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Tinder is not the only fruit

I’m 51 and single. If someone had told me this was in store for me when I was 16, I’d have felt very, very afraid. In fact, I’d have regarded future Callum as a weirdo and a failure. The kind of man who works as a janitor at a train station and has an unwholesome interest in used postage. However, I’m here to explain to young Callum that it isn’t that bad and being single in your 50s, is the ‘new single’ for the 21st Century.

When I was a kid, single people in their 50s tended to be cat ladies, janitors, and closeted gay people who had ‘special friends’. The latter category tended to be met, by the adults, with a sense of confused wonder, garnished with unresolved sexual issues and a sprinkle of sympathy. I remember one woman in particular who terrified the other adults with her single status and lesbian den of iniquity in a place called Burrelton.

Anyway, these single people were a kind of a social anomaly and not what you aspired to be. I remember having a teacher in secondary school who must have been around mid to late 30s and, rumour had it, liked entertaining the young men from the local pub in her spinster flat. It was complete bullshit, but being over 25 and single was a fucking minefield of misinformation and myth-making. In the absence of a relationship, people’s imaginations ran wild and we all know where that can lead to.

It’s now 2021 and I’m single, and I’m not a janitor or a stamp collector. I live alone because I like it that way. I’m not going to validate this because I don’t have to. I just do. Well, to be honest, living with me isn’t much fun. I do strange things in the middle of the night, like sleep eating and… but I’ve embraced being single because it’s actually not that bad.

For instance, in your 50s, you know where you’ve been and you know where you’re going, which is reassuring. This comes with an increase in confidence and the ability to navigate through life with greater success. Also, I don’t think young people are idiots, so I don’t feel middle-aged and alienated. This is the biggest mistake people over 35 make in life and it’s pointless and stupid. Be nice to the people coming up because they’re the ones you’ll see when you’re coming down.

When it comes to the dating scene, so many 50-year-olds lie about their age. Suddenly, on Tinder, they’re 38 instead of 51. Stop being a fuckwit! People will find out and you’ll look like a massive dickhead! If people aren’t comfortable with your age, then fuck it; find another app or go out and actually meet people in the flesh. It can be done. Tinder is not the only fruit.

Now, I’m not against dating apps. They seem to be the modern arena for meeting new people and that’s fine by me. However, I’m old-fashioned like that and it’s not for me. Plus my profile would make me look like Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Interests: Drinking Coke Zero while doing chin-ups, watching violent films and spending every day trying not to drink whisky because I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’m also not 6’ 3” with toned abs and painfully white teeth.

I’m a stocky middle-aged man with some bad habits and I’m going to the dentist this week to get a molar extracted. How would that look in a profile pic? Well, I couldn’t give a flying fuck because I’m 51 and I don’t aspire to the impossible heights of perfection. In fact, I laugh in the face of perfection because it’s a cruel joke told by other middle-aged men and women who look like used condoms that have been tarted up to look like a Barbie doll’s arsehole.

The ‘new single’ for people in their 50s should be about dispensing with the fictional pretense and getting on with the reality of the situation. We’re not 25 anymore and that’s not a crime. There’s nothing wrong with a few wrinkles and a receding hairline, and there’s certainly nothing worse than pretending to be somebody that you’re not. I’m an intolerant prick and the idea of being ‘positive’ and ‘up beat’ or interested in arts and crafts fills me with unparalleled dread. It’s been a long and winding road, and I’m not prepared to go backward for the sake of people with impossible dreams. Plus, I’ll be retiring in 20 years, so I don’t have time for all that crap.

The ‘new single’ for people in their 50s should embrace the wrinkle and the missing molar, and shun the celluloid lies spun by creepy charlatans who think it’s okay to drench the world with their PR-driven advice. They should be marched out and stripped of their plastic surgery and made to work in aged care facilities.

I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life and I’m single. And this isn’t a blog about justifying being single like so many single people do these days. This is a blog about knowing where you’ve been and knowing where you’re going and embracing it. Yes, there are times when I wake up and think it would be nice to have somebody here with me, and sometimes that does get me down. However, most of the time, I wake up, make myself a coffee and go out to my roof terrace (weather permitting) feeling very contented.

