Melbourne Story

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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:46 am

Some Memory On Her Birthday

(I learned of her exact birthday on one of the two Intervention Orders she served on me in 1993-94. Until then it had never been precise in my head.)

We slept in a bungalow out back of Mum's. Jackie was working in the city in a finance company, I was attending college in Burwood - my first year of primary teaching. The year was 1988. We'd met late 1987. I would say we were pretty much in love. She moved in, it must have been March-April, partly because we were still in the 'honeymoon' period but chiefly because she was boarding on the other side of Melbourne in Springvale at her Nan's and she knew no one. Jackie pretty much initiated the move. There we were, 19 and 20, sleeping in the same bed each night like a regular married couple. Me playing her Lionel Richie on my brother's broken down record player many a late night. We hardly knew one another.

A few months passed. Winter reared its head. We thought of renting a flat or house. I was lukewarm to the idea but Jack was all for it. One Saturday morning I went to get a haircut by a friend. As she snipped and shaped, Jackie called out from under a newspaper, "There's a place in Emerald. Brand new. Two bedrooms!"
'Emerald,' I thought. 'Bloody miles away. Up the bush.' "Are you sure?"
"Don't ya' reckon? Get away from the burbs. Not that far, is it?"
"It's a long way, Jack. I dunno. You feel like a drive this arvo'?"
Around two we careered out of Mum's and headed east. I'd only had the Corolla about a year so it was reliable. We got to the Burwood Highway and it was all straight from there. Jackie was excited. Like she did in those early days when I was driving, she placed her right hand on my thigh. I liked it. We drove on to Belgrave and got the key from the real estates. Still another fifteen or so minutes of hills and paddocks and gum trees. It was so green. "What d'ya reckon?"
"I love it all," she said. "Do you think there'll be any bunnies here?"

We arrived at the house after 3. It was situated just behind Emerald Park Lake - a place where an old train, Puffing Billy, steamed up from Belgrave pretty much daily. There were a few lakes, a kiosk, you get the idea. I remember the silence, the peace after I turned DC (my car) off. When they said it was 'new' they weren't kidding - brand spanking. A timber home, all electric, unpainted inside. It was sizeable, she loved it. I mean she really did! And I think I was pretty impressed, too. We'd never 'moved out' proper before. We were going to apply. We picked up the forms. Dragging on a ciggy on the way back, I had a thought. The rent would be hard to pay. I wondered if a mate of mine, who Jack got along with well, would want to join us. "Hey hon, what do you think about having Chookas come in with us?" My baby was fast asleep with the application still in her hands. I smiled.

We got the house. Chookas was in. One Sunday morning, very early, we packed Chookas' brother's delivery van, a Dyna, with our goods and we left the big smoke. Jez, my little brother, drove with Chookas, and Jack and I in DC. It was exciting. We planned this, we planned that. We were so happy. Typing this today it is difficult to imagine I once felt so sure, so alive. That we were close, particularly in the first year or so. We were on an adventure and it was this girl beside me who had opened me out, given me structure. A year before I was in a hospital swallowing Stelazine and Cogentin to recover from a brother's suicide, another's cancer. Now I was an adult, studying teaching with a gutsy girl beside me. Nothing could go wrong. We painted most of the walls and moved in.

The first night went well, we got pizza. Chookas had to get the truck back so me and Jack had the run of the place. It was cold and we spent the night in our room in bed. An early start was required in the morning. I had to drive Jackie the twenty minutes to the train in Belgrave. Then for her it was an hour to Melbourne. It was going to be a shlep five days a week. Although I had considered that it was a distance, the exuberance of youth overruled. Luckily, I had holidays for a few weeks and went back home to Emerald. The weeks went on. I wasn't eating too much but still remember my lady's spaghetti. I started back at college. The driving each day was taking its toll on all of us. My studies began slipping. And for something fairly unusual to me, I started reading the Bible a bit. My mum was a firm believer in G-d and I 'felt' something but I hadn't read too much of the Bible before. I started reading Psalms. And this is where I end my recollections. This is where you don't get fed the punch line. Except to say that we didn't stay much longer in Emerald and that Jackie and I lasted until the 26th of November, 1992, when I flew out to Tel Aviv. And when two days earlier, on the 24th, Leonard Cohen released 'The Future'.
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:53 pm

Eden

Listening to Harry Nilsson's 'Without You'. Not thinking of her so much just pondering the paradox how G-d is everywhere and in everything yet so many won't listen or discard Him. It's like He has left each of us to our own devices, like we're out of Eden. Our animal cousins are here, too. They are safe. They obey the dictates of the natural world, of survival. But we, we know. We ate of the Tree of Knowledge. We know what is good or evil. We have conscience. I realise the Eden affair is metaphor. But what it alludes to is important. We have a responsibility. But even with all the knowledge in the world, we have lost our way. We cannot make it to the Tree of Life. And this kills, literally, all of us. There is only one hope. And it is love. The excommunicated reality we know today can only be undone by love. We must turn from greed, we must give on an unprecedented scale. We must live out of the good. Only then we might see what this mysterious lord has in store for us.

