When I was 20 I used to drink with this dirty old man who sprayed spittle when he spoke. He was sleazy, obnoxious and the only person I knew who read the same kind of books I did.
Actually, he was the only guy I knew who read at all.
I eventually stopped drinking with him (I could handle the sleaze but not the saliva), but I do owe him for two things:
- he recommended A Confederacy of Dunces, which has since become one of my favourite novels
- if not for him, I would never have met my first long-term girlfriend. Well, that’s if you consider three months long term. Back then it seemed like a lifetime.
We were in a daggy pub in Glebe with sticky carpets and bad cover bands that appealed to a dirty old man crowd, and my future girlfriend was there because her best friend had stood her up. Unlike the cretins around her, she looked innocently wistful as she drank her Guinness – and although I can take or leave wistfulness, I worship girls who drink Guinness.
Now, most guys have no idea what to say to a girl. Lord knows I certainly don’t. I’ve tried everything from “I’m the kitten-taming man of your dreams” to “I shag like a tiger” (while making growling noises) and for some peculiar (and unfathomable) reason neither has ever worked.
That night, however, I simply shuffled over, looked up at her woefully (she was at least half a foot taller than me), and said, from the heart, “My friend spits when he talks, and I need a break from feeling sticky”.
To this day I suspect she only dated me out of pity.
I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing all this, especially since I’m now ending the story without writing a middle or an end or giving it any coherence at all – and you’re probably here wondering why the hell this isn’t a bar review – but I guess it’s to illustrate (albeit badly and long-windedly) that to me books, booze and random rantings have always gone together, and from now on that’s what I want Bar Zine to be about.
Oh, and kittens. Lots of kittens.
You see, up until now I’ve had no outlet for my half crazed ramblings – and trust me, I desperately need an outlet.
I need to vent about melancholy punk songs, and why Nelson Algren has been cruelly ignored by modern readers, and why Twin Peaks is even better than Dexter (and I do love Dexter), and why cask wine doesn’t have to be evil, and why my cat is a sexy beast. Because I’m obsessed with bars and alcohol, I’ll still write about those – but I want to write about more, so much more, because otherwise I’ll go nuts. And trust me, going nuts is not a long trip for me to make.
So from now Bar Zine is not going to have any structure. The posts will be sporadic, chaotic and probably ill conceived. In short, I’m going to vomit words onto a page and hope to hell someone finds my sickness as appealing as I do – although I realise no one will.
I know I’m going to lose almost all of you by doing this, which I genuinely regret because I would never have run Bar Zine for so many years if not for all the positive feedback readers gave me, but …
Well, sometimes it’s nice to smash everything to bits and begin all over again.