That’s life. Highs and lows and all the bits in between. So, If you’re in your 50s, single, and reading this blog, cut yourself some slack – there are great things in store for people who embrace a situation and turn it to their advantage. Being 50 and single is empowering, as long as you own it and are not insecure about it all.

One of the sexiest characteristics in the world is the ability to be bold, to assert yourself and attain greatness through success, and to love yourself, regardless of age or missing teeth.

This one’s for you, Claire.

No, it doesn’t make sense

My immediate reaction to the question ‘Does that make sense?’ is to doubt the reliability of what the person has just told me. Do they feel like they’ve not explained themselves properly? Is there something missing? Does it actually not make sense? Are they bullshitting me? And what happens if I say, ‘No, it doesn’t make sense, and neither do you, fuck nuts’?

Most of the time I suspect they think it makes them sound like a good communicator because they’re inviting comments. Please don’t. Just make sense in the first place and leave it at that. If I have any questions, I’ll ask them. It’s also really fucking patronising and serial users of the phrase are always slightly creepy, like an old colleague of mine, the Disney Prince, who used the disabled toilets at work as a proxy brothel for daytime dating-app hookups. He’d say, ‘Does that make sense?’ after every second sentence, and every time he said it, he cocked his head to the side and smiled quizzically like your sketchy uncle in a Smarties advert (this combination of wrongness still haunts me to this day).

The world is awash with annoying expressions people use to make themselves sound better than they actually are. For example, saying, ‘It’s like comparing apples with apples’, when you can’t be fucked thinking about the situation, or ‘I’m just being honest’, when you’ve just been a gormless shit weasel, or saying ‘you’re entitled to your opinion’ when you’re clearly not because you’re a manipulative narcissist. The list goes on.

But the absolute don of linguistic creepiness is when a sleazy man tells a group of women that ‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’. This statement usually comes from a very hollow place called, Ulterior Motives Boulevard. Every man I’ve ever heard say that has also helped a woman with her golf stance, wears his polo shirt with the collar up, and believes that Jordan Peterson makes a lot of sense. Oh, and they’re into cycling. Have you ever met a male cycling enthusiast who’s not a dickhead?

Now, I’m not passing judgment on people for their linguistic indiscretions. If you’re a self-made person, who has created something that has made the world a better place, then you can pass judgement on people, but until then the best course of action is to shut the fuck up and enjoy the free lunch. However, if you ever meet me and say, ‘Does that make sense?’, I will frame you for a crime you didn’t commit, smash up your bicycle with a sledgehammer, and then, ‘at the end of the day’, tell you I was ‘just being honest’.

And BTW it’s not ‘You do the math(s)’, it’s ‘You do the arithmetic’. Let that one sink in … 

 

‘If this is hell, it looks a lot like Margate’

I wrote this before I gave up the booze but I still like it.

Every hardened drinker has had that morning when they’re lying in bed waiting for the call. Deep down you know that you’ve fucked up, but the details elude you. There are fragments of regret that kind of make sense, but the phone call will always bring greater clarity and that paralyzing regret. You don’t really want that clarity but there’s not a lot you can do about it. So, you lie there in your bed working out what you’ll do when you get out of prison.

I’ve often thought that life doesn’t have to be this way. But it is. And although I’ve tried to be a better person, I don’t like the hours. Trying to be a good and moral person looks exhausting. I’ve got this mate who’s following the moral path and he looks fucked; puffy around the eyes, sexless, skint, and eating a kilo of chocolate a day just to avoid being sectioned.

There’s this other mate of mine, who’s just had a kid and he looks all doughy-eyed with family love. Tired, yet gloriously happy with his lot. I give him five years and he’ll be smashing down the front door of a brothel with a cock that resembles a forearm that’s been seared on each side of a griddle.

