Info

When I see people's lights on I know their home

Posts tagged writer

IMG_3838somewhere-new230/07/2015

Withington, Manchester.

Trying to hitch out of Uxbridge nobody would stop. Frustration? Then remembering that I was free now, not when I got there. If I didn’t get a lift I could camp in the park and I’d still be free, even when it rains. I don’t have to worry about collecting glasses, what the housemates think of me or feeling guilty for choosing my laptop over my girlfriend. I changed spots.

A taxi driver picked me up. He drove taxis because he had no-one to answer to and could come and go as he pleased. I exclaimed. I’m petrified of not coming and going. I’d rather be beaten than employed. He said I’d made the right decision because London is a toilet. I told him about my girlfriend and how she has this special power where she actually forgives people. He said, I was better off without her and gave me five quid and his number.

I was at a complex intersection. Iron railings all around and tunnels underneath, nowhere to stand, peak hour traffic dark and raining in Birmingham. I considered breaking into the boarded up Ruxtin hall to sleep but tried a little longer. I was close to pitching my tent in the park when someone held up traffic calling out to me.

They say they can only take me a short way and laugh at everything I say. I seemed to start impersonating myself to entertain them, realising they probably weren’t used to picking up Australian hitch hikers and I had an edge because I was different. I could do no wrong, keep it simple and smile while they offer me jerky and cigarettes. You could say be myself whoever that is. I ended up at a Welsh hotel and they shouted me a room.

Kev reminded me of my dad. His voice whined like a Scouse’s and he used fast anecdotes that I didn’t understand. He valued wit in men and cackled like the intro in that Feel Good song in the Gorillaz. His teeth twisted and pointed straight out like a beaver.

He used to hitch hike 20 years ago and told a story of being picked up by a man in Dagenham. ‘He seemed alright to begin with and suggested I stay at his place. I soon realised he was a fookin gay and said nah I’ll be right. He kept insisting and luckily he pulled over to have a cup of tea, so I had one with him then went to the toilet and fooked off.” We all laughed.

I sat with Kev and his 2 sons at The Stanton Hotel in Chirk. They had about 3 pints each and for a moment I considered joining them. Kev chain smoked and repeatedly offered to buy me food and drink while getting money of his sons for the next round. All I had was £50 in the whole world but I still felt guilty for accepting the hotel.

I went upstairs to write, and Kev knocked on the door. “Aren’t you Australians meant to play guitar or something?” He kept shaking my hand and repeating himself, I thought he must be drunk.

He said goodnight and that his son would pick me up in the morning to take me to Manchester. “It’s been a pleasure,” I said. “I bet it fookin has!” he said nodding with a high brow.

I could hear the doors playing through the wall in his room and he called me 10 minutes later. “Do you have an alarm clock you drongo?”

Mitch picked me up out the front, I didn’t get a chance to look at him much but he had small brown eyes. It was a struggle to talk but I dug deep. He was kind and unsure. I don’t think his old man shouts him hotel rooms.

I got into a posh part of South Manchester and found myself ravaging a tray of McDonalds. I don’t look after myself anymore and I haven’t been meditating. I’m also having dreams about being Lou Reed.

I’m staying with someone I met in Mexico. He’s living at his uncles for nothing and gave me a top floor room overlooking a jungle where a fox lives.

I will over stay my welcome and think about it for years.

Flo is not happy but I’ve run out of sorrys.

img_7811.jpg

27 March 2015

I almost walked out of work before even starting, waiting like a moron for my boss to open his door so I could ask why I hadn’t been paid. I called him two days ago and he said he’d get back to me.
In his office he said he would call the pay people on Monday and let me know. He asked me if I was struggling and without hesitation I told him I was. He said he’d lend me £100 out of his own pocket and that I could pay him back later. Until that moment I was indifferent towards him but this changed things. We shared a hint of a smile and I asked where he’d like me to work figuring I’d see him later about the loan.
I went out to the busy beer garden and got on clearing tables of glasses and plates, scanning any horizontal surface for lost valuables. I can’t look at the patrons because my hair sucks and I don’t know what to say when they talk to me.
Chris is behind the bar. He’s not worried about his hair, neither am I really. He always smiles and doesn’t get weird. His girlfriend is best with the bosses girlfriend. We talk about Italian shirts and I squirrel wedges from customers plates. I’m doing my best believe me. I realised a drinker had been watching me wedge and a jolt went right up me as I continued stacking glasses and refusing to look up.
I found a packet of unfinished cigarettes and as Charlie walked past with two towers of glasses I tucked them into his top pocket your the man!
There was a brown paper bag under one of the tables and I took it. There was a half eaten steak and a pair of orange Ray Bans.
A rugged looking new employee brought some glasses up as I was stacking the dishwasher and asked if I was Australian. He didn’t seem to notice I was weird and we cleaned up the beer garden together in the dark singing Tomorrow by Silver Chair. I found a gold pound in the stone floor crack marvelling at it in my fingers. I added it to the other 85p I’d already found and shifted the ray bans from my bulging jeans pocket into my shirt. If anyone came asking for them I’d give them back but they’d only be looted from lost property and sold for 20 quid.
I’m aware my morals are sliding but being poor makes it ok. If it weren’t for cashing someones’s oyster card I found in the dunny I wouldn’t have been able to get to work today or buy a chocolate orange from Poundland.
I was relieved about that loan though and could finally buy my girlfriend and I some food. But it felt like cheating because I wanted to be in this position out there broke in London. Making it up minute by minute not knowing later, in the jacket alone in the grey, pecking at the path, not knowing about the nits. Carry on only luggage euphoria and no alzheimers.
At the end of shift I realised the boss had gone home early without a loan and the Ray Ban’s had fallen out of my pocket so any relief would have to wait til tomorrow.

KH

 

5 Nov 2015

I became fascinated with Perth graffiti in the early 90’s after seeing “PIST – GAS” tagged in the alleyway next to my house in Beechboro. I was 11. Writers usually operated within crews and from my observations “GAS” appeared to be the most prestigious one.

Me and my mates started our own shitty crews and tags trying to recreate that underground rebellious mystique ourselves.

I continued destroying endless stacks of paper practicing my tags accompanied by intermittent vandalisation from then on.

In 97 I left Lockridge High to work in Forest Chase News. Didn’t work out and I returned to a mature age school called Cyril Jackson. It seemed like people were only there for the social atmosphere including me who hung around on the oval doing dexies and smoking.

I noticed a guy I’d done swimming lessons with at those old Morley pools when we were young. He had a little brother too. I’d also seen him at Swan Recreation while playing Basketball. He came up. Way too confident and had graffiti on his Nike Air Force.

He came up at school one day and said I’d tagged on his piece at the bustop outside the BP in Swan View. He was submissive probably reasoning anyone willing to challenge his clout deserved caution. But I was just stupid. I didn’t even know there was a piece there, maybe just some kindergarten project.

We started hanging out at CJ. He was doing art and would show me his drawings. He was older and knew how to walk, people talked about him and everyone knew when he arrived. He wore jag jeans and Timberland shirts, listened to Wu Tang and Ultramagnetic MC’s. He showed me this tune on his walkman called the Poo Poo Wrecka.

After school one day at the train station he got out his marker and tagged a panel, he wrote TUMBLER – GAS followed by TWERP. He looked over at me and said “I bet you think your hardcore now coz I wrote you up.”

I soon realised that Tumbler was using Heroin. I could tell when he was on it because his face was pale and vacant, his eyes were red and his heart was generous. His gold rings would disappear some days and he would jovially anguish over injecting them into his arm. He’d winge about his pimples and ask me to help him get off drugs, get his life together and treat his girlfriend right. He’d say that he was pathetic for hanging around people much younger than him.

He stayed with me for a bit and drew TWERP in an amazing piece and told .me not to bite his style. I glued it to my file.

Through a new mysterious blue eyed friend and other people at school, my circle extended among other vandals, thieves and like minded youths. I got invited into JM by LASH even though my writing sucked.

Funnily enough besides crime, most of the writers were generous and morally upstanding among their friends, welcoming new people and sharing what ever they had, even tipping taxi drivers $50.  That’s what it was all about, making friends and getting known.

I grew up excited by what I could get for free, smashing things and going where I wasn’t allowed so breaking the law was familiar but some of these guys had been in jail and had no fixed address. They were street; their acquisitions could be methodical which took my dishonesty to a new level.

One of the big news stations did a prime time report about Graffiti and interviewed Torcher, Virus and Brat while blurring their faces. “You see me on the news Twerp?” Said Torcher on the train one day. I had taped it.

One day in the Murray St Mall we were in a watch shop browsing innocently then the next thing they’ve vanished and the cabinet door is wide open.

We walked passed an older Aboriginal guy soon after who reprimanded VIRUS for bombing up Mirrabooka I believe. Virus started asking how so and so was but got shut down, “Don’t try make a conversation with me VIRUS just walk away.”

We went into Macdonalds across the road from Midland Gate Shopping centre. There was a glass donation box half full of money fastened to the counter and everyone was too scared to take it so I walked up and cut the wire with my snips and walked out the door. A customer said “that’s not yours,” and I laughed at him then disappeared over an adjacent fence.

We went straight to the bottle shop and I bought Strongbows for everyone. TWERP was officially a mad cunt.

