amongst the fug of meat pie and coffee smells, Sal picked up a local newspaper and a bottle of wine and took them to the counter.

“You wanna put the fuel in with that, love?” The woman nodded outside to Bob hunched over his jerry can for the boat.
“Yes please.”
She was a weathered, smiling woman with flowering vines and swallows tattooed over her collarbones. She rang up the amount and Sal paid her.
“Cops dropped this off yesterday.” She slapped a sheet of paper on the counter. It was a photocopied image of the man whose dog had knocked Sal down. “He’s out around here somewhere. Punched out a public officer and took to the bush.”
Sal stared at the picture. It really was his name. He hadn't lied. Jack Bailey looked ten years younger without his beard. “Is he considered dangerous?”
“Sounds to me like he’s just a bit of a loon. Could probably do with taking his meds.” The woman’s attempt at toughness collapsed. “Poor bugger. He’s getting hunted like a dog now. They think he might be out this way so if you are camping lock up your cars I guess. If he comes in, offer him a cuppa ... reckon he’ll need one.”
Sal smiled at her.

They passed the turn-off to Black Mountain road and climbed into the high lands, before the country swept down into the river country. Two police cars passed them, the occupant’s faces set and hard.
“Unusual,” Bob broke off his horror story rant about the TV show Extreme Bodies to remark. “Coppers out this way.”
Sal wondered at herself, at her new propensity for secret keeping and protecting others. Somehow, she’d neglected to tell Crow about her cup of tea with the man who was stealing his specimens. And now, as Bob noted the police cars, she said, “Something must have happened out near Bremer ... a car accident maybe.”

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Freaky People

'Hi, I'm Sarah. I live across the road from you.'
'I'm ringing about the two rottweilers who turned up at my place this evening.'
'Well, it's the second time ... the first time it was early in the morning and they scared the shit out of the dog and me. If you could please tell the people who are staying there to lock them -'
'- they're my dogs. I've just bought them to look after my place. We've been done over four times in the last month.'
'Sorry to - '
' - you might know him. The cops told me there's a national alert out for him. He's one of the xxxx boys. He's been in here several times and taken stuff, so I bought the dogs.'
'They're a breeding pair right?'
'So could you please make sure they stay out of our yard? Can you shut your gate?'
 'The gate's shut.'
'No it's not. I just watched your dogs saunter home. And didn't xxxx's dad die last week?'
'Yeah, he died and the cops were waiting but his son didn't show at the funeral. Apparently he's living out bush around here, in a shed, does us over whenever he feels like it. He's gone feral. He'll get done soon enough. That's why I bought the dogs.'
'xxxx? But Ive known him since he was a kid. He was lovely.'

At this point in the phone call, I'd garnered some interesting information but not a solid "I promise that my two rottweilers will not turn up at your house before dawn to attack your puppy." So, yeah, he's a difficult character this bloke. At best, from the most spectacularly unfriendly neighbour ever, (you can read of how he feels about neighbours here) I got a; 'Look, I keep the dogs locked in the shed all day and only let them out at night. That's when they earn their keep, yeah?'
This statement made me feel sooo much better.
'Just shut the gate please. I don't want your dogs visiting us.'
'Alright, well they are sitting right here with me right now as I speak - and I hope your car doesn't get stolen and look after your jerry cans too.'

Sunday, January 18, 2015


This afternoon a taxi driver beeped at me in the car park outside the supermarket. It was my ex's stepmother and I was so happy to see her that I jumped into the passenger seat and gave her a huge hug. Her partner, Stormboy's grandfather, died in November. Here is a link to that story. The air conditioning inside her car was an alien environment. It was so hot outside and quite chilly in the cab. I hadn't seen her since her partner's funeral. "I still go out there in the afternoons and have my glass of wine," she said. "Xxxx keeps telling me I should stop going out there. That it's just making me sadder. That I'm revisiting the past and to move on. I should stop going out there, she reckons."

She's in her seventies. She's driving cabs and looking after her kids and their kids. Her life (and our conversation) was consumed with the problems besetting her family and the whole time she was dealing with this quiet, unconsecrated grief. Stormboy's Dad said that when he rang her after finding his Dad's body at the farm, her first words were: "What am I going to do now?" He said that he found her reaction strange. I don't.

