I’m planning, conniving, choreographing a delicately balanced ballet of politics, greed and manipulation. I’m trying to get a pay rise you see.

Tuesday, 8 August 1995 1:27pm

Wheeeeeeeeee.  I’m feeling all light-headed from champagne, courtesy of Cav.  He and his Dad, Jeremy and I just downed a bottle in the tea room.  Some cafe gave it to Cav at Christmas for being a regular customer.  It was nice, I’m no champagne connoisseur, but it was light and tangy.  It’s Cav’s farewell proper tonight.  Drinks at “Klicks” then it’s off to some Chinese restaurant in Russell Street.  I’m looking forward to it.

I sat across from some horror of a woman in “Klicks” (still avoiding “Croissant Connection”).  I “sit in” for my morning coffees, they’re 30c more expensive, but tastier, and you get a free muffin.  She was one of those over dressed 50-somethings with gold eyeshadow on heavy lids as she solemnly surveyed her swirling coffee, twin tusks of smoke spearing out her nostrils like some permed, waxed walrus.  She had shoes to match her eye-shadow.  She finished her coffee, examined the unedifying remnants (should’ve had tea don’t you know)  and rose on her hydraulic haunches, swaying ponderously off to her job, counting beans somewhere.  Funny how some folks leave an impression.

Thursday, 10 August 1995 11:16am

Scheming scheming J. I’m planning, conniving, choreographing a delicately balanced ballet of politics, greed, manipulation.  I’m trying to get a raise.  I’ve worked it all out now.  Uni applications have to be in by the end of September.  The information I planted in the office snitch (see Tuesday’s letter) has slithered into its targeted ears and is growing nicely in fertile grounds of neurosis.  You see, people are leaving here left, right, even center.  Cav, Tower of Talent, is gone. Tessa, Sturdy, Reliable Tessa went for another job and got an extra $2000 to stay here. Simon is going on holiday for a three month sojourn at the end of September, leaving J as the sole caretaker to get “Who the Fuck Cares” to press.  It’s a perfect situation, I have the very real threat of a return to uni, their reliance upon my skill solely in Simon’s absence, and the atmosphere of opportunity that is precipitating a modest exodus from Stalag 45’s go-getter ranks.  Ideally, I’d like to go back to uni next year when I have more saving to augment measly old Austudy, but I am prepared to go now.  That’s the key, the indefinable quality of decisiveness, the steel in my spine that should win it for me.  It’s no bluff baby.

I know my snitch did his work because of the meeting I had the day before yesterday.  It was, ostensibly, a scheduling affair – seeing where we’re up to, how much more is to be done, where “resources” (read people) need to be allocated and so on.  But there was another subtle flavour to it, I was told how the book was no good last year, but that it wasn’t my fault, it was his, which is clever. He praised my enermous effort, and said how far the book had come, and didn’t criticize when it was discovered that a certain task (won’t bore you with the details) wasn’t totally completed last year.  That’s out of character.  And there were enticing promises of sweeping changes to be made for next year: new database, more people, a quasi-supervisory role.  That is enticing.  I can see myself orchestrating research efforts, overseeing industry sector specialization, putting my feet up on the desk with scruffy hair and steaming coffee saying “Go people, GO!”  tee hee.

I spoke in hushed tones to Mum about it this morning.  She said that if I went back to uni and can’t pay the rent that she will sell the house.  I kinda want to stay there though because it’s so close to Melbourne Uni and I’m settled.  I floated the idea of Leah moving in to share the rent, but Mum was having none of that.  I think she was envisioning orgies a la menage a trois.  I don’t think she likes Leah full stop.  Anyway, the reason Mum wants to sell is because she’s afraid to rent the place out to some squatters in disguise who’ll never pay rent and be able to stay for years because the laws here are slanted towards the renter.  However, Simon, my office mate has oft remarked how he fancies my little Chateau l’amour, and I know he’s reliable with money and all, with a steady job, and he’s bound by the threat of middle class shame to keep up with the rent. Splendid! I just have to pass it with Mum.  I don’t know, maybe she’s eager to sell for another reason entirely.

Went out on Tuesday night for Cav’s going away, which ended in situations most improper.  Mixed drinks at “Klicks” ’til 8pm, then on to tacky Chinese restaurant with a shared bottle of vodka.  Three of us finished it off, and I don’t think I got my full third.  Nadia (another editor) got pretty rosy and started spewing forth vitriol on people in the office – still waters run deep. And murky. I boarded my taxi around 11pm and was shuttled home listening to the driver a 65 year old, ex solicitor in dulcet, cultured tones use language that would make a syphilitic sailor blush.  Made it to work on Wednesday, not sick but really tired. I was so drunk I couldn’t sleep, I was all tense and lay awake all night being soddenly stressed.  I took some work home with me last night to make up for my less than sparkling performance during the day.  I fell asleep on the couch with pen in stoic hand, going out with my boots on as it were.

I’m nearly finished that Nabokov book.  I’ve got a Herman Hesse one called “The Prodigy” up next, then Lytton Strachey’s “Eminent Victorians” which I ordered some weeks ago.  I had to trudge thought the rain and hangover to pick it up yesterday from a girl with black roots and widely plucked eyebrows.  While she was head down ringing it up on the cash register she held my book aloft like a myopic Olympic Flame carrier watching her step.  I wasn’t sure whether I should take my book from that bangled, upraised arm, or if it was some sort of primitive anti-theft strategy.  She eventually lowered the prize and off I stumbled into Winter.

Must go.

J x




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