In January 2004 when I headed off to Australia I had for the first and only time in my Life 'a plan.' I'd got a contact to find work and I'd hoped to get sponsored and move out there permanently. However, having arrived I quickly knocked that idea on the head and decided I just wanted to see as much of the place as I could. I still thought of finding a sponsor, butů later.
So I worked a bit and travelled a lot, and on the way I began write quite prolifically. LIZARD OF OZ comprises the first two of my Australian anthologies, Greenhorns & Bundaberg which make up about the first three months of what turned out to be only a year, but a very memorable one, Down Under.
I'm on the scrounge
Have you got 200 Yen?
For all I have's
A single coin
And I'm thirsty again
I'm stiff and sore
As never before
I'm cramped, I'm tired, I'm achy
My nose is itchy, brewing spots
And all my skin's gone flaky
But does it damp my spirits?
And I'll tell you why because -
Pretty soon, sometime round noon
We'll be touching down in Oz
THOSE DAMNED ELUSIVE LUNATICS
There was a man called Albert Fridge
Put a ring through his brow ridge
Then there was young Jimmy Swayles
Who liked to walk on rusted nails
Both knew a copper, Constable Frane
Chucked himself out of a plane
Each of them was quite insane
Thought life one enormous game
I'd section all of them again
If only I could catch them
She often was this time of year
So of a night time, cool and clear
She'd throw bottles off the pier
After she had emptied them
Me that her mind was working fine
Though clearly it wasn't half the time
In the end trod on a mine
Blew her all over the place -
I thought they'd stopped making themů
MY DEAR KOREAN SWEETHEART
You sit there drinking coffee
From morning time till night
To stir my spoon inside your cup
Would bring me such delight!
You could hold it in both hands
And feel it thick and hot
It should be sweet enough, but add
A touch of chocolate if it's not
Oh, let me be your sugar baby!
Let me be your cream
Whichever way you want to take it
That's the way I mean
People talk of making music
We could be a symphony
And it'd certainly bring new meaning
To the phrase "We're taking tea!"
WIND UP RADIO
I'll buy a clockwork radio
What a great idea!
It'll provide my music
Through my Australian year
I could sit by Uluru
Kata Tjuta, Kakadu
Lamington or Springbrook Park
Out on the Reef circled by sharks
Underneath a big Gum tree
My radio would sing to me!
But it hasn't quite worked out like that
Though I try day after day
'Cos all I ever seem to get
Is a prattling, lousy, crap DJs
At least it would been a boon
If the thing would stay in tune
But if I don't hold it like a fanatic
All I get is bloody static
So instead of music, glad and happy
I work myself to feeing crappy
It isn't just the radio's fault
I feel I have to add
It's just commercial stations
Are terribly bad
For God's sake just get off the air!
Don't want to know who can cut my hair!
Your garage could be anywhere!
I really, really DO NOT CARE!
You prattle on so very long
When all I want is just one song!
The name of 'Wind up Radio,'
Is misleading, because you see
The thing that gets wound up the most's
Not the radio, but me!
I don't think I have ever sweated
Quite as much as this before
Even playing squash in Gambia
For which I don't recall the score
It's never dripped off me like this
It's flowing out in streams
And, alas, air conditioning
Is only possible in dreams
Anyone with half a brain
Would be in a pool if they could
So why, oh why, oh why, oh why
Am I squatting in a field picking spuds?
BAGARA ON A MONDAY
Today I swam with Dolphins
All wild and roaming free
To come so close to us like that
Felt so good to me
I hope that I take in the lesson
And deserve the gift
And I'm sorry I forgot to thank
Anybody when we spliffed
Wow. I'm at a loss for words
SMOKING SAGE - written backwards
Leopards don't change their spots I've heard
An Albatross is a very big bird
Tea tastes better when it's been stirred
With lots of milk and sugar
A Zebra's stripes are black and white
So you can see them day and night
And if you want Turkish Delight
Then get yourself to Istanbul
Rainbows contain many hues
More so, even, than my shoes
Which are mainly reds and greens and blues
Though I've never worn them bowling
Osiris must have loved his Isis
Like I love cooking with herbs and spices
And every man must have his vices
So that's why I smoke Sage
A Dingo in a storm drain
And underneath a tree
He stood with his mouth open
Only twenty feet from me
I was sitting having Smoko
Of the green and floaty kind
When we saw the Dingo foraging
And he didn't seem to mind
The fact that we were sat there -
Intruders on his turf
I guess he's more clued up than us
About the ebb and flow of life on Earth