Well I’ve had a real good week in spite of having a cold and/or flu. I went to the doctor in Cookeville, Tennessee about a week ago and got a prescription for antibiotics and a nasal spray. The consultation and the medications cost me about $230 US dollars. This is three times as much as what it would have cost me in back home and they say we Kiwis are isolated. The doctor’s surgery was a Christian-based affair and the service was very good (which means to say that at every juncture I was being exhorted to ‘have a nice day’) and all I can think is that God’s accountant is very happy and possibly very smug, too. I reckon he probably plays golf with my previous accountant and the devil will get the hindmost and someone deserves a good kicking.
One very nice thing that did happen to me this week was that I was putting up poetry posters on poles in a small New Jersey town at daybreak when out of an alley came a complete stranger with a smile a mile wide and he said, “Aaah Mister Phantom Poster Man!”….I carried the feeling he transmitted to me around in my head for a day and intoxicated myself with it. I gave the bloke a couple of poetry posters by Kiwis and we laughed and talked for about ten minutes. I know how these street discussions go by now and they always seem to get around to the All Blacks. The sooner I can get to talk about the All Blacks the better I feel and Americans are a very accommodating lot. When I get to talk in an untrammelled way about the All Blacks it becomes like an orgasmic rush and craven hearted is the person who would not allow me this.
The Maori All Blacks played the USA Eagles in Philly last night and half a dozen girls from my local diner were going to the game and they wanted me to go with them and get drunk, but I am rather a modest and repressed chap… except when I’m not. I don’t know where the dividing line is and when I should start to call these girls ‘young women’, but they are a lot of fun and they laugh a lot and have no idea there are any drones anywhere. That’s how I like people to be. I like people who can make Ernest Hemingway’s writing seem like it’s completely complex and that’s a reason why I like the American South (and more on that later). In my view if people can’t say things in a very simple manner, then it ain’t the truth and you’ll get your arse shot off for that (still) in parts of the South.
At breakfast this morning one of the young women (since she appeared to have aged and matured overnight) was talking about the Haka and her eyes went ablaze and she started gesticulating as she served up my bangers and chips. It was dangerous there for a while and then she started to talk about the thigh (one thigh) of one of our forwards in the scrum. Honest you would have thought she was describing Kentucky Fried Chicken as she described in depth the sweat on the thigh, the endless pushing forward and the muscles rippling, the little beads of dirt down the leg, the socks around the ankles, the sweat band of electrical tape around the head…. and then…..then she began talking about this fine man who seemed to be pushing against all the evil that the world sent his way. From the way she described it the Eagles were driven back about forty feet and the Maoris won. My breakfast was free as she needed to get some of that stuff off her chest.
In jail I was doubled up with David Alastair Jarvis for a while. His band was kind of famous in New Zealand Music and should be a long way more famous. They were called The Androidss and they brought three miles of fun (and then some) to Kiwi Music at a time when it was taking itself much too seriously. I still hear them ringing in my head and I still see the vitality of this band on stage. And whether they were actually ‘on stage’ or not, this is a band that conveyed that vitality even in the streets if you happened to run across them. We need more of it. God Bless the people who bring fun in this life.
I was doubled up with Dave before the band formed and he was in jail for selling smoking dope which isn’t even a drug in my opinion…it’s like a lawn weed that needs clipping and hell if you’re bored you may as well smoke the shit and make as big a noise as possible about it. Maybe the world will listen to you if you fight something or if you are aggrieved over a cause of some kind or other. Good Luck.
In jail we’d often smoke that shit at nights and Dave would go into a long and extended rant about either Captain Beefheart or Frank Zappa and this would generally last until about 2am and there was no shutting him up. As long as the lights were on we’d play chess and he made me a great leather chessboard (which I still have) and one night he attacked me with this leather punching mallet when I made a mockery of what he was doing on the board and I won. It was easy for me, I just didn’t smoke dope that night and everything became very simple. I think we loved each other and that love continued until he died in some latter day Christchurch opium den about five years ago.
Dave was a very bright guy. I mean super bright and his eyes burned with such an intensity that you’d be afraid to look into them. Those eyes conveyed all the intensity and the fun that The Androidss became. Dave had been some sort of behaviour problem as a child and he came from a relatively well to do and caring family, but he was ‘out of sync’ with his surroundings and I think he had been seeing psychiatrists from very early on. I don’t think he’d ever felt at home until he discovered dope and I think he really liked the mates and the ‘meaning’ this new world bought to him better than he liked university or the idea of doing better in life. Dope bought him beautiful girlfriends and music that is still played throughout New Zealand and with a great deal of respect too.
I believe Dave, like all of us, cried the day he got out of jail because jail too gave us better mates than we’d ever had and we were all united (the 1%?) in this idea that no matter how much society kicks us we were going to have a good time. We are going to have a real good time together and we got close to each other.
Dave got out a long time before me and then he became a junkie. I can’t remember too much of his criminal history after that, but I do seem to remember he got into a fight with his girlfriend one night in High Street in Christchurch and he set off the burglar alarm on a local record shop run by a prick and waited for the police to arrive. You see crime is largely about being self destructive and since it’s almost impossible to get caught you have to create the breaks and open up the wounds yourself. Otherwise Dick Cheney (and others) would be doing life or maybe riding the lightning. The real criminals almost never get locked up.
Dave Jarvis’s behaviour became even more erratic as the years went on. At one stage he was selling relatively large amounts of Heroin and since all junkies are narks (police informers) selling Heroin is not a good career choice. He was living in Nelson and he came to Christchurch and he chose to stay at the most expensive hotel in town (at the time it was Noah’s Hotel) in order to ‘big note’ and to become a celebrity for a while. This was way before Kim Kardashian showed us all how to become famous and so none of us really had any idea how to become well known and we tried these other weird things like thieves in the night. Dave probably had a briefcase too. Anyway, people are knocking on his door at Noah’s looking for ounces and Dave got nine years. This is all as I remember it and we must remember that almost everything in life is ‘auto-fiction’.
I never stopped loving him.
I was going to say something else about the South of America. Well, when I arrived in Nashville airport what collapsed me into laughter was a message over the intercom played right throughout the place. It was a recorded message of George Strait (the country star for people who don’t recognise ‘famous’) thrusting his pelvic muscle forward and saying in a deep voice: “This is George Strait and welcome to Nashville airport”. Still cuts me up and I think he should be in jail.
Thank you Kemo Sabe.
A Tinker’s Cuss started life on the Phantom Billstickers Facebook page – it’s a new feature here at Off The Tracks and we’re repeating the earliest posts before carrying on with new words from Jim Wilson.
Click here to read A Tinker’s Cuss # 9