Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eel River to Vancouver (cameo by young Naut)

Okey doke, time to wish everyone a Merrry Christmas and Happy New Year, deep from behind enemy lines down Bondi way.  Too many ratsackers to drown, not enough time.  Doc Y - I may be following up on that Dog Shit Killers thing.  Got an idea or two.  Depends whether I can give it enough legs or not.

I ended up in Eel River youth hostel after a party ride up from San Francisco.  The hostel was part of a holdiay resort run by an Aussie couple, Bruce and Jan McKinney.  They'd bought the place after travelling the world and rather fancied a lifestyle set by a pretty fine looking river.  The youth hostel was pretty new, the bar was nice and friendly and I settled in for a few beers.  Bruce helped me check in, showed me the basics and then helped me with beer.  Jan was preparing for the July 4th celebrations the next day.  There were a few groups of campers and people who had rented out cabins but not many of them hung in the bar for long.  Jan played some cool tunes on the steroe and I was well chilled by the time I hit the rack.

I slept in until about 10.00 then wandered off to the nearest shop, about a mile away to get some food.  When I came back I cooked up a whole heap of bacon, eggs, nushrooms and tomatoes.  Enough to help feed a couple of other of the hostel stayers.  They in turn donated Millers Draught.  Good people, well done.
I took a good walk around the site.  It was Fourth of July and there were family groups all around, partaking in holiday type activities.  There were people playing horsehoes, others throwing footballs, another marked out a rough diamond and started up= a game of slow pitch.  While I watched, they asked if I'd like to join in.
So I took up a position in left field and waited for someone to hit the ball to me.  After about half an hour their inning was ended and I'd fielded one mis hit drive on the half volley.  I was then put in batting at number five.  We needed eight runs to win.  Luckily by the time I got up to bat we only needed two more runs and were only one out.  I jagged an RBI, hitting a double beyond right field's grasp and was batted in by the next bloke up who hit a home run.  Woo hoo!  After that it was beers all around and a lot of questions.  I was used to this and had developed standard responses to probes about why I was there and what I was doing.
After a couple of beers I left them to their family fun and went back to the hostel area where we fired up a barbecue.  The standard American fare of hot dogs and burgers were on display and tasted might fine as the afternoon wore on.  The river was very brisk, ran fast and I didn't risk a big swim, just sticking close to the bank, in the shallows.  Even then it took me 50 metres downstream without a lot of effort. I tried swimming back upstream but gave up.  It was stronger than the rip you get down at Tamarama, the one you can ride out for a while before cutting across and in to Bronte.  If you can be bothered.

A bunch of canoeists paddled past, (more jetted past really) as the sun started sinking.  The whole atmosphere was very laid back so I went to the bar where Bruce was just starting to open for business.  I traded him a few of my warm Miller Draught for cold ones and sat back in a group of people who were happily celebrating their country's independence.  There wasn't the overt patriotism which outsiders often expect, just a "yeah, ain't it grand" sort of vibe.  I had been expecting a lot of over the top exuberance but it simply wasn't there.  The picture of a Latino family playing a game of horseshoes whilst sipping on Buds or Coke and "whoo"-ing each time someone hit the spike sort of summed it up for me.

I walked around again and was invited to a couple of different tables where I asked the people about what July 4 meant.  One guy summed it up by explaining how it represented throwing off an oppressor to give the American people the right to impose their own brand of government, be it good or bad.  It might be bad at times but it was their right to make it bad and then fix it if need be.  The rest of the night I alternated between the bar and the hostel crew.  When I kipped out that night I was satisfied that I'd seen a glimpse of a real part of America, and it made me happy.

When I awoke the next morning it was to the smell of sizzling bacon.  I'll swear to the end of days that this smell is stamped in the synapse of every human brain.  Its way better than an alarm clock and will rouse even the drunkest sod.  Its all to do with the promise of bacon goodness.  Nothing can revive a person any faster than that.  Funnily enough it was the remains of my bacon stash which were being cooked.  Yeah, I remember now.  Help yourselves was my offer.  Idiot.  I quickly got up and went into the kitchen where I was met by the sight of a hungover couple busily manipulating three pans, cooking up bacon, eggs and pancakes. I had a quick shower and came back to see a table laden with breakfasty goodness and a group of hungry hostelliers trwoelling it down.  They'd set aside a place, a plate and cutlery so I joined them.  It was fucking delicious.  They had real butter and maple syrup for the pancakes and the bacon was cooked just right.  They'd even done a damn fine job with the scrambled eggs, using cream instead of milk.  Turns out they'd done a stint as cooks at a campus kitchen in San Diego.  I congratulated them on their efforts, packed my gear and headed out.  On the way out I stopped in to say goodbye to Bruce and Jan. They were top hosts and proved their worth even more through Jan handing me a couple of cold Miller for the trip.  The road was calling, I needed to hit Calgary before the Stampede closed and there were a lot of miles to be covered before then.

The greyhound picked me up "a hunnert yards or so" from the hostel.  My rough plan was to go to Newport and stand outside the yacht club demanding free beer on behalf of all Australia, following the triumph of Australia Two a couple of years previously in the America's Cup.  even though it was the N.Y. yacht club who'd lsot the thing (I think) I reckoned that as Newport was the Cup's spiritual home, a few beers would be in order for a conquering hero such as myself.  Well, scuttle that plan, I was diverted to Portland instead through a combination of fucking up with timetables and impatience.  I was in a strange sort of fogged up consciousness as the bus pulled onto the main highway.  I looked down at a "family truckster".  It was a typical rental driven by families doing a holiday trip.  As it slowly slid past I saw a kid in the back holding a model of a green frog, pointing up at me and explaining something to the frog. The frog looked angry. On the back of the car was a small sign announcing "Nautilus Family Vacation".  I slipped out of the fog, blinked my eyes and the car was gone.  Obviously this never really happened but nautilus and I figured that we were in the same part of the U.S. that year, so I reckon it was entirely possible that at some stage one of my Greyhounds had been passed by his family's rental car.