I'm taking a break,
Boss
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Mon May 04, 2015 11:47 am

The man on the bench at the Victoria Market is snoring. His old coat, bare feet. It is Winter, June '92. I push the 10 stack of crates past him. It is 3.30 am. I get to Dairy Produce. It's my biggest shop. I flick the wheels from under. The crates slide easily off. They hold health breads. Light potato rye mainly. Some currant buns and middle eastern flat breads. I don't like much of it, some of it is okay toasted with Vegemite. But the bread is not what's on my mind. It's that drunk. I wonder if he's eaten lately. I'm walking out and I walk to the bratwurst shop. He's just starting up. I ask him for two bratwurst rolls with sauce. Obligingly he makes 'em. I pay $3.60. Now I need some courage. I walk with my trolley and two rolls to the drunk. Carefully, I lean over. I see his face, his unkempt hair, rough beard. I am startled. He is awake! Holding a roll I extend my left hand to his hand. He grunts and snatches it like an animal. There was no manner, no civility. He'd lost that years ago when his father beat him and his wife left him. That man would be dead today. He'd never have thought two ways about that night. But I do.
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Wed May 06, 2015 4:42 am

His name was Peter. He was 19. He was a roof tiler. His parents had migrated to Australia from Germany. His father was tough. He drove a yellow panel van. Had done it up with carpet inside. He'd taken my brothers and I for a spin a few times. He was solid, he had tattoos, the old sort. He was strong. He'd throw me up in the air in summer in our Clarke pool. I must have gone four foot above the water. He showed me how to fix punctures on my purple bike. He smoked, and he drank. He was made very unwelcome by a few uncles of mine at a 1976 Hanukkah party because of his ancestry. In the following years these uncles went to Germany on business. Peter was rough, but he loved my sister Esther. She was 17. The last book she was reading was 'A Star Is Born'. I think she saw the film. She loved anything Streisand. Our grandparents had taken her and my older brothers to matinees - 'Fiddler On The Roof', 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', 'Mary Poppins'. She was working at our local Kentucky Fried Chicken. She loved smiley candles, incense, Leo Sayer, love songs. She had two pet terrapins. She painted a scene in her bedroom. A rainbow and some vegetation. Had a big poster of Paul Newman. She owned an old cupboard, kinda like in 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'. Esther smoked. Esther was very popular. She used to buy old 45 singles and play them in the lounge dancing with her younger brothers. She made me laugh. Mum and her were very close. The two of them stayed up till the small hours watching 'Wuthering Heights' in our study. They went to Sydney together. They looked after us boys. She made a delicious shepherd's pie. Esther was funny, zany even, my only sister. On the night of April 2, 1977 the family was to go to Mum's sister's in St Kilda to celebrate Pesach. Esther was unwell and it was decided she would stay home. Mum rang her about 8 to see if she was okay, if she'd fed the dog. All was okay. We arrived home after 11. The lights were all on in the house. We went inside. She was not there. Mum became frantic. At about this time Peter and Esther were negotiating a bend on one of Melbourne's northern arterials. Peter lost control of his yellow panel van and hit a concrete pylon on the side of the road. They were both rushed to hospital. Esther died at around 1am. Peter about an hour later. At about 4am the doorbell went. My brother answered it. Two young officers asked to see my parents. Everything changed forever. Everything. My innocence shattered, I still ask questions. Still, I am angry with G-d. They never had a chance.
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Cate » Wed May 06, 2015 3:57 pm

That was so well written. Adam, you still blow me away. I know it's a very personal story but how you've told it really gets me. I like the directness of the short sentences. It feels right in the telling, here's an image, here's the next image ... I did not stop reading once on my first reading.

