Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'1993: A Tale Of Three Cities'. Introduction.

I kept a diary between 1992 and 2004. Every single day was catalogued. Not in any deep way. "Tooth hurt. Had soup. Worked all day. Watched news. Bed." That sort of thing. Even if it was momentous or exciting it was still written that way. "Up at 4am. Became Buddhist monk. Long ceremony. Meditated. Bed at 8pm."

Now, you think I'm a love gumby now. You shoulda seen me in 1993, the year I turned 24. I was right amidst the 'All The World's A Stage' 'sighing like a furnace' stage. Right in the thick of it. I was in and out of love at the drop of a hat or the turn of an ankle. It also happened that in 1993 I was getting short stories and poems published all over the joint, I finished a novel, I lived in three cities (Athens, Copenhagen, Melbourne), lost my best friend, was imprisoned in a war zone, had an affair with a popstar, got mugged, and yes, became a Buddhist monk.

Life has been far more sedate ever since.

So, my plan is to serialise / novelise my 1993 experiences, and much of the inspiration to do this has come from Melba's 80's Diaries (which if you haven't read, I urge you to... particular if you were sentient in the 80's). But whereas Melba gives us her diaries verbatim, I'm going to attempt to post mine in standard current-day Perseus style.

I will of course change most names, but, I will post photos! I figure that's safe enough. Furthermore, there are four real names I will use, because they are celebrities / noted people in the public sphere (eg: Helena Christensen) and it makes it more interesting. There is a fifth name I am toying with using... the popstar I had the affair with. She's only famous in Greece, so it might be safe to use it, but, you never know. I need to think it out.

It might take more than a year to actually complete this task. I might give up on it if it's not working. But, I'll do my best to make it as salacious as possible, and although I may change some names, I assure you, everything is true.

I have to decide on the format. Present tense? Past tense? How will I introduce characters? I will decide over the next week, but by way of introduction, allow me to show you to the tiny apartment I was living in.

You can see two couches. Well, when you removed the cushions, they were in fact two beds. I slept on the one on the right, and my best mate Richie Swain (who will be one of the main characters) slept on the one facing the camera. The window above Richie's bed is at street level. That is, the apartment was underground. It was a tiny, tiny flat, but happened to be in the most affluent section of Athens: Kolonaki. It's where the rich people and celebrities hung out, and we lived in a beautiful apartment block filled with merchant bankers, successful artists and diplomats. It's just that we lived underneath the block... with Kenyans, Egyptians and Albanians. Whole families of them cramped into tiny flats. The cleaners. The janitors. All praying to Allah in the corridor at inappropriate hours.

Cramped as it was (and dark), we loved it, because we were two bohemian kids from the Melbourne suburbs living in the city of Athena, Socrates, Percicles, The Acropolis... the birthplace of philosophy and democracy. Hell, we even lived in Ploutarhou street... (English: Plutarch Street!)

Richie had a job singing with an opera company (as well as taking masterclasses in opera singing), and I was working as a stage-hand with the same opera company, as well as freelancing around Athens doing any job I could get my hands on, and writing novels and poems. Because we were illegal immigrants (our visas expired ages before) employers could get away with paying us well under-award money, but so long as we could pay the rent on this small dingy flat and scavenge enough food, cigarettes and grog to keep us going, we were happy. Mind you, we had discussed living in Athens when we were fifteen years old, and sure enough, almost to our mid-20's, we were doing it. Well, he had been doing it for three years, and this was my second time around (my first Athens sting was in 1990). But on this second stint, I was even toying with the idea of never leaving. Athens had become home.

Here we are in late '92, celebrating the arrival in the mail of 'Mattoid', an Australian literary periodical I had a short story published in.

Jeez. What's with my necklaces? How embarrassment.

My 1993 diary/novel will begin soon... I figure I'll just post when the mood takes me.

I'll start with waking up in the New Year after a massive night of debauchery at one of Athens' many punkrock clubs, at which Richie Swain fell down a set of stairs, then got vomited on by some chick (wearing my trenchcoat), after which, they pashed.

We had been living happily in Athens for about a year already, but things were about to get complex...

Chapter One coming soon.


WitchOne said...

I love it already!


Melba said...

Fantastic. I reckon you should just write it like you did that bit. Past tense is always less intrusive I think.

Also, Greek popstar.


Looking forward to the first episode.

Perseus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perseus said...

