posted on April 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm

i talk to my mother
my mother says
son where do you get all this stuff from
i say what stuff, mum
she says all the stuff you keep writing
she says i got untitled #23 and i cant stop playing it
she says ooh you really are a clever sod arent you
she says ooh your fathers family were all musical
she says your fathers mother was a great pianist
and all her brothers n sisters could play
she says steven, your piano teacher cried when she couldnt
get you to play march militaire
she said you were her most promising pupil ever…
in fact although i was ten and she was 21
we had a lotta erotic frission going on
and our piano lessons were charged with a certain…i dunno
they had this system
where you read these numbers above the crotchets n quavers etc
the number was the number finger you put down
i wasnt reading the notes
i was reading the bloody numbers
the first time the numbers went…i was baffled
i was brilliant up till then
devouring the sodding piano
but when they took the numbers away…
like taking the floaties away at swimming lessons
man i sank to the bottom of the piano
how strange
it was snowing that day
we have it on film
it snowed in canberra deep n crisp n yes even
julie ann the piano teacher is there with me at our crumby cheap piano
an old banger for my dad to bang out his boogie woogie
the house seems so dark
distorted and enhanced by the old time film
the dog runs around in the snow with russell
a close up on russells red nose and his blank blue eyes
hes only about 3
hes a very spacey kid
a real dreamer
hes running around in the snow like a madman
and the dog chases after him pulling at a red scarf
the scarf is so scarlet against the snow
i have a kinda flat top crew cut
as i sit there
with this prim 1965 piano teacher from wagga or gundagai
trying to tame me to knuckle down n learn
cozza she knows “i got the music in me”
but i wanna do my own thing
march militaire is a fucking bore
i wanna play day tripper or something
i wanna play the organ where the sharp keys are white
i wanna explode cos i can feel it all in here
but it cant get out
cos i had to live
and i live and i learn
but believe me or not
i am the slowest learner
so i dont learn
i just make up my own thing
its painfully slow
why i only learnt to sing not so long ago
sing properly
why did it take so long?
cos im a slow learner
i told you that already
anyway my mother says
its a shame you never learnt to play properly son
i say mum i wrote the most friggin popular song for the last 1000 years
she says i know all that…
… just would be nice if youd learnt…properly…!
my old mummy 80 and not out
she inculcated a lotta stuff in me
that i cant get rid of with my own brood
for example my mother hated nay could not abide
bed clothes not neatly made
let alone strewn around a room
let alone the house
but the doodles walk around with sheets n pillows n quilts
the my mother in me freaks out
although “i” cant see why it drives me nuts
but shes bred this into me like a brainwashing
all her foibles and my fathers
watch out what you give yer kids…
we renting a little car for 5 days
and yesterday we end up
down at mrs macquaries chair on the harbour
a bit of the botanical garden thats opposite the oprah house
and the syddy hubba bidge
theres a lot of (especially asian) couples getting married there
theres this rather big bride
and a rather tiny skinny little groom
its beginning to rain
and the photographer wants em out on these slippery rocks
and the bride has got this huge heavy dress on
and tottering around on highest heels
that she has to mount n dismount
like a knight in the old days getting on a horse
the groom who is ultra nerdy with his gelled do
and his thick glasses which made his eyes swim behind them
hes trying constantly and awkwardly to assist his blushing bride
as they stumble and stagger up these rocks
and the tides coming in and splashing em
and the rains starting to get a bit heavier
and the photographers n family
call out instructions to em
and she keeps nearly slipping in the sea
and he keeps grabbing the wrong part of her body or voluminous dress
i mean the dress had enough material to win the americas cup
(eg as a sail)
and shes getting angrier with it all
and slapping him away as he fumbles about
saying the equivalent in his language of
yes dear sorry dear..
and then the photographer musta said kiss
cos they hang there
their lips suspended 2 inches apart
perpetually about to kiss
and looking at the camera
and smiling
and keeping balance on slippery rock n tide coming in
and rain falling down
and trying to look happy
its yer wedding day remember
and trying to ignore all the idiots sitting around
who are beginning to giggle at this unlikely scene
and i’m having a bit of a giggle myself
until the rain starts to bucket down
the big bride casts her littleman aside
and scrambles to the shore
with her slightly wet feet n dripping dress
immediately a swarm of rellies attend to her
one standing dutifully behind
lifting up the huge heavy curtain of a dress
and they all scuttle headlong
looking for shelter
my fambley n i run away
we get drenched
and scarlet wont walk cos her legs are “itchy”
its the rain on them thats doing that
so i’m running along in rainy
carrying this big stupid lump called scarlet kilbey
instant karma for my wedding giggles
but seriously
cannot see much joy in that marriage
if down by the rocks was anything to go by
shes already totally impatient with the little duffer
and they were both only about 21
do they know what theyve let themselves in for?
meanwhile we try to get to a starbucks for hot chockies all round
but can never get a parking spot n its raining too hard
we drive round pyrmont
and stop at another harbourside park
we see another side of the hubba bidge
the rain buckets down again
everyone has a wee wee at the toilet
pile into the corolla
and we’re off down a tunnel
that spits us out back near bondi
gee whiz
how exciting…eh …
what next?

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