10 January 1995
Hi, it’s me. It’s Tuesday. It’s dull. It stinks in here. It really does stink in here you know. Remember in my last letter how I told you about the roof leaking? Well, the carpet is still wet, and it’s 33˚, it’s beginning to smell like Jeffrey Dahmer’s flat in here.
Donovan called me Friday afternoon and invited himself around. Don’t get me wrong. I was glad to hear from him and all, but he invited himself around before I even had a chance to. So he came over around 7:30pm and we drank the remains of my last bottle of vodka and then walked down to the bottle shop to purchase another. When we got there, Donovan just didn’t open his wallet. I suppose I should have asked for a contribution, I would be well within my rights to do so, but I didn’t want to be rude. So we walked back to my place and kept drinking and chatting until 3am when I started to nod off. I offered him a bed for the night, but he insisted on walking home because he couldn’t afford a taxi. I thought, “I’ll feel terrible if he gets mugged on the way home because I was too tight to give him a few bucks for a taxi fare” so I gave him $5 and off he went. And now I have to scrimp all fucking week because I don’t want to dip into my savings. That’s what you get for socializing. “Sociability is nothing but a big smile, and a smile is nothing but teeth”, so I spent the rest of the weekend with the phone out of the socket.
Mum came in to work and met me for lunch yesterday so I whinged to her about my poverty over lunch and she gave me a free feed. I’ll pay her back next time. We had lunch in this nice little cafe over the road call the “Great Space”. Odd name for such a crowded place. Mum told me you’re coming over early on your own for Christmas. That’ll be a hoot nursing a six-month-old melon head on a plane for 23 hours on your own. Do you plan to drug it the way Mum drugs Winky for rides in the car? Has she told you about that? She slips him a Mogadon in his Good-O’s and stuffs him in the glove compartment ’til they get to the vets. True story.
11 January 1995
Another stinky hot day. I’ve just spend the last half-hour on the phone ringing around TV antenna installers to get quotes because I’m sick of having to hold on to the portable antenna to get a good ABC picture. I hate doing that whole quote thing, especially when you have to ring back and compare, I feel like the person on the other end of the phone is thinking “This guy’s trying to scam me”. It makes me feel cheap and money-grubbing, you know?
18 January 1995
Boring weekend. I hung around for Mr Antenna on Saturday. He turned up and charged me an extra $50 for the chimney-mount on the aerial. It was a rip-off. I told them on the phone I had a chimney, but I wanted the job done and didn’t want any unpleasantness, which is probably what these types rely one, I guess. Anyhow now I have truly super TV reception which pleases me no end. I spent the weekend watching really bad TV. It was almost as if I’d sacrificed program quality for picture quality. I had two tennis channels, two cricket channels and SBS which was running some show on Italian art, so I flicked mercilessly. I was so broke from paying for the antenna that I didn’t have much choice but to stay in and keep flicking.
Thursday I ended up going over the road to “Klicks Bar” for a going away drinks for a girl called Willow. I only went to be polite really, but my life is so sadly empty that I ended up staying until 8pm and getting a bit pissed. It’s from having to drink beer at all these things. Everyone else is drinking beer so if I drink vodka it makes my drinks more expensive in the shouts. I just shouldn’t go to these things, I always end up pissed. Not rolling-around-on-the-floor pissed, but not-entirely-erudite pissed. I said “exploitated” instead of “exploited”. That was kinda embarrassing, especially around all those journo types with their pretentious know-it-all journo industry banter about who’s a good writer and whose editorials are “philosophically superfluous”. Let me tell you, I don’t want to be a journalist anymore, it’s too competitive and bitchy. As soon as you make it somewhere it seems like you should leave and make room for others. Most journalists end up being alcoholics anyway, it’s all a part of the machismo culture of cynicism and superiority. I don’t know what I want to do now. I guess I’ll just keep working away here until I die or get fired. My plan at the moment, nebulous as it is, is to save money every year until I can afford to live off investments and work maybe three days a week. I guess that won’t be a possibility for the next 20 years or so. Christ 20 years. That’s such a long time, and that’s retiring pretty early, really – not even retiring, but half-retiring. I cannot bear the thought of having to work for the next 43 years, possibly more.
Joy, the day hath cometh! Rejoicing in the streets – new episodes of “The Simpsons” have alighted on our sunny shores. Tonight! I went and bought a new blank video tape specially for the occasion.Today is going to drag like nobody’s business. There’s repeats of “The X Files” on tonight too. Do you get “The X Files” in England? It’s great, you’d love it. Television is my world now, it deadens the inner core of my being and makes all those daily sacrifices of integrity and kowtowing possible. Besides, I like sympathizing with victims of natural disasters, like all those earth-quakin’, highway-shakin’, money-makin’ Japanese last night. If Australia sends Japan one fucking cent of aid I will vomit vitriol. They can sell us back Surfers Paradise at half the price if they need a bit of petty cash.
And on that compassionate note, I’d better get back to the grind.
Coloured pencil drawing of the Journalist Otto Brues by J
“from Schriftsteller und Journalist Otto Brue 1926”
Drawn on Thursday 10 Oct 2002