So, what do you do? Take the bacchanalian path to incarceration and an early death, or the righteous path to a four-bedroom maisonette and dribbling, incoherent Christmas dinners with the in-laws? Fuck, I haven’t got a clue. Nobody does. Devout people claim they have all the answers but taking a vow of silence and living in a cave sounds boring as fuck. That can’t signify the meaning of life.

I remember the first time I had sex on a pill, I proclaimed that that was the meaning of life. Especially when we had a huge bifta in the middle of it all and I came so hard that a vein in my neck twisted around on itself and I thought I was having a stroke, while shitting myself at the same time. Shitting and cumming at the same time is magnificent but the clean-up is embarrassing and inconvenient. Cue Atmosphere, by Joy Division.

But I’m descending into scatology and that’s so unfashionable these days. In this age of moral enlightenment, being a prick is a right prick of a job. If the Marquis de Sade were publishing his books today, he’d have legions of arty left wing types demanding that his books be burned and that his very soul be cancelled by the editor in chief of The Guardian (the keeper of cancelled souls). These are the same people who read de Sade’s books today and think they’re cutting edge because they’re old and ahead of their time, plus de Sade’s French, so he can be excused. The modern alternative is 50 Shades of Gray. Very different to The 120 Days of Sodom, which I’m sure Johnny Depp aspires to but doesn’t quite have the internal fortitude to navigate, post defamation proceedings.

Anyway, these are my Notes from Underground (yes, I know it’s a book by Dostoevsky) and I’m going to stop ranting now and tell you how I got here and why I’m destined to rot in hell.

To be continued …

(The title of this piece is a quote taken from Peaky Blinders, spoken by Alfie Solomons)

Boga: the art of violent Yoga

There’s a scene from Parks and Recreation, where Ron Swanson is camping and says this: “Fishing relaxes me, it’s like yoga, except I still get to kill something”. He makes a good point. That’s why I spend around 20 minutes every morning doing an exercise technique I call Boga. It’s basically Yoga for bogans (Aussie rednecks), hence Boga. I call it Boga because it involves violent films, instant coffee, and a singlet (not shown in photo below).

Now, I’m about to tell you how you can invite Boga into your life and bathe in its enriching tranquillity.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to gritty transcendence.

Step 1: Select a violent film.

Step 2: Put three heaped teaspoons of instant coffee in a mug, add boiling water, a splash of milk and drink.

Step 3: Sit crossed legged on the floor and picture somebody you dislike, and think about how you plan to remove them from your life.

Step 4: Rise up and press play on the movie.

Step 5: Tell yourself that you’re fucking invincible, and nobody can fuck with you on this side or the other.

Step 6: Begin stretching. These can be any stretches you like doing but just make sure you stretch your whole body. After six minutes stop.

Step 7: Assume the push up position, drop down halfway and hold for one minute. Rise and repeat five times.

Step 8: Plank for one minute on your front and one minute in a reverse plank/cowboy.

Step 9: Get up, shake yourself down and do three minutes of shadow boxing.

Step 10: Next, it’s 40 chin ups (you’ll need a self-standing chin up station, which you can purchase for around $200 online).

Step 11: Walk into your bathroom, look at yourself in a mirror, summon the spirit of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver and talk to the person you dislike. Tell them everything. Really go to fucken town on them.

Step 12: Return to your place of exercise and do a three minute stretching warm down.

Step 13: Turn off the violent film, sit at the kitchen table, wearing a singlet and think deeply about your life, while you enjoy another instant coffee. For those of you who are not a recovering alcoholic, a splash of whisky in your coffee never goes astray.

Even if you just do a Boga Sesh four times a week, you’ll notice a difference in your self-esteem and performance at work. All the poison in your soul will soon seep out of your life and you’ll finally rid yourself of all the toxic wankers you’ve let invade and tarnish your life for years.

In this new world we all occupy now, it’s time to evolve.

Welcome to Boga Nation …

The last time I got blootered

It happened a while ago now. I’d been off the booze for months but got beaten up on a job, sustained three broken ribs and a busted up face, so I went straight to the shops for a promotional sized bottle of whisky and ordered a big bag of Banana Kush. 

