Friday, May 13, 2016


It’s one of the finer feelings about having this car, and it should be recorded. It doesn’t happen too often. I move in the wrong circles, but it is inevitable. I work 9 to 5. I dress as such. I do my hair nicely for the office. I accessorise with scarves my wife has bought me. I drive a black Nissan Skyline. Loud exhaust. 

It’s late. Not too late, but 10:30pm. The line between home and party. I’m driving home from the hospital. I’m having fun up the windy hills roads. I’m not brave enough to exceed 40, but I sound loud. I’m a bullet painted black and a grown man making ‘brrm’ noises. Pull into the servo, I arrive at the servo.

A group of lads, men. Five or six, are hanging around the entrance, clustered about Park 1 next to the sliding doors where one of them, impossible to tell who, owns the Lexus IS300 with the aftermarket whiff about it. The Is-It-Pearl? paintjob not quite gleaming. They are talking cars. You can just tell. Someone is talking, everyone is nodding, one guy quotes a number, another an abbreviation. 

As I swing around past the pumps towards Park 2, necks stiffen. Exactly no one looks in my direction. No one. Someone begins talking again. Someone says the word ‘turbo’, not about the Skyline, but because it’s a common-use word outside the OTR sliding doors at 10:30pm on a Friday night. 

I turn the engine and leave all the windows open. I get out. I look like someone’s accountant. I’ve got checks where I should have logos. I have to step around a guy with dreads and say ‘G’day’ to a bloke exactly 5 years younger than me who’s pretty committed to the Tex Walker moustache. He says ‘g’day’ back. He’s the one who says ‘turbo’ again, on my way out.

You don’t buy a Skyline to be cool. You don’t buy your dream car to impress anybody. But passing through that throng of tuner car fan-dudes in my creased trousers with my intense hairspray, I felt cool. An article by Maggie Stiefvater in Wednesday's Jalopnik reported a guy showing pictures of his own stupid car and saying ‘This car is what I look like on the inside.’ It suddenly started to make more sense.

I love the feeling of looking like a career office worker driving a twenty-year-old boy-racer-mobile and having people have to concede that maybe, just maybe, all dickheads don’t hang around outside servos on Friday nights. Some of us have a backseat full of books because we took our wives on a Dymocks spree. 

Making the fan-dudes gathered around their mate’s Lexus have to re-think who they thought wanted to be in their club, is also pretty great. That’s the feeling.

An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32