Tag Archives: Newcastle

I went to a meditation evening (and things were far from tranquil)

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I’m really good at sitting around and doing absolutely nothing, so when a lady friend asked me to accompany her to a meditation evening, I gave her a thumbs up and told her I’d love to. I mean, I’d just be bludging in a dark room with a bunch of very relaxed oddballs, so what could possibly go wrong?

While I have long hair and can often be found frolicking around fires, I’ve never really been into new-age medicine and spirituality – in fact, the last time I hung out with a bunch of hippies I embarrassed myself. Still, I’m open-minded and always willing to try new things, so there I was, standing outside a vegan restaurant in Newcastle, preparing to head inside and experience something new.

I was ravenous before heading into the restaurant, so I ducked into the kebab shop next door and ordered a massive kebab and a can of Coke. With only a few minutes until the start of the session, I scoffed what I could and the swaggered into the dimly-lit restaurant with garlic sauce dripping down my chin. There was a small collection of nutters sitting in a circle with their eyes closed, so I put my leftovers on a table and joined them.

Most of the hippies were older, sitting cross-legged on cushions. They were mostly wearing shawls and yoga pants, and certainly looked like they were relaxed and at one with the universe. There was only one other bloke there, and he introduced himself as Rudolph and the went back to meditating. I felt a bit silly at first to sit there with my eyes closed while the teacher spoke softly, but I soon realised that there’s not a lot to the whole meditation process and it’s actually pretty tranquil.

There was absolute silence as I sat there on my journey into the mind, and I couldn’t help thinking that I could’ve just as easily done this at home (or, even better, kicked back with a beer while watching the footy). As I sat there with my eyes closed, it soon became apparent that shovelling most of a kebab and all of a can of Coke down my gullet immediately before starting a meditation session wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. There was a rumbling in my guts, and while everyone else was breathing in and out calmly, I was doing my best not to let out a burp. Well, my best wasn’t good enough, and I belched loud enough to wake the dead, drawing angry looks from the group – especially Rudolph.

After burping through the next ten minutes of meditation, the teacher decided to switch things up a bit. She told us that we’d spend the next 15 minutes meditating while walking around the room, which sounded good to me because I was pretty bloody sick of sitting there. I thought we’d be trotting around and working up a sweat, but instead we walked in a circle very slowly with our eyes closed. It was a bit like what goes on in mental hospitals in American movies.

I got lost in my own little world as I strutted around the room. I was busy wondering what the score was in the footy when I headbutted something hard, and looked up to see that I’d bumped into a huge wooden statue of a cat, and had to struggle to keep it from toppling over. When I finally had it under control, I turned around to see Rudolph absolutely steaming as he returned to his cushion.

I was thinking it would be a good idea for me to piss off and leave the hippies to it, but I didn’t want to offend my lady friend, so I sat back in my chair for the next section of the night. We all had to sit down with our eyes closed, while the teacher quietly asked us questions. I was kind of zoning in and out and didn’t really know what was going on, so when the teacher asked me what I thought about this or that, I didn’t have a fucking clue what was going on.

I started rambling on about various things I’d been up to lately, such as playing PlayStation and getting a really good deal on cask wine, ending with an incredibly graphic depiction of a sexual encounter I’d had with a girl met on Tinder. I thought I was being deep and getting away with it, but when I looked over at Rudolph he had veins popping out of his forehead and his face was all red, so I cut my story short.

A couple of the hippies started rattling on about nature and butterflies, until Rudolph started chatting about his spiritual journey. His story started millions of years ago with the explosion of some far-off star, and 20 minutes later he finally getting closer to talking about the day he was born. I was bored out of my brain and really hungry, so I had a cracking idea; everyone had their eyes shut, so I snuck over and got the rest of my kebab, and kicked back on my chair to eat it while watching the footy on my phone. I was having a great time while Rudolph prattled on about rainbows and holding hands, and everything was going great until the Sharks scored.

“Oh, fucking hell!” I yelled out, forgetting where I was. Rudolph fell silent, then turned to look at me with eyes that burnt like the embers of hell. His mouth was twitching and his body jerking around as he stood up.
“You fucking arsehole!” he yelled, tipping over a chair for dramatic effect. “You fucking, fucking, fucking arsehole! This is my one time of the week to relax, and you have taken it away from me, you fucking arsehole! You. Fucking. Arsehole!”

Rudolph came at me with his arms outstretched, so I hopped up and raced outside. Fortunately, Rudolph tripped on his oversized yoga pants and sprawled on the floor, allowing me to make it to my car. I looked back at the restaurant and saw that it had descended into chaos, with hippies yelling at each other and throwing cushions around. One woman even bonked the teacher over the head with a ceremonial hammer. My lady friend threw open the passenger door of my car and got in, allowing me to drive off while an enraged Rudolph chased us down the street.

As I drove her away from the pandemonium, I thanked my lucky stars that my lady friend was very in touch with the universe and probably wouldn’t get too upset with me. After a long, silent drive, we got to her place and I dropped her off. I didn’t have high hopes that she’d want to see me again, but was still surprised when she punched me in the face and called me “the world’s biggest cocksucker” before slamming the door and storming off into the night.

Meditation, eh? I don’t see what’s so bloody relaxing about it!

A junkie, a blood fetishist, an alcoholic nymphomaniac and the overweight wife of an islamic fundamentalist

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years, and most of them I haven’t been very good at. So when I decided to become a professional photographer, I didn’t let the fact I barely know which direction to point a camera stand in my way.

While working in the porn industry, I soon realised that the snappers were raking in the big bucks, while I was making chump change putting together the words that nobody reads. So I rented a flea-bitten room in the cheapest hotel in Newcastle, put an ad on Gumtree, and headed along with my point-and-shoot camera in my pocket and a smile on my face. Little did I know, I was in for one of the weirdest nights of my life.

Four ladies responded to my ad, which had proudly boasted that it was open to women of all shapes, sizes and ages – and I sure got a mixture. In fact, it was like a freak show was passing through my room that night.

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The first lass was barely 18, and had a bit of an emo look about her. Rhonda also had a nice set of tits, which she didn’t hesitate to drag out for me. While I took photos with one hand and pushed my boner down with the other, she told me that she wouldn’t be able to shoot any explicit shots due to having her period. I told her that sucked.

“Not really,” she grinned. “I’m turned on by blood, so when I’ve got my period I get really horny and have to fuck a lot of blokes.”

I found this quite interesting and asked her to explain further. Apparently she’d spent her youth haunting the local hospitals, getting off on seeing poor bastards wander in with massive head wounds, or with their intestines spilling out onto the concrete. She liked that sort of thing so much that she was studying doctoring at university, and would become so turned on while watching medical documentaries that she’d drag fellow students out of the lecture theatre and bonk them senseless. And people say I’m weird for asking girls to dress up as Mal Meninga during sex.

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As soon as she left to suck off someone with a paper cut, the next lass rocked up. I’d seen photos of Pixie, and they were awesome. She had model good looks and a cracking body, and I wondered whether I’d be able to do her justice with my limited shooting skills. It turned out the camera from a broken Nokia 3210 would’ve been the best way to do her justice, because it appeared Pixie had been hitting the drugs hard. Her eyes were sunken in her skull, her bones were sticking through her skin, and she looked a mess. Best of all, she wasn’t alone, and I struggled to hide my iPod and wallet as I led Angel and her shaggy, toothless, meth-addicted boyfriend into the room.

It was sad because she had been so beautiful before the drugs got their hooks ino her, and she’d obviously modelled a fair bit in the past, because she knew all the positions (even the one where she put both her ankles behind her head). Once I’d taken all the photos I could handle, Pixie and her handsome hobo fella locked themselves in the toilet for a few minutes to smoke ice in the bathtub, then fucked each other senseless while I sat on the bed listening and wanking wondering where it all went wrong.