on the content
You were so young, I think that's why I like the short sentences as well it feels like how you remember things from your childhood, how there are some things that stand out and some pieces are just gone. I feel like I've gotten to know these people a little bit. I feel a chill when I read about the 4:00 a.m. door bell ring (a parents worse nightmare). I can't imagine what it was like to see those police officers and know that the world has forever changed.
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Thu May 07, 2015 12:11 pm

Hiya Cate. I'm glad you were moved. I read this to someone yesterday and I broke down towards the end. I kept on reading, it was the least I could do. I am glad you're getting to know the important people in my life, it will save questions later. I never realised the sentences were short - it was an emotional piece, I just wrote as my soul dictated. But you are right, many are. You know, by age 33, I'd lost four adult aged family members. In amongst my eleven or so hospitalisations, I tried nineteen years of psychoanalysis, tried bouts of alcohol and a litany of pharmaceuticals. But it turns out it is the combination of talking to my Mum, talking to G-d and talking on this forum that my pain has been alleviated. Sharing my story has been enabling. It has led me to peace and self acceptance. And I thank you all for bearing witness. None of us know where we'll be in ten years, heck none of us really know where we'll be tomorrow. The future is an unknown mix, mysterious. But all through history, all through it, the voice of truth and love can be heard. There have been bastards, complete and violent, but they do not last - greed has a way of dying. But truth and love remain constant, they cannot die. When I think of the misfortune in my family, and my distance from Jackie, I try to understand that somehow there is a bigger picture, that somewhere truth and love prevail. And I find they do. They always will. There is a persistent whirr, a dance that will not lie down. A grace that knows only goodness. And it is to this we must gravitate. Always.

Ps. I didn't see the cops at 4am. My oldest brother got the door. In the morning my Dad told Michael, it was his birthday. And later told us three younger kids on his and Mum's bed. It was a very bright morning. The sun made me sick.
Last edited by Boss on Thu May 14, 2015 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Sun May 10, 2015 2:58 am

Bub, I lay here. It is Sunday morning in May. It is quiet except for the bursts of rain outside. At least that is comforting. 9:28 am. So many mornings like this, so many have passed. This indeterminable wait that sails on into 23 years in November. So many told me to let you go. Even my mother. Find someone else, she wasn't good for you anyway. In the early days I tried. I got engaged, bought a ring, bought a house. But I couldn't cut it. You were always there, always in my heart. So what have I lost, what have I sacrificed? A little time. Two or three wise men tell me you'll be back. And I have to believe them, I have to rely on their honour. It's about all I have left. In this void I have learned things. Not how to build a career or make money, I have learned patience and tolerance. I have learned respect, I have learned how to love. I believe in G-d, not intellectually or metaphorically; I listen to Him in my heart, in my gut. I still see children on street corners lost in the madness of their parents' hell. I still see it Jack, a world blinded by money and superficiality. That much has not changed. But there is a door now, one I didn't know, couldn't see, back then. And it beckons you and me in. And inside is warmth, inside is peace. And inside is a beach twenty miles long and I am waiting for you up the front with a ring, an eternal band, to signify that we will never be apart again. You only need enter. You only need forgive.
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Mon May 11, 2015 6:52 am

