"Ebert and Ghost give rave reviews"


   July 2002 — text by Austin Pick

July and so where was we? Well after five days in Melbourne, played the airport game again, all very relaxed and... many exercises in patience, this traveling... and really very soon we're here, in Brisbane, uninvisible at last and almost unbelievable — glistening clean & modern compact metropolis french-kissing a serpentine river gliding thru calm subtropics to eventual ocean grinning turquoise, whispers of paradise...

Whaa, this home for a year? I'm living in a residence college and so here's how it works: universities in Australia are for the most part very large, and integrated into the campus of each are a number of residential colleges, which are like self-contained micro-universities, each providing gyms, dining halls, computer labs, functions, etc. They each have their own sports teams etc., and a few have pubs. At the University of Queensland there are upwards of a dozen colleges, some single-sex, some co-ed. I'm living at Emmanuel College, which looks much like a spanish villa, a collection of dorms and other facilities surrounding a courtyard with eucalyptus trees shimmering and quietly presiding over the affairs of about 350 students. Thru a slim tropical grove past a smallish waterfall and behind the college the Brisbane river slips by and by...

So arriving to finally discover my true accommodations looming up to disenfranchise any preconceptions I might have had & well kid its better even, greenhall carpet trailing to a bungalow bohemian closet — a desk a bureau a bed a window no room for dancing even, and the best part is... I love it. Just enough room for human with few possessions and pretentions which are slimming all the time, lets hope... A corner to stack my notebooks and some wall-space for my maps please! Keep it simple.

Other Americans living here at College as well, and they've been trickling in a little every day b/c I arrived about two weeks before school's to start, few Australians around they're all on winter break. Winter! Cold at night yes perfect for warm sleeping and basically gorgeous and sunny and gorgeous all day. All in all about 40 others from abroad living here, these all good decently chill amiable and adventurous characters, we all become friends rather quickly, exploring the city the nite-life bars clubs pubs, day times parks and markets and campus — The University of Queensland, 28,000 students, huge and tropical, a diverse conglomerate of architectures and forested pathways... and I haven't even seen all of the campus yet, so much to explore investigate and get to know... The first few days have been sort of bewildering, head spinning with place possibility necessary details and —fock!— how do you work these phones?

A few Australians are back from break early for work and so forth, and they show us around a nd take us out proper, wild nights & crazy characters, the city becoming more and more familiar... Then there's this: Thursday nights at the Vic  —to the Vic to the Vic!— two fer one drink specials and, what? yes, everyone is here it seems, fellow students abroad from every corner, everyone met so far and suddenly there is this incredible sense of comradery and... recognition among us, dancefloor gah gah antics, a hilarious game — the partying continues at a ridiculous pace really — how much goonbag box wine can I drink and how many times will I stand on balconies overlooking my own stunned Idea (Illusion?) — alcohol you old spirit you... but the australians aren't back yet and the americans are good and fun but still... they gallop at that pace I've come here to shake out of myself, thinking amerika, calm your appetite you dirty fatbox, remove yourself from these... soles...  

A rousing start this Movie, can it keep up with itself? and anyways always all this talk of travel amongst us and so yes Lets Go! — we plan and pack and mid-week we're off, about a dozen of us, to the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane, by train and bus by hook and crook we wind our way thru Australian countryside...

interesting characters on this bus, first a guy who works for Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter at his zoo, which we pass on the way (Australians always sortof apologizing for him, like us always saying yes sorry our President is an oaf, that kind of thing) also on the bus a nice guy who graduated from UQ a few years back, I give him half my seat (very crowded you see) we get to talking and he offers me a place to stay and some work if ever I should need it, very sincere and everything... Australia! subtly different so comfortable... and also on the bus (on the Bus?) an old dude who worked for Philip Morris 40 years and he starts bragging to me about how Philip Morris bought Kraft Foods for xx billions dollars and diversified their empire and so forth, a nice enough cracker I suppose, but... he asks me what I study, I tell him and we sort of look at eachother —he knows and I know!— and I want to ask him you know like how does he personally reconcile his ethics with his... business, and hey baldy what's it like being longarm for the Man and so forth, but what to say! He's looking at me straight and bragging about the focking Empire!  

Hilarious and anyway soon enough we're smack on beach in a quiet and very tasteful oceanside resort hamlet, and (you'll like this) we manage to finagle a large cheap hotel room above an abandoned mexican restaurant, sneaking a dozen or more kids up there, comes to like eight bucks a pop (in the minor key of aussie dollars). Beach all day, drinking games and whathaveyou until a little later when the alcohol seems to have got drank, whynot slip across the street to the quiet little Koala Bar, inside and what's this? backpackers and travelers carousing, a crazy little band playing tribal jams, 'heads up and dancing freaking out — don't mind if we do, thanks — a little soup, friends? Then inspired suddenly an idea becomes an episode — who wrote this script? Six of us make a shadows dash thru the hamlet, looking looking... there! Should we can we lets! A sleeping resort we sneak the bush and jump the fence and enough with all these clothes slip dip miraculous trespassed hot tub and swimming pool, fits of giggling and lamping-out and... gawd these americans are so noisy... we are so focking LOUD, our whole frigging culture, nevermind that anyways I'm gracefully melting in this hot tub until... suddenly this girl and I, suddenly we both at the same time get this sort of premonition that we should Leave, so up up no time for complete dress make dash wet brisk black three blocks back to motel slat, refreshed, invigorated, alive... three beds become six, ten, we divide mattresses, boxsprings for me, I'm young yet...

Another full day at the Coast, three of us wind off to the astounding Noosa National Park for an amazing day of hiking amongst alien groves and along wild rocky windswept beaches... good conversations interject gracious moments of savored Quiet... how many eons could I sit here in meditative absolution, watching ships of fools acrashing on the forgiving shores?   Anyways we sail on, my brothers...

And in all the whole Sunshine secret —transportation, food, sleeping drinking everything— couldn't of cost mo re than fifty bones or so, go money go! A travel circus and back to Brisbane —are we kidding?— just in time to go Out again —to the Vic to the Vic!— more rowdiness and carousing smoothly converts into latenite cooking and conversation with these intriguing girls... a weekend along to wind down and suckle sunlight register for classes get ready for school to start — for school to start?  

Etc. Just a few highlights, just maybe the general jist of this strange movie so far. Scrolling textual trailer. Ebert and Ghost give rave reviews... & what of this so-called spiritual journey? Well it's the same story but a different dialogue. ("If it's not here, its nowhere") Get to that too, with these fingers tapping too-long messages, trying to get the general rhythm down... but how much will I ever manage to squeeze into electronic bottles? Anyways we sail on, my brothers... Essentially this is how I compressed my summer into two solidly awesome weeks.

And then, the Australians returned...

With love, A

08.11. 2002

Australia/New Zealand: Ch.2 | Ch.3 | Ch.4 | Ch.5 | Ch.6 | Ch.7 | Ch.8 | Ch.9

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