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If Angel was too skinny, that certainly wasn’t a problem with the next lady, Fran. When talking to Fran on the phone, she’d wanted to clarify two things. “You say any shape and size, but I just want to let you know that I’m 15 stone,” she said hesitantly. I don’t have a clue what a stone is, so I told her it was fine. “I also don’t shave,” she added, and I threw up in my mouth.

When Fran showed up, I learned that 15 stone is actually quite heavy (around 95kg), especially when hanging off a woman who stood about 5’1″. To top it off, Fran was in her 60s, covered in prison tatts, and smoked like a chimney. “I’m really going to earn my money today,” I thought as I led her up to my room.

Things only got worse as I closed the door and Fran took her gear off. Her tits almost hit the floor and her muff was hairier than an Armenian bloke’s back. Right above the smashed orange that passed for Franny’s fanny, was a tattoo explaining that it was the property of a local motorcycle group. I apologised to my camera and started shooting. The stench was so bad that my eyes were watering and, as she spread out on the room’s lounge, I assumed I’d be getting a dry cleaning bill for that in the near future.

“I hope my husband doesn’t find out about this,” Fran told me, while pointing her cheesecake arse at my wincing face. “He’s a hardline Islamic fundamentalist and he doesn’t let me out of the house much. I had to tell him I was going to a job interview, and he’d kill me if he found out the truth. He’d probably kill you, too, if he found out.” With visions of a little brown fella blowing me up with a homemade shoe bomb dancing in my head, I took the rest of the photos and Fran mercifully put her clothes on. After she’d left, I found a slip op paper with, “Call me written” beneath her phone number. I threw it in the bin and briefly considered lighting the bin on fire.

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After my brush with death, I settled my nerves with a few glasses of wine while waiting for the next lady to show up. She was late, so I managed to guzzle a fair bit of booze – but not nearly as much as she did. When Sienna turned up she was rolling drunk, her teeth stained red with wine and her eyes spinning in her head. Never one to refuse a girl passage to my room simply because she was as pissed as a porcupine, I led her up the stairs and asked her to strip off.

Sienna was in her mid-30s and not a bad sort, but when she pulled another bottle of wine out of her bag and started smashing it, I knew there was something wrong with her. As I snapped away she never let go of the bottle, and I ended up with dozens of photos of her skolling from the bottle, spilling wine on the bed, and generally acting like a bridge-dwelling wino. When she finished the bottle, she took out another and knocked that off in record time. I didn’t know whether to be disgusted or ask her to marry me.

When we were finished, Sienna asked me out to dinner. Never one to knock back a free meal, I said yes and, ridiculously, got in the passenger seat of her car as we headed off to Hungry Jack’s. Smart idea, right? We only had to head a couple of hundred metres down the road, but she cleaned up a letter box, a stop sign and a wheelie bin during the journey, before finally crashing into the wall of the fast food shop and passing out in the entrance. When I woke her up, she ate a Whopper she found on the ground and drove me back to my hotel (leaving a trail of distruction in her wake). When she asked if I wanted to go back to my room to finish off my cask, I had to seriously think about it; on one hand she was pretty hot, and was mad as a meataxe, so she’d be a cracker in the sack. One the other, there was a high chance that she had AIDS and would probably try to steal things from me, and being crazy meant she would probably try to shove things up my arse. I made the call to send her packing at which point she staggered into the closest pub, stole a bottle of wine from behind the bar, and sped off in her car, almost running over a dog.

As for whether I rooted any of the others, I’ll leave that up to you. But if ISIS asks, tell them it wasn’t the wife of the Islamic fundamentalist.

Return to Para-Dise

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I wrote the following article for the October issue of Aviator Magazine Australia. It’s on the shelves right now, so go buy a copy!

