[Excerpt: The Damage Report]
Being in the throes of preparing for my Reach exhibition I was pushing time to the absolute limit. I’d spent a solid day in the studio, with Bob the bull terrier for company. Come 10.15pm, it was time to get moving.
Walking around the corner I am floored by the feeble glow from the car’s headlights.
I’m in North Melbourne with a bull terrier, a dead car, no money and I have not yet shot my gig for the day. It’s 10.30pm. This is bad.
A courier is doing a U-turn. “Excuse me, I’m in a bit of a jam. My car has a flat battery. It’s a manual.” “No worries, I’ll help you bomb start it.”
We manage to turn the car around so it’s facing downhill. The courier jumps in with Bob; I push. Dzzd-d-drr-r-r … dzzd-d-drr-r-r … “Keep pushing,” he calls. I’m on it. Dzzd-d-drr-r-r … dzzd-d-drr-r-r.
It’s now 10.45pm and my project is seriously on the cusp of obliteration. I can’t breathe. We reach the bottom of the slope. A cab pulls over.
“I got jumper leads. I can help you.”
The cab driver pops the hood and leans in to clip on the jumper leads. Suddenly, he pulls his hands back and stands, staring into the engine bay.
A very large spider is having a private party right next to the battery terminal.
Cab driver takes off his shoe, gives it a couple of whacks, and it falls … somewhere.
After a few minutes the car starts. I take a massive breath, thank them both and we part ways. It’s after 11pm.
Fitzroy. Park the car, grab the cameras, bolt over to The Oldie. It’s too quiet. I open the door. Matilda is cleaning up.
“Oh no, Zo …”
I sigh. Maybe Bar Open will still be going.
Back in the car. There’s a park out the front. Buy a parking ticket.
“Hey Pete, the band still playing mate?”
“Zo! Yeah. Come on.”
Anne of the Wolves are well into their set. Their jazz-infused folk washes over me. I need it. From the back of the room, someone calls my name. It’s Rich. I point upwards – gimme a tic. Shots taken, I walk over to Rich, sit down, put my head in his lap and cry. It had been quite a day.
If it had not been for the kindness of strangers, my project would have been over.
Tonight was an epic lesson in letting go and trusting in all sorts of shit, including the unknown. Day 203 is about resolve. It’s a very special one for me.