The Crepuscular Mr Snow

You’ll not likely see him, but he’s there,
out the corner of eye during dawn and dusk.
He dodges nine-to-five commuters,
keeping to gutters and shadow.

You rarely catch Snow in Australia,
though he’s present all year ‘round.
He gusts through alleyways where litter abounds,
He lives under tiles and in cracks in the pavement.

Outside the lamplight at twilight, he watches you,
wondering about friends, daylight, and things you take for granted.
Mr Snow is hungry for company, for food, for life.
Most of all, he just wants what you already have.

Nobody knows how Snow got lost in the grey.
So few could, because so few care to think.
The prospect is horrible; nobody knows who’s next.
Except Mr Snow. He’s seen it before and he sees through you.

Beware shadow-hands reaching from back-alleys.
Beware the tendrils of black teasing your brow.
Keep an eye on the cracks in the pavement,
and don’t write off what Mr Snow can not.

You too could turn grey, white and numb.
You too could eat from a bin.
The winds that harrow Mr Snow can blow through you,
leaving only twilight, garbage and dust.

~ Bruce

Redneck Charlie

Charlie: rusted out, four-wheel-drive, shit-bucket. Conveyor of cray pots.

I remember the late nights on Flinders highway driving home, air from the engine warming bare feet through a rusted cabin. Sand and shell grit falling away from toes and hems as they dried out.

Charlie was my first drive. Off-road. It helped that I didn’t have a road to keep on, nor that I had to dodge any trees. Charlie made short work of whatever got in the way as long as I kept him in first gear.

Mind you, the prickle bush could swipe back, so it paid to keep the windows shut –  an advantage not afforded by the tractor I once got up on two wheels.

I never knew where Charlie went. One day he was there, and the next, Dad brought home a white Ford ute, V8, cassette stereo, broken antenna and all.

Charlie probably deserved to go out with a bang, and Dad was fond of blowing things up at the time.

~ Bruce

RadiCool Melbourne #008 (Serious Edition): The Noise Bar

For readers who couldn’t already tell, I have a confession; I don’t have a hate-hate (or even love-hate) relationship with Melbourne. I do rather love it, in a way – the way you continue loving your dog, even if it drinks from the toilet bowl.

So with confessed affection in mind, breaking with the mood of the previous ‘RadiCool Melbourne’ posts, I just can’t bring myself to be even mildly sarcastic this time around… Such is the subject of this entry.

noise

The Noise Bar

Okay, a totally unsolicited plug;  I’ve developed a severe crush on this pub.

From memory, at the time of writing, on Wednesday nights there are $8 jugs of beer. In good company, several of these were downed the other week.

And I can still see the back of my hand, which is always welcome news.

But it’s when you try the food after the kitchen opens in the evening – it’s then you’re in for something cooked up with a little extra joie de vivre (wanker speak for ‘oomph’).

The menu isn’t too pretentious – it looks a little swanky-minimalist on paper, and the items have fancy Proper Names… but by fuck (which is quasi-sacred in my lexicon), the food is so incredibly good that the right to any mild vestige of trendiness is more than paid for.

I’m still trying to work out just how exactly, the bun on my burger was prepared. The very edges of the bread, almost caramelised, and how they interplayed with the sauce and the juices, mystified me (and as you can see, prompted a certain level of obsession). Although I suspect effect was probably an uncalculated idiosyncrasy of the chef’s (bless ‘im) handiwork, rather than a deliberate ploy.

(No, I didn’t have the munchies at the time, nor did I pop any psychedelics).

Obviously it wasn’t all bun-edges, my meal, but often it’s these little details that let on that your food has been prepared by a chef who loves what they do.

Naturally, there were several selections on the menu my picky vegetarian self was able to chose from.

***

Gig posters plastered the passageways, and the walls of the men’s loo (I can’t comment on the other half’s decor, having stayed where I belonged), and I’m told there’s a regular gathering of left-wing, Melburnian poets. I’m wondering how the locals would handle a Paroxysm Press Spoke n Slurred, or BorderCross SLAM*.

Whenever I hear of poets or literati from Melbourne, some small part of me always interprets the news like it’s fightin’ words… sporting like, etc..

The surrounding locale’s pretty interesting as well. There’s some nice old industrial red-brick buildings out back, with a bloody great old red brick chimney in the middle (I suspect, disused). The graffiti in the previous instalments of ‘RadiCool Melbourne’, for as long as they’re there, can be found along the Upfield line, north of The Noise Bar, which rests right next to the Brunswick station on Albert St.

With the daylight hours being what they are this time of year, on a not-too-hot day, you could take in a little graffiti on a walk, pop in for a beer, and try out the menu. You may even run into a performer or two if you time it right**.

Sobering back up, I can see my infatuation is leading to one of those long-distance type of affairs where I’m not going to get much face time. Almost regrettably, I’ll be seeing other pubs while I’m back here in Adelaide, but when in Melbourne, I’ll make it a priority to pop in to The Noise Bar for a drink, burger and chips.

Those lucky enough to be in closer proximity would do well to take advantage more regularly. Spoiled, Melburnians, you lot are.

~ Bruce

Update: There was some very sad news delivered to me, just a few days after I wrote this post. My compliments to the chef

* The first of which is on the 9th of February, 2013, in Melbourne. More details will follow as they are announced by the venue.
** Checking out events on The Noise Bar Facebook page would possibly help.