Saturday, October 27, 2007


Life's little ironies, eh? To think only a couple of weeks ago i was talking about having a mental health break, ha ha, getting out for a while, taking some long-overdue time in lieu...

I wake on Wednesday morning in a soporific haze. I am lying in a hospital bed, clad only in a pair of dirty jeans, listening abstractedly to the sounds of a pnuematic drill boring through my skull. Or is it the outer walls of the hospital? A baby is screaming violently in the next ward. The pneumatic drilling continues in staccato bursts, stopping for a period of time - is it hours? - then it resumes: ggrgrrgrrg gggrgrgrgrg.

I remember waking in the middle of the previous night, unable to control the violent shaking of my limbs, or to alleviate the pain and pressure in the back of my skull and neck. I have been tranquillized for two days, since Mayhem found me bordering on unconsciousness amongst the carnarge my totally trashed rented room. Monday morning. After a week of steadily spiralling downwards in a stricken, flaming mess, i had finally crashed and burned. And as i crawled from the wreckage, the black dog immediately set upon me.

After a series of interviews, and after going several rounds with the heavyweight hospital food, the mental health nurse decides to release me, somewhat reluctantly, back into the Carnarvon community. Medicated, confused and mortified, i return to Mickey T's hacienda to try to piece together where it all went pineapple-shaped. Perhaps it was last Tuesday, with the happy news of the imminent arrival of Mili the Ex's baby, and my doomed effort to obliterate the pain. Or perhaps it was just overwork.

Colby will never be able to listen to Radiohead again, Mayhem says, without him succumbing to fits of blind rage. Poor Colby has the room on the other side of the thin fibro wall to mine. All through the early hours of Monday morning, Mayhem attests, i was singing (or rather slurring, in a kind of high-pitched whine) along to High and Dry, Fake Plastic Trees, and every other song on my CD of The Bends, permanently set to Repeat. Punctuating the choruses with the sounds of breaking glass, i systematically destroyed every last scrap of sentimental breakables in my immediate vicinity. Needless to say, i don't remember much of my slow, Sunday-driven descent into madness, but parts of it were captured on video by Mickey T as i lurched about in a red Hawaiian shirt and dark glasses, accompanied by a half-cut black-clad Mayhem, in a dangerous, beserk rampage across the Massey Bay racetrack amongst the high-speed desert-racing buggies at the finishing line of the three-day, 500km Gascoyne Dash, verbally abusing anyone foolish enough to come within earshot. Without my glasses i can't see three feet in front of me, and, yet, after a carton of Smirnoff Ice, i could clearly see three feet below me, as i confusedly set about placing one on those feet in front of the other to photograph the event. During Brett Renton's dramatic rollover at the finish line, his buggy hit a rented 4WD, less than a metre from where i had been standing moments before i was shooed away by the Official Photographer, a certain Mr Flash.

Mr Flash is the photographer the Dash organising committee hired after telling me months ago that i had the job. I had hired, at great expense, a Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 lens from Camera Electronic to get the shots the Dash required. However the Dash committee had neglected to tell me they had hired someone else in the interim.

Anyhow, Mr Flash appears in front of me, apparently wanting a medal for saving my life - as if that were somehow a good thing. I tell him, loudly, that the out-of-control dune buggy would have missed my by at least metre. Then i called him a bad name. I think a called a lot of people a lot of bad names. I think perhaps i would have even given the Press a bad name, if such a thing were possible. The Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash Organising Committee has, thankfully, declined to press charges.

While much of that Long Day's Journey into Night is a blur, i have a clear and lucid recollection of the fibro partition between my room and Colby's suddenly vibrating and resonating wildly, as he attempted, at one point in that vehement and venomous night, to blast me into submission with a subwoofer and death metal. This was some time around 2am. Colby had a 7am start, as usual, at the Oyster Farm. In an act more pathetic than sympathetic, i simply threw another empty bottle of Smirnoff Ice across the room into another framed photograph, and cranked my 1976, two-ton, two-million-watt California-built Kenwood KA-5500 motherfucking-hell amplifier up to a hundred and eleven decibels. And sang along with Thom Yorke:

"She lives with a broken man
A cracked polystyrene man
Who just crumbles and burns..."

and then foolishly turned the treble control to maximum and watched with detached interest as the pure, sonically-sweet tweeters of my beloved Celestion speakers began blowing forth two stereo plumes of blue smoke, which curled upwards into magnificent arabesques, shortly before the two perfect domes destroyed themselves.

It's almost a week later. I am clad in flanellette pyjamas, in the spare bedroom at my parents' house in the city. It's the closest thing i can get to a rubber room. I am convalescing, and changing direction, having learned a few things.

Rule number one: never rely on anyone to make you happy.
Rule number two: never rely on anyone to stick by you.
Rule number three: avoid animal tranquillizers, except under medical supervision.

No comments: