The following was read aloud at the 20th anniversary of Glass Wings online held at the Wheeler Centre on Friday 14th March 2014.
When I first moved to Melbourne I had only just broken up with Dublin. The break-up had been a long time coming, but of course it was still painful. When it did end I couldn’t say that she was as upset about it as I was. I couldn’t honestly say that she even noticed. That’s how cities are. She might be your one and only, but you are just one of her millions. Continue reading
I grow plants in pots out front of the apartment. Sonia tells me that the neighbours believe I’ve decided to grow marijuana there; right out there in plain view. According to Sonia, the neighbours identify the third or so of the pots in which nothing has yet germinated as the nascent marijuana plants soon to deliver policemen and dishonour to their neighbourhood.
I look like the sort of guy who might grow marijuana, but should I resent as an insult the implication that I could prove so simpleminded as to grow it in plain view, right out on the porch in front of my apartment?
Lewis, Sinclair (Bantam Classics, ISBN 9780553214864)
Hilary and I both held tenure as delivery drivers at a pizza restaurant on Centre Road called, ‘La Casetta‘. I majored in second-hand smoke inhalation while Hilary pioneered a study into the effects of alcohol on Italians.
The cook used a substance called, ‘Beef Booster’. Like Sinclair Lewis’ boosterist, he knew that you had to have pep, by golly. When the pizza needed more pep he would open a bucket of Beef Booster and heap it on. Continue reading
When I was living another life, in another country, some years ago, I worked for a time as a marketing researcher. My job, in this other life, was to sit hidden in shadows behind a one-way mirror – from this place I observed, made notes on and recorded the opinions of the product test group of the hour. They knew I was watching them – there was to inform them of this them of this, and besides which, I suspect the giant and otherwise completely incongruous mirror in an otherwise dull office complex would have been something of a give-away. Continue reading
This shows the trajectories of some blobs of colour as they egress from three moving bodies. Each body and all the blobs of colour that egress from it accelerate towards one of the other bodies with a constant magnitude of acceleration: the yellow blobs and the body that expels them accelerate towards the body that expels magenta blobs, the aquamarine blobs and the body that expels them accelerate towards the body that expels yellow blobs and the magenta blobs and the body that expels them accelerate towards the body that expels aquamarine blobs.
Over the course of its life, each blob loses brightness. If it passes close to a body other than the one that expelled it, it also loses saturation. Continue reading
BOOK OF EXODUS
Chapter 21 (Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)
Halfway through the book of Exodus, God proclaims to Moses the ordinances governing different kinds of ox gorings. For example,
“And if one man’s ox gores another man’s ox so it dies; then they shall sell the live ox and divide the money; and the dead ox also they shall divide.”
It amazes one how relevant that remains today. Continue reading
This shows the trails of some minuscule specks of colour as they emerge from three moving bodies. Each body and all the specks of colour that emerge from it accelerate towards one of the other bodies with a constant magnitude of acceleration: the yellow specks and the body that emits them accelerate towards the body that emits green specks, the indigo specks and the body that emits them accelerate towards the body that emits yellow specks and the green specks and the body that emits them accelerate towards the body that emits indigo specks. Each speck fades as it moves. Continue reading
BOOK OF NUMBERS
Chapters 13-14 (quotes taken from the Lamsa version, Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)
As he nears the land of Canaan, Moses sends ahead scouts to reconnoitre the terrain. He directs them to ascertain both the enemy’s strength and the fertility of their land.
To their delight, the land appears fertile, Continue reading
THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER
Chandler, Raymond (Houghton Mifflin, 1950, ISBN 0394757653)
In his remarkable essay, The Simple Art of Murder, Chandler points out that, in the real world, using elaborate means to commit a murder, disguise one or to fabricate an alibi will only serve to incriminate the perpetrator. It gives a methodical police force too much to work with. Instead (if I comprehend Chandler’s meaning), just bludgeon the victim with some commonplace object found near the scene of the crime and when the police ask for your alibi, tell them to go fuck themselves. Continue reading
THE MILITARY EXPERIENCE IN THE AGE OF REASON
I find I have a copy of The Military Experience in the Age of Reason on my bookshelf. I assume I must’ve purchased it for its cover art. Could I ever, in sincerity, have doubted the general tenor of that ‘experience’? Could I have imagined that soldiers woke up in the morning and thought, “My do I enjoy catching diseases out here in the mud. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank providence for the string of circumstances that led to my becoming an artillery target in the Austrian Plumed-Hat Corps.”?
A while ago, some years ago now, I was hunting for a copy of Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and stumbled on another book, Vera Brittain’s 1947 On Becoming a Writer. Vera Brittain was in her day a very famous pacifist thinker and writer who drew on her experiences and thoughts about the Second World War. She is still known and talked about today, although whether she is much remembered outside of academic circles or them who listen religiously to ABC Radio National I can’t say. Continue reading