Blue skied n’ clear (Perth)

15 Sep



Went there when I was 15, stayed in an all boys boarding school. Met a bunch of ignorant Aussie farmer kids and a bunch of ignorant Asian kids who couldn’t speak English. It felt like Lord of the Flies. Met some cool/outcast kids who became my close friends. Learned how to like vegimite, mixing milk with tea and meat pies. Fell in love with the first smell of winter and saw the deepest bluest sky I’ve ever seen in my life, like ocean in the sky.  Saw a dolphin while surfing at Cottesloe beach, saw a girl smiling at me as we walked past each other, that was a good day.

Went to Northbridge every Saturday to buy comic books. Went up the stairs and the smell of  old comics was intoxicating. Saw an Uncanny X-men issue 137 in mint condition hanging on the wall, that was my Mona Lisa. Introduced mie goreng to the Aussies, they got addicted, started charging them $ 1.00 for every packet. Taught some Aussies some swear words in Indonesian but it was actually ,”Gue goblok.” (“I’m stupid.”). Went to a high school social, trying to impress the girls by drinking beer and head banging to Nirvana and Metallica. I think they were impressed. Broke into an all girls boarding school, they were definitely impressed.

Skateboarding in the city on the weekend on my Willy Santos board, trying to find cool spots. Being chased around by security guards.  Damaged some stair steps while doing grinding in front of a Commonwealth bank, thinking that was the highlight of my life. Skateboarding around school at night feelin like Christian Slater from Gleaming the Cube. Broke into other school to find cool spots and got caught. Told them my name was Marky Mark. Found out years later, one of my skateboarding friend got killed in a car accident, his head was smashed into the front window.

Went to college and lived on my own. Always fell asleep in front of TV while listening to Radiohead’s The Bends. Went to 78 records on Hay street to listen to new cd’s. Trying to make eye contact with the cool chick working at the counter. Never got the courage to ask her out, but I did ask the cute chick who worked at Mcdonalds, and she said “yes.”

Went to see lots of interesting clubs, underground raves and live concerts. Went to an Industrial night club and saw goths dressed up in gimp suits being led like a dog on all fours, me and a friend went headbanging in a cage. Went to hardcore drum n bass club called infirmary, spend lots of time at an indie club called the loft, saw Jesus & Mary chain, saw Stone Roses before they broke up, saw The Prodigy when they were good, saw NIN, Primal Scream, Carl Cox, Groove Riders, Sound Garden, Placebo, Beastie Boys, Atari Teenage Riot, Blur, Moby, Gerling, Massive Attack, Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, Faith No More, Pavement, Squarepusher and many more. Missed out on many great bands too.

Had the best cheap Japanese restaurant at Samurai, 5 bucks for a plate of the best fried chicken ever. The katsudon wasn’t bad either. Had the best fish n chips in Freemantle. Had the best kebab at Alto’s kebabs. Had the best steak burger at Fast Eddy’s. Had a good Indonesian food at Little Sparrow. Cheap, good and plenty.

Fell in love with so many films, Planet video became my holy grail but video Ezy in Subiaco wasn’t bad either. Double bill features at Leederville cinema were always cool, they always played Kubrick’s films. Seeing ‘Clock work orange’ on the big screen was a special treat. Seeing Godard’s ‘Bande a part’ on the big screen was cinematic. Seeing a film outdoor at night in the middle of summer at UWA was pure class.  Seeing my short film being screened for the first time was nerve wrecking, dedicated my short film to my cousin who died of overdose. Found out recently his mother is dying of cancer.

Met many types of kids. Crazy ones, artistic ones, druggie ones, drunken ones, slutty ones, rich ones, poor ones, confused ones, sincere ones, dodgy ones, damaged ones, innocent ones, spoilt ones, abandoned ones. Had lots of  great parties, always great parties. Learned how to roll a joint. Learned how to tune a guitar. Learned how to barbecue in the middle of winter.  Got my first car, a blue 1976 Mini Cooper with white top. Always looked cooler than a yellow Mercedes, always will.

Learned how to make money by cleaning toilets and cleaning offices. Learned how to make sandwiches, kebabs and capuccinos, learned how to serve drunken customers with a smile. Learned how to be quiet like a ninja when the landlord came for rent and didn’t have the money. Learned how to stand up for your self against racist bullies. Learned how to make short films and knew writing/directing  is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Learned that nothing is permanent in life. Learned that the people you care deeply eventually will disappoint you  and they will feel the same way about you.