I sat in my flat for a week, getting drunk, smoking spliffs and popping some painkillers I found in the bathroom that somebody had left there a few years ago, when I was a functional alcoholic and had a normal job, with benefits and cycled to work.

Over the course of the week, I got fuck all sleep because my ribs hurt like hell and hospital was not on the cards. So, I watched telly and numbed the pain. There was the occasional knock on the door, which I ignored, and people were concerned when they called me because I made less sense than usual. I have only vague memories of that week and I’m happy about that. So, let’s leave it there and move on.

When I eventually snapped out of it, I was still in pain but realised I had to go to therapy. At that stage, I’d been in therapy for 18 months because I’m a fucking nutter and all that stands between me, and total annihilation is a wee white pill. Anyway, I went to therapy via the pub, where I had three double whiskies, and then swanned into therapy thinking I was Jack the Lad but really looked like Gollum after a marathon session on xHamster. And that’s where it all started to go horribly wrong.

For those of you who’ve never had a blackout, it’s fucking scary and try as you may, you can’t remember a thing. I woke up the next morning with a cut hand, a bottle of red wine spilled across the bed and a load of voicemails that could only mean one thing, trouble.

The first message was from a mental health facility mentioning something about a firearm, the second was somebody from the Old Bill and the rest were from people I’d never met before, all telling me stories that didn’t add up. With my ribs still in a sorry state, I got up, got dressed, drank a bottle of red wine, and got the fuck out of my flat.

Twenty minutes later I was at my friend’s house trying to explain what had gone down, while swigging from a one litre bottle of gin and knocking back more unprescribed painkillers that were fucking awesome. Seriously, if painkillers and alcohol didn’t kill you and destroy your life, I’d spend every second on them forever. Unfortunately, life is better when I’m drunk or high, or both. But it comes at a price. 

After a longish haul on the gin, I built up the courage to listen to the voicemails again and made some reconciliatory calls …

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’d been ranting and raving in therapy about tracking down the two men who broke my ribs, stormed out of there with revenge on my mind and went to the pub across the road where I got into a barney with a local, pretended to have a gun tucked down the back of my trousers and smashed the lad’s head into the bar, walked out of the pub, answered a call from a concerned mental health triage person (my therapist had contacted them), talked to him about the incident in the pub – told him to fuck off, went to see Greek Steve, got more wine, went home and called an old friend who was hosting a lovely dinner party on the other side of the world, passed out on my bed, spilled the wine and woke up with only one thing on my mind; a drink. 

So, after finding all that out via a few awkward phone calls, I decided to call it quits once the litre of gin was finished and get back on the wagon. And here I am now, many moons later, having narrowly avoided being sectioned, arrested, and beaten to death. All in 24 hours.

Thankfully, I’ve kept my shit together this time but like all self-centred addicts looking for a round of applause on a talk show for not wetting the bed, I’m bored. Plain and simple. I’m less stressed and not afraid of my phone anymore, but life’s different and that’s my fault. I got myself here and I’ve never wanted anybody’s sympathy.

But my parting advice is this, if you find yourself walking the path of addiction, remember you’re on your own, even with other addicts by your side and concerned loved ones telling you everything’s going to be okay, you’re flying solo like Kevin Spacey at a high school reunion. So, when you wake up after that night, and there is always that night, the motherfucker of all nights rolled into one vulgar bundle of joy, and wrapped in self-loathing, get your shit together and stop bein’ a fucken idiot. You owe it to yourself.

Dealing with annoying co-workers Vic Mackey style

There’s a scene in The Shield where Vic Mackey, played by Michael Chiklis, is chasing down a gang member, who’s quicker and more agile than the stocky Vic. The gang member jumps a wooden fence and thinks he’s home free, however, Vic just runs through the fence and apprehends his man.

“Good cop and bad cop have left for the day. I’m a different kind of cop.” Vic Mackey – The Shield

For those of you who haven’t seen The Shield, Vic Mackey is a ruthless cop who will do anything to get the job done, no matter how many rules or fences he has to break. He’s only happy when his opponent has been taken out for good and he can get on with his corrupt approach to law enforcement and upsetting his superiors.

