Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Itou Kittou

When I was young, I'd write stories in notebooks. I'd write even though I knew he'd seek out my writing and read it out loud, stopping to cackle loudly in my face. It was humiliating, but I would never stop. I never really could.

I would never finish a single story, but it never really mattered because all the stories were the same. Every story was about best friends running off to Europe together. They'd be so unspeakably gleeful - they would secretly gush to each other in French.

I dreamt of this mythical friendship endlessly. As a six year old, I'd look at my dual reflection in a pair of sunglasses and wish for another one of me. I'd pray for her arrival, next week, next term... but it never really eventuated.

I now find myself sitting across from my best friend, describing how we will fill our forthcoming days in Paris. We anticipate how we'll drink fishbowls of coffee and describe every detail in our notebooks. We share elaborate daydreams and use French slang to supplement our meanings.

It's weird to see how close it is to how dreamt it. For all my prayers and loneliness, I can't believe I've actually found her.


It was a birthday present Noreen delivered on the night of Eurovision, a bottle of MOR perfume called Sorbet. I sniff it occasionally but it's a bit too strong to wear. Its smell reminds me of my 16th birthday, when I received a great influx of candles and a blue glitter lava lamp. My Dad gave me The Freddie Mercury Collection and I listened to it, obsessively.

For my 16th, a great swathe of friends gathered to watch Ross Noble perform at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. He was still young and nubile, his hair was bright red and his comedy electric. We all sat in the front row, taking up all the seats. I hid the bouquet of tulips I received from Spiro under my chair and Ross mocked both Laur and I at length for holding our bags on our laps.

Andrew took this photo of all of us after the show, many of us with Slurpees in hand. It was perfectly configured, with many of us in complementary magentas, light purples and dark denim skirts. We grinned and hugged each other as if we were friends who really loved one another. I couldn't believe I managed to stage that photograph. It was as if I really belonged.

Those candles have lost their scent. Mr Bad Guy has since been ripped of its associations. I take a shot of Sorbet occasionally. It's similar, but not quite the same. It's like how I'd sometimes pass women in the street who have the same smell as that discontinued St Ives' moisturiser. It is the smell of reading my first Queen biography as a 13 year old.

I wish I could just accost them and ask what they're wearing. I might become reacquainted with that moment when I became so captivated... and everything became so completely messed up.

Monday, August 20, 2012


My days are filled with silence. It's strange, because on some level, they're filled with lyrics and conversation. They're filled with ink stains and cursive print. I deal with this silence constantly, but I never seem to cope with it adequately enough.

I fill the silence with irrational thought, mantras I know to be untrue. I think of the silence and its meanings and motivations. I pair everything up with a brutal explanation and a debilitating scenario. I imagine it will make me stronger.

I long for your voice, but I know it will be hollow and devoid of warmth. I hope that tomorrow I can convince myself of some kind of fundamental untruth. I hope I can convince myself that the silence ain't half bad.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Presence and Precedence

I harbour this unfortunate tendency to assume that I'm being victimised pretty much all of the time. I came up with this insight a week or so ago, in a conversation with someone who only knew me from my writing. It was unbearably succinct, in that it summed up my fears and anxieties, my personality and my past.

I only regret the way that I constructed that sentence. At that point in time, I jostled with the prospect that the paranoia was completely unjustified. The prospect of an aggressive confrontation was this allegedly mythical thing. But then, I was fortunate in that I had managed to whittle down my existence so I was safe from harm.

It only occurred to me this afternoon that I've spent so much of my life convincing people to be nice to me. I've never had such a vivid recollection of such a feeble and ineffectual desire, recurring over and over again. It seems stupid to convince someone to be nice to you when they've just stomped on your neck.

I suppose I'm lucky, in that I once thought the victimisation was justified. I'd string all the incidents together, as if they were in this absurd press kit with all these unlikely characters. I don't think that way anymore. I never deserved what happened. It's just unfortunate that things transpired as they did.

I developed this sensitivity and this consciousness. I was determined never to succumb to that dynamic, I was determined not to believe the hype, as I'd so often joke. Yet, as I write this, I know that I'm back there at this precise moment. Convincing him, unconvincingly, to try to be nice to me.

I've never been able to convince anyone, although. I suppose my arguments have never been that compelling...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Glamourous Glue

Some months ago, I abandoned a piece about the ambiguity of glamour. At the time, I had immersed myself in cautionary pop-tales about pretty teenage girls falling headlong into drug addiction. I tried to make sense of why alarming messages were so frequently accompanied with beautiful imagery. I returned to the glorious scene of Christiane F., the scene of junkie-friends, shrieking and running down the tiled hallways of Berlin's Bahnhof Zoo, occasionally tumbling but never stopping. They were running feverishly, with David Bowie's Heroes playing in the background. It's like they were rushing forth like the heroin running through their veins.

It's an allegory that's been sitting at the pit of my stomach for some time now. Never digesting, never making sense. I was reminded of it, when I saw a picture I'd saved of Gia Carangi, a model and heroin addict who succumbed to HIV/AIDS in 1986. Her beauty and her antics are commonly discussed, in tones of reverence and horror. Stories circulate, such as the legend of the November 1980 Vogue spread, that contained (arguably) visible track-marks on her arms. The tragedy of it is exacerbated by her youth, her femininity, her alluring sense of glamour. She somehow obliterated that traditional preconception: a pretty young girl shouldn't be mixed up with that sort of thing!

I suppose it will be some time before I work out what it all means; what is the function of the cautionary tale in teen literature, what is the importance of veracity in the retelling of the drug tale, what is the role of glamour in making that very warning believable. When I saw Gia's photograph just before, I was instantly reminded of that Frou Frou lyric: there's beauty in the breakdown. I can only assume that I'm turning to that perversely romantic notion that we can unravel and we can deteriorate and no one need stop us. We can self-destruct and yet, it can still be beautiful.