Oh, it's that time of year again. Hey everybody, it's war month! Watch it on telly; hear it on the radio; buy the special cup; put a flag on your car (or is that Australia Day? Doesn't matter, just leave it on!).
Byron Bay. Friday, 10.10pm. 'She's a fine looking woman,' Johnno says. His eyes, watery and nearly as red as the French wine he's drinking, shoot across to where a fine looking woman is mixing cocktails.
The vampires are out. With top hats, long black coats and industrial boots, they haunt the festival bar, drinking Guinness, not blood. (Thank the heavens.)
Cars wreck cities. I'm waiting at the traffic lights, the Subaru coughing carbon into the night air. Crossing in front of me, four lanes of traffic are a smudge of red and white: headlights and taillights. Traffic hum penetrates my wound-up windows, adding a bass harmony to Ann Vriend's latest tune.
Humans are capable of incredible things. We can invent a little black box that sits on the television and allows you to download the latest series of My Kitchen Rules while viewing (and recording) the entire series of Game of Thrones. At the same time! OMG.
One of the rules of planting trees is to never plant in the middle of the day, especially if the day is very hot. It creates extra stress for the tree.
The Byron green glitterati are out and about. The upstairs room of the Byron Community Centre is filling with people who have just watched the anti-CSG movie Frackman in the auditorium downstairs.
The old bloke pulls in yet another fish, yanks the hook from its jaw, and throws the thrashing animal back into the estuary. The bloke doesn't smile. His face is a red puddle of grump dominated by a nose swollen with sun damage.
It's been a while since I swam in Lake Ainsworth. I used to swim here a lot – but that was years ago, back when Byron had an off season, Lennox had fish and chips under $10, and Ballina had a Big Prawn which you could climb inside, and look out its eyes.
The future is a fog. Hell, even the end of the road is a fog.I flick the radio off – beheadings in Egypt, executions in Indonesia, bombings in Syria – and switch on the CD player. People are so cruel. It's unbearable. Where is love?
Australia. Day Two of Good Government, 3am. No one – no matter how well educated, no matter how up himself, no matter how privileged, no-matter how many speech writers are employed – is the 'suppository of all wisdom'.
Broadwater. Sunday, 2.15pm. Two four-wheel drives, tinted windows up, aircon on, bounce along the beach, the smashed coffee rock beneath their tyres creating brown bruises in the white sand. I love national parks.
Two hundred and twenty-seven years ago, British soldiers landed in Sydney Harbour, drank a tot of British rum, gave three cheers for the King (who supplied the booze) and one cheer for British whale hunter Arthur Phillip (who didn't), and planted the British flag on Aboriginal land. Then a bloody war was waged. The Aussies lost.
It may not be the fault of the object of your love, but love brings disappointment – time and again. And after constant battering, love becomes bruised and sore, retreating into its shell like a sick turtle's head.
Lismore. Monday, 7.15am. The boom gate is down, the Subaru is idling in front of it, and the trailer-load of rubbish is vibrating in the rear-view mirror. The motor ticks after the long run into Lismore from my shack under the cliffs.
I am generally a man of peace. Like a mountain in a storm, I am an immovable monument to unflappability. Like a smiling Buddha, my belly normally wobbles with phlegmatic drollery, not trembles with rage.
After the rain, comes the heat. I stay inside and try not to move. I am practised at this. When it was raining I also stayed inside. A samurai moves only when required.
Christmas is a time of love, And love is all we need, And perhaps some extra money, To buy a Christmas tree.
Oh Lismore, is this all we have to offer our young people? Three girls, barely 18, and dressed like gansters' molls, sit with their drinks in front of them and swipe away at their phones.
There are some really chunky poles holding up the hall roof. They're huge, with every unmilled knurl and burl paying homage to the glorious irregularity of life.
I work pretty hard. Like a lot of modern people, I have more than one job. It's an economic necessity in these hard times. If I had children I would have to work them in the mines. (Oh, actually, some are working in the mines.)
The Town Hall isn't a town hall, oh no; in Newtown it's a pub. In Lismore, the town hall isn't a town hall either; it's a city hall, because Lismore, believe it or not, is a city. In fact, despite living in a shack 35 kilometres from Lismore PO in what appears to be deep bush, I am living in the city.
Let's face it. The news, the real news, is bad. The rule is: If it's bad, it's news; if it's good, it's spin. And it's compulsory to believe the spin or you're in big trouble.
The meter maids stroll by, gold sequins glittering from caps which offer some sun protection, and from bikinis which offer bugger all.
This month, 30 years ago, my band The Papers played a full moon gig at Wadeville Hall. A few days later, the hall was burnt to the ground.