When I hit Portlland I was once again suffering "bus lag".  I checked into the hostel and chekced out the city.  Bought myself a pair of Levis and decided to get a travelling companion.  I couldn't resist a Gumby.  I didn't buy his little plastic pony pal, Pokey but I was happy to have Gumby along for the ride.


So it was that for the rest of my travels Gumby was along for the ride.
At night I hit a local pub and fell in amongst a crew from England and New Zealand.  Needless to say it was messy.  I'm sure the Kiwi blokes were called Tim.  All of them are and they're either tow truck drivers, electrical technicians or all-rounders who are good at everything so they'll say.  This lot weren't too bad.  They even showed some nouse of  breaking into hostels after curfew,  which for once made me feel relieved.  I wasn't the one having to somehow get us back inside.  In the morning it was a quick shower, pack up and off.  I decdied to go to Fort Columbia.  Dunno why, it just seemed like a good thing at the time.  I had to hitch across to it after the bus dropped me off near the seaside.  When I got there I found it wasn't much at all.  I should have hit the main town and splurged on a B&B or something.  I walked around, the setting being scenic 'n all but it was pretty much spoiled an hour or so later as I was cooking up some pasta for Gumby and me.  Cyclists.  Fucking full on, born again cyclists.  One of the worst hostel nights of my life.  Next morning I got up early but not as early as these nutjobs.  Fuck they were annoying.  I hitched a ride across the bridge in a pick up truck and explained to owner about the cyclists.  He just muttered something about how he has to scrape them off the underneath the drive train every couple of days.

So it was back to Portland where I got myself a Swiss army knife, a six pack of Miller, a bag of cashews and a flask of Beam.  Then I hit the Greyhound terminal to grab a long haul to Vancouver.  Remember, I needed to make Calgary before the end of the Stampede and I also wanted to spend a couple of days in Vancouver. There was an Expo on and I heard it had a couple of beer halls. Well, a bloke has to have some sort of goals don't he?  Especially when he's far from home in a strange land and his only company is an unanimated green man called Gumby.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


G'day folks and welcome back.  First up, well done to the Brisbane birgers for finally getting your dozey fucking acts together and having a feed and a drink with Birmo.  Secondly, apologies for anyone expecting a more prolific output but shit happens, ya know?  Lastly, thanks for hanging in. 

I believe I was in 'Frisco last time we met so that's where I'll pick it up.  Ignore the spelling errors, I couldn't be arsed with spell check.

I had some much needed breakfast being slightly tired and hungover from the previous day's winery tour and evening drinking.  As I finished my feed I looked up and saw a really weird looking bloke wearing army camouflage clothes and a pair of those really thick 'nerd' glasses.  He immediately started talking about how he was going to the amazon and rely on his hard won survival skills to see him through.  Right.  His clothes looked brand new and he was pale, very pale for someone who led an outdoors life.  He then started telling us how he had ripped out the beating hearts of a gang leader in a back alley in New York City, "just like they do in the Green Berets". 
This was becoming ludicorus yet somewhat amusing.  After a few minutes we begged off and headed out.  I still had a rented Colt to return to Rent a Wreck and didn't want to cop any extra charges.  Marion was with me, kindly keeping me company.  She did seem a bit on edge but I put it down to the neurotic army wannabe. Just before the main entrance we saw Captain America's pack.  He had the largest army pack he could have bought and it was festooned with brand new mess kit, water bottles, ground sheet, poncho and all sorts of army surplus bits and pieces.  He even had a lamp hanging off the fucking thing.  This bloke had a very serious Walter Mitty complex.  I reckon in later years he'd be the sort to walk around his high school with a semi automatic rifle and make a bloody sorry name for himself.  As we walked past a couple of others had a giggle as well, one of them saying,
"That figures.  What a fruit loop."
I just laughed and walked on.  Luckily I had Marion with me to remember where I'd slid the Colt the previous night.  Then I remembered that I was driving once again in America.  Keep to the Right.  Got that?
Sure thing Therbs, let's go.  Surprisingly, given hangover and uncertainty of directions I managed to smartly take us to Rent a Wreck, at one stage even gunning the Colt to see what it would do.  Ended up revving the crap out of the engine and hitting about 70 (mph).  Poor car.  Problem was after I handed it back to the Rent a Wreck crew we had to make our way back somehow.  Cab?  Nup, too expensive.  Maybe we need to think about this and where best to think about things but in a bar.  So that was us for the next hour necking down a couple of Miller Draught and killing a hangover.  Marion explained that she had a boyfriend she'd met a month or so ago and he lived in Denver and that was where she was heading next.  That's it Therbs, draw a line through this one and move on.  I explained my mission to be in Calgary before the end of the Stampede.  That gave me about ten days to get there.  We discussed the usual travel shit and asked the locals about buses, how to get back to the hostel.  They then engaged us in conversation about where we were from and before I knew it I was once again in the grip of the Curious Drinker.  The bar we'd chosen wasn't a glam place, it was a regular, working bar, the kind I was usually attracted to.  Mainly due to price.
Nevertheless we were bought some drinks, I shouted a round back at them and was settling in for a promising afternoon cum evening of hoisting some suds jars but Marion had other ideas.  Sensible ideas.  Like we had to check out of the hostel and I was booked onto a Greyhound that night heading north.  Oh yeah, that's right.  I'd decided to go to Eel River for some reason.  Maybe because the term Eel River in the original language of the first Australians was said to be Parramatta.  Now I realised that Eel River would be nothing like Parramatta, mainly because they'd probably have a good Rugby League team unlike those slimy bastards who don the blue and yellow each year down Parramatta way.  Fucking flanno wearing westie wankers.