In February 1987 I spent my last day at Ausfab, an acrylic fabrication company in Abbotsford. I'd been there since late May, '86 after I had obtained a leave of absence from Melbourne University. I had been studying first year Architecture. My duties at Ausfab involved making food hoppers for supermarkets. A mate and I shared this responsibility. In July my brother Michael suicided. They gave me two days compassionate leave. I limped through the year. In January '87 my little brother Jez had malignant growths removed from his leg. He started chemotherapy. I had to deal with his weakness and his baldness. I re-enrolled in Melbourne but this time I was to study Building. At Ausfab they gave me a quaint send off. A few beers, some sandwiches. We stood around the benches, the jigs. Talked nothing, laughed at nothing, I went home. My mate drove me as I had stuffed my Mazda RX-4 driving drunk in November, I hit a kerb and consequently sold the car for a few hundred bucks. To everyone I was putting up a stoic performance. I was being relied on to comfort Mum, help Jez believe, I was going back to study. I felt like the go to man. I was barely 19. I started uni. I couldn't concentrate, I couldn't hold a woman, and what made matters worse, when I went to clubs with mates, I felt uneasy. I stumbled into April. Things were just getting worse. My thoughts were loose, all over the place. I couldn't sign my name joining a video club at 7-11, I was just shaking too much. Into May I was feeling awful but didn't understand. I finally withdrew from uni. I felt such a failure, a no-hoper, empty. I went to Dad's one weekend. I couldn't sit inside with my brothers. I walked into the garden. My whole head felt different, kinda spaced out. What was going on? I wasn't sure I could contain it. I turned around and Dad's wife was standing there. She was a doctor studying her first year in psychiatry. She was close to us all. She was the first to twig something was wrong. We went into her study and talked for half an hour. I told her of this numbness, this awful almost choking feeling. She comforted me as best she could. I went home. It didn't improve. It was impinging on my sleep, I declined offers to go out. In a last ditch effort I started back at Ausfab. I lasted two days. I was hospitalised, my Dad's wife took me in. I was terrified. I had to acclimatise to the patients, and the nurses who seemed always to congregate at the nurses' stations. It couldn't get any worse. I knew it and after two or three nervous days, I knew I had to fight or I would go down. And fight I did. I found some routine, I talked about Jez and Mick, about me. I remembered getting three A's in HSC less than two years ago. And I simply talked to the patients. One had anorexia, one agoraphobia, one had been in an horrific accident, one schizophrenia. I was there for two or three weeks. Some of the pace was gruelling, some not so. By the end, I found most of the patients interesting, all of them wounded, hurt. But most of all I found rest just for me. I had a reprieve, a release. I was in the centre. I decided I wanted to teach and I decided I wanted to live at Dad's. For the rest of the year I would work in a bank - I was always good with figures. And this is what I did. I started work at the National Australia Bank in August and slowly but surely I won my confidence back. I started going to night clubs again and this culminated on the 12th of December when I met Jackie. All this without Leonard or Van or Bob. No, I had Dory Previn and I had guts.
Last edited by Boss on Thu May 14, 2015 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mat james
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by mat james » Mon May 11, 2015 10:20 am

In this void I have learned things. Not how to build a career or make money, I have learned patience and tolerance. I have learned respect, I have learned how to love. I believe in G-d, not intellectually or metaphorically; I listen to Him in my heart, in my gut.
(or, as San Juan de la Cruz put it, "...without light or guide save that which burned in my heart".)

you have learned much, Boss in that "Dark Night" of yours.
Keep writing, it is not only good for you, it is good for many of us also.
I still see children on street corners lost in the madness of their parents' hell.
Those lines take me back to "My unbroken little legs, part two" poem/memories of mine which you commented on a few years ago.
"...again I knew
adults are not wise
and my unbroken little legs
would take me to sunshine."

As Cate says above, regarding your recent posts,
"That was so well written. Adam, you still blow me away. I know it's a very personal story but how you've told it really gets me. I like the directness of the short sentences. It feels right in the telling, here's an image, here's the next image ... I did not stop reading once on my first reading."

bellybuttongazer
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Tue May 12, 2015 12:27 am

I remember that poem of yours, Mat James. It was one of the finest things you ever did. I still remember commenting. I don't quite write much poetry nowadays. Actually it was Cate somewhere in this thread who said she was liking my short story type stuff. And I think she was right. Maybe I'm not a poet like my Dad, perhaps more a storyteller, even a speechwriter. I've written some good speeches. I thank you for your kindness, for being the thorn in my side, for pushing me, over the years. I often read your work and I respect it highly. This is my final piece:

----

"He is here!"
"There in the city square!"
"Go quick!"

The city folk walked, caught trams and trains, drove. They flooded the downtown. Some took crosses, some Qur'an's, some put on yarmulkes, some even took alms. 250 maybe 300,000 squeezed into Swanston St, Bourke and Russell. The man's companions had hastily organised a sound system. It was May, cool but not too bad. The man took the mic.

"There is no message you don't already know. No particular secret I have to unlock. When I was but a broken down wretch, you did not seek me. I hid in the bushes, in the undergrowth. Many of you went to parties and shows, bought leather goods and new cars. An odd one thanked me. It was here, in pain, I garnered understanding. It was here I saw hypocrisy and greed ad nauseam. I saw the unhappiness it created. The inequality, the lie. Go tell your overseers, your masters, the ones on the hill, the ones in your hearts, go tell them their system is dead. Tell them their hate and intolerance have expired. That justice now reigns on our planet, that love has surely come to town. And if they don't listen to you, if they dare hurt you, tell them to come to me with their grievances. You see, the old cycle has ended. You are free. Together we will build a haven, a sanctuary. A world of wonder and peace; a world of order. Money is no more. That is old school, desperate. The wealth of this Earth shall no longer clog up the rich man's accounts, his lifestyle. No, the wealth of this Earth shall be shared among all people - from Botswana to Brazil. Each soul shall be fed - their bellies and their hearts. They shall have shelter, self respect, hope. We will tear down the old edifice, and show it for what it is - empty words, empty sad promises. And we will stand in the field of poverty with our brothers and sisters everywhere and we who have been blessed will love them, and nurture them. And with the gift of our medicine and machines and technology, we will restore sight, and hearing, and health. The onus is on us. We have the tools, the know how. Our task will be arduous, but we have time. All the time in the world. Our G-d wants equality, decency, a balance. Where every single soul on Earth has self worth and meaning. Where a child looks forward to the coming day. Where war and evil die. Where men and women celebrate their differences. Where He is rightfully respected to all the ends of the Earth. And where love blankets Humanity."

