Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cigarettes and Alcohol

Went to see Oasis last night. I still hate concerts. Even small ones in small venues. They were quite good but it wasn’t a memorable night. In fact I’ve forgotten what happened all ready. My sonly saving grace was bumping into Boothy my football manager and spending the evening with him.

I do remember the crap beer that I had to drink out of plastic beakers though – Tooheys extra dry. I hate all extra dry, cold filtered, ice brewed styled beers – they are rank. I also remember the girl that was stood in front of me. She asked me to move back because I was smoking. The irony of it was that Liam was singing cigarettes and alcohol at the time (dedicated to George Best).

My reply was that we are at fucking rock concert!

I hate modern earth. Man invents beer and fags and then ruins the beer by cold filtering it and then ruins your smoke by making it leper like to be a smoker. Even Rock and Roll has lost its edge.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Bacon Sandwich and a mug of tea

It was a Sunday, it had been pouring down all last night and it is still poring with rain now. I just dropped of Mel at college and hungry I have one thing on my mind, a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea.

And I don’t want just any bacon sandwich. I don’t want Turkish bread or any other type of fancy bread. I want white sandwich bread. Not Wholemeal, Rye, brown or even white bread from the bakers. Just plain white processed sandwich bread from a factory. I also want bacon in it and tomato sauce. I also want my tea to come in a mug and be English breakfast (or Typhoo, or PG Tips). I do not want it to be any type of herbal tea and I don’t want a cup and saucer, milk jug, tea pot, sugar and tray that takes up all the room on my table. I want a greasy spoon style mug of tea and bacon butty. Or as close as I could get to that.

My first stop was the food court in Chatswood Shopping centre. Great place to eat if you want a kebab, KFC, Mackers, Juice drinks, muffins or rice with two types of curry. Bad place to look for a bacon butty. So I walked back to Bay Swiss which I passed on the way in. Bay Swiss is half bourgeois furniture shop and half cafe. I cued up behind smug middle class women and their teenage daughters. Then it was my turn to order.

"Can I have a bacon sandwich please?" I asked
"Just bacon?" The young girl asked.
"Yes, bacon and tomato sauce on white bread. Just plain white bread not Turkish bread."
"Ok, would you like a drink with that?"
"Tea please....er in a mug."
"Sure, English Breakfast ok?"
"Yes please."
"Would you like milk with that?"
"Please." Of course I want milk with it.
"$6.50 please. I'll bring it over to you"

I sat down pleased with my order as I made sure that I was quite clear about what I wanted. I began to read but before I could get going the girl delivered to my table a bacon sandwich. Looks good. Processed white bread. I opened up the sandwich in anticipation. Not so good. Match stick size cut pieces of bacon. The kind you find in carbonara or in salads. I took a bite. It was cold like the fridge.

"Excuse me. Is it possible to have freshly cooked bacon, hot?" I asked back at the counter.
"No sorry we don’t do that. Would you like a refund?" Said the girl.
"Yes please." I said pleased at the no fuss refund offer. I handed back the sandwich with the bite taken out of it.
"Ok I'll get the manager."

"Can I help?" The manager asked as if she didn’t know. I explained to her that the bacon wasn’t quite what Id expected. She handed me a refund for the sandwich.
"I paid for a tea as well."
"Well I can’t refund that, there was nothing wrong with it."
"It was ordered but I never got it and it hasn’t even been made yet."
"Look it’s not policy to just go handing refunds out."
"Look! I want a bacon sandwich and a mug of tea. I don’t want tea on its own, understand?"

She handed me my change and stormed off.

Back in the car I headed towards home and passed Mackers. I suppose I could get some bacon at mackers even if it does taste like something else. So I parked and jogged through the rain into Mackers. I got to the counter and realised the time.


"I've missed breakfast haven’t I?"
"Yes." Said the spotty teenager.

My next stop was a Greek Restaurant. Nothing flash, just a small inexpensive family run Greek restaurant. No one was in the restaurant.

"Hi, are you able to make me a bacon sandwich?" I asked hopeful.
"Of course."
"Excellent!" I saw large yellow mugs on the shelf. "Could I have a mug of tea as well please?"
"No problem." Said the Greek Mum.

Her daughter brought me a bacon sandwich with ketchup on white processed bread and a Mug. She also brought me a tea pot and a jug of milk. Almost perfect. Well perfect enough.

Satisfied that I had satisfied my slight episode of OCD. I stayed on in the restaurant which rapidly became very busy around me. Thankfully not by smug middle aged bourgeois mothers with stupid handbags but by old people eating high tea and Greek cuisine. I felt very relaxed surrounded by old people, not a sole was showing off and no one thought they were better then I nor I better then them. I ordered lunch and stayed a bit longer.

(See the photo of the old ladies sat in front of me.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Australia v Uruguay

Went to the Olympic statidum to watch the world cup qulaifier. I wasnt the only one. 85,000 others were in the ground and 15,000 outside watching on a henman hill style big screen. I suppose they could of called it "Harry's Hill" after substitute Harry Kewels excellent performance in the second half.

The atmosphere was unbelieveable. Almost everyone dressed in Green and Gold and everyone cheering the Aussies on. A handfull of Uruguayans were unheard. Not even the Uruguayan national anthem could be heard because of the booing.

My friend Sherman demonstrates the passion that could be felt around the ground. This shot was taken late into extra time. Australia were about to take a corner.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Methadone at the Mall

I sat on a bench having a cigarette with my mate outside the Mall. We were waiting for my photos to be developed. My mate held out his hand and showed me the shakes he was having. His little finger and fore finger were shaking. An old women sat smoking next to us spoke up.