Sorry, where was I?  Sorry about the Parra rant.  But they are a bunch of dickheads.  ANyways we said bye-bye to the barflies and headed back to the hostel.  I was all packed up ready to go and hung around outside talking to various people, including a bloke on his way home to Sydney after a few months ratsacking around the U.S. and Canada.  He was from Eastlakes.  He gave me a few tips and highly recommended the train trip between Vancouver and Clagary so I locked that one in, thanks Ed.  This fine little discussion was interrupted by Marion.  She was unhappy.  Unhappy enough to be in tears.  She was out of money and couldn't cash in her return bus ticket to Denver.  Her boyfirend wasn't home either to help out with some Western Union magic.  Salvation almost arribed in the form of someone heading sort of East and in the general direction of Denver and after enwuiries were made it was decided she could grab a ride.  The same Salvation then did the biggest fucking runner since that Greek bloke who died after running the first marathon.  Not only did it run out but was yelping like ascolded dog as it streaked away.  This was because we spotted what was loaded in the back of the car.  Captain America's army surplus store.  Then he appeared in full camo regalia.  I looked at Marion, she looked at me and I was shaking my head in a most definite manner.  Surely we could figure out a solution.  Captain America hopped in the front passenger seat and demanded to know,
"Are you coming or not?!  This was said in a loud, whiny, nasallly nerdy, very unsoldierly voice.
Marion shook her head, mouthing "No!."
I just simply said,
"Good luck in the Amazon, mate.  Don't rip out too many hearts."
We waved bye-bye to Salvation and bye-bye to a fate worse than death.  Still, Marion was upset.  We hung around, shooting the shit, thinking of options for Marion.  Greg from Eastlake broke out a bottle of wine which made the afternoon more pleasant.  Greg finally made a decision.
"Go and get changed into your best frock.  I'm taking you out for a slap up feed."
I turned to him,
"Mate, I didn't bring my best frock.  Will a blouse and skirt do?"
"Fuck off, dickhead, you have a bus to catch."
Marion went off to get changed and I asked Greg what he was up to.  He explained he only had a few more nights in the U.S., was four grand in front of his budget (thanks, rich father of Greg) and he'd most likely be able to help her out somehow, even if he couldn't sleep with her.  Well, ain't that grand.  What did I have to look forward to?  A night trip in a Greyhound.
Marion came back a half hour later looking quite tasty, all done up to the nines, make-up, hair freshly brushed and no tears.  Greg had gone and put on some trousers, a fresh shirt and a jacket. What a fucking handsome couple they made, the fuckers.   They even escorted me to the bus which took me to the Greyhound depot.  I never found out what happened to them both but I imagine that Greg, who wasn't a bad sort of bloke, probably took young Marion under his wing for a couple of days and helped her sort herself out.
The Greyhound depot was a fantastic place to leave.  I grabbed as eat towards the back of the coach and had an alcohol-inspired nap.  When I woke up a couple of hours later I was groggy and in need of a pick me up.
"Hey Buddy, you were snoring pretty well. You awake now?"
It was a surfie bloke in the seat across the aisle, one row up.  He held up a bottle and enquired if I was thirsty.
"Thanks mate."  I hopped across the asile to the seat behind him and grabbed the offered bottle.  tequila.  Not my fave drink but I was in no position to argue.  We sat there, knocking the stuff back and he pulled out a joint.  Highly illegal in a Greyahound but supposedly masked by a cigar he offered me.  We lit up both smokes and I engulfed the surrounding seats in a fog of cheap carcinogens.  We smoked the joint, finsihing just as the bus pulled up to a shopping centre.  The surfie bloke said
"Follow me." so I did.  Straight into a liquor store.  This bloke certainly knew how to travel.  We grabbed six packs and I went for uncle Jack again with some Coke to cut him back a bit.  Old Surfie Mate went for more tequila.  We jumped back on board and it was a very cruisy party ride from then on.  A bit of smoke, some beers, Jack Daniels and tequila and by the time I hit Eel River I was feeling nicely buzzed.  Very nicely buzzed,  So buzzed I had to ask the driver where I was and where the hostel was.  He pointed behind me,
"Eel River hostel's back there a hunnert yards or so.  Good luck."  I waved goodbye to Old Surfie Mate, the Driver and the bemused passengers.  Why bemused?  Well, it was in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, no lights and nothing happening.  Must be Eel River 'cos it was just like Parramatta.  I hitched my pack, wandered up the road and saw the small youth hostel sign and an arrow.  That's where I went.  After a "hunnert yards or so" I reached the place.  It was a cmaping ground with cabins, spaces for tents, a bar and a youth hostel.  I plonked my pack in thehostel and hit the bar.  I asked the barman about checking in at the hostel.
"Sure thing mate.  Ian's the name, I run the place. You look a bit thirsty for a young bloke.  Fancy a beer first?"