Fell in love with a girl who worked at a 24 hr deli. She was my first love.  It felt like a Wong Kar Wai’s film, it felt like watching  ‘Chungking Express’ for the first time.  She came from a farm but she’s not ignorant, she was full of life and I never met anyone quite like her before. Went to see The Matrix for our first film date and she was bare feet. I saw life  in greys and browns but she saw it in full spectrum of colors, and each color had 10 different shades and they were all in me too. But I didn’t see it, that’s why we didn’t last.

Left Perth for good not long after I finished college, went to Sydney, Bali and Jakarta for a bigger adventure but that’s another story.

I never saw most of the kids I knew from Perth anymore. Most of us went our separate ways to different countries and lives. Most of us are connected through facebook but we hardly keep in touch. Knowing they’re on facebook is good enough, like an insurance policy. You never know when you need them. Even though you hardly use them.

Perth is not the most glamorous city, in fact it’s too quiet for most people and many left. The spacious city could also feel claustrophobic. But somehow the little insignificant details always stay with you long after you’re gone; eating a crumbed cheese sausage with chips on vinegar at 2:30 in the morning outside the 24 hr deli, riding a bike at night to see your pot dealer, finished work at dawn and staring at the sun breaking through the clouds, walking in midland while listening to Dinosaur Jr. on a walkman,  collecting $ 5.00 entry coupon to the loft, finding out at the atm you’ve got $ 17.00 left and the rent is due tomorrow, teaching your friend how to drive in your car at an empty parking lot at night. Waiting for a pizza delivery guy at the front school gate on the weekend. Driving on Canning highway in the middle of  December heatwave. Staying in bed with a lover in the afternoon watching Jerry Springer.

Now, every time I look at the sky, it’s never pure blue. The blue is always pale and there is always a strong tint of dark grey around it but sometimes, not often-actually its very rare-the sky gets very blue and clear, not all the way but close enough. And that is enough.

8 Responses to “Blue skied n’ clear (Perth)”

  1. Andrew September 16, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    A near punch up over reading Indonesian in a stupid voice. Still going to Sparrow. A taxi to the airport for a beer because they don’t ask for ID. You finger framing everything you liked as if the camera was already rolling in your head. Making me the chump saying “gue goblok”. Making an introvert act for the camera for the first time. Falling asleep to the smell of stale cigarettes and the sounds of indie. Packing a bowl which gave me wings to make the last delivery of the day until I fell off the truck I was holding onto and ended up in surgery. Flying along the freeway in that mini inches from the ground towards a house that doubled as a brothel. Introducing me to bands that I still love to this day. Thanks for the memories and to all those bands and artists and friends that compel us to look up and see the brightest blue even when there’s none

    • joegievano September 16, 2012 at 4:15 am #

      nice one frean. I always kept a straight face whenever you said “Gue goblok.” and it was not easy.

      • Mark September 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

        Cool. very cool. it brought me back to Perth!

        are you going to think of a treatment and script for this too?

      • joegievano September 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

        not sure yet mark. its a bigger scope. its got potential though. let me think about it.

  2. Ben September 17, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    Those first few sentences are so spot on, I couldn’t of described it better myself. It’s amazing to think that it has been two decades now, seems like a lifetime ago in some respects.

    I still remember when you first arrived at GG in 1992? You had this Americanised, international schooled accent and were loaded with these stories of living in New Jersey and Singapore. I used to think you were so well-travelled and worldly. That idea was probably emphasised more by the juxtaposition of yourself with all the country farmer kids, many who had never left the state.

    As 1990s teenagers and early 20 somethings, it seemed we all felt that the clean, pretty but quiet, family orientated Perth was holding us back. Everything we were into was always done on way larger scale and much better elsewhere, whether it was in Sydney, Bristol, Brighton, London … or the the States. Funny though as in the end I guess it didn’t really matter.

    • joegievano October 6, 2012 at 5:31 am #

      yeah in the end its how you want to shape the life you want. I could grow up in Kenya and still be a geek who collects comics, watch cool films and listen to great music. logistic wise, of course it would be much harder to experience those things but you’ll try to find ways. I was glad/lucky Perth offered those things with ease and helped me to find my identity.

  3. Timothy Merks (@timmerks) September 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Yeah man. Lots of memories here in Perth. Your ones sound super nice

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