“Touch of the DT’s?” She chuckled.
“Yeah, I’ve given up drinking but had a drink on Friday and it gives me the shakes.” He confirmed with her.
“How long have you not been drinking for?” She asked
“I had a week in rehab and have pretty much been off it since, about three weeks.”
“Which one did you go to?”
“St Leonard’s. Have you used methadone?”
“Yes. How can you tell, is it the teeth?” Asked the old women.
“Yeah and you’ve got a mark in your arm.”
“That’s not from using. No, that was when I was knocking on heavens door. Doctor gave me anti biotic and they didn’t agree with me. Almost killed me. No I never inject there because that’s the first place people look. I inject in the back of my hand.”

She pointed out the blue purple mark one of her veins on the back of her hand.

“I was a heroin addict for 30 years. Started when I was sixteen and gave up when I was 18. But then Mum let me go on holiday to Thailand. How stupid was that. Course I was back on it soon enough. Never go on the nod mind. No only use clean stuff ya see. And never steal for a hit. Couldn’t bring myself to do that. Just have my 50 bag and used in moderation. When I got on the methadone though that was bad. Gets into ya bones see and my teeth.”

Her teeth were rotten. They had brown stains shaped like estuaries running through them and her gums had receded right back so that they stuck out like an old white picket fence with rust leaking down it. Her eyes were shielded by her glasses and her hair was like straw and up in a bun. Her skin was saggy and loose around her thin frame. She had thousands of liver spots on her arms and legs.

“No never go on the nod.” She continued.
“Do you still use heroin?” I asked
“Oh now and again.”
“Still!” My friend said sounding surprised.
“Oh yes. I last had a blast on Thursday actually. Just a fifty.”
“Where did you get it from?” He asked.
“The Cross. I’ve been buying there off an old Lebanese man for years. These two German girls had a hit with me. I went on the nod then mind. They put me on the ferry home.”
“German back packers?” I asked
“Yeah that was them. You see heroin is a clean drug doesn’t do as much damage as alcohol, speed, coke or that cigarette your smoking. They will kill ya brain cells. Heroin wont. Problem with the stuff is that it’s very destructive to your life and everyone around ya. You end up chasing the stuff and nothing else is important. But as for damage to your body or your brain it’s pretty clean.”

“Any way we better go, I’m running late. Nice to meet you.” Me mate said.
“Nice to meet you both, take care now.” She said to us both.
“See ya.” I said.

We worked out that her actual age was about 40 years old and both decided that she looked like she was in her late sixties.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

R J Payne - bowled - 2 Runs

The out field was that long and thick that the fielders required a machete to walk to their positions, the sky was overcast and the air temperature humid. With the conditions looking more and more like Vietnam and perfect for bowling our Captain put the other team into bat. Great decision as the ball was swinging around all over the place and proving difficult to judge. We got them all out for 90 runs. However it was now our turn to bat in the same conditions. I settled down into my collapsible chair not thinking that I would be needed. However after a reasonable start the house of cards began to fall and I found myself padding up and into bat at number 6.

First ball was a bouncer that I attempted to pull to the boundary. It hit me clean on the helmet and I almost fell onto my own stumps. I think I even touched them but the bails remained firmly in place. I then played at a succession of balls and missed all but managed to get through the over. I was soon down the other end though facing the 7 foot bean pole that was bouncing them into me. Managed again to keep my wicket and not score. More by luck then anything. My nerves still jangling I was once again facing the first bowler that bounced me. I hit my first ball straight back at him which he got a hand to but dropped it. I blocked a shot, kept another out and managed to hit another for two runs. Confidence now high I decided to block the next one if possible and planted my front foot down and stuck my bat next to it. He sent down a slower ball which swung in between bat and pad and took out middle stump. Rats….

We ended up I think 130 odd for 8 and will bat on next week.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Routine of Casualty "This time my Ear!"

What started off as an early morning surf up at Queenscliff ended up in familiar surroundings up at Manly Hospital. After catching a wave I was paddling back out the back of the waves. Some local bloke was about to take off onto a wave but it wasn’t clear if he was going left or right and I changed direction twice in an attempt to avoid a collision. He ended up bailing from the wave and allowing his thruster board to spear forward. Coming straight for my head I turned away and it speared me in the ear. I put my hand up to the side of my head and felt the gash that had been taken out of my ear. My hand blood red. The culprit all ready had his back to me and was paddling back out. I suspect that he did it on purpose. I must say I love surfing but really dislike surfers in Sydney. The lack of mateship and competitive nature of them makes it an ugly sport.
Unfazed by the lack of concern or the injury I paddled into the beach knowing that stitches lay ahead of me. I routinely cycled back to the flat at Queenscliff and woke Mel up from her slumber by announcing “Look, I’ve gone and done it again.” She jumped out of bed and started to get changed to take me down to the hospital.

In the waiting room I read the Sydney Morning Herald from cover to cover in between watching the casualties turn up. Real mixed bag this morning. An anorexic like skinny old women who had barely enough energy to walk, a fat builder who had his foot run over by the truck and a women looking for her husband.

“Has a Mister Jackson checked in?” She asked the nurse anxiously.
“No, there has been no Jackson this morning.”
“Oh! I dropped him off a few moments ago, but he is delirious and may not have found his way in.”

She rushed out side to look for him.

“Found him!” She led in a large man with a weathered, red gormless face. “He was outside wondering around. Can we sit him down please he gets hallucinations which make him delirious and he often collapses?” She said in a very mater of fact manor.

I was eventually called in by a middle aged doctor in beige clothes and brown shoes. He didn’t hang about and was soon injecting me with a local anaesthetic, washing the wound and sewing up my ear with ten stitches. The pain was there but bearable; it was no where near as comparable to the pain of the nose injections and stitches a few months earlier.

“Keep it dry for 3 days and stitches out Tuesday, Wednesday next week.”
“Thanks Doc.”