You little ripper.  A holiday site run by an Aussie beer drinker.  Thank you Destiny, I'm back!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dog Shit Killers - Playing a Dr Yobbo riff.

First up - sorry if you were expecting a travellers' tale.  Its coming but I promised one time to do a sort of fan fic/crossover type thing of "In The Worst Possible Taste."  This doesn't hit the clever observation level of the Good Doctor but I couldn't help myself.  Hope you enjoy it,

Secondly, I had the pleasure of the company of Nautilus on Saturday.  We perched ourselves at the Edinburgh Castle Hotel in Sydney and spent a pleasant few hours drinking Carlton Draught.  Jugs of the stuff.  Very pleasant it was. As Naut made his way back to his hotel and I headed to the station we noticed scientologists collaring people as they walked past.  I was tempted and Naut suggested it'd make good blog fodder.  I declined and went down to the station and noticed I had a 20 minute wait.  That was me done, back to the Scientologists.  I started baiting them, asking them about aliens hiding in volcanos.  They said "No aliens, no volcanos."  Before I could get another jab in some Christian guy jumped in and started accusing the Scientologists of fraud.  He went right at them too, calling them fakes, their rleigion a con and they were really adherents to science fiction.  I kept my trap shut expecting the Scientologists to respond in kind.  But no, they ignored him.  As did I.  I had a train to catch and a dinner date to be blown from.  But that was then, here's another tale.

Dog Shit Killers

The Chamberlain was a hive of activity as Sniper Blake hosted his farewell drinks.  They weren't actually farewell drinks as such but Sniper was the type of man who liked to make up reasons for a major piss-up and one of his all time favourite drinking excuses was "Farewell Drinks".  He'd do this once or twice a year, generally following a large win at Randwick Races during the Autumn or Spring Carnivals.  So it was that after the end of the Spring Carnival he'd managed to convert two hundred dollars of his "cunning kick" into close enough to seven thousand dollars.  His job in the public service paid a reasonable wage but he was never going to be rich.  His long suffering wife had been unaware of his "cunning kick" for the four years of their marriage.  It was a separate account he'd established to run footy tipping competitions, social club events and cover his secret stash of gambling money.  He'd rigged the account with two other colleagues so that they were all signatories and any withdrawals required two of them to sign the form.  They were fully aware that the account also held his own private funds and they kept records of the legit cash in separate books so that they could keep tabs on how much they could blow on social club happy hours or the footy tipping weekly cash jackpots.  He maintained it out of habit even though he was now divorced and had been so for over two years.

Blake's seven thousand dollar windfall caused one of his friends to officially label him  a "jammy cunt of the first order."  That particular friend was Jacko, a scruffy gentleman who manned one of the department's worst front line offices in Darlinghurst, just up the road from the Hard Rock Cafe, housed in a building which had been expensively renovated for some advertising company which pulled out of the deal before the building was gutted.  The Department's property team had been looking for a new site for its Darlinghurst operation and wrangled a tight deal with a long lease.  A shiny new office however, didn't mean shiny new people.  The public toilets soon became injecting rooms and were eventually locked.  The staff weren't all that shiny either, Jacko being the least sparkling.  He kept his job due to a sharp mind, a clever tongue and a considerably large quotient of  rat bastard cunning.

Blake waved a couple of C notes at Margie behind the bar and told her to give the regulars drinks until the cash ran out and then he'd stump up some more.  Margie liked Blake but didn't like Jacko largely because he could be a really obnoxious prick at times, especially to red heads who pulled beers for a living and she'd observed the ruin of several young girls whom Jacko managed to entangle in his life of drinking, gambling and strife.  At Blakes table also were Reepo and Big Bill.  Reepo worked for the Juvenile courts and Big Bill was in his tenth year as a second grade accounts clerk.  Big Bill sprouted a lot of controversial bullshit simply to start people arguing with each other.  He'd throw a grenade and wait for the explosion.  He was over six feet tall, overweight and had another habit.  A really fucked up habit it was too.  After a long afternoon on the sauce he'd wander downstairs to the blokes' dunnies to take a crap.  Then fall asleep.  It usually fell to one of Blake's friends to throw glasses of water over top of the stall to wake the sleeping, stinky beast.  Occasionally there'd need to be three of them helping Big Bill up the stairs, a thankless god awful task which everyone dreaded and really should have been left to crane drivers or fork lift operators wearing Hazchem suits.

The more pleasant additions to Blake's table were the girls, Tina, Gayle and Kerryn.  Reepo and Kerryn were a well established couple but Gayle and Tina were there for the hunt and Jacko had his spotlight on and bullshit primed for action.  Gayle's blondness and prominence of chest drew Jacko's attention almost immediately so he started in on one of his fave pub gambits, a card trick.  He did it well, shuffling, palming and confusing the gals enough to make them think he was sort of okay for a yobbo.  Blake engaged Tina in work related conversation before announcing to the crew that he was going to The Annadale Hotel the following evening to catch a couple of up and coming bands, The Monarchs and Flange Gasket.  Tina looked keen,

"I heard that Flange Gasket song on the Jays.  They're from Brisbane or something aren't they?"

Sniper had seen them once before when he was chasing a part-time music scribe who wrote fluff pieces for a street rag.  He'd even gone so far as to stalk her down at The Roundhouse at UNSW, but not before sozzling up at The Doncaster a block away.

