At the Newnham pub
It is ten to eleven. Someone is bellowing "Here's Pikey" (the names have been changed to protect the arsewitted but let's face it, I'm not feeling too imaginative so you can probably reconstruct them without too much trouble) "with Enter Sandman".
I do sometimes feel I have been plunged into a life directed by Dali. Those are the good days. When they're bad, it's much more dada.
Isn't karaoke supposed to be lighthearted fun though? People get a bit tipsy and sing the classics? With more passion than accuracy, and to the great amusement of their friends? How can Enter Sandman be lighthearted fun? I understand though. I have already listened to works that I love sucked dry of all life. A parade of Mt Gravatt's finest dullards have tried to sing. Mostly too quietly for anyone to be able to understand any of the words. Do these people not know that the point is to belt them out as though there was no tomorrow, rather than to make the poor sods listening to them wish there weren't?
Why am I sitting in a huge, overlit barn listening to a man grinding his way through Metallica? It's like the antikaraoke. If the guy who invented the machines had known, he would never have gone through with it. If he ever visits the Newnham pub, I imagine he'll have to do the honourable thing. It won't be the first time the carpark has been covered with guts.
J. is telling me that Brisbane's public transport is not as good as Melbourne's. No, I say, I know. I've been to Melbourne. Everyone drives here. I couldn't live here, he says. If I ever moved to Australia, I'd go to Melbourne or Sydney.
Well, of course you would, I say. Why the fuck would anyone want to come here? It's irritating that each visitor says the same thing. Do they not get that I didn't choose Brisbane? I didn't sit with a map and say aha! Look, it's the promised land! I am imagining the tribe for whom it would be -- their god leading them to a land of mullet and stonewashed jeans (I am not kidding). Why would I choose a place where absolutely nobody is goodlooking? Indeed, most could be used to scare crows (or could if the crows weren't the monstrous, demonic things that haunt my back yard) or ballast an oceangoing ship. You think I'm just making this up? No way. I'd rather fuck a monkey than anyone from a suburb with Mt Gravatt in the name. They are the product of shipping the criminal class to a patch of scrubland and leaving them to ferment for 150 years without any admixture of culture except for American television that even a chimp would consider untaxing and radio programmed by Satan.
And when I say monkey, I mean those rancid ones that litter Gibraltar, not cute little colobus ones.
J. is expounding. His theory is that if there were more trains, people would not drive everywhere. The truth is that if there were trains every five minutes, and a station at the end of every street, Brisbaneites would still take their car. Yes, the odd one would drive to the end of the street to get the train. But the rest wouldn't bother. You could give them all personal trains, I suppose. That might work. But these are people who whine that there are not enough river crossings. Why? Because sometimes it takes ten minutes to get from South Brisbane into the CBD. Boohoo. In a really congested city, such as London, that would be Sunday morning. Of course, the truth of it is that there's no glamour in putting on more trains, pedestrianising the CBD, putting on smaller buses to serve the suburbs. But the Campbell Newman Tunnel... the Inner City Light Rail... light rail! Fuck me, yes, that's what we need. A railway to take you from Spring Hill into the city. You could walk it in fifteen minutes.
Well, you and I could. The blubbery indigenes would have a conniption at the very idea. If they did try it, they would need all the hours of daylight. And it would only be feasible because it's mostly downhill.
That's if there were pavements to walk on. My suggestion for the mayor is very simple: build pavements. Don't build tunnels. Pedestrianise the entire CBD so there's nowhere to cross to. Make the lazy bastids walk.
It is eleven o'clock. J. is talking about the trams. We once had trams here. You can see the old stops in some places. Now we all have cars and we drive to shedlike entertainment centres, where Pikey is groaning Enter Sandman, and any explorers from the civilised world who have gone astray will be wondering how much beer they are going to need to drink to dull the pain.