The Basement Tapes

Friday, 6th March 2020 – They say 3am is the soul’s midnight. Woke at about quarter to 3 last night and the handwritten poem above poured out of me. Corona-virus worries, a first visit to the supermarket only to find the now notorious bare shelves, fragments of gossip all day and the night’s relentless news, then a bad headache, a jangle of nerves and fears running through my sleep till it all woke me. Light of day may likely bring more positive thoughts. But there’s something to be said for automatic writing and telegrams from the unconscious when they rise and find form.

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White Crosses

Day ends at the Addison Road Community Organisation. Gurwinder starts to take the chairs from the road, leaving only the white crosses that now mark out the social distance needs of our times…

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Living in the Time of Dylan

I believe we are in the Time of Dylan as much as the Time of COVID-19, and that maybe the former will be remembered as much as the latter.

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Food Pantry Banjo Ballad #1

The words of the songs take on the strange timeless energy of old storytelling that needs repeating, and hard-won wisdoms that need to get won again…

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My Feminine Side

I wrote the short story ‘My Feminine Side’ in the early 1990s. It was published in a book collection called Men Love Sex, edited by Alan Close, who did a really great job of pulling all these male writers together to reflect on the book subjects as frankly advertised. Among them were John Birmingham, Robert Drewe, Peter Carey, Frank Moorhouse, Damien Lovelock, Matthew Condon, John Dale and Archie Weller to name a few. It was published by Random House Australia and very well-reviewed. I have always been surprised it never got a republication. It seemed innovative to me at the time, and fearless in its way. My story was really not much more than a diary note, a raw and naive document I seemed to just throw down as it was, but I still like it…

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Rebranding Sunrise

Must have been channeling something special when I wrote this piece on the axing of Melissa Doyle from Sunrise in July 2013. Somehow I reimagined co-host Kochie as some kind of psychedelic Godfather figure of the infotainment Age. Reads to me like genius now. Acid news still might work its magic as an angle… an idea ahead of its time!

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The King is Dead

I remember the legendary chef Tony Bilson walking to meet me in Surry Hills for the first time. Physically he was probably only half the man he used to be. “Cancer,” he said, like it was something to be exasperated by. Then with a hard breath he guided me up the street to a corner café where we spoke for quite some time and with quite some intensity.

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Heroes, Just for One Day

I was always really proud of this story. A stonking hot summer’s day in Sydenham with my youngest son and his scooter buddies at a skatepark opening. Wrote the whole thing on my iPhone, sitting there in the concrete trenches among all the skateboard and scooter action. Youth and young manhood, a state of grace, a slice of nowhere.

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