Season One, episode two is now live! You can listen to this episode on all our usual platforms, including iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube. If you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure you do so to make sure you don’t miss an episode!
Full transcript below…
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.
A poem by me, myself, and Desaray. Much better than the test one, two, three is this thing on, insert canned laughter here bit, lets also completely ignore all the “ah sorry for my voice…” mixed with the wide eyed “oh I sound so different on recording”. We’ve all been recorded before, we all know this. Now introductions, if you didn’t catch it my names Desaray but I and my wealth of exclusive friends call me Des, you know that because you are me and if you’re not the one and only, stop listening to my personal shit creeper!
My school guidance counsellor or I should say old school guidance counsellor suggested I start a journal of some sort to track my year at a new school and all the changes happening in my life. I agreed because, well agreeing was easier than fighting it, one must concede defeat in some circumstances.
This week started off pretty crappy, first I was doing a piece on what I thought was the back ally of a Chinese restaurant and got busted. I had checked the spot out the day before to make sure it was secluded, closed on Sundays, no other stores leading out to the back, all would be good right? I could spend sometime on my outline and really get this piece perfect.
It would have been perfect if I hadn’t been distracted, slamming the door on Mums yelling, my bag of paint rattling. Putting in my head phones, Bliss n Eso played on the highest volume and I jumped on the first train out of Footscray. No PSO’s or tickities were on the station so I leapt the barriers and made my train just on time, 15 mins later I arrived at Southern Cross mind set on painting, my Mum faded away from my memory.
I prefer to paint alone, not only because it’s my escape from the world but because all the other writers I know are in crews and I prefer being a solo artist. Fewer people to get you caught, less people to get you messed up in the criminal world.
Not that graffiti isn’t a crime, I feel like we have a scale.
Infinite shades of gray to muddy up a persons moral compass. Giving the world something interesting to look at on their boring trip to work vs. robbing someone is a pretty big difference in my opinion, but they can both get you landed with the same punishment.
Anyhow because I’m more of a lone wolf I didn’t have a spotter to warn me when the owners came out and caught me red handed, blue handed if we’re being factual. I was just finishing up when a guy grabbed me by my shoulder and pinned me to the wall. Not the Chinese restaurant owners mind you, in my rush to the spot not only did I pick the wrong wall I picked the worst wall. Painting the back of an art gallery, why yes I will be auditioning for Australia’s dumbest criminals this spring, get your signatures while you still can.
Greg, Miss Em’s boyfriend or how I thought of him then “Chinese store owner” had me pinned to the wall before I had even thought to run. Going into fight mode and struggling against his hold I had nearly twisting out of his grip when Miss Emily came up and yelled at him to let go of me. Because of his hold on me he hadn’t seen my face but Miss Emily had a plain view.
Miss Emily is the owner of the Gallery I had just vandalised. I assumed then she was just some random walking through the alley thinking I was being attacked or mugged. As soon as Miss Em yelled “let go of her” Greg dropped his hands a shocked expression crossing over his features when I spun to face him. I considered running past but his body was still blocking my way and Miss Em had already walked the short distance coming to a stop next to him.
Standing at 5.5 in healed boots she was around the same height as me, I could have pushed past but I was to stunned by how Miss Em was looking at me. Later on Greg said sorry for pinning me and explained he had assumed I was a guy from behind. I don’t blame Greg for the mistake I wasn’t exactly flaunting my curves in my baggy jumper.
Miss Emily looked me up and down and then looked over my piece with the same scrutiny. No one had really caught me like this before, no shouting, no calling of the cops yet. So I just stood there dumbly and looked at my piece with her. It was a one of my better ones, Dvete was a new word I was experimenting with, D.V.E.T.E. no real meaning just a play on my favourite letters. The piece was shades of dark blue and black fading into each other to create an ombre effect, I had just finished the touch ups, fixing any drips and adding a bright white shine in the upper corners of each letter when Greg grabbed me now I could see my 3D wasn’t straight and my fill was a little patchy where I had run out of blue paint, it was good but not perfect.