Off my own topic. If a flower has petals, can you say it is 'petalled'? If not, what's the alternative?

eat my shorts said...

I'm not an expert, but I think you can go with 'petalled'. If anyone disagrees, feign poetic license on their arses.

I likes the sound of these Melba-esque diary inspired posts, Pers.

Perseus said...

Don't you teach English? I'm afraid you are indeed the TSFKA 'expert' on these matters, and I await your final ruling.

Context... flowers floating down a river. I want to call them 'petalled Ophelias'... but Bill Gates won't let me. He reckons it's not a word.

Anonymous said...

Perseus, what does your spellchecker say if you only use one 'l'? I've seen it written like that before but have no idea how correct it is. Are you using American, British or Australian English?

In any event, I wouldn't take too much notice. My spellchecker keeps telling me that movies (plural) isn't a word.

Perseus said...

No luck on 'petaled' either.

If it's something like 'petallinated' I'll be spewing.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, my dictionary software says both petaled and petalled are correct, with petalous as a synonym and apetalous as an antonym.

Perseus said...

"Apetulated Ophelias..."

Oh man. It's too correct for my liking.

I might just stick with petalled, whis is my way of saying, "Fuck you, Gates."

Melba said...

Perseus, it sounds like you are doing creative writing in which case anything goes. Just ask Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll et al.

Ignore spellcheck, they suck. Google it for more info. if you want. But just use it. In this instance, it's all about the sound and how it falls into the ear. Not about correctness.

And a jolly good morning to all.

Mr E Discharge said...

Apply the old muso dictum. If you make an obvious mistake, play it a few more times and they'll think it's jazz.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Past tense, I think.

I too kept a diary for much of that period, a diary that will never see the light of day.

Perseus said...

Past tense, yes, but do I write it as if the action happend last night (as the diaries are written) or 16 years ago?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Write it like a novel.

squib said...

Oxford suggests petaline, petalled (or petaled), petaloid, and petaliferous

I think petaline is the most poetic

wari lasi said...

You are strange people. Just letting you know. But who am I to talk? I'm having a torrid (great word eh?) with a prostitute.

Perseus mate, forget about being a love gumby, what a life you've had! I too look forward to this serial.

wari lasi said...

I like petaliferous Squib.

Can you say the flower had great petaliferousness? Or is that taking it too far?

squib said...

Wari, no but you could say it had great pestiferousness. e.g. Battle of the Planets episode 'The Fierce Flowers'

So I was wrong about the lady in the photo?

wari lasi said...

Tragically yes. So I just went with the flow, as it were. I'm sort of compiling a trip review, we'll see.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Hey Pers. does Lewd Bob make an appearance?

Perseus said...

Yes he does, but I can't use his real name so I might call him 'Lascivious Bill'.

Lewd Bob said...

What about Rude Rob?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I'm rather hoping Andreas Papandreou makes a cameo.

Melba said...

In answer to your second question, Perseus, write it in the past tense, as it's written in teh diary. As if it happened last night. That's my vote anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wari, no but you could say it had great pestiferousness. e.g. Battle of the Planets episode 'The Fierce Flowers'

Gatcha-fan, Squib?

eat my shorts said...

Don't you teach English? I'm afraid you are indeed the TSFKA 'expert' on these matters, and I await your final ruling.

I'm a teacher, not a freaking dictionary. Sheesh.

Plus, I was of the generation that were never taught grammar. I'm lucky to be able to even spell considering the early education I had.

My final ruling is the same as my initial ruling, "petalled".

squib said...

I concur with Catlick re: the fazzo-ness of Dyson vacuums. Wait, wrong thread

Alex, I recently bought some episodes on DVD, telling my progeny, 'Oh this is really COOL, wait til you see this'... only to find that time has not been kind to my beloved G-Force

Anonymous said...

The original Japanese series has held up reasonably well Squib -- but it can be hard trying to get kids to read subtitles.

Still, it's even harder not to get into a show where the lead villain is a transsexual terrorist with a purple cat/jester outfit and a giant robot fetish.

Dr. Golf said...

Can't wait for chapter one.

What's that thing in the corner of the room in the first photo, near the penis enlargement pump? Looks like a red-headed Michael Jackson doll. Did you have a red-headed Michael Jackson doll?

Perseus said...

Golfy. It's a mannequin we found, dressed in a bandana and a Velvet Underground t-shirt.

The 'penis pump' is an empty bottle of Brandy.