It seems Melbourne is alarmingly more like a Courtney Barnett song than I may have imagined. Transits tell stories in the calligraphic rebellion that splatters from an epicenter of culture onto the surface of every geometry as you glide into the ungentrified neighborhoods. The handrolled ciggies are ubiquitous. Elevator Operator is a real, respectable job title that up to 40% of the population works. But my life is more Small Poppies, with workers rights in a third country now, part of a small pool of people who when asked, act like we’re in between jobs but are actually in between lives.
I’ve noticed the music people in stories find themselves listening to is always some grandiose singer songwriter, heartbreak acoustic type pre-millenium epic. Bruce Springsteen sings staticky in the overly fluorescent grocery aisles, David Byrne in the dive bar, Mariah Carey wailing over meals in the Thai restaurant. People in real life tend also to curate soundtracks to their lives like characters in stories (via ipods). I spent a week deliberating where to end up next in my last month hopping between Bangkok cafes, Courtney Barnett shredding meanwhile on the mind and the culture of this city, the lifestyles and moods of its inhabitants feel mildly more familiar than they otherwise might’ve been
5am, generally I wake up to pindrop silence on this city’s empty quarter. The dawns are my own personal Sunday in Pyongyang or Saturday in Hebron. Pure peace. Most mornings the metro spits me from Brunswick to Flinders Street and out of town past the Moonee racecourse, Triple J studios, the CBD ferris wheel or the waxy sheen of a car dealership into some manicured suburb, a far cry from the bustle of the graffiti’d business districts where trains slide underground the parliament buildings and artisan doghnuteries. Last week my station was Ripponlea, populated at 6am by swathes of young (preteen) Hasidic Jews on razor scooters, complete with rabbi capes, long fake beards, skullcaps and all, and I felt reminded for a moment of a sometimes travel purpose, to just be a silent solo observer of inexplicable scenes.
On another note the weathers every which way. Rain’s sideways, the sun is completely spastic. Honestly the sky here has tourrets.
I’ve never inhabited a city with trams, and its obvious why. Even at dawn, they lurch at school zone speeds, declining to a sickly crawl in the populated midday traffic.
Saturdays I walk up steps of the CBD Victoria Library hacking up a lung coated in one year of Korean megafactory pollution and cancerous Chinese yellow dust and at night, am often jam packed into a sardine-tin exposed-brick watering hole of St. Kilda or Fitzroy, thinking schooners are evil and fuck any bar that charges ￦10K for a not-pint. Yes my K-telecom keyboard now only types the won symbol.
Victoria is the Place to Be, the Garden State, as marked on liscense plates, though less depressing than Natalie Portman telling you The Shins will change your life, with its perimeter of bomb Asian fusion restaurants, theatre obsession and mosaic of human stories.
Some other things:
Cunt is a term of endearment. Sickcunt the king of compliments, shitcunt the lowest human atrocity. Dumbcunt is a word thrown around a lot at work. Are these dumbcunts fucking dumb?!
A flat white is a coffee, not a haircut.
The best part about this country is yellow kiwis.
For anyone paying attention I missed two full chapters of travel life on this blog. Well, Goa’s been hijacked since the 70s by acid tripping trance-heads. Karnataka is a fatal bus ride, Hampi is from the Flinstones. Udaipur is a misplaced Europe I can faintly glimpse through a pale haze of hash. Bangkok’s the same wild west I left it, baptized in a cloud of petrol smoke, incapable of forming anything lasting, unable to remember a conversation. Half naked, shaking with speed, monk statues on the tuktuk dashboards still fly through traffic.
I’m moving towards something (intangible) as I’m away from home – places strike like realizations and they didn’t used to. I can’t simply exist, but must be working towards a purpose or discovering things, reconciling the hopeful idea of a future with the unswerving traveler-tendency to exist on an impulse, the same one that flung me to this cold edge of the planet.
I still don’t know what Australia will be like. Nearly two months after unceremoniously arriving, I feel like I rocked up last week and for first impresssions, this is just Vancouver with a mulleted, funny accented populace and way better paying jobs.
I miss the regal selection of shit coffee in Asia as I’m not sure what a Dare fix’ll fix (other than me with a headache), though I’ve traded Korean convenience mart coffee for decent beer. The Asians are still here, but they speak in bogan instead of alien singsong. I’ve traded the arcades and noraebangs for open mic nights and English small talk. I have a bit of difficulty over departed friendships that were crystallized over one year, now I have drinking buddies and people with potential. This Friday evening I’m on the Furphy, off to buy some kimchi.