Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Then he smiled

She told me that next to her on the station a woman was reading a book, and as she looked over at the book the woman was reading and saw the single sentence in its entirety, ‘Then he smiled’, she thought over all the times she had been with other people, and particularly men, and realised that she had never been able to isolate this moment, this ‘Then he smiled’ from the continuity of everything they had ever said to her and everything she had said to them; from the continuity of where they were and what they were doing when they were with each other; from a street with its broken paving squares, for example, or a particular stretch that a young guy had made when he placed his hands at the back of his head as he spoke; from that information he told her as he stood there with his elbows sticking out – information, or just a set of words, which seemed to harry at the white of the evening sky as she drove herself home.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guerilla stitch up

It’s twenty-nine degrees Celsius and someone tagging themselves as GUERRILLA STITCH UP has knitted, overnight, a twenty colour banded woollen sleeve for the round-a-bout sign pole on the corner. Tomorrow it’s scheduled to reach thirty-six.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spawn camper

Yesterday I learned from my son that, in the online version of Call of Duty 2, where players from all over the world simultaneously join game re-enactments of World War II battles – electing either to be one of the Allies or a German – dying in battle but always being reborn, or ‘spawned’ – there are always some players who set themselves in easy shooting range of one of a number of spawn sites where the players are reborn and, as often as other players are spawned in that place, the player now known as a ‘spawn camper’ kills them on the spot before they can move.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The handstand

My father has been unable to find any trace in the records of St Paul’s College of one Eddie Flowers who, at the end of 1946, or so he recalls, caused a commotion by climbing onto the steepest roof of the college and then, after scaling the tallest and most rickety of its nineteenth century chimneys, performed a handstand between the chimney pots.

The fact that Eddie, as my father remembers, had been sent from England to Australia during the last year of the war was in itself suggestive of privilege, he says – a fact which could only point to the likelihood that this Eddie Flowers was the son of Tommy Flowers, the man who designed the Colossus computer and who therefore, according to my father, single-handedly saved the Allies from an inevitable and inglorious defeat.

Only the son of such a war hero, sent out to Australia for his safety but always conscious of the greatness of his father’s deeds – deeds which he could never be allowed to forget – would have had any need to show off on a chimney in this way, my father says. My father – himself once an expert on computers – is still hoping to find another witness to the handstand and, from this, some confirmation that his conjecture is right.


She told me that, at Mackerel Beach, the best way to catch a silver bream was to use barbeque leftovers. If you used the standard bait – and particularly in the evenings – you were more likely to catch a wobbegong.

My own name

Yesterday, at Dick Smiths’, while I waited for the cashier to print out the credit receipts for my mobile phone and before I paid, I saw a docket on the bench between us where, as far as I could tell – because it was upside down – my own name had been signed, although it wasn’t my signature.

I would like to have swivelled the docket around to see if it really was my own name there at the bottom of the docket. I was even tempted to ask the cashier whether he could read me what the docket said, or whether higher on the docket there was a name printed out. I would try to make a joke of it, I thought as I stood there. There must be many of me walking around.

It was hard enough living with my own name – a name as clamorous as Dick Smith itself, I was thinking – but I almost felt sorry for this other woman who, unbeknownst to her, was being trailed, not only by a dieting company, but myself as well.