Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hugs

Image result for meerkat hug

Today in the cafe... so it begins again; the search for Grumpy's next front of house sidekick. I've had such a dream run of beautiful souls. There have been ups and downs and mostly friendships and hugs.

The hugs have become a feature lately. New workers early on just embracing the daily hug or two. It's quite beautiful. Hugs in the workplace. Beautiful. Just fucking beautiful.

And I find myself wondering what has happened over the last couple of years. I am solitary man. I don't consider myself obviously open to hugs because I am Grumpy.

But there are hugs. Lots of hugs.

When I was in my 20s, I remember being with friends who had been friends for a long time, and they hugged, and I remember smiling and being quietly envious... would I ever have friends who would hug me so easily? Because I am Solitary Man, I'm just not someone people hug, not for my whole life. These people, I thought, are lucky people.

Something has changed, apparently. The hugs come easily these days. Solitary Man, the huggers have found him.

And I'm cool with that. Now I'm a lucky people too.

Friday, September 15, 2017

I See Invisible People

I look around and see all the invisible people. The people who made the bridges and the roads and who made the internet work. I see the invisible people who made telephones and remote control devices and velcro and zippers and GPS and bridges again... can you imagine if you were the one who had to build that bridge? That great arching bridge?

Sorry to go on about the bridges, but seriously, some of those bridges...

The medicine, the gaffer tape, the glass and the metal, those fucking skyscrapers with their cocktail lounges and time itself, the measurement of time. Specs that allow us poor visioned to see, all these invisible people made all these things. The young soldiers who gave their lives for our easy lives and our freedom.

Just saying, cheers to all the invisible people. All the invisible people who are around us each and every day.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Down On Eddy Street



Down On Eddy Street.

It's sunny down there, down on Eddy Street, Tenderloin. Saddest place I've ever been. Hotel's good, with my view and my privilege and my escape plan, and my temporary status as a tourist.

They shout at each other, down on Eddy Street. There's drama, always fucking drama. I watch the sadness and drama unfold beneath that giant mural of the guy and his microscope, looking microscopically at his own heart, ripped it seems by his own hands, from his own chest. He's really checking this heart thing out, and I wonder what he makes of it all.

I see two people, down on Eddy street. Fucked. Fucking fucked. Their lives are fucked. They are fucked. Right now they are chemically fucked and the hedonist that I am thinks good on you, you've found a way of being fucked on the streets of Tenderloin, San Francisco. Good on you. It's not the Summer Of Love, but good on you.

I watch, fascinated, from my privileged place, as he does this basically, fundamentally beautiful thing: he takes his filthy rag from his filthy bag, and she screams what the fuck are you doing? He says kind words and goes about his task. But what is he fucking doing? One corner of his filthy rag goes up on ledge, stabilised by a heavy can. A luggage bag stabilises the next corner on the same ledge. On the ground, stumble and stagger, a sun couch folded forms the third corner, and I see it now.

He tucks the fourth corner through the pop-up handle of the luggage case (lost or theirs – who knows?), and there is shelter of sorts against the sun.

And it strikes me that I am actually seeing beauty. This broken man is doing the decent thing, that thing we all aspire to: he is providing shelter for someone he loves, down on Eddy Street.

They pull their things inside the shade he has mad. Sanctuary, in a harsh part of town in this wealthy city. They scramble inside, and others stumble by, some glancing inside, most stumbling carelessly by, focussed on the own pointlessness of their own pointless day.

The guy's legs pop out from the beneath the shelter he has so carefully constructed on this shitty pavement down on Eddy Street. Why go perpendicular, I think from my Ivory Tower, when you can stretch out horizontally?

Then a cop, a young guy with a take-away coffee, he stops and peers properly inside. There are words, a shake of his head. No way, his body language says, no fucking way. You can't do this, you have to move on.

Eventually the guy who built the shelter, he kind of stumbles from his shelter, down on Eddy Street, and he pulls up his trousers and buckles up his belt. Cop leans on the street sign as he waits for these losers to pack up their stuff. The girl finally emerges, shade cloth is pulled down, things thrown into bags as thoughts are shouted, and they get on with their day. Not here, not today.

Not down on Eddy Street.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

At Gold Beach

At Gold Beach

At Gold Beach, Oregon
Somewhere nearby,
Fires burn.
Heavy smoke darkens the light,
And in the hazy smoke,
Shapes of things loom.
The summer looks like winter
Smoke like mist
Above us
A blood red sun
Scatters fire on the ocean
Later
A blood red moon
Stares accusingly down.