Miss Em told me to follow her, Greg close behind she lead me through the backdoor of the art gallery, boring cream walls and boxes lined the floor. Opening a narrow door to the left revealed a supplies cupboard, handing me a tin of black paint and a roller she told me to cover my piece and meet her in the office once I was done pointing at the door to the right, as I walked out with the paint and rollers she yelled cheerily that if I ran she’d call the cops and give them the CCTV footage.
Long story short I graffed the back of an Art gallery and Miss Emily has an apparent soft spot for vandals, she still made me paint over it but didn’t call the cops, instead offering her own punishment. That’s how I was blackmailed into “Volunteering” at the studio as a invigilator. The previous invigilator was on a 6 month holiday to New Zealand visiting his new born granddaughter, I was to help out around the gallery until he returned.
I didn’t give tours. Miss Em said I didn’t have the right demeanour which is a polite way of saying the Art enthusiasts don’t love my sour expression or monotone descriptions, no sweat off my back.
Basically I just stand in one of the two rooms 3 times a week, when I’m feeling really adventurous I’ll even stand in the small hallway connecting them. I like to shake it up I know my life’s wild. Most of the time I “protect” the art by saying “hey kid don’t touch”.
On my 3rd shift I met Megan Chen. Both headphones in I was in the hallway connecting the two rooms only to see her staring at a painting, doodling a sketch of what I think was a seriously disproportioned humanoid but she later claims it was Sherlock.
Stunned to see anyone close to my age in here I leant against the wall and slid my headphone back in turning up the music and trying to look nonchalant. After a what felt like a lifetime she looked up and gave a jolt, nearly dropping her pencil. When she started packing away her things I thought I’d lost the one and only interesting thing in this whole gallery.
Walking by me, head down and earphones in I was worried she wouldn’t stop. I flashed my coolest smile and said “hey” to grab her attention, so smooth Des, so smooth.
Megs just grinned back at me, staring like I was part of the exhibit. Finally she said Hey and I rushed to filled the air with conversation. You know how rare it is to find a girl my age in an art gallery, Lock Ness monster rare, or atleast in my whole 3 days experience I hadn’t seen any.
Aimlessly strolling while talking I lead us up the back stairs and to the roof she asked about the graffiti that got me this job, it was about closing time anyway so we came down and walked outside, presenting the black wall, which I did technically paint but roller work isn’t known for its wow factor.
On the train home that night my thoughts were a mixture of nerves, nerves about bumping into Megan again and nerves about starting my new school tomorrow.
All my life I’ve been in public school, growing up in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs everyone I knew went to public school, entering an art competition was just supposed to be another thing. I didn’t actually believe I’d ever get accepted for an Art scholarship at Westbury Grammer.
My VCE years were supposed to fly by like the rest of my education, safe and cheap filled with tired teachers and kids wearing hamiedown jumpers.
Monday morning I put on my new uniform, the blazer alone cost more than all my art supplies but walking into Westbury Grammer I knew no matter fancy my blazer was I’d never fit in with these kids, their parents own Audi’s for gods sake and probably bought them a car when they got their learners. I’m happy if I have enough change to top off my myki let alone one day afford a beat up commodore as my first car.
The first thing I managed to do at school was knock a girl on her ass.
I didn’t punch her I just kind of knocked her with my shoulders on the way to the office and she went sprawling. As I reached down to give her a hand up, it was the one and only Megan Chen, long dark hair in a high pony and face make up free. School policies say we can only have “natural” make up looks so if anyone asks my eyeliner is all natural, I’m not removing it because of a guideline.
She looked so ruffled trying to shoulder her backpack and straighten her skirt I was bracing myself to be yelled at or her whip away without recognising me. I grabbed her hand to haul her to feet I apologised, suppressing a laugh when she looked even more startled. Still holding onto her hand I quickly asked if she was ok. Megan grinned at me, dimples on display and said the worst pun possible something like “so you’re the new student, well it’s nice to bump into you” I groaned at her and laughed harder. After our meeting last night it was only fitting that she was the one assigned to show me around Westbury Grammar.
