Flat White

Bleak thoughts from Bleak City

12 August 2020

5:34 PM

12 August 2020

5:34 PM

I was with the best minds of my generation – chartered accountants, real estate agents, Instagram influencers living off the ScoMo handout that invested heavily in Docklands and forgot to sell before the crash. Dull men, women and photogenic 12-year olds taking your money while wearing angel headed hipsters t-shirts (copyright Ginsberg Estate) and with Jack Kerouac in their head playing air guitar on the weekend in the basement but now queuing in an empty city for tasteless black coffee at the laminated counter at Flinders’ Coles anaesthetized by the wokedown looking for an angry fix, readjusting the mask. 

John Brack’s Collins Street, 5 PM is empty, only the grey overcoats are left and the 8 PM swill. All of us an essential service in the freezing Melbourne morning the steam out of our mouths like an exhaust pipe, our downloadable permits gripped in our hands, our Twitter account burning with nonsense while awaiting the arrest.  

We are the ticking time bombs of our generation counting seconds on the watch. The ideology is driven by tedium or is the tedium driven by the ideology? Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital while standing in a queue. BLM is just another guy wanting to microchip your dog.  

These things do happen just don’t ask why these things do happen. And I mean you.  


It would be like marking my own exam paper. 

The centre will not hold. We are all in this together; none of you are to be trusted. We can’t help ourselves. Just ask any doctor in a Saturday night emergency ward about the things they extract from coked-up humans at 3 AM. Character is destiny. But that’s Sydney it isn’t Melbourne. Get thee to a Safe Injecting Room if you want to smoke your cigarettes after 8 PM. 

My mind’s not right. We tap outrage on a broken keyboard then play scrabble with the pieces. It dribbles out of the side of your mouth like a Facebook thread meandering in its idiocy. Intoxicated with its self-importance. ‘What a pointless argument you make.’ Now let’s turn our minds to the Middle East or the Trump Amerika fiscal initiative. Don’t post then. Nobody’s got a gun to your head but what else have we got to do other than play Russian roulette with our brains and count the 6 weeks down. What shall we ever do?  

It’s a bit silly to participate when you say you don’t really want to participate. This is what passes for the revolution. Pass the vodka. 

In the arcing surveillance spotlight, I saw a bust of Pericles in the Minister’s office. It represents democracy but you have to wonder whether at night she secretly topples it to be part of the zeitgeist. Then props it up again next morning to maintain her ministerial responsibilities.  

Our gasolined freeways empty but for the shimmering security light drooping and shedding her sparkler dims as Dan posts thank-you and tucks me into bed the last thing I see at night the first thing in the morning. I think of Dan, the father I never found. But the thing is someone is kneeling on our necks. We can’t breathe.  

Michael Scammell is an essential service, with apologies to everyone. 

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