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.