The sun set behind the skyscrapers. A little rain fell.

"And be sure of one thing, this is no hoax. This is fundamental and no holds barred. It is massive change. And you are coming with - you have no choice."

------

Dear CIA et al - you can't beat G-d
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Boss
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Boss » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:25 pm

I made a mistake. I violated an unwritten code called friendship. I criticised three other members, I criticised all Cohenites. I was upset, angry if you will. I was wrong. I know I hurt them, and I hurt me. It seems they are all off the boards, for the last three days at least. I hope I am not to blame. If I am I am sorry once again. But I've got to go on. I've got to put it out there. I have decided to continue on writing here until I can no longer. Until I have to move. If I upset you recently and you don't want to read me well I can't do anything about it. If my three fellow writers leave permanently because of me, well I can't do anything about it. If I remain the only poster in this section, well I can't do anything about it. People are dying all over the world prematurely, there's rape and torture, corruption and hate. This tiny speck of cyberspace is read by the well off, including me. In real terms, we don't have much to worry about. I will be sorry if Geoffrey and Sue, and especially Cate don't return, but I can't do anything about it. I can't. I have a war to prepare for.

Promise

I have to admit
I scared her last week.
I put on my armour
and planned my
audacious attack.

Eyes blood of red
voice potent deep.
I aimed at her heart
for something that
she'd never done.

No, it was incurred
in a giddy God mix.
He couldn't resist
my recalcitrant mood
on an '88 winterish day.

He knew of the fear &
my father's blue blood.
Of a leadership twinge
and how I'd repent
around twenty.

In the future and past
a white man will dance.
To the liberty groove
in any old place
he's at home in.

And nothing is proven
in my secret dead life.
But as the day turns
in our greed and its wars
I embark on a promise of love.

--

Before time everything was dark.
13.7 billion years ago everything switched to black and white.
Very soon, when love comes, we will usher in colour.
Sideways
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Sideways » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:04 pm

I think it is a wee bit Grandiose to imagine you hurt your 3 targets. One at least specifically told you it had no effect and the other 2 appear to be posting and hurt-free. Chill. I think you should concentrate more on your writing and less on your imagined Drama.


Kind Regards


Naked Ironing Sue

BTW if you really are going to War, remember to dress warm.
yeah, well, errrrm, hum, yeah, ok, I dunno, articulation is not my fing, who cares, SHUT IT YOU MUPPET, blah blah blah
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Geoffrey
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Geoffrey » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:17 pm

Sideways wrote:I think you should concentrate more on your writing and less on your imagined Drama.
https://youtu.be/EYi5aW1GdUU
Sideways
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Sideways » Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:53 am

Geoffrey wrote:
Sideways wrote:I think you should concentrate more on your writing and less on your imagined Drama.
https://youtu.be/EYi5aW1GdUU


what he said....
yeah, well, errrrm, hum, yeah, ok, I dunno, articulation is not my fing, who cares, SHUT IT YOU MUPPET, blah blah blah
Sideways
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Re: Melbourne Story

Post by Sideways » Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:04 am

Geoffrey wrote:
Sideways wrote:I think you should concentrate more on your writing and less on your imagined Drama.
https://youtu.be/EYi5aW1GdUU

and guess where youtube took me staright after your link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x59kS2AOrGM

wow, that's from another era, but still great. it's like a comforting old silk ruffle plus velvet dubloons, the sort of costume they would give me in the Finals of local semi-amateur Ironing freestyle comps in the early 90's.


Sue
yeah, well, errrrm, hum, yeah, ok, I dunno, articulation is not my fing, who cares, SHUT IT YOU MUPPET, blah blah blah
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