"They're a north coast band.  Saw them at the uni during an "o" week gig.  They were a bit rough but had some good songs.  The lead guitarist was a bit of a tosser."

Jacko knew the tale and jumped in, guns blazing;

"What a crock of shit!  You chased that writer chick and got blown away by some hillbilly muso.  You're a fucking joke. She gonna be there tomorrow?"

Sniper winced, tried to hide it but his face confirmed her expected presence.

"You fucking idot, Sniper!  You have no chance with that tart and from what you say she's a fucking snotty nosed strumpet anyway.  Give it up."  Then he grinned,

"Right, that's all of us at The Annandale tomorrow night.  This is gonna be a fucking hoot watching Sniper get shot down again.  You're worse than Tin Legs Bader, Sniper."

Blake couldn't let that pass without a few blasts of his own,

"Fuck you Jackson.  I'm not gonna be hunting her, I actually want to see these two bands.  The Monarchs have been getting airplay with their 'Spitfire' single and Flange Gasket are apparently featuring at Homebake this season.  This is a warm up gig for both bands before the silly season sets in.  At least I won't be crying poor and staying in dodgy pubs next week.  This should be pretty good tomorrow night.  Haven't seen The Monarchs yet but they sound pretty fair."

The Monarchs' "Spitfire" was a hot single with the guitars mimicking Spitfires, firstly with the throaty thrumming of a Rolls Royce engine then screaming into dives and pull ups with a staccato machine gun style guitar thumping away, just like during The Blitz. It swooped, soared and was catchy.
Big Bill decided to throw in a grenade,

"They're all fucking poofs I tell ya.  Dirtbox divers.  That Flange Gasket song about Harold Holt is totally gay.  I betcha they dance the chocolate cha-cha back in Byron Bay or wherever it is they come from."

No-one took the bait, the crew had seem Bill in action too many times.  Jacko put a stop to it when Bill was drawing breath,
"For fuck's sake Bill, go and have a crap before your arse totally takes over.  And don't fall asleep this time. My forklift broke down and we won't be able to fish you out."  then turning to Gayle and Tina,
"Whaddaya reckon girls?  Could be a good 'un tomorrow.  Gasket go pretty well, I saw them up in Newie earlier this year.  They can be funny bastards at times."
The girls agreed.  Kerryn looked up after having spent the last ten minutes playing with her phone.  She loved her phone. Jacko reckoned it was a romace based on the vibrating alert feature.  The only reason she dragged her attention away from her Nokia was because Reepo walked in.  He took one look at Bill's mournful face so he decided to open up his innings right from the off,

"Hey Bill.  How's the dunnies mate?  Been getting some good kip?" he then walked over and grabbed a freshly poured round of beers from the bar and brought them back.
"Sniper, Jacko, ladies.  Then he grabbed Kerryn and gave her a passionate kiss, bending her over Holywood style.  Upon releasing her he quizzed,

"How ya goin' there Honey? This mob looking after you?"  Kerryn shook her head, clipped Reepo behind the ear, responding,
"We're going to The Annandale tomorrow night. Flange Gasket and The Monarchs are doing a  warm-up gig.  Sniper's organising it."  Reepo turned to Blake,

"Didn't that journo sheila you were after have something to do with Flange Gasket?  I seem to remember a killer piece in Drum Media and it wasn't you receiving hot, sticky plaudits."

Blake turned his broadside,
"For fuck's sake this has nothing to do with unrequited love, feelings of lonely despair nor does it remotely come close to a follow up bout of stalking.  In any case she turned out to be a needy little girl who probably still hasn't resolved her feelings for that guitarist.  In fact it could be kinda fun watching her interract with the rest of the band members.  Could be some Yoko Ono action on offer."

Kerryn narrowed her eyes,
"So basically you want to see her suffer.  Nice one."
"Look, its not about suffering.  Nor is it about revenge.  I really want to see these two bands.  I have no feelings for Lena at all.  None. Tina's heaps better than her."  

This time it was Gayle's turn to rise up and be counted,
"So Tina, what's this all about then?  You and Sniper?"

Tina blushed.  She did like Blake and was hoping he'd ask her out.  He had, sort of, tonight but Gayle had to open her big trap and force the issue.  Blake saw her distress and turned to Gayle,

"Well Gaylzey, yeah, I was going to invite her to the Art Gallery on Sunday.  There's an exhibition based on  dopey blonde prostitutes who drink VB and then fuck anything that moves."  Jacko could see where this was going, it was straight out of his own playbook.  He'd gotten her drunk once on Victoria Bitter and then taken her home and talked her into having sex.  He wasn't the only one who'd done such a thing with Gayle but she was trying to mend her ways.

"Don't worry Gayle.  Sniper's never won the heart of a truly loving woman, especially one as lovely as yourself. Ignore him, I'll look after you."

A smile formed on Bill's face, a flashing neon sign that told the world he was going to say something ratty.  Instead of allowing it Kerryn announced that she was hungry and this started up a food discussion.  The options were the seafood place a few doors up or a Spanish restaurant/pizza across the road.  They settled on pizza.

Blake phoned up Encasa.  It was one of their favourites and did great pizza. Only being a one minute walk up the road from The Chamberlain made it even more attractive.  Bill left himself out of the order and made a beeline for the Campbell Street exit.  It was a long way on the train to Ingleburn and he didn't want to miss the "Best of Red Faces" being screened later that night. He was that sort of bloke.