This is a morbid post (sorry) but I've been thinking a lot about grief over the last few weeks. The initial work of clearing someone's house for the/ tip shop/ op shop/ contacting people you don't know to have 'that' talk/ organising a funeral/ selling their car/ listening to every other friends' feelings about the whole thing ... these small acts of love can gobble up any emotional reactions you may have, while you just fucking get on with it. And then suddenly, when it is all over and you have done everything that is expected of you, the grief hits. And that kind of shit is just not fair.

So when my ex-step-mother-in-law was speaking about her family's censuring of her grief process, I was thinking about fair play, about justice and judgement, and I errupted, "Just do what feels right. It's no one else's fucking business how long it takes or how you do this thing at all. Fuck them! They can all fuck off, the fuckers."

There is hope for all us griefy people. My ex-step-mother-in-law hates my sweariness at the best of times because she's old school but today, sitting in her taxi, she just nodded and smiled at me.

And then there are the poems like this one:

Those who will not slip beneath
The still surface on the well of grief

Turning downward through its black water
To the place we cannot breathe

Will never know the source from which we drink,
The secret water, cold and clear,

Nor find in the darkness glimmering
The small round coins
Thrown by those who wished for something else.

David Whyte, 'The Well of Grief'

Saturday, January 17, 2015


From First Dog on the Moon

Pickled sardines

Just putting it out there ... does anyone have a tried and true recipe for pickled sardine fillets?

We call them 'mulies' where I come from. These particular fish are my formative experience as a worker, when I dropped out of school and the folks packed me off to the fish factory. I think they reasoned that hosing rotten mulies out from under brine tanks would make me question my footloose tendancies and send me hightailing it back to the comfort of the English Lit, Social Studies, Algebra and Art.

Not so. I fell in with the lot whose Tshirt sleeves were squared with packets of winnie blue, who smoked joints in the car park at lunch time and brawled over errant husbands and wives. I loved it. (Well, Mum and Dad did say uni was too expensive.) I loved seeing the salmon fishers come in with their trucks full of fish seined straight off the beach. I loved working at that cold factory on the channel where the southerly blew straight from Antarctica to my spot at the the conveyor belt. We waited in our woollies for the mulie fishers to come in with their bounty. At 11pm the women working in the vegetable section brought us ice cream containers of  hot par-fried potato chips. Salted. I think those partially raw potato chips were the best meals I've ever eaten in my life.

In 2008, a few weeks before my mate Bob died, he said to me, "I've been cooking up mulies for Bobcat. I buy them in the bait section, rinse them, wipe off the scales with my fingers and cook them real quick, add a bit of gelatine and give her this kind of beautiful sardine brawn." I only realised later that he was giving me instructions on how to nourish the black cat he was bequeathing me. "She really loves it," he said gently.

Ebby has thrived and grown glossy and fat from my work as a fisherwoman but lately we've had to buy fish. Today I saw a bag of mulies in the supermarket pet food freezer that looked remarkably, really, fucking yummy. I've spent enough time in fish factories and on commercial boats to know which fish have been handled badly - the bruised, the inedible and nothing but bait fish - and which ones will be good fodder for us bipeds.

This bag of bait looked particularly tasty so I bought them, took them home, filleted them and salted them down. I'm wondering now if you pickle sardines the same way as I pickle herring every year. Any ideas or old family secrets you are willing to impart?

(And the cat? She's pretty happy.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015


They’d been friends for fifteen years. 
When Sal sat with Kellie at a beachside cafe and told her of her affair with Crow, Kellie burst into tears. She'd been giving up cigarettes. It was ten days since her last one, so she was crying a lot anyway.
The waitress placed their lunch in front of them. She wore tiny black lacy shorts.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want you to see me as one of those women. You’re married, you know ... you may be one of those women who despise ... my kind.”
“You deserve so much better than this Sal,” Kellie said, mopping her tears and then some salad dressing with the same napkin. “Why did you ... how long?”
“A few months ... okay six months.”
“Oh!” Kellie sounded both titillated and dismayed. “And this is a casual thing?”
"No." Sal told her that she’d originally hoped he’d set her up with one of his friends.
“Well, he’s not going to do that now is he?”
“No, no. That would be a bit creepy.”
“God Sal. What the fuck are you doing. Of all people ... You. Crow!”
“Shh!” said Sal, glancing around the close tables in the cafe. “Don’t say his name too loud.”
“You will get crucified, Sal.” Kellie laid her dark Scorpio eyes on Sal. “No one ever punishes the man. It’s you. You’ll get tarred and feathered. He’s high profile, loving family, three beautiful daughters, perfect life, small town, blah blah blah. Jesus, Sal.”