Just a few weeks ago at a dinner party in Melbourne a retiring Rock God said to me ‘Wednesday maybe if you stopped describing yourself as an Artist then you’d get more opportunities? Three times tonight you've referred to yourself as an Artist' As if that was something very shameful and the key to all my woe.
His words slammed like a sucker punch and so I slapped him back with his own self-description. The room gasped but I knew I’d missed his balls. My head was reeling. Why the fuck was I even having this conversation?
I knew that being seen as an Artist was akin to having a venereal disease but it was strange to hear someone who had devoted their life to the muse, chastise me for owning the fact that I’d done the same? I mean he had some volunteer scribe that he was dictating his autobiography to. But maybe he knew it was his shlong she was hanging on ? Because if I looked at all the stories I'd collected on my travels he did have a point.
Nobody likes Artists. Not even other Artists. Unless they’re rich they’re almost universally despised. When Aussies think Artist,they think smelly needy poor lunatic whores with no ears and no sense living in garrets off tax payers money. They think wankers and bludgers and even worse…poets. There is nothing sadder than a Poet. People run from them. They’re not worth robbing and they want to read you their poetry. It’s hideous! Run for the hills! Better to be that guy on his knees at Town Hall who keeps his mouth shut and holds out a cap looking humble and fucked up. At least he has the power to make people feel guilty. Poets don’t have the power to make people feel anything Except perhaps irritated and vaguely suicidal.
So I went to the loo and videoed my feet as I was contemplating. And I remembered when I’d just got back from New York and was still floating on the last of my Manhattan mojo. I had organised a photo story with a magazine and the Crown Casino Day Spa. They were catering to the Melbourne Metro-sexual. And I was bringing in three handsome men for pamper, interview and photo shoot. I had scored myself a room in the Penthouse suite and dinner for everyone involved and facials and mani pedi, massages for the talent. It was a magical ride that all ran like clockwork until the Casino looked at the proof of the photos. The Rock God looked too much like a dirty artist and didn’t fit with their corporate brand so they all freaked out and pulled all the photos. Without the photos I had no story. Without a story I was cast out of the Penthouse Suite and onto a greyhound bus back to Sydney. The clock had turned midnight and it was chutzpah au go go…
I’m a regular Cinderella act.
When I returned to the table to remind the Rock God of that incident I had a napkin swiftly stuffed in my mouth by the Hostess. She tapped her knife on her glass with a ding ding ding It was time to SHUT UP! The discussion was finished. And it’s not like I could argue because I was staying on her lumpy couch.
So I went out on the balcony for a cigarette.
The Rock Wizard joined me and said 'Wednesday I understand when you call yourself an Artist. That makes sense to me because I see myself as an Artist too'. The Wizard was sweet and could afford to be generous because he'd escaped from Australia and been rescued by Germans They even paid him to perform and they weren’t a front for organised crime or anything! He was indeed an Artist. He embodied and owned it. Whereas I had become that twisted thwarted creature that Virginia Woolf once described in a Room of One’s Own.
‘I gotta get out of here’
‘Out of this dinner party?’
‘No. Out of this country. From coast to coast it’s Ding Ding fucking Ding. She needs people like us. Artists darling ARTISTS! But she crossed the line with her 'ding ding ding'. This is why people end up throwing punches. And you know I expected more from Melbourne! I know it fancies itself as the cultural fucking capitol of the arse end of the world but this is not exactly the Round fucking table is it?'
The Rock Wizard listened supportively in silence because Wizards never take sides. They’re too busy looking at the big picture .
Then the Rock God joined us on the balcony and announced ‘A year ago I was diagnosed with Fucking Arsehole Disorder’ as if to explain himself.
‘Oh really? I replied. And all this time I thought you were a GENIUS’.
He had traded in his electric muse for a shrinks diagnosis and now he'd been reduced to a Fucking Arsehole. It was official. And then he pointed to his girlfriend and said ‘This woman saved my life’. As if that was sposed to soften the vibe and make me feel better?
If I’d been diagnosed with Fucking Arsehole Disorder the room would be emptied. It's hard enough being a Disaster Diva with PTSD. That didn't even win me a ticket for the Disability Pension. I tried for that pension TWICE but I failed the twenty point madness test. It’s very hard to pass that test. They’re not even taking Cutters these days. You could crawl into Centrelink hanging off a cross and nobody would blink. They’d just call security. So forget slashing your wrists. It leaves them cold. You’ve got to chop off the whole hand off and poke out your eye and get gangrene in at least one foot and even then you might only add up to nineteen points. It’s a risk. But then once you’re in, you’re officially mental. It’s like a club.
Hi I’m Wednesday PTSD. Pleased to meet you.
Nuts is the new black but unfortunately I’m not quite nutty enough. I’m in a sort of nut limbo. Can’t spit and can’t swallow. I’m one of those nuts who sees themselves as an Artist. Who will show you her stigmata at the slightest provocation. Who is married to the muse and who doesn't make a single choice without his consultation. I'm a regular moon mama. And I may be delusional. But I aint the one feeding Big Pharma. It’s a game, it’s a dream, it’s a faustian deal, it’s an art, it’s a calling it’s an addiction. We’re back to mental illness. All roads lead to the nut house. Buy your tickets, take your ride and suffer your ridicule
I AM AN ARTIST!
So put your money where mouth is.