I’m re-reading AM’s Michael Tolliver Lives [for the 4?th/5?th time]. At that point where MT faces his cranky older bro over an airport table. I too have a cranky older bro, who, as a Piscean, has seemed to live a death wish on motor bikes. After the umpteenth crash he has spent years on prescribed opiates for the pain. The fucker even tried to get me to ride pillion when we were late teens, on a race track. That’s high speed on concrete, me a foot off the ground, level with it. Thank you, NO.
And let’s get something off our collective chests. Sydney & Melbourne are two love children today; an unnatural peace hangs in the air, we’ve had a Labour Day long weekend, everybody got drunk yesterday recovering from the sports insanity of them winning a grand final at our sport in our city, and us winning one at theirs in theirs. Lovey, lovey. The twin darkness underlying the above is Melbourne is undergoing the wake following the discovery of a sweet young woman raped and murdered, while here we have a bloated bad old gay radio shock jock telling Aussieland that our Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recently deceased dad died of shame at the lies she told in parliament.
The political truth of that last shocker was she is heading a minority government, always characterised by last minute deals and brinkmanship, pain and uncertainty for ALL concerned. Our weekend paper the Sydney Morning Herald, in an atmosphere of shock that old man Alan Jones could be so insensitive, nevertheless printed a MALE reader’s letter that argued women should not succeed in business because they consult horoscopes. I mention this because of my reference to Pisces in a previous para. News24 months ago ran the fab line: IS MY STAR SIGN MAKING ME FAT? But let’s straighten that one OUT. All the gr8 civilisations have run divinations based on astrology: Chaldean, Egyptian, Hindu, Chinese, Graeco-Roman, Medieval Europe. Yes, it can dwindle to a base, absurd level; it can also be a profound meditation on cosmic forces. For me, it offers insights into what constitutes personality rather than: will I win Lotto tonight? I hope the SMH ran that letter in a spirit of sarcasm. By the by, Pisceans, or at least some of them, seem to live a death wish: don’t want to live this current life span, let’s get it over with, push some boundaries.
MOVING ON. Deep breath. Woke up, got out of bed. Saw the rain on the deck, checked its effects on the growing things. Looked down the street. Had a thought in the middle of the night. Based on a few things. 1. during Q&A last night [festival of dangerous ideas, re-named at program’s end by my co-watcher: festival of dangerous egos] someone posed the idea that we are not completely in control of our actions, that some events occur from deeper, subconscious levels [?]. I had just stopped reading AM’s MT Lives. I thought about our street. Across the road live a young couple, I used to speak to the guy, but have NEVER spoken to his spouse. Several households are like that. We might as well be prisoners in fortress-like cells. YET, somehow, we move in a co-ordinated way, we behave with many things in common. Who knows how that commonality gets established. It’s as mysterious as an ant colony.
And the dynamic telegram? I was going to use language redolent of illegal subversive activity, but we don’t do that. I was musing on AM’s power and vitality as a writer. Clearly, he has inherited all the urgent NEED for brevity concentrated by Mickey Spillane, Ernest Hemingway, even Emily Dickinson. His sentences fire out like projectiles, dear reader, kindly admire the neutral idiom, mostly harmless. In last night’s arc of egos, several thinkers could have benefitted by that brevity. A Chinese author matronised us with what felt like a FIVE minute, endless summary of Chinese colonial history in halting, incomprehensible speech. An English journo spoke with a grin that shouted: see I’m fab, never mind the pompous blam. The most interesting speaker, a woman with pan-continental experience in Africa, soon seemed to give up on the company she was forced to share. As Yeats said: the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
Nancy Mitford describing Polly’s wedding in Love in a Cold Climate says: some brides look solemn, or worse, TOO EAGER, Polly just radiated calm. Last night’s authors might have radiated confidence plus seemly modesty.
Now, perhaps this city will get back on track. This ant has places to go, things to do. Maybe first, I’d better check my horror-scope.