THERE’S nothing like the feeling of leaping off a mountain while strapped to three kilograms of fabric and a bucket seat and, as I looked down at the landing zone 550 metres below me, I had to question whether I was crazy enough to go through with it.

I’d flown my paraglider plenty of times before, off higher peaks and in worse conditions, but this was different. My heart was racing and my guts were churning. The hands that gripped my brakes were cold and sweaty, and it felt like my legs could give out at any time.

It had been a long walk to the top of Mount Royal, which stands guard high above Lake St. Clair, near Singleton, NSW. I’d had an hour to think about what was to come, and to convince myself to keep going. Terror mixed with excitement as I tried to build up my nerves for the biggest flight of my life. And now here I was, at the top of the cliff, waiting for the perfect gust of wind to come along so I could launch.

Someone called out words of encouragement, and I lifted my eyes to the sky, where half a dozen gliders were dancing through the air like oversized eagles. Despite the fear that blazed through me, I couldn’t help smiling as I watched them zip around, riding the winds. There’s nothing like it in the world.

I closed my eyes and told myself there was nothing to worry about, but it was a lie. Three months ago, this mountain almost killed me.

My adventures in paragliding started the way all the best stories do – at the pub after a dozen schooners. A mate of mine has been flying for years, and was showing me some photos on his phone. There he was zooming over cliffs, then landing on a tropical beach, then sailing silently through the sky as the sun dipped beneath the horizon. It awakened something inside me, a spirit of adventure that had long lain dormant, so after stumbling home I booked myself into a course.

I’ve always had a love of flying, but seeing as I’ve been blessed with neither wings, nor the funds to buy a plane, I was resigned to being grounded for good. But now I finally had the opportunity to take to the skies. Paragliding is a cheap and easy way to get into flying, but make no mistake, participating in this sport is certainly not a compromise.

On the surface, paragliders are completely different beasts to fixed-wing aircraft, although the joy they provide isn’t a world away. For those who don’t know what a paraglider is, they provide unpowered flight under a canopy (originally, parachutes were used, hence the name), with no rigid primary structure. The sport shares a lot of similarities with hang gliding, but paragliders are both slower, and far more manoeuvrable, allowing for an incredible feeling of control. With no engine to propel the glider, it’s as basic as flying gets – by catching thermals and reading the winds, it’s more like being a bird than being in a plane – and it’s absolutely fantastic.

It’s a sport for everyone, and even those lucky buggers who regularly fly fixed-winged aircraft could get a lot out of this more primitive form of flight. It’s not uncommon to see retirees and schoolteachers darting through the sky next to heavily-tattooed teenage thrill-seekers. It’s a sport that can be as exciting or as relaxing as you want it to be, so it appeals to all sorts of pilots. When it comes down to it, there’s a shared love that bonds pilots of all types. That feeling of freedom, of being in the air and away from everyday problems, of becoming more than just a man, if only for a few hours.

Paragliding courses generally take 10 days to complete, and there are dozens of qualified schools spread around Australia. I was amazed that I was already soaring off a cliff on the second day of my course, and flew off the top of a 500 metre-high mountain by the end of the first week. I loved every second of my training (alright, I wasn’t exactly cheering after landing in a bush on my first flight, but let’s forget about that) and soon after graduating I had my own set-up and was taking every opportunity to improve my skills. All up, the cost to get into the sky, including a full glider, licensing course and registration, came out at around $5000 – a fraction of that required by other aircraft – making it an affordable and fun option for those on a budget.

There are dozens of gliding clubs around the country, and the members of my local group welcomed me with open arms when I turned up to the first meeting. I instantly had people to fly with, which is really important when you’re starting out, and found myself in a strong and tight-knit community of pilots.

The next few months were brilliant. I travelled around New South Wales, launching from new sites and meeting fantastic people who are as passionate about paragliding as I am. This sport is about overcoming fears and limitations, self-belief and pushing the new limits, and is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. With paragliding, you have to back yourself, because that’s all that’s between you and the very hard ground hundreds of metres below. It’s about so much more than a simple thrill – it’s a way of life.

Which led me to Lake St. Clair, on that afternoon when everything went wrong. I’d flown there before and thought I knew what to expect – plenty of height, enough thermals to keep the ride going all day, and spectacular views over lakes and mountains to marvel at while swinging my glider around. I could barely sleep the night before, as my brain spun with the possibilities of what was to come.

The walk to the top was as tough as a two-dollar steak, but I didn’t care. Every step took me closer to flying, closer to those few hours I’d been looking forward to all week. One of the great things about paragliders is that they fold down small enough to carry on your back, meaning they can be hauled around the world – or up the side of a very steep hill – with little trouble. The blokes with me were obviously as excited as I was, and we laughed and joked, stopping only when the track became too steep and we had to concentrate on getting our breath back. When we reached the top, the sky was blue and the wind was perfect, and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face.

As I unpacked my glider, one of the other fellas launched, letting out a delighted laugh as the wind plucked him off the ground and toward the heavens, where he spun and boogied high above me. It was a good day to be alive, and a great day to be flying.

Another one of my friends launched as I lay my wing out carefully on the ground. He shot straight up, then something unexpected happened. Instead of pushing out in front of the mountain, where it was safe, he started to slide behind it, towards the dangerous and unpredictable winds on the wrong side of the hill – known as being blown over the back. I knew something wasn’t right, and decided to pack up my wing and wait to see what was going on. But things weren’t going to end that easily.

A freak gust of wind smacked into me, inflating my wing and furiously dragging me back against the mountain. I tried to fight it, but it was no use – how was a 90kg man supposed to battle a massive paraglider wing that was being inflated by a 50km/h gust of wind? I went with it, trying to keep to the ground, then the wind flung me and my glider into the air, and I found myself 100 metres above the mountain, very much against my will.

Worse still, the power of the wind had caused me to become tangled in my lines, meaning I had no control over my glider. There’s no way to adequately train for an emergency situation like that, so I surprised myself by remaining calm and untangling myself from the ropes as I was being tossed backwards. When I was back in control, I breathed a sigh of relief, and actually thought I had a chance of guiding my glider down the hill to safety. But that was never going to happen.

The wind was just too strong, and I was still being blown back over the mountain, towards the danger zone. I needed to get down, and quickly, so I pulled the lines that extended to edges of my glider – a move known as Big Ears – immediately dropping me. I passed the top of the peak and the ride got rocky, but at least I was heading downward. I pulled the lines harder as the seething winds tossed me around, and the ground came closer and closer. I was going to make it!

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a barbed wire fence. It was big and sharp and ugly, and I was heading straight towards it, which left me with two options; keep heading down and risk tearing myself to shreds, or let myself be taken back into the sky and risk heading into the dangerous valley beyond and being slammed into the ground from 100 metres up. Deciding on the former probably saved my life.

Read the rest RIGHT HERE.

I went to a nightclub (and didn’t get wanked off even once)

gaol1Last weekend I headed to Maitland Gaol to embark on something called a team building day with a bunch of people I work with. First up was a tour of the gaol with a former inmate, and t I was also surprised (and delighted) to discover that there’s a lot more bum sex in Australian prisons than I thought there would be. I was all set to sign up for a life of crime until I realised all the bum sex is man-on-man, which doesn’t really appeal to me. It sounds like it was a real party in there, with blokes offering up their coights with little fuss.

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A lot of bungholes were loosened in this room

It truly is a fascinating tour, and I highly recommend it. This place has a brutal history that’s worth learning about, and a day at Maitland Gaol will be a memorable (and grisly) experience.

After that we listened to a motivational talk from Paralympic gold medalist Kurt Fearnley. Now, being born with only half a spine and a set of legs as useful as a Labor politician would suck, but life in a wheelchair has its benefits. You’d never have to do the Hokey Pokey at school, and no-one could crack the shits if you spent every day sitting around watching episodes of The Wire. Kurt, however, decided to become a marathon runner roller, and spent an hour or so passionately telling us about all the races he’d won. In fact, the passion veered close to aggression, and I got the impression that old mate would beat the shit out of me if he knew that my only goals in life are to eat as many sausage rolls as possible and have sex with Magda Szubanski.

At the end, I thought about giving Kurt a standing ovation, then realised that would be taking the piss and didn’t.

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Kurt being a lot better than me

Next up was an epic game of laser tag through the gaol. While crouched in an abandoned kitchen and snipering co-workers, I realised that I wouldn’t exactly flourish in a war situation. Firstly, my legs became tired after about five minutes of crouching, and I really don’t like it when my legs get tired, and secondly because I’m really not a very good aim and would struggle to hit anybody. But maybe that was just because it was almost six o’clock on a Saturday and I was completely sober, so I was starting to get the shakes.

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My shooting people face is also my orgasm face

I finally got to have my first beer around 7:30, when we headed to Newcastle’s Honeysuckle Hotel. I was nearly mad with sobriety, so I ordered three schooners and downed them in short order, my hands finally steadying as the booze flowed through my system. There were some good sorts filtering through, most wearing dresses as short as a midget’s walking stick.

After a quick feed at Hog’s Breath (alright, it wasn’t so quick – they made us wait 90 minutes to be seated, but fortunately plied me with enough free Long Island Iced Teas that I didn’t give a shit), we headed off to a nearby nightclub called the King Street Hotel. I haven’t been to a proper nightclub in years, and the mixture of blaring music and wall-to-wall people was overwhelming. The music sucked, the kiddies were dancing in ways I didn’t understand, and everybody kept taking selfies of themselves. In my day, if a dude stood in the middle of the dance floor taking photos of himself, he’d be taking photos of himself with a schooner glass wedged in his face before long.

I was with a few good sorts, but they know me well enough to not give me the time of the day in the kissy-kissy stakes (and I’d hate for a pretty lady to be reminded of her mistake every time she rocked up to work), and I didn’t have great success with the barely-legal babes who wiggled around me, either. Still, I enjoyed the beaut company and had a good laugh, even if I’m not quite the disco inferno I used to be.

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You’d be grumpy, too, if no-one would wank you off

I didn’t fit in at all, because I look a bit like I live in a cave and most of the other fellas looked like they’d be right at home sucking cocks at The Wall in Kings Cross. Deadset, these blokes had it all – skinny jeans, boufant hairdos, crap tatts and lady-drinks in their hands. A whole heap of them were wearing these weird shirts that went down to their knees and looked like something you’d sleep in. Fucking hell, what a bunch of gronks.

After a time, one of the chaps I was with came up to me looking somewhat concerned. Apparently a large lass with an arse like a lovesick cat had slipped her hand down his trousers and attempted to wank him off, and he’d stopped her. I was shocked and appalled by what had happened, and was even more disgusted when I started dancing near this girl and she didn’t try to jerk me off. I can’t really blame her, though – her hands were more than full with two Indian blokes who were smiling their heads off and slapping each other high fives.

I used to party until six in the morning, but we bailed at around one, and I spent the train home trying to pick up a group of overweight 18-year-olds. I wouldn’t share my pie with them, though, so I had no chance.

I learnt that nightclubs are very much in my past, and that the current crop of youngsters are fucking idiots who listen to shit music, dress like they’re ready to hop into bed, and take photos of things that don’t have any reason to be photographed. It was great to be out with a top bunch of people, but give me a box of cheap wine, some nachos and a Charles Bronson movie any day.

Am I sad that I’m getting older, and that scene is behind me? Nope. It’s not as if I’ve settled down, and wild shit is behind me. I drink heavily, travel the world while almost getting killed, paraglide, and occasionally entice a lovely lady back to my castle. I don’t need to wiggle around to some talentless African American champion’s songs to feel young.