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seen in byron bay the other day

There’s no working up to this, some days it gets handed over for nothing, these little shows. Today was Little Richard day, or Miles Davis day –



Three fellows walking past the Byron paper shop yesterday, all abreast.

The one of them nearest the shop window looked like these two guys combined but a little more ragged, his hair in old coils and wearing a snap-brim hat. Everything on him coloured black except for a little sunset gold on a dusty cardigan half-slung over one shoulder. The brother in the middle was a blue-chinned heavy-armed Leb stand-over model, and the last one was the apprentice knock-down artist. White on white, black on the side.

They just moved on by. Cruised on by. Looking at everything like it’s the first time they’ve been in town. Looking like they’ve been in every town in the country but Byron. Everyone coming at them let them by. It’s a step-aside town Byron Bay, in daytime.

Then the babe.

Everyone comes to the Bay, from everywhere. Every day.

This girl from somewhere just kind of squeezed past the window and the little coil-haired guy in the snappy hat, she was walking the same way but going quicker. She was wearing something whispy, diaphonous, silky, and transparent – all those things a fellow notices in the small pure portion of time he’s allotted before his blood quickens and whispers its traitorous intent.

Blonde, tall, and graceful as she slipped past: a faint displacement of air, perfumed, she trailed.

The hat turned as she passed, both shoulder to shoulder now, and with the suave aplomb of an unregulated Hunter S. Thompson, he said, in a handsome and cultured voice,

‘Good morning.’

She, after an instant’s hesitation, said back,

‘good morning.’

They walked on.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. The Roller #

    Nice piece, Pete. Very nice.

    “Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent.”

    “For me, music and life are all about style”.

    -Miles Davis

    September 23, 2013
  2. Peter McClelland #

    Yes, nice indeed.

    Although Miles wasn’t very nice to his women… and, believe me, they were HIS women!

    Read his ‘autobiography’… rough, but interesting.

    For Miles, it was always the space between the notes… the pause, that little breath.

    And its name is ‘genius’.

    Don’t believe me? Listen to ‘Sketches of Spain’.

    September 23, 2013
  3. listen to ‘on the corner’

    September 23, 2013
  4. Peter McClelland #

    Yes, I shall… and every damn track on ‘Kind of Blue’ again and again and again.

    Just an aside… I’ve been having a look at ‘Bloodlines’. Pete, very nice indeed… congratulations!

    Specifically, ‘Erin and the ideology of hate’ – “He always had something on his mind, and we wanted it to be us.”

    That is classic Clive James… and there’s no higher praise than that. Bravo!

    There are probably only six people in the world (yes, I’m one of them) who would flush with pleasure at your placement of that comma… ‘that pause, that little breath’. I’m tempted to keep charging down the line and use the ‘g—–‘ word but someone’s bound to drop in on me. 🙂

    Incidentally, I’m using my own newly-minted term for stunning sentences such as the above… a ‘Wynhausen’.

    In memory of Elisabeth Wynhausen, a wonderful writer and Bondi gal who recently, and sadly, stepped off the beach due to pancreatic cancer. Her memoir, ‘Manly Girls’ is sublime… she went to Manly Girls’ High School in the 1960s. Yes, there’s a fair bit of sea and salt…

    Gosh Pete, a Clive James and a Wynhausen in one sentence!

    I need to go and lie down.

    Seriously mate, well done.

    September 24, 2013
  5. kind words indeed Peter, thanks .. it’s all in the reading isn’t it

    September 24, 2013
  6. Actually Pete i just wanted more words to read, With or without the C.

    October 1, 2013
  7. Peter McClelland #

    Ahhh Bruce, you’re a philistine. 🙂

    There’s a world of pictures in a comma. And even more so when it’s tucked up nicely in the pocket with the sentence feathering down the line. (Note absence of commas).

    October 8, 2013

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