All day I felt like I was in a parallel universe, an air con that actually worked, teachers that didn’t look like they were on the verge of a mental breakdown and not one person sent out of a class. I guess if your parents are forking over thousands a year on education you better make the most of it.
Classes are more or less the same, the work is harder and the kids are all pretty clever but there was the usual back to school chatter and some not so subtle stares at me. 5 of us scholarship kids transferred but with my home done haircut and paint stained nails you could say I stood out from the others. Megan showed up at recess guiding me to my next set of classes. At lunch we chilled on the bench out front of the library and compared schedules. Turns out we only had English together, she’s taking mainly year 12 subjects and things like Legal and Literature weren’t big on my to do list. I choose all the basics and already my public education is showing. It wasn’t until 5th period Art I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.
As much as I find it ridiculous that it costs $25,000 a year to go here it really shows in the school supplies. The Art studio was magnificent. I have no other words for how I felt being surrounded by Walls of fresh canvas’s and not A3 paper, the Faber castle oils, water colours, chalk pencils, paints upon paints and not a random hand print or tag on any of the walls. I was the like a live action Pikachu staring into his ketchup bottle that’s how smitten I was.
Miss Rogers my art teacher didn’t sneer at me when I told her I loved graffiti and contemporary art. There will always be people who whine and complain about not knowing what graffiti pieces say but that’s part of the appeal. You need to look harder, you need to see the way a D curves just the tiniest bit at the top to distinguish it’s not an O or how the band directs your eyes to the individual letters, how the flourishes and arrows can be completely separate or threaded through the piece and how they can create the letters themselves.
Sure there are some really wak pieces out there, young writers experimenting and adding a random arrow, but then there are people creating intricate designs that actually make up an entire word, a word that once you see it you can’t believe you couldn’t see it before. I even told her about the feeling of having your art out there instantly. No painting on a canvas left to rot in a backroom, no selling one print for $20 at Vic Market.
The thought of tourists staring at your work, photographing it and keeping it to remember their visit to Melbourne is such a thrill. I hadn’t spoken about writing in a while, Mum doesn’t know I graff no mater how paint flecked my shoes get or how stained my nails, maybe she does know but it’s easier to ignore it. I wouldn’t put it past her my families not the most functional.
I was so caught up in speaking with Miss Rogers I didn’t realise the last bell had gone. I had a meeting with the vice principal to talk about my first day and how I was settling in. Bolting out the door and through the main courtyard I slammed into Megan again. Luckily I caught her this time, hands on her upper arms I steadied her, looking at me and shaking her head in amusement she just stared for a second before saying
“if you really want to knock me off my feet it’ll take more than a running start”.
I blanked at that looking at her for what felt like the hundredth time today. I’m a good judge of character but I think I just found myself my match, don’t get me wrong I’m no queen of snark but I can spit a line back at you just as fast as you can dish it, with Megan though it was different. I had just realised that she was being a little flirty with me and decided to go with it, can’t knock someone off their feet by a running start she thinks, she hasn’t met the real Dessie just yet.
Relaxing my grip on her arms I replied with “seems to be working for me so far” when did I become so lame. Taking her hand I dragged her along to the vices office with me leaving her in the foyer to wait. Only 2 minutes late and a little winded I was put through the standard questions. Mr Siiad was a straight forward guy and not that much different from my last Vice, boring brown suit, a faint Moustache and roundish head shown off by his receding hairline he took no notice I was rushing through my answers all I could really think of is why do people feel the need to ask ‘How are you liking it?’ Do they think I’m going to casually admit the classes are harder, the blazer itches, and I have my sneakers in my bag just waiting to replace these rubber torture devices they call shoes?
5 minutes of non answers and I escaped the office asking Megan if she wanted to grab a coffee.
Megan suggested some hipster cafe but it’s $8 a coffee there and seriously pretentious. I don’t need to be around a bunch of people reading penguin paperbacks while discussing how they only read the classics and thinking they’re better then the rest of us. I convinced her to go to a hole in the wall cafe I had stopped at on my way to school, $3 coffees and it was right next to Windsor Station.