In the dark
In the forever black dark
I listen to the waves
Crunch insistently against the sand
And I think about the light.
I want the light
She wants the dark
So I lie there in her dark
And think about my light,
I dream about going
Into the light
Into the light,
Into the forever light.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The Vagina Monologues
At The Butterfly Club until August 6th

Reviewed by Lee Bemrose



What I knew about The Vagina Monologues prior to seeing this local production at The Butterfly Club: it's a controversial piece of theatre that has been around since the mid-90s; something about Whoopi Goldberg being involved in one production; there might have been a movie version; it's basically a bunch of women talking about their vaginas.

My preconceptions prior to seeing this production (featuring Dayna Boase, Luci Klendo and Linda Cookson): It is theatre for chicks; it's probably anti-male; even though I quite like vagina's it's probably not my kind of theatre because I'm not a chick; in spite of its longevity and apparent critical acclaim, it's probably really just novelty theatre because how can you have a show that runs for an hour that's just women talking about their vaginas?

(I'd like to add here that the only show I could think of that has also been around for many years and is about penises is Puppetry Of The Penis, in which, as far as I know, some men get up on stage and basically play with their willies. I'm not suggesting for a minute that the underlying political, social and cultural explorations of Vagina Monologues and the blatant childishness of Puppetry says anything relevant about the differences between the sexes... no wait – maybe that's exactly what I'm suggesting... hmm).

What I knew about VM was a result of background noise, and I was pretty correct about it all. As to my preconceptions... pretty much, all completely wrong. These were my interpretations of the facts, and wow, I really was very wrong on all counts.

At this point, I'd like to say that if you consider yourself a thinking male and you've read this far but haven't actually seen VM, take that step and go see it. I found it by turns funny, sad, tragic, entertaining and somewhat – just by the nature of the thing – educational (that's the wrong word... enlightening? I don't know – just go see it and you'll know what I mean).

Written by American playwright Eve Ensler, VM is a selection of a collection of around 200 interviews in which a wide variety of women discuss various aspect of their vagina and experiences being women. There really is a broad range of topics, ideas, histories and stories. This is not novelty theatre. It's important theatre, which is obviously why it has been doing the rounds for so long. Duh.

There were many favourite sections, but I'm reluctant to go into too much detail. There was an alphabetised section in which all the imaginable nicknames for the vagina were covered; the personification section in what would your vagina wear/say etc; there were accounts of women who were variously ashamed or ultimately proud of their vaginas; the c-bomb was reclaimed in dynamic fashion; and much more. All accounts felt deeply personal, coming from existences that most of us are blessed to only be able to imagine.

And obviously, as men, we can only imagine the significant impact on a human-being that having a vagina can have; we can only imagine what it is like to be a woman. At various times throughout, I found myself wondering, really? That has happened? That happened to you? You were made to feel that way? Someone did that to you?

Actually, another preconception I had was that this would be a confronting piece of theatre. I was correct here. In parts it was – albeit poetically – highly confronting, but in the way that the miraculously natural process of a painful birth is confronting. I was happy to be confronted by these very real stories.

The performances were solid as the three performers took on a myriad of characters, each having their moment to shine, all clearly enjoying performing.

I can't compare this production to others, as many probably can, but I do know I found it very satisfying theatre indeed. For me, the best theatre makes us laugh and it makes us cry as it gives us a glimpse into the lives of others. Women will, of course, recognise and definitely empathise. They will attend and will enjoy. I just hope more men go along for this short season, because they will also enjoy some quality theatre. It's definitely feminist in nature (ultimately asking, as it does, is this fair? Or perhaps making the statement, this just isn't fucking fair!), but unless you are sexist, what's the problem with that?

Monday, July 31, 2017

On Being Immortal

And Black Rainbow
After a lifetime of jokes
About being immortal,
Realised that he was actually
Immortal.

They were all gone,
All the good ones,
All the ones he loved all gone,
And he was all alone,
Just he and the bad ones
Left.

Oh fuck, he bemoaned,
It's just me and the fuckwits then,
For eternity.

Fucking fuck.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

What Was She Thinking?

What was she thinking
When you told her of another dream
When you came up with another idea
Another adventure
Another plan.

A dream and an idea and adventure
That came to nothing.

What was she thinking
When the dream
And the idea
And the adventure
Came to nothing?

What was she thinking?

What was she thinking
When she agreed to stay with you?
Really, what was she thinking?