6 December 1994
This may be the last letter you receive from me. The expedition is not going well. My compatriots are fading badly, it’s the heat you see. Today the mercury has risen to 38˚, yesterday it peaked at 40˚. There is no respite for any of us. I fear we shall all perish. We’ve already eaten three of the camels, and the remaining two are looking damn juicy.
Sorry Sis, it’s the damnable heat. I’m sure I’ve told you before of the pre-Victorian thermodynamics of this place. Picture it; we’re on the uppermost floor, the roof is made of corrugated iron, no insulation. Only three windows in the place, all on the wall furthest away from moi. Brick walls. So, once it heats up, it stays hot for a few days, the bricks radiating the days before yesterday’s heat. And the heat doesn’t mellow with age, it is not like a good wine. It’s like a bad wine which turns to vinegar. And it turns me into a whinging, whining, ill-tempered brat. Stinking heat. Stinking heat. Stinking heat. And when I say stinking, I mean it quite literally because most of my co-workers choose to remove their shoes, imbuing the air with a pungency not unlike that fragrance from Milwaukee USA, Eau de Chateau Dahmer.
At least I don’t have to suffer at home any longer. Just yesterday, Dad took me down to “Carrier Air Conditioning Show Room” and bought me an air-conditioner, a portable one that can be moved from room to room. Set him back $1,350, but Hell, I’m worth every penny. I now have nearly every mod-con. Just need a new fridge, clothes drier, dishwasher and a few kitchen thingies (Braun Cappuccino Maker – Mmmmm) and I’ll be set. Actually, it’s a bit ironic, I haven’t bought any new clothes for ages and yet I have a brand spanking new $800 washing machine to wash them in. I wear the cleanest rags you’ve ever seen.
With the Suicide Season (Christmas) breathing hotly down our necks, work had their Christmas Party early this year. In fact it was just last weekend, on the 2nd of December. I actually went this year and had a rollicking good time. Well, it was amusing anyhow. There’s this new guy here called Nathan, and he got absolutely shit-faced. I mean really drunk. And guess who was blessed with the privilege of sitting next to him – Yours Truly. He was so pissed that he kept falling asleep at the table and saying thinks like “I don’t want to be intimidated by any of ya”. Or standing up with a sway and a wobble to ask “Does anyone mind if I ‘ave a drink? Is that orright wi’ you? Huh?” Absolutely shocking. It’s hard to convey it on the page, but he was sauced. So anyway, I went up to the bar to get a drink, and someone calls out to me “Hey J, your food’s here” so I look over and Nathan (whose food had not yet arrived) had his fork in my pasta, dragging it over the white tablecloth. His eyes were closed and because the food was still hot, he’s kind of spitting it out and dropping it all over the place. I felt sorry for him, I’m sure I’ve done something similar, though thankfully not in the work environment. To keep away from him I spent a lot of time up at the bar, and I did one of those stupid things you never think you’ll do. I thought the girl serving drinks liked me because she asked me my name and commiserated with me over the the fate of my dinner at the hands and mouth of Nathan. So we chatted and I bought drinks and so on until I realised that that’s what they do all night, hit on guys to keep them coming back to the bar. And here am I thinking I’m so cynical that no-one could pull the wool over my eyes. A bit embarrassing actually.
So I went home around 11:30pm the guy from despatch Mick, came back to my place because he lives all they way out in Croydon or something. We caught a tram with this Teenage Asian Death Squad who sat there talking about assaulting people with various weapons. I thought it was all bravado until I noticed the blood on their clothes. A bit of a chilling discovery, especially since there was a good chance that they’d be getting off at the same tram stop as Mick and I. They didn’t, but they could have. So we sat up for a few more hours, had a few more drinks and then fell asleep around 3am.
I spent the rest of the weekend reading. I finished off an awful Science Fiction novel by Ian M Banks, finished off “Mrs Dalloway” and then went back to “The Brothers Karamazov”. I’ll finish it this week in air-conditioned comfort and then read Gogol’s “Dead Souls” which I bought in a spending spree at Polyester Books in Brunswick Street a few weeks ago. I love spending lots of money on books. After Gogol’s done I can go and do it again. I plan on having a bit of a spree in general really. I’ve saved my $5000 for a term deposit as of last week so no now I can spend what I would normally save for the rest of the year. Sorry, it’s gauche to talk about money, isn’t it.
I had an enjoyable birthday for a change. Thanks again for the picture, it’s hanging between my bookshelf and the door in the lounge room. Josh and Brett were over, as you already know. Brett left to go to some death metal gig (can’t stand the music he listens to, it’s a bit like Spinal Tap without the humour) and Josh and I sat around listening to CD’s and drinking Kahlua, Bailey’s and milk, being urbane and bitchy.
I went and saw “Pulp Fiction” the other night with Cav from work. It’s Quentin Tarantino’s new flick. He did “Reservoir Dogs” and “True Romance”. Have you seen any of these three? If not, I strongly suggest you travel down to the local video store and get them, they’re great! A bit violent, but then again, what film isn’t violent? If it’s not crude old physical violence, then it’s emotional or psychological violence, isn’t it? People have a basic desire to observe others mayhem. The problem that so many people have with the violence in Tarantino’s films comes from the reality of it. It looks like it really hurts. It’s not clean comic book violence like Schwarzenegger, and so it makes you contemplate it a little more, and realise how terrible it is. It’s not that it’s more violent, it’s that you are more aware of the violence. I can guarantee that almost all the Schwarzenegger-type films have an inestimably higher body-count, but you just don’t notice, at least not consciously, Well there you have it J’s critique on Violence in the Cinema.
7 December 1994
We got to leave early at 3pm yesterday and the day before on account of the heat, though I don’t think that will happen today. There’s supposedly a change coming through in the afternoon so I think there will be an attitude of “Hang in there, there’s a change coming”, even though it wont permeate the building and cool us down, the mere fact of its existence will keep us here until 5pm I’m afraid.
Though I rubbish Christmas all the time, there is one thing I do dig about Suicide Season, and that’s the junk mail you get. The amount of junk mail just skyrockets at this time of year. I love junk mail, I love looking at all the electrical appliances and all that guff. And it’s faithful, I know that every night, when I get home, there’ll be that “unsolicited advertising material” poking jauntily out of my letter box, hailing me welcome on my return from a hard day’s labour down the mine, inviting me to sit for a spell in the consumerist beer garden.
On the current affairs of Australia front, we had another “gunman massacre” here yesterday. In Fawkner, a northern Melbourne suburb, Fotios “Frank” Diakonidis went loony and shot a mother of two and a passing motorist before police dropped him. So now the pro- and anti-gun lobbies get their heads on TV again and politicians make empty promises. He was supposed to have surrendered one of the guns five years ago, but the police said they “lost track of him when he shifted houses”. Evidently, none of our highly trained police officers thought to look him up in the phone book, and two people are now dead. It’s a bit sad. On a lighter note, England continued to show we uncouth Antipodeans the path to culture and sophistication in sports spectatorship with three streakers form Mother England gracing the field in the first One-Day International between England and Australia. Unfortunately I don’t have any pics for your perusal. I’m told one was draped in the Union Jack.
Anyway, I’d better be off, I’ve got some work to be done.
A LINK TO FOTIOS DIAKONIDIS ARTICLE