 Jacko collected the pizzas and after everyone had eaten Reepo escorted Kerryn across Belmore Park to Central Station.  Blake and Jacko settled in with Gayle and Tina, both of whom didn't realise the kind of nonsense they'd go through if they continued giving either man a sniff of a chance.  They went to the Ladies together to figure out their plans.  The strategy ended up being to leave now and see what happened at the gig. Blake had expected this given that sobriety had long since raised the white flag.  It had done so with a similar degree of alacrity as you'd expect of a mayor of a French village confronted by a clapped out Kombi.

The conversation turned back to the Annandale gig. Sniper donned a look of concern as he quizzed Jacko,

"Listen mate, you're not going to pull that stunt like at the Sandringham during the Dog Shit gig are ya?"

He referred to the last gig Jacko saw, at The Sandringham Hotel.  Blake had talked him into seeing a Melbourne band on the basis that if they were crap they wouldn't have come all the way to Sydney.  He was wrong.  The band was "deusexmachina" and they turned out to be a pretentious group of wankers whose sense of self importance was overstated in the extreme and in inverse proportion to their ability to play music.  In order to numb themselves from the pain Sniper and Jacko had started hitting the Bundy OP rum.  This in turn further fuelled Jacko's hatred of the band so he snuck around the back of the Sandringham's piddling stage and pulled a couple of plugs which in turn pulled the band's sound.  After sprinting down the road and into a cab he ended up back at The Chamberlain, ostensibly to establish an alibi but in reality to get stuck into more of the Bundy.  He had been joined an hour later by Sniper.  They looked at each other and burst out laughing,

"Oh mate, you should have seen the faces on those Mexican tossers.  It was a fucking pearler!  There are times when you can be a real cunt,  but this time, this time,it was one for the ages."

Jacko laughed,
"I was a bit worried that a bouncer might get me but they didn't seem all that fussed about giving chase.  Who the fuck was that band anyway?  deusexmachina?  What's that all about?  They sounded more like dog shit machine than anything else."

"It means something about God in the machine.  Its a total fucking wank, typical of a Melbourne band.  I reckon Dog Shit Machine is now their official name. Or just Dog Shit."
Jacko nodded, smiling,

" Yeah, fuck 'em.  Dog Shit it is. May they grow old and white and crumble on the footpath."

Blake raised  his glass, toasting,
"To the decay of Dog Shit!  Cheers!"  The rest of that night was spent contriving ways to get Margie give them free drinks.  They'd no chance of that but had still felt emminently pleased about killing Dog Shit.

Jacko dragged himself back to the present, ordered two more OP rums and intoned the historic toast from the Night We Killed Dog Shit,

"To the death of Dog Shit and the future of music!"
Jacko raised his glass,

"To the death of Crap!"

Jacko woke up to the hum of traffic on Parramatta Road.  He turned over to check if he'd copnvinced any women to joiun him the previous night and was not surprised to find the other half of his bed vacant.  He stumbled into the lounge room of the flat where a snoring Sniper was sprawled on the couch.  There were two long necks of Melbourne Bitter lying empty on the floor as well as a half bottle of ouzo and an empty Grants Scotch.  Two ash trays overflowed on the coffee table and the TV was showing snow.  Jacko turned it off and headed to the bathroom.  Pinned on the door was a note,

"Dog Shit died here!"

He warily opened the door and held his breath.  He inched his way inside and was surprised to see no mess.  There was no vomit, the toilet was in good order and there was nothing amiss.  Then he remembered Sniper's insistence in cleaning up after himself the previous night.  The theory was that it was better to do it when you're totalled than face a god awful hazchem mess in the morning.  A fine theory but difficult to put into practice.  Jacko was impressed.

After abluting Jacko started frying some bacon.  The smell tore itself through Blake's brain, reviving him,

"Two eggs, toast and tea thanks.  Poof." his voice croaked through a freshly lit Winnie Blue as his arm reached for one of the beer bottles.  He was devastated that it was empty.

"Got anything to drink?"

Jacko tossed him a fresh Tooheys Extra Dry,
"There ya go, Mr Hemasex.  Put Channel Nine on, they're showing a one-dayer between us and Tassie."

After reconnecting the antenna cable Blake tuned in the cricket broadcast, sat back and prided himself on how good he was.  Jacko served up their breakfast and over beers and grease they started to feel better.
They lasted two more beers before Jacko was back in his bed and Blake was unsconscious, once again sprawled on the couch.  By the time the cricket was finished they'd slept off their hangovers.  Freshly showered and dressed in different sets of Jacko's best gig wear the two drunks made their way to The Empire hotel on their way to The Annandale.

"By fuck I'm cool and handsome" was Jacko's comment as Blake walked to their table in  the front bar.

"Why thank you Clyde Frog" he added when Blake handed him a schooner.

"You look like the inside of a Salvation Army bin which has had a fight with a student loans officer and lost. And I'm not much better given that these are your minging fucking rags."

Jacko shook his head, muttering
"You fucking ungrateful poof." he paused, then added,
"Listen, what time are we meeting the others?"
Blake turned, looking out the window,
"Round about now I'd suggest."

Reepo and Kerryn provided a partial answer as they walked in with Gayle and Tina not too far behind.  Blake asked Reepo about Bill,

"He's poofing it.  I swear that bloke lives for "Hey Hey Its Saturday."
Blake responded,

"Daryl fucking talentless Summers.  He's not funny, he fucks up skits, is crap at interviewing and embarasses himself whenever he speaks to anyone slightly famous.  Unfuckingbelievable."

