26 Oct


Bill Henson

No divorce or alcohol abuse necessarily. No physical violence (necessarily). Not in my case; just something that drove us out into the night. We met in our early teens amidst a Bill Henson landscape of wild grass and asphalt; high streetlamps illuminating spots of the dark cement like little suns. This was a crew from different schools.

Mostly we hung out in a house in the bush that backdropped our neighborhood. I found it. You had to walk thru the forest a good thirty minutes to get to it. When we first noticed the place it was occupied, surrounded by motorbikes and beaten up old Holdens from the 70s. Engines souped up. The garden was crammed with a noxious weed known as Stinking Roger. It looked a lot like cannabis. I guess it was camouflage. I never went near the place. Then one day everyone got into their Commodores, on their roadsters and it was all alone. So a ritual started. whereby we’d come home from Friday, Saturday night in town, make curfew and sneak out again to this place.

It was an ancient weatherboard structure from the days when the land was wild punctuated by the occasional poor farmer’s attempt to carve a living. The walls were busted all over surfeit of a sub-culture where kicking plaster in was a standard mode of self-expression. We added to the decrepitude by spray-painting song lyrics and sundry images on the walls. We used candles for light. A few bottles of alcohol swiped from various bars of various dads were stored in the bathroom cabinet. And from midnight to dawn Saturday and Sunday morning we’d drink ’em.

We only really met here. Our leader was a brave girl who lived a double life no bones about it. To her dad she was angelic. He owned a large Tara style McMansion and a Ferrari dealership. I only went there once. He disapproved of my leather jacket. We met at the house, maybe six of us. Different types from different parts of the adolescent social spectrum. We went out to different places, different parties; bought different clothes, had different prospects etcetera. The Midnight Club, just like the breakfast one only voluntary.

Together getting drunk, feeling all grown-up, expressing the lugubrious outrage standard at that time of life. I don’t really remember a single conversation we had I just remember that they were all so deep and meaningful. I can’t remember the words only the feelings. The shallow love of half-children. I do remember telling them I’d write a book about them one day. At that age you lie all the time without knowing that’s what you’re doing.


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