My family went away for a weekend so I invited people round to get drunk. Early in the afternoon the phone rang and my mate Tom picked it up and started teasing the caller.

An hour later Tumbler stormed through my front door and went for Tom, “Was that you on the phone?” His fist cracked Tom’s mouth like a ball to mit.

I started screaming and telling him to get the fuck out, he grabbed me and forced me down the hallway in a bear hug. I was drunk and crying, summoning all my rage to break free as he overpowered me. He was crying too, “I love you man,” he said sedating me, “I respect you more than anyone, you stand up for yourself.” He was just too strong, he did weights and boxing and had too much influence over me, I gave up. I’d found my role model.

We all got pissed and Tom forgave him, holding frozen peas to his pummeled mouth.

We had a bonfire out the back and some of my friends from Lockridge came round. Tumbler had picked up his mate CINSE from jail after being released that day. They were sitting by the fire and his mate was leaning right over to one side with eyes half closed, mumbling and shaking hands with newcomers like he was mentally impaired.

My mates from Lockridge came round and screwed their noses up at my choice of company; beer and fighting was alright with them, but not drugs.

I followed Tumbler into the bathroom.

“Have you used man?”

“No,” he said fixing his hair in the mirror with red eyes and spotty cheeks.

“Promise?”……

“I fucken haven’t,” He said pushing passed me with the tonal warning not to interfere.

Some uninvited dude bought police to my house so 2 of us smashed him while Tumbler disappeared with a girl.

Then I slept with Tom’s girlfriend.

As the sun rose over Swan View I sat on above the train tracks on the kerb with Tumbler comforting him as he cried about cheating on his girlfriend and being out of control. Something had happened to him growing up and he was angry about it.

After he had cracked Tom

I was spending a lot of time with blue eyes by now. She had been in my health class at school, sitting directly across the room with short bleached hair, striking eyes and vintage fur coats. I couldn’t stop looking at her and one day she caught me, I looked away immediately returning shortly later to a wonderful gleam of white teeth and direct eye contact. I thought she was from another planet.

She moved into a house on Bushby St in Midland with 2 friends Mel and Tom’s ex Kelly. I’d hang out with these 3 chicks and everyone was curious because blue eyes was popular and I had fast become her best friend.

The house started getting very busy with all sorts of people. One day I was giving someone a haircut out the back and a few of us jumped the fence. I noticed a high open bathroom window and seeing as none of them were game I seized the opportunity to get some publicity.

All I could find was a bottle of grog but they tore the place apart finding cheap jewelly in places I didn’t know were there. “She must be a hooker, said one and I went into the lounge and saw kids toys allover the floor.

One morning very early Tumbler came around with a pocket full of jewellery and 3 or 4 watches on his arm. “I just broke into 3 houses,” he chortled and continued his brash repertoire. He’d started ignoring me by now.

A few weeks later we were playing pool in Maylands and Tumbler showed up to sell us gear. He had gold rings allover his fingers and a roll of cash. I didn’t bother saying anything. I found it strange that they trusted him. I’d seen him cut dexies with glucodin and sell it as speed to a guy everyone knew who shot it up in the Midland train station toilets and said nothing. Another guy point blank told him he ripped him off but Tumbler mocked him saying “Thats because you fucking smoked it.” But money changed hands and we ended up back at Busby street and I shared a needle with Virus. I was not surprised when it did nothing but not another word was said because Tumbler was the supervisor. He was BAD, ABC, GAS! And if he liked you, it was like a drug.

He once told me that he used to look up to the bigger taggers until he met them and realised they were nothing and that he could push them around. Maybe that’s what he wanted from me, to stand up for myself and be someone he could look up to.

Kelly had moved in with Blue Eyes after falling out with her parents and she took a few of us to their house to get food. Noone was there so she broke in and seeing as she didn’t like them we figured it was kosher to rob the place while she was in the kitchen. One of them found a bit of cash and split it between us. It was about $400.

A few days later police were at my door and mum was asking the neighbours to baby sit the kids while she ducked into a paddy van with me.

I was the only one to get caught because she knew where I lived. The police did the old, “we promise not to charge you if you tell us who the others are,” so I did. I started getting phone calls from people saying they just got out of jail and were going to break into my house and mess up my family. So mum took everything she had out of the bank and bought me a ticket to live with my Grandad in Sydney.

I constantly listened to a hiphop tape tumbler made.

8 years later I was back in Perth and I saw him coming down the stairs from the Look Out in Scarborough. He was with two girls smirking and with that same self assurance called out TWERP! I ignored him.

Not that long ago I heard he was dead.

Rip Tumbler.

This was taken at the bus stop outside Stratton Shops after walking in the rain from West Swan Caravan Park where Blue Eyes was staying after being kicked out of home for getting her nipple pierced.

Listen.