LOVE A LOSER'S ANNUAL
(with apologies to Georges Perec of OuLiPo 1936-1982)
By Hamish Danks Brown
"Even if it rained women, all you will get to be with is an umbrella"*.
A place de la concordance where there was and is no accord
because we were always dancing different steps to different songs.
Her invitation to sit next to her at a school matinee session
of Shakespeare's 'Love's Labour's Lost'
Old Theatre Royal in Sydney in April 1972
only to be seperated from her by a suspicious teacher
who relegated me to the back row where
I spent the whole play sighing in her direction
while getting my arm twisted behind my back
by the playground bullies who used to taunt me.
The power generator that failed and pushed us into a blackout
when I sat next to the very same her at a high school reunion
over twenty years later in a marquee full of over 500 people.
This was a very swift way of never getting to see her again,
since I soon afterwards lost my way in the darkness and
locked myself in the foyer of the school office
where the only public phone did not work,
while trying to call a taxi for us
to take us back to anywhere with lights.
I wonder how long she must have waited in vain.
Close dancing to a trad jazz band in Brisbane Jazz Club
before she got so drunk I had to carry her to the taxi,
and carry her to the bathroom, the her room,
and let her sleep it off, and the next day, she was still off.
An idle, wild idyll in Eidsvold that idled, sidelined and stalled,
mainly because we were talking and telling each-other goodbye,
while her boyfriend was sitting with her on the front porch,
and I was camping 500 kms away at Lake Wivenhoe.
That lifetime premiere of a teenage blind date
with a friend's school friend at a high school formal
where she was blind after two drinks
and so suddenly collapsed face first
into a bowl of soup while we sitting together.
At the same time a school friend happened
to be one of the waitresses there as it
was her uncle's function and reception venue
and she badgered me with inane questions
like 'what the hell are you doing her?'
for the remainder of the evening.
We managed to clean and sober my date up
and my parents collected us and drove her home
where she couldn't run out of the car fast enough.
The tall, lithe, arresting and charming belle in Belconnen
who I was introduced to during the first student gig
I ever organised while living on campus.
She came from the right up there side of the tracks,
i.e., she was the daughter of an entry in Who's Who Australia,
who was a senior scion of very conservative politics,
She, who I will not name even now, was
educated at prestigious private schools in Canberra and
she was also engaged to the son of a foreign diplomat
and thus observed all the laws of someone
to be so attracted to since they are so unavailable.
Thus we threw ourselves wide open to each-other
in the car park outside the venue
because we both knew that a door would
close on the connection we really did create.
Only later did it twig that we had both
been leaning and looping our limbs
across the bonnet of her vintage sedan
so did we scratch the duco while
we caught on and clung to each-other?
The young woman who got so enraged
at an innocuous comment made by a friend,
at her place after we had seen a band
at the gloriously grungy Sando in Newtown,
She started hurling all that she could reach
at high velocity in the direction of my face.
I can still hear the bottles smashing on
the other side of the door I slammed shut
behind me as I exited in haste and fear.
The much older woman
I hardly knew who honed in on me,
incoming like a heavily perfumed drone,
and who insisted very vocally that
I was lusting after her and
always had been and who ordered me
not to deny that I should be with her,
and who then told me that she had been
twice widowed and liked being turned on
by really rough-to-violent sex, just before
she passed out in the middle of my local.
The young French travel agent
from Strasbourg who was pleased
to be travelling across the Nullabor Plain
with some who could speak her language
until I made the comment that it was
not possible or practical to travel
right around Australia by coach
in only twenty-eight days because
Greyhound after Greyhound
would be all she saw of the country.
She moved across the aisle and sat down.
She did not reply to my 'au revoir'
when she disembarked at Kalgoorlie.
The woman who's mother and sister
beat her and threatened to kill her
rather than have her be with me.
I cancelled the flight to her homeland
and the family psychodrama
awaiting my arrival.
Later she wrote me a letter
blaming me for her whole ancestry.
The woman with whom I set up a home
who stayed with me all night on
our very first night under the same roof
and then invited her former boyfriend
over to stay with her the next night.
The Canadian woman who was studying
postgraduate materials conservation of art
I escorted to my shared student apartment
only to find my bedroom occupied by
a circle of male friends lounging all over
where she and I had intended to be,
avidly listening to my record collection.
The above episodes are but a typical fraction
of the far too long running no-show
that now threatens to outlast me.
The writer Georges Perec sometimes reflected on
his own self-thwarting "system of defence"
by which his lovelife was a series of fiascos
from when he was a teenager to when
he was middle aged, according to his biographer,
David Bellos, and when I read that passage,
I empathised immediately and compared
his situation to my own slap stick,
of unrequited assignations
that are beyond counting.
So I'm a unicum-by chance
who still subscribes loyally to
Love a Loser's Annual.
Anyway, we haven't got all night
to catalogue my personal catastrophes.
We haven't got all night.
It's easier as it's difficult to predict
what is not going to happen with you
How often I have heard that before.......
* - a most quotable comment made to me in a bar in Canberra one night, circa 1982,
by the man who ended up going either to his or her place with my date,
whatever her name was. Glenda? Gwen? Germaine?