- The Art Director
I've been turning up to events in a one-off t-shirt i designed on the Foghorn website. It says, simply "Carnarvon Style." Understandably, people here want to buy them, because they are funky, beautiful, and far more socially acceptable than my Mother Teresa range of garments.
But the t-shirt is a one off, and i lack the entrepreneurial drive to produce more than one. Honestly, i'm worse than the French. Was it George Bush who said the problem with the French is they don't have a word for entrepreneur? The chance to design my very own t-shirt was a freebie procured by Mz Mayhem, on some kind of bizarre media t-shirt junket frenzy. Cool bananas. If i can do it over the internet, especially for free, and have it mailed to me, then the bananas are cool. Everything in Carnarvon - apart from the aforementioned bananas - every single thing, every small dose of sanity, is delivered to us by plane, mail order. Melinda Mayhem included. The Mail Order Muse.
But i digress. People just love the Carnarvon Style t-shirt, which i designed to honour a particular episode of The Nerve, which in turn is named after the ab fab Gascoyne Performing Arts production of Dancing With The Stars: Carnarvon Style, which my flatmate Mickey T won. It all gets a little postmodern and self-reflexive, doesn't it? Like riding a Tasmanian merry-go-round, things can quite quickly become incestuous. I mean, take the blue guitar. Can you believe it? I'm now playing lead guitar in CJ's band, the very same band i ruthlessly took the piss out of a scant few months ago in Bullies Of The Food Chain. Like the cosmic hills hoist, what goes around comes around.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, poor Art Director is starting to calcify. Another month or so in these flatlands and that will be it. The end of me. They will find me two million years from now, fossilized like some paleolithic caveman under a solidified strata of community newspapers.
Don't get me wrong. I love Carnarvon. It is a fabulous place to dry your washing, no doubt about it. But therein lies the problem. The dreaded comfort zone. When did that ever get anyone anywhere? Ten years can easily slip by, and the hills hoist will still be there, mute - and yet somehow accusing.
Example. An Organsiation with some acronym or other rings me and says - they all have to have an acronym, don't they? - and says, Mrs Doover has just retired after 40 years with ACRO, and this really is worthy of a story in your newspaper. Uh huh, i say. A story about what, precisely? What would be a good angle here? A riveting tale of one woman's doomed yet heroic struggle against her overwhelming lack of motivation? A feature article on the incredible forces of inertia, which have somehow combined to keep her rooted to the spot like a stunned merino? Sure. What time shall i come over?
Why devote decades of your life to an Organisation? These days, that is not a display of loyalty: it is a simple lack of ambition. And even if the organisation does good works, well, let's face it, we're not fucking Mother Teresa.
Meanwhile, the Muse, Melinda Mayhem - also no motherfucking Teresa - has long since packed up her troubles in a cardboard box and hit the road. Mz Mayhem is now back in Perth looking after the animals, just as she was doing in the first episode of The Nerve, Spinifex. Just as she does at the end of every page, peering out from the bottom of the blog alongside Princess the Leopard. I worry about the Muse. Going back to veterinary work just seems so retrograde. I'm hoping the Muse will get off the animal tranquilizers long enough to come to her senses and come with me to Dubai. That's where it's at. Fuck Albany, as they say in the classics.
"Always thinking, aren't you?" says Mickey T.
I'm unloading the shopping from the Pajero, and placing it in a large plastic storage container. That way we only have to make one trip to the kitchen with the groceries, instead of several. I emptied out a fresh pile of laundry just so i could use the box, grabbing my mail on the way through the house and stuffing it into my mouth so i could carry it. It's true, i say through clenched lips. I'm always thinking.
Mickey T laughs. "Mm almmws thmmkn," he says. "But you don't think maybe to put your mail in your pocket."
I carry the groceries inside, take the envelopes out of my mouth, and start frying the chicken. In sesame oil, with pepitas. Served with chunks of watermelon and feta, covered with fresh lime juice, sea salt and cracked pepper. Carnarvon Style.
The problem is, Mick, i say, it's just too damn expensive to fly anywhere from here. Ive got to pay nearly three hundred dollars to fly to Perth next weekend to pick up my motorcycle. When the Germans were here they said they could fly from Berlin to Amsterdam, or London, or Paris, for fifty bucks.
I spear some watermelon and feta.
Fifty bucks! I repeat.
"Yeah, well," says Mickey T. "They have the turnover. Carnarvon's not Amsterdam."
He pushes aside his empty plate and begins to roll a joint.
"Although people who visit us here could be forgiven for thinking otherwise."