Now, this got me thinking about how I could apply a Vic Mackey problem solving matrix to an office environment, without using his usual tactics of shooting people in the face and planting massive quantities of smack on them.

Here are my thoughts on six office problems that could be solved by asking yourself this one simple question: What would Vic Mackey do?

  1. A co-worker sighs a lot when their having a bad day. People have asked them to stop because it’s distracting. But they’ve ignored their colleagues polite requests. Vic decides it’s got to stop immediately, so he plants a copy of Mien Kampf in the co-worker’s bag and calls HR.
  2. A co-worker spends too much time discussing their personal problems with their colleagues. Vic’s had enough, so he takes the co-worker aside and tells them that people think they’re a bit creepy and feel uncomfortable around them.
  3. A co-worker interrupts people during meetings when they’re making a point. Vic doesn’t like being shut down, so the next time the co-worker interrupts him, he spreads a rumour about them being the subject of a sensitive HR investigation.
  4. A co-worker has obnoxious email habits, like marking every email as urgent and sending everyone ‘Friday Funnies.’ Vic finds nothing funny, so he sends everyone a photoshopped image of the co-worker strangling a kitten from an anonymous email account, with the caption ‘Konichiwa bitches’.
  5. A co-worker plays music so loud through their headphones that you can clearly hear what they’re listening to. Vic only listens to The Eagles. So, when the co-worker’s out for lunch, Vic smears fresh chili into their headphones and mouse.
  6. A co-worker spends too much time on social media communicating with friends during work hours, especially when deadlines are looming. Vic employs somebody to hack into the co-worker’s Facebook account, steal their identity and uses it to post QAnon conspiracy theories to all their family and friends.

Now, I would never subscribe to the actions of Vic because I stopped drinking and taking drugs a while back, but he always gets the job done, no matter what it takes. There are many things wrong with the man, but Vic does demonstrate an unerring dedication to eliminating the people who get in his way. And let’s face it, that’s a rare characteristic these days.

So, the next time a co-worker is breaking the rules, ask yourself, “What would Vic Mackey do?” and try not to act upon it.

The Walking Unvaxxed

They walk among us. Not shuffling or rotting or moaning in a woeful pitch but just walking among us, with bags and stuff. The usual shit we all carry. However, these walkers are the unvaxxed and one of them could be sitting next to you right now, on a bus.

When Rick Grimes woke up from a coma in episode one of The Walking Dead, the damage had already been done. The world had already descended into chaos. This kind of happened to me at the beginning of the pandemic but it was the result of a serious bender with Jason the Manc and Greek Steve. Anyway, unlike Grimes, we’ve been eased into this new world, like an unhealthy stool wavering above the meniscus of life before it lands with a plop and a whimper into the mouth of a sadomasochist.

We’ve been living in this new world for over 18 months now, and it’s revealed some shitty things about who we are. In particular, the division between the haves and the have nots, which were always there but are now abundantly clear, even in so-called wealthy nations with egalitarian beliefs built on glass foundations.

But now the dust is beginning to settle a wee bit, we’re faced with a new social group set to be segregated by vaccine passports. They are The Walking Unvaxxed, potentially infected, but definitely armed, and dangerous. A minority created by a virus and proudly sponsored by a far right group near you! Or so I’m told. The jury’s still out on that one.

By all accounts, The Walking Unvaxxed are a noisy bunch, moving in herds across the Covid wasteland, looking to feed on the disciples of Pfizer, as they ward off these flesh eating corpses with screenshots of the Guardian and common sense. But what will this vaxxed majority say when they’re out on the town and see the unvaxxed being denied entry to a venue based on a choice they made not to roll up their sleeve and take one for the team?