Jacko got up to go to the bar and sniggered,
"You fucking love him.  What were you doing last Saturday night?  I rang you and I heard Blackman's voice-over in the background."

"Yeah, I flick through it a bit if there's nothing on.  But geez he's a talentless fuck."

Tina and Gayle however were not looking talentless.  They had made an effort to catch the eyes of Blake and Jacko, which was rather wasted on two men who looked like unmade beds.  Jacko returned with a tray of drinks,

"We'll make these sharpies.  We should get down there in half an hour or so."

The discussion moved to Flange Gasket and The Monarchs and once again about the crapulence of  deusexmachina.  Once they finsished their drinks the group moved out and headed down Parramatta Road to The Annandale Hotel.  They paid a ten dollar cover charge and walked into the main bar. Blake and Tina went up and ordered a fresh round of drinks while Jacko scoped the crowd for the music critic, Lena.  The crowd was a healthy one and had that pre-gig feel of anticipation and hope.  The Monarchs made ajustments to their amps, guitar tunings and whatever is that drummers do before  the gig starts.  Probably reading Enid Blyton books.

Blake and Tina returned with the drinks and found that Gayle had slotted herself in next to Jacko.  Blake thought that it felt all very coupledom and started to get nervous.  He had visions of a few years down the track with the girls swapping pregnancy stories and the blokes giving each other advice on motor mowers,  whipper snippers and the joys of having a big enough 4WD to pack in bulk supplies of Huggies.  He shook it off, took a healthy swallow of Tooheys New and smiled at Jacko just as a thumping bass line riff introduced The Monarchs to the crowd at The Annandale.  The drummer tossed aside his Famous Five book and took up the cudgels on behalf of skinmen around the world.  The opening song was "Blinding Fury" which told a tale of night time driving at high speed, being blinded by the headlights of a truck and ending up in court, punching on with the truck driver's lawyer.  They played a solid half hour set with their encore being "Spitfire" leaving the beer soaked crowd wanting more action.

While The Monarchs packed up Blake caught the eye of Lena who had insinuated herself at stage left with Flange Gasket's lead guitarist and main singer, "Uncle Sam" McCarthy.  The other guitarist, "Angus" Young, was rifling an esky for a Tooheys Extra Dry. He came up trumps, handing one to McCarthy.

"There ya go Uncle Sam. Ready to fly?"

McCarthy was riding the enrgy wave left over from The Monarchs,
"Yeah, we have to pull something out of our flanged arses tonight.  The Monarchs were pretty tight, I liked their destructive attitude."

They watched Angus' brother, Jeff set up the guitars as the drummer, Phil and keyboard player Marty hooked up their kit.

McCarthy had a playful smile,
"We need to fuck with their heads.  Let's fucking give it to them Razorslash style, just like that time at the uni."

Both guitarusts went and strapped on their axes, twiddled with the amps to the extent that they were twiddled up to their highest and as McCarthy  nodded to Angus they hit the first of many thrashed death metal notes.  It was a blistering beginning with McCarthy and Young taking it in turns to devil growl out thrash words with Phil bashing skin as badly as any other thrash drummer.  Marty just played staccato bass chords.  The whole thing lasted about ninety seconds but certainly caught the attention of a crowd used to pub rock mixed with punk elelments.  Thrash was not the main menu of The Annadale Hotel.

In the audience a few rows back from the front Blake turned to Reepo, almost yelling,
"What the fuck is that about?  Have they gone primal or something?" 

No sooner had they asked than the the rhythm guitarist/vocalist, "Angus" Young, introduced himself,
"We're not Razorslash and they're not us, are they Uncle Sam?"

McCarthy growled out,
"That's right young fella, because you know who I am but who do you want to be?"
and with that the Gasket launched into "I Wanna Be Angus Young".

The antsy crowd heaved their collective relief and the Gasket took off, weaving hook line after hook line.  After playing for fourty minutesd they took a break, signalling a stampede to the overworked bars.  The Gasket team stood around their oversized Esky and Phil handed around some Uncle Teds.  After about ten minutes  Lena sidled over and grabbed one for herself and turned to  Uncle Sam,

"I reckon I spotted a bloke in the crowd who tried to come onto me back at uni."

"Another one?  Where is he?"
 Lena pointed out Blake and McCarthy looked at him, frowning.  Lena waved him over much to McCarfthy's disgust.

"What the fuck are you doing?  I'm not gonna play games with this prick."

Lena went up to Blake as he drew closer,
"Hi Wayne.  I see you're with your girlfriend?  This is Sam, the ringmaster and chief growler of Flange Gasket."

"Hey Lena, g'day Sam.  Didn't think you'd remember me from the uni.  Congrats on the writing gig, seems to be a regular thing."

"Well, it is sort of journalism and I'm getting paid for it, so I'm happy.  Besides, I get to see bands like this.  Especially like this."  Lena sparkled at McCarthy, who sparked up,

"Well my lovely, we need to be getting up so that these drunks can get down.  Good to meet you Wayne."

Blake nodded,
"That was a good set Sam.  Hey Lena,  remember that band Dog Shit Machine, or deusexmachina? They had a gig at The Sandringham?"
Lena nodded, "Yep.  They weren't that good.  They had an amp malfunction or something.  Did everyone a favour."

