I love Melbourne. Twice I nearly moved here. For law school and a job. Glad I didn't because it preserves an endless appeal with its beloved old haunts - the European, Brunettis, Marios, Bar Idda, other joints I can't remember (lists always sound silly!). This is where I saw Barry Kosky's early shows at St Kilda Motors (will not hear a word against him), caught They Might Be Giants at the Richmond Town Hall (after driving from the Colleambally potato fields with Graham The World) and where I beheld Mick McGuane bouncing it from halfback at the G against Carlton - four times! - and kicking truly - elated in the concrete of the old Ponsford stand. The site of so much love and partying, grand schemes and occasional triumphs, regular delights. Did I mention I love Melbourne?
This show I'm doing is a story. Every time I tell it I wonder what it is. After every show I change it, sometimes tinkering, sometimes surgery. It's never the same and always the same (it's a magic pudding, too, I cut 10 minutes and it comes again!)
Like Swimming to Cambodia (pardon the allusion) it's my story, a public confession, and a story of the world that tells itself, that I need to get out of the way of, even when I'm 'exposing' myself. Does that make sense? On the surface, you cannot do a monologue without a strong ego - and there is ego in everything. It ain't a dirty word as a Melbourne band once sang. The question is what you do with it. And not even that. Cos at the very time you are asking people to interrupt their busy lives for a story - ooh, ooh, listen to me - you are also effacing yourself, dispersing in the cast of characters, and submitting to the ideas that make the story live. Whatever it is. And I am not sure, which is part of why I keep telling it.
I would tell this story to three people for nothing. And have already told it happily to 7 people in Gympie at a former nudist colony. And to 12 once in Darwin. I hope I don't have to do that here, but if the numbers are low, I will just breathe in and tell the story. Do the job. For whatever reason, this is what I am doing. Muhammad Yunus roams the world. Grameen trundles on, with its 8 million borrowers, mainly women, mainly Muslim. Bangladesh glacially makes its progress out of poverty, educates more of its girls, drinks cleaner water. All the while the security state of the west insists on telling its story of fear, loud and boorish, and whoever wants to listen to this story - of love, of the importance of loving, of laughter, and never forgetting - shall hear it. Inshallah.