Will the unvaxxed counter this snub by opening up old school speak easy’s, with secret locations protected by an arcane code? Venues you can only frequent if you’re in the know? What you might call cool places that hipsters championed all those years ago; the same anti-establishment people who are now happy to tow the party line. Fuck, they even had these secret spaces in the bowels of the Titanic, and everyone was having a lot more fun than the posh people – the establishment.

Over the coming years, we’re in for a rough ride when it comes to The Walking Unvaxxed. What the fuck do you do with them? Nobody will want to employ them, their friends and family might abandon them, and they’ll be banned from the majority of public spaces. They might not be allowed to leave the country.

So, I’m really interested to see how the authorities will deal with the Unvaxxed, without using the ‘S’ word that has been used to oppress many minority groups in the past. And ask yourself this question: Will you let your kids play with the great unvaxxed or will you baton down the hatches and say: “We don’t want your kind round here”?

Fun times ahead …

Job hunting in dystopia

One afternoon you rock up to your hospitality job with a hangover, only to find that it’s closed its doors indefinitely and suddenly you’re unemployed again. With fuck all in your savings account, you decide to drown your sorrows in the pub across the road, but it’s closed its doors too.

The next morning you jump on Seek and the world is your oyster. You’re presented with page after page of life-changing employment. Here there are fresh opportunities and the lure of cold, hard cash that’ll elevate you from cask wine to bottled wine; from two-minute noodles to a main at Sushi Noodle Guy.

On day two, once you’ve updated your CV and written a cover letter, you start pumping out the applications. After two or three hours you actually feel like you’ve done a day’s work and sit down for a glass of cheap white and a hearty bowl of posh Mi Goreng two minute noodles to celebrate.

When you rise on day three, you eagerly scan your email account for all the replies you dreamt about during the previous night’s slumber. Yes, Seek has sent you a ‘Job Application Confirmation’ email but no, your future employers are apparently also in lockdown and oblivious to your brilliantly written cover letter and excellently formatted CV.

So, you try CareerOne, LinkedIn, Indeed, ArtsHub, something called Neuvoo, you even try Gumtree, for Christ’s sake, and suddenly you’re surrounded by a flurry of virtual paper swirling around your head, cartoon-like, with daytime television and, in particular, Ellen, sitting cross-legged and calm on her Covid-19 chair, taunting you from every corner of your mind.

Ellen stands up and begins to dance. The audience loves it. Ellen: funny, popular (was), rich, employed, Ellen. You decide that job hunting is like having your own TV show that nobody wants to watch. You dance like Ellen, but nobody wants to dance with you.

After a week of moping through multiple applications on multiple sites, you find yourself reluctantly calling Centrelink (the dole) for your Customer Reference Number and being on hold for two hours. You can smell the desperation, and, what’s worse, you’re now a part of a dreaded system where you become accountable for your every inaction. In Centrelink, no one can hear you scream. Well, they can but they just call security.

A month passes and maybe you’ve embraced unemployment and decided to use this time to write a novel or covertly photograph some street art at dawn with the help of a friend who’s always unemployed and likely to be rejoicing at having more friends around to play with. Once the project is underway you become elated and regard it as your job (and so you should). You pass off this time of unemployment as an opportunity to explore yourself and your art. Your life develops greater meaning. Until…

Just as you begin to regard yourself as a serious but potentially homeless artist, a recruitment agency call you and invites you to participate in a Zoom interview, and you’re excited but have no idea which job they’re talking about. You rake through your wardrobe for your interview clothes nonetheless (just the top half). Your suit jacket and business shirt need an iron and smell stale, so you spray them with deodorant and leave them out to air (fuck knows why).

The next day you download Zoom onto your laptop and dazzle the recruitment people with your experience and devastating repartee. They like your jacket and shirt and have no idea you’re wearing only stained underwear down below. They smile at you with twenty-first century teeth and promise you the employment equivalent of a rose garden. You quit Zoom, pour yourself a cheap white and a week later you walk into an appropriately socially distanced call centre to start your new job. A team leader greets you wearing the new K-mart range of office wear, and you join five others in a training room to watch a video about telecommunications etiquette.