Megan still prefers that hipster cafe but I got her to admit the coffee here was good. I swear she’s the most cliché teen you could meet the amount of TV talk that comes out of her baffles and impresses me. She was personally offended when I told her I’ve never watched Doctor Who or read Twilight I made up for it by saying I was a youtube binger and lover of Game of Thrones, she nearly lost me at never having seen Anchorman but brought me back with talk of Harry Potter, the movies are better! que collective heart attacks. I watch doco’s and comedy movies, she watches time travel and reads for fun. Lucky I only made that penguin classics joke here she may have pulled out the great Gatsby and hit me upside the head.
I knew two things at this time, one. Megan was a serious caffeine addict and two. She was passionate when she spoke about things she loved. Finishing our coffee Megan went to leave, dinner would be served at hers soon and we both had homework, it was only 5 and the thought of left over spaghetti and homework wasn’t as appealing to me. I couldn’t persuade her to stay out longer but I did mange get her to take the long way home with me, walking down the street behind the cafe, next to the train line she kept glancing at me eyebrows raised and about to speak I had to keep shushing her and bumped her with my shoulder.
Once we reached the spot I was looking for I started to get nervous even thought about strolling straight past. I knew Megan loved art but I still couldn’t pin down her real opinion on graffiti, it was obvious she was absolutely oblivious to graffiti culture but did she think it was just scribbles? Did she not count it as real art like the uninformed upstarts who like to roll their moustaches, smoke a pipe discus how the lower class families are ruining their house prices? Okay I may have just described the monopoly man but you get the stereotype. Or did she believe it an expression or art, an up yours to social constructs and made up rules?
The piece we stopped by has been here for years no writers paint over it because it’s just too spectacular, one of the pieces that look like they jump off the wall at you. I really like this girl and how she responded to this was basically how she’ll respond to me.
When Megan didn’t turn to me right away with a “that’s pretty, why did we stop here” I know I was stupid to think she’d turn into an art snob.
She looked over the art slowly, describing how the colours faded into each other, how if someone asked her if orange and blue worked together she’d say no without a moment’s hesitation but seeing it blended like this she couldn’t imagine it any other way.
While she admired the art I studied her.
The way her eyebrows raised and crunched together when she spoke, How her eyes tracked the lines in the piece, hands moved gracefully when she spoke about a particular bit she loved, the way she looked at me after each comment. Pausing to ask me what my favourite thing was gave me the perfect moment to put the running start theory to test.
Grabbing her hand I told her my favourite thing was her. Hesitation became my greatest enemy when Megan spent a good 4 seconds looking taken back, I was in the middle of deciding leg would be better to kick myself with. She didn’t like me the way I thought, shit did I come off as a creeper who takes someone to a secluded spot and professes there like for them? I had just started to backtrack telling her lets keep walking home trying for casual when she gave me a grin so wide it crossed over to manic.
Squeezing my hand we smiled shyly at each other as we walked back to the main road, silence eating at me and nearly at her apartment block I blurted out a sorry for being that creepy ally way chick who professes like to soon and she laughed my comment away leant into me and said in a whisper she “had noticed me the first time I smiled at her in the gallery” walking backwards up her drive she gave me a wave before going up to her apartment. I was smiling at randoms the whole way home earning me some glares from tired commuters but I couldn’t stop myself, tomorrow was the first time in years I was excited to go to school.
I blame Megan for this awful smug look I’ve been wearing all week I could fit in with the hipster bastards at Starbucks if I keep this up, less facial hair off course. I completely get the monopoly mans urge to twirl his moustache while lording over the poor as I now lord over the other people safe in my knowledge that I’ve found the best Girl.
You know what this recoding stuff is actually alright, Mum’s yelling at the TV in the lounge right now, my room is a mess as always, school books piled on the floor, sketch book spread on the bed and a half-finished assignment waiting for me on my desk but even with the parental yelling over who even knows what, reliving that moment with Megan takes me away from it all. First week of school survived, scratch that conquered.
Over and out future Des, current you is about to pump some Hilltop Hoods and get this homework done.