Blake smiled back,
" Do you know who pulled their plug?  That bloke over there.  His name's Jacko and we've renamed them dickheads "Dog Shit Machine", or "Dog Shit" for short or just plain Turd or Crap for even shorter,"

 Lena laughed and the Gasket crew pricked up their ears, with Angus very interested,
"So your mate silenced them and then basically renamed them "Turd".  That is fucking tops!"

McCarthy added,
"We played support to them a couple of times.  Couldn't stand the pricks.  Your mate should get a medal.  A Flange gasket medal. "  McCarthy leaned over to the esky.
"Here, grab some Uncle Teds" and with that  handed a chilled six pack of the precious drop to Blake.

 "So your friend's name is Jacko?"  Blake nodded and Sam went on,
 "We'll give him a shout out during this final set.  He's a dead set genius. "
McCarthy turned to Angus.
Ready Angus?"  Angus nodded, adding
"Dog Shit Machine eh?  Not bad.  He's not a country boy by any chance this Jacko of yours?"
Blake nodded,
"Right. After you Mr McCarthy."

Blake went back to his friends and told Jacko to be ready for a surprise to which Jacko retorted,
"You're coming out of the closet?  You now love John Howard?  Tardo poof."

Flange Gasket answered back by launching into their second set.  Three songs in and Angus turned to Sam,
"You know what Sam?  You remember a band a little while ago called deusexmachina?"

"Why yes, I do as a matter of fact.  Apparently they had some trouble at The Sandringham." and Sam played a descending d minor,

"Their power was pulled."

"Dear oh dear Sam.  What a shame.  What do we say to crap bands who lose their power?"

"What, aside from telling them to join the Democrats?  I don't know Angus, what do we say to a crap band like Dog Shit Machine?"

"Thank God for Jacko from Newcastle and thank God he knew to pull their plug.  He christened them Dog Shit Machine."

McCarthy responded,
"And thanks to Wayne for telling us about Jacko's brave mission."
 Angus clapped his hands over his head and the booze and drug addled crowd cheered.  Angus continued,

  "Cheers boys, this one's for you, written down at Coogee baths when I was down here on holidays as a littl'un.  I was forced tp learn to swim."
McCarthy quizzed,
" With who Angus?"  More cheers while Angus chipped back,
"That'd be Harold Holt, Sam"

With that McCarthy hit the opening chords to their once underground, now mainstream single.
After another fourty minutes Flange Gasket had beaten the crowd, giving them something to think about with the summer music festivals lurking.  As they retreated the band gave Blake and Jacko one more wave and Lena came over to the two drunks,
"That was pretty cool eh, guys? I'm gonna do a quirky piece about Dog Shit Dying. I won't name you directly but I may use some pseudonyms."

Blake said,
"Sniper will do for me.  Maj is okay for Jacko.  Reepo is the bloke with big shnoz over to my right.  The girls are Kerryn, Gayle and this is Tina."
 With that he draped his arm across Tina's shoulders, drawing her closer.

"Nice to meet you all.  Keep an eye out on Drum Media.  We'll be putting something up about the exploits of a certain Melbourne Band by the name of The Turd and how they get sabotaged."

Blake nodded,
"Thanks Lena.  Nice to see you again." Blake shook her hand, clearing his thoughts of any possible hook ups with the writer.  The rest of his friends echoed Blake's good byes.

As they finished their drinks, Jacko was draping himself around Gayle and Reepo and Kerryn smiled at both freshly minted couples.

Blake looked at the knowing, womanly smile of Kerryn's and noted,
"Its not every day one of your best mates gets an officially sanctioned Flange Gasket award based on an act of vandalism and dextrous avoidance of bouncers."

 Kerryn grinned back,,
"And its not everyday your boyfriends' mates actually behave half sensibly for a change."

Jacko responded,
"Fucking maudlin nonsense.  Who's up for a beer at The Empire?  Might even get a late bet on. Let's hit the toe."

They piled out of the Annandale Hotel and headed back up to The Empire Hotel.  As they went past the side lane next to The Annandale they saw the Flange Gasket boys climb into their band car.  Jacko yelled out
"Thanks Flange Gasket.  We've been the Dog Shit Killers.  Good night!"
Marty yelled out of the rear passenger window,

"And we've been a ripped Gasket. Good night!"

The van took off onto Parramatta Road, looking for a way to Maroubra.  Blake and his friends headed in the opposite direction, up to The Empire, looking for a last round of drinks, a game of pool and maybe a few bets on the Greyhounds in Perth.  Those Greyhounds which would shit in their stalls but in Jacko's mind still leave a better product than Dog Shit Machine.

 He even admitted a slight feeling of warmth to Flange Gasket,
"You know what?  I might even make it to Homebake this season.  As long as there's no Dog Shit Machine it coukd be okay."

Blake looked at Jacko, his face displaying a rare look of cogitation.

"You know what?  Both of us learnt guitar. Maybe we should start a band and call it Dog Shit Killers."

Jacko looked back,
"You know what Sniper?  That is one of the most fucked ideas I've ever heard.  Its fucking ridiculous. Its ludicrous.  We can't play, we can't sing, we can't write songs."

Jack paused for a few seconds while he thought it through.  He could play a little bit and Blake was okay with strumming a few chords in something approaching correct rhythm.  Then he thought of all the rock chicks they could attract.

"Hang on, it now makes sense.  Its  fucking brilliant! Let's do it!"

As they entered the Empire Blake noticed a nearly shapeless white lump near the wall of the pub.  A crumbling piece of dog faeces.  He stamped on it, grinding it into dust.

"Track one." he said to himself, "Track fucking one."