Monday, March 12, 2007
Mykel in Brisbane
Mykel's Australia-New Zealand Adventure
I'm stranded on my own, stranded far from home --The Saints (Australia's most famous punk band)
One thing that I've seen all over here in Australia is the lack of separation between people and nature. The Japanese pride themselves on being one with nature. They consider themselves part of the world, not isolated from it like Americans.
But the Japanese fetish with cleanliness and comfort keeps them from the unclean and the uncomfortable parts of nature. In Australia-- or at least in Queensland where I am now-- we have true nature, everywhere. And the locals are proud of it. Kylie tells me that the people of Queensland voted against Daylight Savings Time in the 90's because “they were afraid it would confuse the cows.”
As to nature? Every building I've been in has bugs. Ants, flies, mosquitoes. They run rampant. I write this in the Brisbane airport, brushing a fly from the computer LCD.
People don't use screens. Ants roam freely on the bathroom and kitchen floors. A gecko may run up the wall, while all kinds of arachnids make themselves homes in who-knows-what piece of clothing. No wonder people here don't wear shoes. Sandals let you see what you're stepping into. I shot a little movie of the bathroom floor at Krylie's.
Now back to my adventures:
The hell continues. I write this now in Brisbane. I'm sitting by myself in a living room. I've just killed a mosquito, spattering it's abdomen, filled with my blood, on my own forearm. There are two bedrooms with the door closed. Behind each one is one of the girls who lives in this place. I don't know the town. I don't know the public transportation. I can't leave.
Above my head, a gecko on the wall makes chirping sounds like some electronic device signaling an error. My attempt to take a picture of it gives my camera a THIS CARD CANNOT BE READ error message. NONE of the 3 cards I have with me can be read. I change the batteries reformat the cards, nothing. But that's not the end. It's only the icing on the bullet.
Last night, I did a reading at a show in a bar. I took in a hundred bucks Australian. Not so bad. But I left the pages from my reading at the show. I was to go pick 'em up today, but both girls are asleep or something and unavailable. I can't do anything without them.
Chris, the organizer for the club, said I could have stayed with him. He appeared briefly at the show last night, excused himself as being under the influence of XTC and disappeared. It was not my ecstasy. Oh yeah, instead of you're welcome, Australians say No worries. Yeah, right.
Kylie, who, for some reason I continually call Kristie, has made an effort. She took me to a radio interview today... after I woke her up to get me there.
Earlier: I go to the local community radio station. Kylie drives me. I'm scheduled for an interview at noon. No I'm not. The two girls who host the Art to Lunch show have never heard of me.
“What did you say your name was? And what do you do?”
They squeeze me in anyway. I talk a nice 15 minutes while they fiddle for questions. After the interview, I call Kylie to pick me up. I have to use the station phone. My own cellphone costs a fortune to use in Australia.
Kylie says she'll be awhile. She's waiting for a phonecall. I feel so stranded, my only options are to rely on someone else. Jezus! I'd be mad as hell if I had to traipse around town chauffeuring some balding egomaniac who can't figure out how to use the buses. I can't believe I'm getting upset because I have to wait awhile. Stop it, Mykel!
I take a walk to THE MALL. In Australia, THE MALL is not a suburban nightmare of STRAWBERRYS and MACYS. Here, it's a section of street that's blocked off for pedestrian use. A nice strolling place where you can stop to have a cup of coffee or a kebab. That I do. When I get back to the radio station. Kylie is there, waiting in the driveway like a chauffeur. Boy do I feel guilty. Here are Kylie and her roommate Carmel. At least I think that's her name. I'm not very good with names.
Background: I “met” Kylie on MySpace when I typed in Punk and Australia. I asked her if I could send her stuff to keep for me. I didn't want to bring it through customs. That was lucky! She said I'd be able to stay there and would check around to get me some shows. She did that too... with the help of XTC Chris.
Kylie met me at the airport in Brisbane. She picked me up, drove me to her place. Took me to a barbecue, then to the club I had my reading. So I owe! I owe! I'd love to pay back. Take her out for a dinner, something. She stays locked in her room.
“You must have a lot of people coming through from MySpace,” I tell her.
“Not anymore,” she says. “I deleted the account. The whole fuckin' thing. Gone.”
Flash to late last night. Started drinking at the punk BBQ. Cool lot of folks in black t-shirts, with funny haircuts and a baby. Drinking is pretty heavy here. Nice porter: COOPER, and cheap local beer XXXX (pronounced FOUR-EX, like the British condoms).
[Aside: When I first got to town, I saw these XXXX signs all over the place. I figured it was porno, strip shows, you know, the good stuff. Yow! I was thinking, my kind of town. Ah well, but at least it's beer.]
I teach the BBQ Aussies what canoe beer means.
[Aside 2: For those readers who are not familiar with the term, canoe beer comes from the joke, Q. Why is drinking Coors light like sex in a canoe?
A. Because it's fuckin' close to water.]
“Oh you mean Fosters?” said one of the punks... now working on his P.h.d.
“It's Australian for beer, mate,” I answer.
After getting strongly soused at the BBQ, it's time to go to the reading/punk show. Kylie drives me, drops me off, goes back home to drop off her car, and take public transportation back.
“I might have something to drink.”
A responsible drinker.
The show goes off well. I sell a couple of books, get some contacts. Leave all my reading material at the club. It's never found.
While in Brisbane, I do get to the Wildlife Sanctuary, a depressing place more like a jail than a sanctuary. You can feed the kangaroos, though. I mean what did I come all this way for if not that!!
See that josie (baby marsupial) in the pouch? Wrong end out? Only I could get a kangaroo with a baby stuck in the pouch ass out.
I also learned that there are no ostriches in Australia. The closest they have are Emus, which are darker and hairier than Ostriches. They're also scary looking and not very friendly.
Oh yeah, in Brisbane I also bought a SIMS card for my cellphone. I wanted to be able to make calls for less than the $2.94 a minute T-mobile charges me for international calls. Unfortunately, I bought the card from Yes! Optus... the worst company in the world.
But you'll find out more about that in a later installment.