For three months you endure minimum wage and enthusiastic team leaders who speak in jargon and say, ‘does that make sense’ fifty times a day. You don’t smoke but get in with the smokers because they’re more fun and hate the job as much as you do. You go home each night and drink a couple of bottles of Bowlers Run Chardonnay because it’s less than five dollars a bottle.

One morning you wake up to a call from the recruitment agency advising you that the call centre no longer wants you, muttering something about ‘attitude’. You quickly decide self-isolation and being on Centrelink is better than listening to corporate bullshit all day and selling your soul to a two-dollar shop version of the devil anyway. You roll over and go back to sleep.

A few days later you jump on Seek again, but deep down you know you’ll be dragging out that arts project in less than a month. You get up, use your Covid-19 exercise time to walk to the bottle-o and buy a four litre cask of Golden Oak medium dry white, before heading quickly home, and turning on the television.

Ellen dances towards you.

*This was also published in Troublemag, where some revisions and additions were made by the editor, Steve Proposch. This is the version from Troublemag: https://www.troublemag.com/hey-covid-19-thanks-for-the-good-times/

Morning glory

I’m off work sick (not COVID), meaning I have the telly in my bedroom to drown out the coughing and the swearing. This morning, I woke up and turned the telly on to continue drowning out the misery, and what came on the screen? Sunrise morning show with Sam Armitage and that grinning idiot Kochie.

I know they’re easy targets and morning TV is not meant to be high-brow entertainment but I was blown away by the subnormal format. It was like watching two grown adults discovering that their genital region has a hidden function, yes, the joys of masturbation. That moment when you discover that you can run solo during a drought, or fill time with some jolly self-gratification.

It’s all exuberance and no substance, not even the consistency of diarrhea to whet the pallet. And what’s worse, it’s dated. This same shit was on morning shows when I was a kid but at least Paula Yates had some street cred and asked some entertaining questions, instead of grinning like a fart in a trance, and spewing mediocrity into the face of her viewers.

Pass me the bong …

Headbanger

For two months, a bird’s been attacking my window with gusto. In fact, I now call the bird Gusto because I’ve never encountered a creature with such tenacity and mindless courage.

The first time Gusto slammed into my window, feet, and headfirst, I almost shat myself because I was doing the dishes and the window in question is about two feet from my face. When Gusto hit, I did that thing from Jaws where Brody sees blood in the water and the camera performs a dolly zoom, AKA a Hitchcock shot. That’s when the camera is dollied either forward or backward while the zoom on the lens is pulled in the opposite direction. A bit like life. Easy!

After ten seconds I reached for the bottle of whisky that’s no longer there because I’m a recovering alcoholic with a ghost addiction. I regard these reactions in the same way that amputees claim to still feel a missing limb. I sometimes wake up with a phantom hangover on Saturday mornings.

Apparently, Gusto is a Pee Wee and part of the Magpie family. In the realm of birds, I’ve always regarded the Magpies as the traditional 1920s mobsters and the Indian Myna Birds as the Eastern European gangsters. So, Magpies and their ilk are getting fucked over by the Mynas and that’s why I’m not too bothered by Gusto. The poor fucker’s the last of his kind and I feel a bit like that too.

And why? Because I’m drowning in a sea of miserable absurdity. I understand why Gusto is smashing himself against my kitchen window because he’s done with it all. It’s an existential crisis, poorly disguised as a reflective territorial dispute. We all have territorial disputes in our minds. Think paranoia versus reality, seasoned with good old-fashioned vitriol. But life’s not bad, it’s just problematic. Well, that’s what I tell myself in the dead of night as Gusto continues his attack on my kitchen window. Neither of us knows what’s next. My dreams absorb his attacks.

But we are at one, that concussed bird and me because I get his absurd task, and I hope he never stops, or at least stops before he breaks his neck. Before he does break his neck, I want to invite him in, have a sneaky whisky with him and tell him all my hopes and fears.

Maybe that line of communication will make him realise that all is not lost, it’s just a wee bit out of reach for now.

BTW this is a dolly zoom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5JBlwlnJX0