Rumours published

It took me just 20 years, but the Rumours from the Pit collection is now available on Amazon.

Rumours from the PitThis is a collection of 69 of the best of Carl Wyant‘s columns from the mid-1990s through to 2000.

You’ll be wondering why I’m publishing it.

Because I’m the fool who spent countless hours arguing with him by snail-mail during the late 1990s. Choosing the columns, ordering them, proof-reading, ‘editing’, hammering out the first draft, and finally, producing a digital version in 2016.

He was the fool who spent the stinking-hot summer of 2000-2001 climbing Morningside hill to my castle to finish it. Maybe he knew his time was nigh.

In a case of better late than never, I’ve been working on the kindle digital edition for the last week or four. A print edition should be available shortly.

My blurb reads, in part;

Part outlandish fiction, part memoir, part comment, here is Carl at his inventive best.

Grab a copy. You’ll thank yourself.

Old dog, new tricks

Since this roving life doesn’t include a pet, I’ve taken to borrowing one.

The loveable wee mutt above is Pedro, the house dog, sniffing and surfing and fetching his way up and down Moana Sands beach.

After a few games of indoor soccer, I realised he was bursting at the seams with excess energy.

I took him for a couple of trial morning walks, him straining at the end of the tether, and leaving his signature around the neighbourhood.

After a couple of days of that, I risked unleashing him on the beach. Straight for the water he went, and never mind the other dogs, or their hind ends. Next he suggested some games of fetch with the beach pebbles.

I saw him that, and raised him a piece of driftwood, and it’s been game on ever since.

Most mornings, a low whistle or a rattle of his tether will see him come tumbling down the stairs all a-quiver.

He’s a smart, but aggressive wee guy. Maybe it’s his element, as well as mine, but at the beach he’s much less prone to bite things.

Stranded in Paradise

Paradise might be stretching it, but stranded is not.

The NZ Government, bless them, have changed the rules again to make MIQ compulsory for travelers from Oz.

I’ve done MIQ once, and that was enough. A second stint would cost me four figures, and that’s after going through the lolly-scramble to get an MIQ booking.

So, Adelaide it is, until the end of February, when the borders reopen without the need for MIQ.

It could be worse. I could have a terminal illness. I could ( still ) be a vegan. I could be living under a bridge. Or in Invercargill.

It could be better. I could be living in an apartment over-looking the beach, being entertained by dancing girls, and served by a private chef.

Or, it could be just as it is, which is fine with me, for the moment.

The Ashes

If I had a bucket-list, it would have been one item shorter as of yesterday.

That because I stumbled on a chance to watch a live Ashes test – at Adelaide Oval – yesterday.

Me and my bike took the train into town, with plans to wander about the city gawping.

As I sat slurping my second coffee in Adelaide central, my phone reminded me that it was final day of the second cricket test between England and Australia.

I rode 5 minutes or so to the stadium, to find that tickets were $2.

I’m not the kind of cricket fan who can sit for hours watching, but here was a one-off chance.

I found a local supermarket ,and tap, and loaded up on meat, cheese, and water for the duration.

The Oval

The Oval itself is a monument to Aussies’ love of cricket. It seats 53,500,and is surrounded on three sides by covered stands.

It shows instant replays for those spell-bound by their phones. It is crawling with ushers quite happy to answer stupid questions from Confused of New Zealand. There are clean and well-appointed toilets. There’s an orderly bar and eaterie with no mud in sight. Everything is signposted, and there are lifts and escalators aplenty.

In a word, modern.

The Crowd

Is something you don’t get sitting at home. After two early successes, the Aussie bowlers were having trouble making further in-roads, and the crowd became restless. There were hopeful cheers with every bowling change.

And then the slow-clapping started. First to gee up the bowlers, and then, after a while, more of a demand for a scalp.

Finally, a huge concerted roar as Jhye Richardson let rip with a snorter, getting rid of stubborn Chris Woakes. It was a sublime sporting moment. I was there.

The downside of crowds, of course, are neighbours. One an over-sized young woman chattering away to her silent middle-aged friend. And the other, behind me, a Pom who cheered “battiiing”, like some medieval lord tossing out favours to the local knights. Twat.

After Woakes went, the sheen dimmed and the shadows lengthened. I wandered in and out, postponing the 45-minute train ride back to the ‘burbs.

The radio commentary detailed England’s last twitches as I rode the train.

Moana Sands

After two nights, I finally made it to the beach – 650m down the road.

Twice. First for the morning constitutional ( above), and second for an afternoon swim. .

There were a couple of hundred people on the beach, and enough of swell to catch a wave or two among the kids and boogie-boarders.

At 28  ºC, with the Vitamin D streaming down, just a whisper of wind, and the sap rising, it’s the kind of day even grim old cynics write songs about.

Adelaide

There were a couple of spanners in the works, but I made it to Adelaide OK.

The first spanner was getting my bike through the baggage check-in. After pestering Virgin for dimension limits, and trussing the bike up with wrapping and padding for Africa, airport check-in staff greeted me with hems and haws;

It would need a protective box. Which would cost extra. But it’s within your size guidelines. OK, we’ll provide it free. The box isn’t big enough. We don’t have a larger one … We’ll need to see the contents. You want me to unwrap three hours’ work? OK, just a peek then. Righto, it’ll have to go in Oversize. And just like that – an hour later – my bags were checked in.

I made the dubious decision to cart the cheap bike I bought in Cairns because;

  • I didn’t want to add to the flotsam at Roger T’s place
  • no-one on Facebook wanted to buy it
  • I used credit from shysters Kiwi.com ( Ukranian ) to pay for the trip. The few dollars leftovers dollars of credit for a standard fare would have either been wasted, or meant dealing with them again.

As a reward, I had a rare second coffee, and settled in to listen to audiobooks for three hours before the flight.

Delayed

Because I was on board, there was an obscure “technical hitch” to delay take-off, and add further grist to my persecution complex.

Within a jiffy hour, we were airborne. The flight was uneventful, and took about 10 games of phone sudoku.

Moana Sands

The owner of the shared house where I’m staying was good enough to pick me up at the airport, and a 30-minute drive later we were at the seaside village of Moana Sands.

The house I’m sharing is older in the sense that it’s mainly wooden, with high ceilings. I’m on the bottom floor, near a quiet road. The view from the top balcony alone, overlooking the sea to the East, is worth the price.

I think I’ll like it here.

Omicron – a cynic’s knee-jerk

For all those Jones-ing for another shot of fear and alarm – heeere’s Omicron!

The media loves it cos it sells eyeballs.

Politicians love it cos they get to tell more people what to do.

Big Pharma loves it cos they sell more merchandise.

Sheople love it cos they get to ‘do the right thing’. And post it on social media.

Who pays?

Nobody, according to this from Brisbane’s Courier Mail on Sunday.

That’s right, Pfizer, bless them, “have agreed to supply” the doses. Nowhere does the story mention any payment, any monetary figures.

But don’t worry, it’s ok. Because Scott Morrison says “there is nothing more important than the health of our children”.

And who am I to argue with that?

Cat-sitting and bike-napping

I traveled into Brisbane today to soak up some culture – museum, art gallery – but instead learned some other quirks of the natives.

Said one bogan to another as I walked past them – “I can’t , I’ve gotta go cat-sitting out West.”

Cat-sitting? I’m left wondering;

  • Will the moggies be allowed to stay up late,or will it be lights out at 9pm?
  • Whether the bed-time story will be a quick Three Blind Mice or will it be The Cat in the Hat again? Or maybe they like to be scared a little, something like The Hound of Baskervilles?
  • Will they need a bottle, or a nightcap ( catnip )?
  • Will an intercom be used?
  • Are they toilet-trained?

 

, and more. What are the rates for such a critical role?

I’ve often wondered how safe it is to lock a bike by securing only the frame or front wheel. I found out today when I ran across this in a large shopping centre carpark;

And in between those musings, I did manage to browse through the museum and art gallery. I have to admit, I hardly did them justice, but I did get some evidence.

The gallery and the museum are both ideally located on the “South Bank” of the river, five minutes’ walk from the centre of town. Also in the same stretch are a theatre, and more buildings dedicated to the performing and other Arts.

The gallery building itself was an impressive piece of art. Light, and spacious, predominantly white, and a very natural feel.

Perhaps the museum, a short stumble away, is even more impressive. But that’s down to its range of displays and good use of digital learning tools.

I’ll be back.

Events that the Newshawk himself could not understand

By Carl Wyant

(The following story is true. But the names, dates, places, people, and events have been changed to protect the innocent.)

The banquet hall flickered in strobe-lit confusion as Madam X checked my pass.

As I waited, nouveau wealth in every lush and lavish form jostled by … an impressionistic wash of diamonds, veils, tailcoats and sprayed-on stretch fabric. These were The Beautiful People. The shooting stars. Today’s pin-ups, tomorrow’s nobodies. My assignment? Observe, analyse…. and if possible, get totally knocked-out and loaded.

Cleopatra Baskerville looked stunning, as always. Her face, a neo­ gothic masterpiece from the hand of greasepaint genius, Henri LeCroix, was especially compelling. Moreover, it was so heavily applied that when we danced cheek-to-cheek an exact likeness of it was printed on me, leaving me the usual hardened thug on one side, and the belle of the superbunnies on the other. But I was unaware of this, and when we parted I was none the wiser.

I was downing whiskies by the piranha tank when a steaming bimbo in a leopard suit zeroed in on me.

“Cleo darling,” she gushed. “Love the man’s suit! Why didn’t I think of it?”

“Pardon me, mam” I said, “but my name’s Wyant. Carl Wyant.”

She ran a disdainful eye over me. “You mean the Carl Wyant? Nah. He wouldn’t dare show his face around here.”

“I beg your pardon?”

She studied me a moment more. “Oh! I get it! Where do you get these ideas? And the voice and everything! You’re too much, Cleo.”

She handed me a tall pink drink. “Here,” she said, “drink now, fly later,” and she was gone.

Perplexed, I drained the brew, wondering if something really unspeakably weird was going on.

I need drugs, I decided, and was moving towards the nefarious-looking activity across the hall when Max Bullhead loomed up suddenly on the port side.

“Carl you old dog. What in blazes are you doing here?”

“Well, at the moment I’m trying to get to that table over there where people seem to be snorting some kind of whiteish stuff,” I said.

“Ye gads boy! I hope you don’t throw a gasper on us. It’d be a nuisance if you had a heart attack or something.”

“Tell me,” I said, ignoring his tasteless dig at my age, “do I look anything like Mademoiselle Baskerville?”

He glared keenly down. “You’re mad,” he said, thumping me cheerfully on the back, “absolutely mad,” and he merged back into the crowd, chuckling.

Great. I’m old. I’m mad. I look like Cleopatra. And I just drank a glass of pink hallucinogens. If this doesn’t mean something, nothing does.

Two vague forms came weaving out of the f lashing lights, smiling and saying ‘Carl’ and ‘Cleopatra’ with great gusto.

I lit a camel and focussed an apprehensive gaze upon the forthcoming beautiful people. It was getting too complex. At a loss for words I took the easy way out and let Cleoptara talk for me.

“Hey kids,” she said, “it’s like, euphoric. But Carl and I must go now. Lunch tomorrow at Chan’s? Fabulous! Think happy thoughts. Bye now!”

I was driven home in a limousine and was still awake two days later when the Sunday paper knocked a panel out of the front door. Wrestling it open a bold intro caught my eye.

“Fashion freaks are freaking out after slinky mega-bucks model, Cleopatra Baskerville, was seen leaving a six-figure bash in the company of low-rent gossip weasel, Carl Wyant.

“‘They seemed very, very close’, one witness claimed.”

I fell into the chair, stricken. Holy suffering mackerel. I had been on the scene of news and missed it; but worse, I’d gone home with M’selle B and can’t remember!

Woe. But maybe there’s mileage in it yet! Yes….yes, I must reach Cleo at once .

Golden for the day

In my hosts’ ongoing quest to beguile me with the delights of Brisbane and surrounds, I was escorted to the Gold Coast on the weekend.

First, it was the Carrara markets

Among dozens of stalls, I managed to find the little old lady selling very cheap sunnies. I had to jump through some hoops – cash only – but well worth it to keep up appearances.

“Since you’ve been such a gentleman, I’ll throw in a second pair,” she says, probably wiping out her earnings for the day. I couldn’t find a polite way to decline.

We ate and meandered, and then took ourselves off to the beach.

There I managed to cook myself a nice reddish brown – rare, not well-done, no sauce thanks – in between flailing about and wallowing.

The high-rises you see are mostly apartment blocks. I have my doubts, but Roger claims these are affordable without a second mortgage.