Brooksfield

1973 Fairview Hotel Ad

Brooks has of course returned to us today to overawe us with his personality and the scent of burnt plastics (and because Aunt Tatiana keeps inviting him & hopes to entrap him into marriage by stuffing him with teacake). The first day they met, Brooks informed me aunties that he would be purchasing their house for a dollar and made something of this point. “A dollar. A buck. One hundred cents. A single – golden – coin, ” said he, as if to clarify, while we stared at it on the table.  Aunt Olga glared and Aunt Stacy sobbed and Aunt Tatiana swooned and started to fan herself with the nearest blue legal document to hand; but Brooks went on in a casual tone, as though it might interest us: “It’s only gold coloured, I’m afraid. They stopped making coins out of actual gold when someone high up finally realised that the metal used was of a greater value than the denomination of the coin itself. Why, when I was a boy,” (he was growing happy in his reminiscences) “Oh, about your age…” (he looked at Aunt Olga, who is 180, then at Tatiana, who is 170, then at Anastasia, who is 160) “Or maybe even younger still…” (gesturing with a handful of tea-cake at me, who is in the bloom of youth) “I was a paper boy! Yes! That’s right! Did you guess? Can you imagine? Me? A wee tike? A teeny lad? A diminutive Brooks – a trickle? He he he,” he giggled. It was unbecoming in a full grown man of his phrenological attributes.

Evidently he had stumbled onto another of his fondest conversation topics. “Every Saturday and Sunday without fail from 1962 to 1973 I cycled over town through snow and sleet for Mr. Forest, the pederast news agent, and for my trouble at the end of each day I got a new shining coin. Then the same night I  would sit up in my room in the orphanage with a box of stinking poisons and a little blue fire to melt the coins down into their component metals, which I then sold on to the Gas & Electric Company. And that is how – And THUS –” Mr. Brooks said, correcting himself, and stretching his arms wide, and throwing his voice, as though to achieve a more impressive stance upon his plaid-clad spindle legs – “THUS I MADE MY FORTUNE BY TINY INCREMENTS!”

1970s interior design

1968-avocado-oak-370s interior design

I pictured him in his suit stinking at school the next day and couldn’t imagine that he was very popular as a lad.

Eurobad-74

Schoolschmool,” Mr. Brooks sniffed. “If you can get one dollar and 2 cents value out of a one dollar coin – that is one hundred and two cents for every one hundred – well, bankers will tell you that that is no joke. And nothing to sniff at. And better than a kick in the pants. Why, when I was your age…”

[Mercifully word processing will allow me to edit his speech from the tale.]

I asked him if there was any way he would consider not taking my aunts’ house, since they were so obviously old, old ladies and had been so generous to the community in their time.

“CERTAINLY NOT!” shouted Mr. Brooks. Then,  “Preposterous!” He wiped his palms down the front of his suit to straighten his tie. He jerked at his wrists so a one-inch bit of yellow hounds-tooth shirt showed below the wash-free, iron-free cuff. Then he was calm again. He looked at each of my old aunts in turn and then he looked at me, as though he had forgotten what he was saying and he was coming up from somewhere underwater. There was a queer blue flame flickering at the back of his little eyes.  If you were of a cynical nature you might think he was was figuring out how many cents he could sweat out of us.

“What a nice man,” said Aunt Tatiana, when he was gone. She was drooping over the arm of the couch. “It seems but yesterday that we met.” (It was yesterday.) “And  now the house feels so empty without him…”

The Badminton Game 1972-3 by David Inshaw born 1943

alice-in-wonderland-by-annie-leibovitz

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Reflections on my recently departed youth & reaching a grand Old Age without the accompanying Wisdom

Part One (Tuesday)

It was my birthday last time I posted here, and I never got to post again because I spent the succeeding week quite drunk in a variety of ways and on a variety of pretexts, let me try to reconstruct that week and you’ll get a pretty hazy story without a through-line; here we go.

It starts out on the Tuesday (my actual birthday) absolutely alone and oppressed by misery. At about 5 o’clock I decided it was time to eat and so I had cider and Smarties chocolate, and sitting on the back porch with the heels of my Beatle boots in the nest of rat’s heads (Sebastian leaves them there), cider cup in one hand and fiftieth fag in the other, it occurred to me that far from some kind of demented yet understandable birthday indulgence, chocolate & alcohol comprises the best part of my diet, and accounts for my astonishing figure. But no wonder, really. You too might turn to drink if your atrium became a nest of rat’s heads.

I messaged a young boy whom we shall designate Young Nicholas (after the Tsar, or czar, whichever you like) in the vague hope he might be able to exert some manly influences and get the rat’s head away, oh and perchance remember it was my birthday.

The next day was Wednesday the 29th of February. (Part Two: Wednesday) That is quite a bizarre name for a day, if you look at it; Wednes… day. What on earth does it mean? I don’t recall much of Wednesday, perhaps I was at work (I think so); also some distant memory of creamy beef with seasonal vegetables for dinner. I had gone through this bizarro[OCD]world last November when I wouldn’t eat anything beside Asian food, and then only beef, and had to mix it up only to the extent of swapping between a Chinese restaurant and two Japanese places (I can’t ever remember which Japanese place is which or where they are, they just kind of appear at opportune moments). One night quite late out and tired with a hatred conceived for Nicholas (or cab drivers; I can’t remember which) that I was certain would last beyond the grave, fagging through the unkind darkness I remember seeing the Chinese shop lit up like HOME.

AND SO I had an iced coffee that at the time I would credit with saving my life. In any case another time at the Chinese place I didn’t quite enjoy the sensational scent of chlorine floating up from the basement where I am sure they keep their grandmother chained (in pink rubber washing gloves) mingling with my faire, and so alas but fair cop never did (could never) return.

But finding myself this certain WEDNESDAY with two hours after work & raining & strangely outside of time, I revisited the bleak Asian days and had the creamy beef while sitting on a tiny box stool made for people without knees and it was all so suitably vile. Then as I had always threatened to do I took myself to the theatre for the lack of any friends (at all) or any mere acquaintances who have any culture, taste or interests outside of their own cock [“music”], and saw “The Wild Duck” (after Ibsen, at the Malthouse, etc. etc. etc.) & I, Miss Shitsville, did enjoy it so-o-o-* (*I didn’t like THE GIRL). It all took place behind (inside) a glass screen and I had the privilege (calculated fortune) of being in the front row (Toby Schmitz bowed into my lap) and refocussing throughout the play at poignant and dramatic moments was able to behold my own lovely reflection & brow creased and tense in the most harrowed & tragic fashion, which shows you that the play was of some merit.

The director’s note would have you believe that “The greater part of our life is largely uneventful...” and that Ibsen’s plays are “an inquest into the darkest hours of human experience.”

This version took place in a void – everywhere and nowhere – which I s’pose is a nice way to keep  production costs low & make theatre more accessible to the YOUTH, who for all of their internet & facecock savvy should understand the sadly solipsistic feeling of being everywhere & nowhere very well, but… don’t.  Fuck I hate the YOUTH, but that is by the by. The YOUTH in this particular instance being the screechy squeally drama kids beplaguing the Malthouse’s brickwork conversation pit (read smoking pit). ((How come drama kids are so lame but grown up actors so cool? My theory is a kind of survival of the fittest: the runts all die from peanut allergies on Yr 10 camp, the new bottom rung (by default) soon turns to glue sniffing and practice writing suicide notes as their primary form of artistic expression; etc., etc. until only the cool kids are left.))