EXCERPT FROM MY ‘NEW’ E-NOVELLA- ‘WAKING UP FROM LIVING THE DREAM’
THE REALITY OF LIVING THE DREAM/PERTH TOUR DIARIES
I’m heading to Rottnest Island to do a gig. Rottnest Island was used in the past as an Aboriginal prison island. Kind of like Alcatraz for people who hadn’t committed any crimes other than being on a piece of land other people who weren’t them wanted. What was once a place of incarceration for indigenous people is now a very popular holiday destination. But say what you say about it’s tragic history of brutality, genocide and murder, the snorkelling there is great and they have a Subway sandwich shop and everything.
The place is literally a mass grave. In fact there are signs right next to the children’s playground that point this out. ‘367 Aboriginal males were executed and buried here in this spot.’ The sign there reads. Almost one for every day of the year. I’m feel sick inside but then i turn my head and watch some kids play on the see-saw next to this mass grave and cheer up a bit.
Our hotel rooms are two Aboriginal prison cells with the dividing wall knocked down. They are very comfortable. I don’t know what those imprisoned Aboriginal prisoners were complaining about. The showers are hot and strong, the mattress is very soft and they had an electric kettle with all the tea, coffee and milk, you could drink. It seems like a nice place to stay to me.
Also the island is infested with these tiny marsupial wallaby type creatures called quokkas. They are cute as fuck.
‘Fuck the Quokkas mate. I fucken hate them.’ a local tells me.
‘Why?’ I ask.
’Cause they just get into your backyard and your front yard and shit everywhere.’
‘Well you did build a house where they live.’
‘Yeah but they come in and shit everywhere.’
‘But they were there first.’ I almost say but then I remember what happened to the other things who were here first in Australia. They were imprisoned on this island to die. I keep my mouth shut.
I’m hanging with one of the other comics. The subject of my negative views on Perth and the gig bans come up.
‘Perhaps because you expect that kind of reaction, and you kind of subconsciously manifest it.’ he says.
‘Perhaps you’re right.’ I say. Perhaps it’s true. Perhaps i got some kind of weird reverse secret thing happening. I pledge to myself that i will do my best to be likable and accessible to the crowd that night. I even write on my hand before the show two words: ‘LOVE THEM.’
The gig that night is horrendous. It’s a nightmare crowd. The front three rows are drunk and disruptive. The heckles come thick, fast and way too drunkenly slurred to effectively respond to. Someone called Sarah has turned 22 that day. I know this because a group of drunk 20 something girls repeatedly scream this at us a number of times during everyone’s set. The first two acts struggle. The MC does okay, he’s a very experienced act with wide appeal. I wish i was him. The MC brings me on and the it’s touch and go from the get go. I’m getting some laughs here and there but it’s hard to gauge as you can’t hear the laughter clearly over the ambient drunken screams. I compensate by shouting loudly and talking quickly over the top of them. There is a middle aged woman up front shaking her head and saying ‘NO, NO, NO.’ After everything i say. What she’s saying no to is questionable. At first i think maybe it’s my material but then i conclude that it’s probably just my general existence.
‘SARAH’S 22! SARAH TURNED 22 TODAY! SARAH’S 22!’ The group of young drunk girls scream at me. They look exactly like the tinder girls here in Perth.
‘Yes, yes, we know. You keep screaming that in the middle of all our jokes like we give a shit.’ I say.
‘SHE’S 22!! SARAH’S 22!’ They scream again.
‘So what? Sarah’s one year closer to death who gives a shit? 22 years and 9 months ago your parent’s fucked, it’s not that special.’
They boo me more.
‘You ever wonder what kind of sex your parents had to make you Sarah? Were you the product of a shit lay? Or a hatefuck perhaps?’
I don’t know why hatefucks prefigure so highly in my act here in Perth, but then it occurs to me that that is exactly what Perth is to me at that point, a hatefuck. Our relationship had run it’s course. It was time to break up with Perth. It had started out well all those years ago. We didn’t have much in common back then but we had always got along, but then something happened.
‘Maybe it will help if i talk like youse guys.’ I say in a pisstake of a broad aussie accent.
‘Oi youse guys settle down, let’s have a bit of silence for old mate Hughsie.’ I made the mistake of saying. Hughsie of course was the 25 yr old cricketer Phil Hughes who’d died recently of a cricket ball to the head. For the first time the entire night everyone is silent and attentive.
‘Don’t you fucken dare mate.’ I hear a voice snarl. I’m not sure what to do. I didn’t mean to talk about Hughsie but i feel i have to assert my dwindling authority and do a joke about Hughsie despite the awkwardness. I tell an insensitive joke i threw around on my facebook feed when i was depressed earlier that week about how the Australian Cricket team were saying they will have trouble replacing him. My suggestion was to get the bowler Sean Abbott who’d killed him as his replacement. The punchline was, ‘He can’t spin like Warnie, but he can kill a man with a ball, and that’s a valuable asset to have on any kind of team, sporting or otherwise.’ But instead of saying ‘kill a man’ i said, ‘Kill cunts.’ The joke gets nothing except some uncomfortable laughter up the back. The middle-aged woman doesn’t even say ‘NO.’ Suddenly i hear a whistling noise and an empty glass flies through the air about two feet to my left. Perhaps it was a warning shot, or perhaps it was just a shit throw. It was definitely not a throw good enough to kill a man like the high bouncer Sean Abbott had thrown, but it’s enough to throw me off my already thrown off game. The middle aged lady then gets up and turns around to face the thrower.
‘NO, NO, NO! NO!’ she says, picking the glass up off the stage and sitting back down.
I decide to pull back a bit and start doing some inoffensive material about birds.
‘So what’s with birds?’ I say.
‘NO NO NO.’ The middle aged lady goes back to saying. Maybe that’s all she can say i wonder. My classic birds bit gets predictably nothing. Maybe it was because the segueway between almost getting glassed in the face and the classic birds bit was clunky at best.
‘I’m sorry, it’s really hard for me to tell jokes while i keep an eye out for flying chunks of glass that might shatter in my face and cut my eyes.’ I say.
I wish i could say that i turned the gig around, but some gigs you just have to cut your losses. I manage to get a couple laughs out of the situation, but for the most part i’m just counting down my time. Literally. The last two minutes i start counting down from 120. It’s another classic bit of mine, but about twenty seconds in, the heckles begin and i keep losing count. Eventually i give up around 96. I end the gig by telling them that they are the worst crowd i’ve ever played to and that i hope they get hit in the head with a cricket ball and die.
I sit in the corner with the other comics with my back against the wall and drink warily, keeping an eye out for more flying glasses.
I am trapped on this island for the next 15 hours.
After several more pints, i stumble back to my hotel room and drift off to sleep, wondering how many aboriginals have died in the room i am in.
Buy my book, i need money to buy food until we live in a society where we don’t use money, which by the looks of things won’t be too far off: