Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Big Issue

We have a semi-regular customer in the cafe. He is not one of life's successes. He is gentle. He is worn and threadbare, a person of the street. He is a bit more into God and salvation than people I am generally drawn to. He has asked me to God meetings and has tried to engage me with talk of Baptism. Sometimes it has been awkward because I have had to say, no thank you, your God is not for me. But thank you.

Yesterday he came in with a friend who is also on life's fringe. Some people have it so rough it does your head in. They remind you to never complain again, because compared to some people, you ungrateful fucker, you have it sooooo good.

So Mark and his friend come in and they order two pots of tea and a slice of sweetness. They sit down. I take their tea and slice to them. Mark is talking quite excitedly of work. I've often wondered what he does with the rest of his time. The concept of employment never really came into it. I just didn't know.

"Hey Lee," Mark says through that lop-sided smirk he always talks to me through. "You would know about that magazine - The Big Issue? We're selling that now, him and me. You know that magazine?"

"I know that magazine. It's a good magazine. Good on you."

The Big Issue is a good magazine. I know the vendors on the street often look worn-down (with some other ones seeming like hyped buskers), but seeing Mark in the cafe looking so chuffed to be doing something, some work... yes, it's a good magazine.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

The Dark Miracle.

The Dark Miracle

Lee Bemrose

The greatest species on planet Earth is broken in ways that can't be fixed. We are too many.We are too greedy. We are too hungry, too careless, too violent, too willing to believe in God. We are too divided, too superstitious, too fearful, too hateful. We want too much, want what isn't ours, we want more and we want to be over there where life is better. But we don't want them here, where life indeed is better, because this is ours, this better life, not theirs. Humanity is going mad, turning on itself like Calhoun's rats. We have embarked on our own destruction, and there is no turning back. We are destroying the forests and jungles, the oceans and the air. We are destroying this miracle planet, fully aware of what we are doing and where it will leave us. We are too smart for our own good, too stupid to save us from ourselves. Our demise is inevitable. We are accelerating towards it, no turning back. We missed our chance. Perhaps we never had a chance. Certainly, now, we don't stand a chance. We could have been light, but we are the dark miracle that is humanity, and we are broken in ways that can't be fixed.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

On Being Immortal

Click image twice to make it readable.

A friend sent this to me recently. Something I wrote about 10 years ago. Sometimes, amongst the silliness, it was fun to slip something a little more serious into the mix. Although I had forgotten about this piece, I remember so very clearly writing it, and what was going on in my life at the time. Those were the crazy days, the out of control days, the too much fun days.

The hand-written note my friend sent to me said flattering things. But most flattering was the fact that 10 years ago my friend bothered to cut the column out and keep it.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Feeling Smuggly

I love walking home from the cafe - even in this biting cold. All rugged up in my warm things and scarf and beanie and big jacket, I'm all "Fuck you, Cold, you can't make me cold with your pathetic cold, not when I'm all rugged up against you like this. Your feeble attempts to make me cold merely make me laugh."

It makes me feel kind of smuggly.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Squirting Rainbows

Sunday lunch. It makes me so happy I squirt rainbows out of my head.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Sometimes when I say I like a thing, it's because I like a thing. Sometimes when I say I think a thing is funny, it's because I think a thing is funny. Sometimes when I say I've disengaged from a thing, it's because I've disengaged from a thing.

Sometimes things are just things.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Am A Miracle, Malthouse Theatre, Review

                                               Photo by Pia Johnson

I Am A Miracle

Reviewed by Lee Bemrose

I Am A Miracle is the latest work from Melbourne writer Declan Greene. My short review? Wow. Epic. Dreamlike. Nightmarish. Disturbing. Confronting. Thrilling. Biblical. Poetic. Perfect theatre. Go see it.

Oh how I'd like to leave it at that. However I suspect a few more words and thoughts are expected, probably with some of that syntax stuff involved. Oh well, here goes...

There are three stories being told here. There's the story of an 18th century Dutch boy who grows up, joins the armed forces and sails away to the colonies to help quash a slave rebellion. There is the story of a contemporary city dweller and his clash with his carer as his mental deterioration worsens. Both of these stories are book-ended, in a way, by the true story of Marvin Lee Wilson who spent 18 years on death row before being executed for his life of crime. It was revealed that his low IQ should have seen him avoid the death penalty; alas, it did not.

This very ambitious production draws you in from the start with its powerful story-telling and at times glitteringly poetic text. The acting is masterful. The set design and sound production are nothing short of stunning. There's a kind of harrowing beauty going on here – especially towards the end - coming at you from all directions.

Bert LaBonte opens the show with a kind of countdown to the hour of execution of Marvin, as he offers a futile list of unfinished promises to do something, of futile hope that some last minute thing will happen to prevent this imminent death. There is an argument, of sorts, between the three figures on stage, and the situation does indeed seem futile; there is a reason these Angels Of Justice are wearing prisoner overalls.

This gives way to Milita Jurisic's wonderful monologue of the life story of our Dutch soldier. Surprisingly funny on occasion, it grips and manages to be incredibly evocative of the bloody hardship suffered by the invading Westerners and the slaves alike. The whimsical intro of our hero's journey gives way to brutal reality, ending on a note of yearning. Jirisic takes on several characters, and armed with such excellent text she drags us through the gamut of emotions with aplomb. It's a bit of a bravo performance.

LaBonte takes centre stage in the next story, a very modern, domestic drama. Again, there are unexpected laughs, but the mood here quickly darkens. Nothing whimsical here. This is confronting and raw and so sadly real. LaBonte and Jirisic as the combatants make you feel for both of them and the situation they are so tragically locked into.

There is a third cast member, Hannah Le Crisp. She frequently adds to the ethereal feel of the production with her soaring operatic vocals. Gorgeous stuff. A lot of thought has been given to the sound production, and it works like the best soundtrack of your favourite movie.

The play closes, back to that countdown, back to the futility, back to those prisoner angels and talk of God and justice, back further and further... can't remember the last time I felt (you don't just see it, you feel it) such an epic and thought-provoking close to a play.

It takes a while to unravel just exactly what you've seen here, just what connects these three stories. It stays with you, this play.

At Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. Season Ends August 9th