I saw the headline in the paper on the way home tonight -
‘Mel Gibson being divorced’
and it seemed such a silly thing and yet behind my shades I felt tears well up that had been held at bay. The ocean of my soul wanted to break free and I didn’t know how to stop it.
I felt a shame shiver through me for it. And tried to smile to myself.
Self pity. I always fall for it eventually. Dark horse in the heart stirring again.
So I sat there as the rail car rattled and people read and people thought about things.
And it seemed finally I was facing something I hadn’t really faced these last few weeks and the more I thought about why I was crying the more I realised this was about a lot bigger time than just this week. And I let it come in to me. I let myself remember and the sadness of my life overwhelmed me. And I have to explain one threaded tale of why I am often such a miserable wretch.
I was glad for those shades.
I always knew I would come to Australia. When I was a kid I knew when I used to run about my grandparents garden in the English summer in a sleepy village called Bampton where church bells rang out on Sundays and cars went by every now and then, I’d smell the honeysuckle in the mornings and chase a few wasps with a stick then run in for breakfast to watch Skippy the bush kangaroo on TV. Those blue skies and a talking kangaroo. I wanted to be there one day.
When I saw Mad Max years later that blew me away too. I ended up growing up all over the place. Someone gave me a guitar at 15 and then it was rock and roll all the way. I could hide in the dream.
I moved to Oxford got in a couple of bands but we just got wasted and managed about 3 songs in as many years. I can’t remember half of those days. The girl I got engaged to left and I went down a bad rabbit hole until an opportunity came my way out of the blue. I was never much good at being stoned I couldn’t remember a thing.
I left Oxford for London on a whim. Got offered to sing in a band called Romeo Suspect and it felt right. Kipped on my brothers sofa knowing dreams of rock stardom would be mine. That journey up to London, leaving the mess of my teenage life behind was such a beautiful thing. I knew I was free again in that moment. Like Dick Whittingtons cat, maaaan I was going to find the gold.
I saw a rainbow over Notting Hill as the coach drove up the a40 entering the city and I made a wish –
‘Don’t make me famous until I can handle it’
I’d already crashed on acid, speed and glue, probably smoke too but like I said I never remembered anything when I smoked. I knew what I was like and I was hungry for it all. I hadn’t even got near the cocaine, ectascy and designer drugs by then.
Maybe something heard me. Heard my wish.
10 years later and it wasn’t happening. It hurt for years as age took me away from all that I could have been. Man that hurt. Slow and agonising. I know the meaning of Defeat. I know it in my bones. I had owned the dream for a long while; the drugs, the women, the excess for years and yet I never got that stardom I so longed for. I felt so robbed, couldn’t understand it. I had trusted the signs and trusted the Gods and followed them at the sacrifice of all else.
In the end I was forced to give it up, I joined the rat race. It was fear. I was broke. Beaten. The band wasn’t happening. Music had been my world. It was over. I didn’t know how to end something I had invested so much of my life and love in.
So I tried to settle down. Got with a beautiful office girl, got a house, a job that could have been for life. And sat there one day. Old. Alone, cocained out of my brain staring at the wallpaper that I owned. I finally owned something. She was out. 7 years we had been together and I just knew in an instant that this was it for me. This was the happiness normal people longed for. I was in it. And I was lost. I didn’t know what this was. It fucked with me so much that day. She came home drunk. I lost it. I left. I never went back.
2 years later after living in a van for a few months then getting a small room in the middle of Harrow I realised one embarrassing day that I was in fact just waiting to die. I also realised I needed to leave London to do it. And again out of the blue opportunity came. I thought that was my last walk. To Australia. The dream I had as a kid came back to me, my first dream. I was going to Australia to die. It all made perfect sense. It was kind of tidy in its play out.
So I spent my savings on a touring bicycle and cleared off all my debts and so as not to make a mess somewhere people would find me I headed off up to the Northern Terrority to meet my maker. I figured it would be less of a concern for my family there. I don’t quite know why. I didn’t know what else I could do. Let the devil come to meet me and make it there out of the way where people can make assumptions about what happened but never really know. I was ok with it. It had to happen someplace, right.
He came on the third day.
48 degrees heat passing out sick on the side of the road somewhere between Katherine and Broome. I have no idea where I was. It got dark and I could smell death. I was heat struck and delirious and ready to go to the devil. Fuck it. I had nothing left. I let it go. And waited to experience that final thing. I had no idea what it would be but it would bring relief. Then something kicked in. A fucking survival instinct. I wasn’t ready for that. Some stupid part of me thought I had something to do. It seemed so obvious. So without choice or volition, I did all I could to fight what was coming and next thing I know I made it to Broome. About a month actually but again. I don’t recall much of it.
I felt refreshed and excited, like god gave a shit and had plans for me once again. So I hit a bar to celebrate, pulled a girl , went home with her , fucked her, and promptly got in a fist fight with her flat mate. I had to leave Broome the next day. I fucking hated myself again. Things were back to normal. I was too chicken shit to do myself in, so I went back to Sydney instead to get a job, figure out what to do next and try to stay out of trouble for once. What the hell were the gods up to, I was supposed to be dead?
That was a year ago.
Here I am.
I still have no idea why.
The train rattled into Bondi tonight.
Tears dropped down my face. It is amazing how much passes through your mind in a short space of time. Mel Gibson getting divorced and splashed all over the paper. The whole fucking world knowing his business and as my heart was breaking, or maybe starting to recover I have no fucking idea right now, I was just so glad of those shades and being anonymous. Being a fucking nobody was suddenly very ok in my book. I couldn’t imagine what this moment for me right now would be like if every fucker knew my name and who I was and saw me crying. I thanked the gods in retrospect because they saved my sorry ass again and I had no idea all this time. They never let me be famous. They had honoured my wish when I showed up in London. I wouldn’t have survived it at all. Too much of a dumb cunt. They were doing something now. I didn’t know why but it obviously was for some reason.
I don’t know why I spilled it here, or to who, or for what. Glimpses into gold. Glimpses into the truth. Glimpses into the self and the dreams and the lust and the death and the perception of a man. Brothers and sisters and sufferings the world over. No respite, no sanctuary, no hope in many ways. And I haven’t done much to help any of them, only my selfish self and I didn’t help me much either in the end . Dark. Painful. Cold and Lonely is stuff we just have to experience every now and then. Remind ourselves how fragile we are. And remind ourselves who we are and where we have been. Become humbled again by the immensity of it all and the meaninglessness of us as individuals. Fuck famous, it makes the kill so much more complicated and so much crueller. Try and die and they wont let you. It is a mystery.
Come back to the centre. Look around and see we are just here right now and we have no idea what for, not really. Just to be. But anonymity suddenly makes a lot of fucking sense. I could cry and no one would know who I was. No one could care less, so I cried. It was for myself, not Mel, but that was ok. It had to happen somewhere. Thanks Mel.
I walked out the station hopped on the bus. Breathed the air of the ocean as I reached my small room down the North end of the beach. Yea I was alone again but this recent lost love, my first in Oz, would heal and the devil didn’t seem to know my address. Not yet. Not yet. And I may die tonight as lightening and thunder breaks outside, and on my last breathe I may wonder what it was all for. But if I don’t get taken tonight then tomorrow will be the future and something will come along.
Tomorrow I want to do something for someone else for a change. I’ve always wanted to I just have never known how.