October 14, 2006
Oki Oki is a Perth Band
It happened on Wednesday. On that morning X rapped on his brother's door, waking him, and asked for some dosh and a place to crash. His brother had seen it all before, and turned him away. Some hours later--forensic tests will remove the doubt--he was dead.
Surrounding his body were 60 capsules of something (I have not dared ask what) and alcohol was later discovered in his "system". "System" is a word science uses in articulating its objective findings; the family would use another to describe the vaguer, sickly architecture that lay beneath his skin. He was 25. He was my cousin.
I first met X when his family--two brothers and Ma and Pa--moved in with us after emigrating from Ireland. I didn't like it.
Much like divorce or distant death upsets the young because it threatens the neat emotional balance and movements of those they're anchored to, this sudden inflation of our family unsettled me. Toys, time, and a cherished personal space were sacrificed as so my mother could (quite decently) offer up the first lily-pad in this new country. My father, still cherishing time and personal space, begrudged the invasion, and time played itself out--vaguely recalled now as a series of violations and confrontation. And so they moved out, finding a dreary niche in Perth's northern suburbs. Selah.
The meat of this piece won't be provided by any narrative of intimacy: there is none. They moved out, we all grew up. We saw each other under perfunctory family auspices, and then... nothing.
It is the way of our family, and now, in a year of bad luck and mortal old-age, the perverse appeal of having no close family attachments is becoming clear. And so it will be a strange funeral, and God smite me for saying that.
There are ripples cast by most deaths, and X's sad demise is no different. My brother received the news just an hour before a gig, and hearing a deep register of shock in his voice when I spoke to him, scuttled down to the Hyde Park Hotel to offer up some small support. I got there 15 minutes prior to them playing: he was white and his eyes were elsewhere; glazed with the meniscus of a humble tear. That night, at least, the water tension would hold.
It was a strange gig, sabotaged by the careless hipster at the sound desk, but happily notable for the good-humoured shruggery of the three. But it was more notable for the cloak of melancholy that had settled on my brother's shoulders, and the aloof, blackly bemused relationship he held with the music.
My brother's depression had made him poetically sympathetic to X's death, and the suspicions of suicide that surround it. It is a bad poem. It is all gallows humour and dangerously entrenched introspection--the harmonies of a depressive's solipsism. And so I rode this one ripple with my brother, aided by compassion, guilt (I should see my brother more), outside advice and beer.
And my reflections on this sad, silly, terrible death? Life's grim and absurd, and made remarkable by too many fine things to name.
And so may we well "beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" but while we're at it we can be joined by lovers and, if taste requires, The Apples in Stereo.
Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at 2:12 PM
October 6, 2006
I Am Kloot--"Proof"
So it's a Friday evening & the sun's slipping &, well, I just discovered this gem--I Am Kloot & one of the better time-travelling Doctors teaching us all... something. Enjoy
Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at 5:32 PM