This last year has been a funny one for me and my relationship with the Grand Old Dame of Melbourne. Ever one of her staunchest supporters since we first met twenty years ago, I was beginning to grow tired of her charms, they didn’t glitter as once they had and their hold over me was waining at a rate of knots. It’s a terrible thing to fall out of love with someone or something especially after such a long romance but, but, and triple but, the death of one thing can lead on to the birth of another. Where there is disaster there is opportunity, where there is closure there is an opening.
In short I’d say that Melbourne was going through a rapid pace of change in trying to overtake Sydney as THE first city of Australia. Something that will eventually happen as there is nothing to hem in the fine city of Melbourne. In my personal opinion I think that Melbourne has ‘jumped the shark'(google it), too much change and not all for the best. I’ll not bore you with a list of my perceived problems in the old Dame, I shall however just leave it as this; I’ll not be back for a while my dear.
Several opportunities had presented themselves to me last year, educational ones, so I thought I’d grab the bull by the proverbial gonads and hang on for dear life. My instincts were right but a simmering desire in me to hit the road was about to come to the boil and I don’t think that I could have turned the gas off in time so I had to go with it. I’d long yearned to chase the horizon, to see new towns and meet new people who were unaware of quinoa and the blizzard of snowflakes blanketing my dear old Melbourne. I sought the counsel of my wise inner circle and began to plot my escape.
Escaping isn’t as easy as it sounds when you have 17 years of rubbish and shite all about you. It took me a good 7 weeks to clear the decks of tangible memories and dust gathering detritus before I was able to finally close the book on Melbourne.
On the morning of the 8th of January, a Monday morning, I ate a Scottish fry up at The Laird McShane’s fine family home, supped on freshly brewed coffee and inhaled the last few rollies I’d enjoy for quite a while. I had over indulged the night before at Raccoon Bar before being experimented on at Bladwell’s Brain Lab’ where things took a less than cerebral turn but after a good nights sleep I was good to go and bid my last farewells to my Scottish family and good friend Charlie Big Man.
It was a typical Victorian morning, the low grey cloud being tickled by the plethora of new sky scrapers deforming the city. A hint of rain in the air but no regret or remorse, nothing to stop me turning the key in the ignition and opening a new door to parts unknown.
Now, let us have a look at the dramatis personae as it were for the show that I was to be a part of for however long was necessary:
Obviously there is me, or I. A 46 year old gypsy type, Jack of all trades but master of none is better than being good at one. My main role in this production is to drive which brings us to Utee Bootee.
A 2.8l diesel 5 speed manual 1994 Hilux. My car of choice for the past 10 years or so and a really reliable workhorse. I’d had her serviced by the Italian mechanics with no expense spared. Utee was to be loaded up with all the things I couldn’t sell and was bringing with me. Probably about 400kgs of weight if the truth be told.
And last but by no means least was a dear friend of mine who I rescued from a sleazy burlesque revue bar down Boneshaker Place in Melbourne. He was playing piano and telling bad jokes to support his nasty junk addiction so I gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse or see coming. Before I hit the Calder freeway I kidnapped Fozzy Bear while he slept it off at a musicians refuge in Fitzroy. I was determined to get him off da skag and help him start a new life on the west coast. I imagined him playing piano on a fancy 5 star yacht off the Abrolhos Islands and I was damned if I wasn’t going to make it a reality.